The Illustrated TMP

Hello friends!!

So those of you following along on Instagram have been able to see our “illustrated” Monarch Papers adventure (aka me and CJ traipsing around the city taking pictures of the book in relevant locations to the week’s chapters). Those are all saved to our IG profile in the “AG Book Club” highlighted stories, but I thought I’d drop the photos here too for easy reference and enjoyment!

This way everyone who’s not on IG can see them too, and everyone can also chat about them together if you’re so inclined. We’ll still be posting first on IG (so check it out there first if you can!!) but if you miss it, don’t worry, I’ll post them here the following day.

Oh and if you are on IG and aren’t following us yet, what are you doing here’s our profile!!


Week 1: City Hall Station

Catherine and I knew that the old City Hall station was still there, hidden away under lower Manhattan for decades. But we also knew the only way to visit it was to try and snatch up expensive tickets at a blink-and-they’ll-sell-out tour hosted by The NYC Transit Museum a couple times a year. So we resigned ourselves to instead take our first “The Monarch Papers: Illustrated” photo on the glass blocks laid in the sidewalk of City Hall Park. Glass blocks which still allow light to cast down into the old, forgotten station. But then we did a little digging.

While searching for the above ground remnants of the old station, we read that even though the southbound 6 train’s last stop is at the new City Hall stop, and everyone has to get off there, the train still travels through the old City Hall station to loop around and head back north. We decided, laws be damned, we were going to try and ride the empty 6 around the loop, through the old station.

We took the 4 to the 6 and then went one stop north so we could then head back down to new City Hall station, heading south. We were in the front car, with the conductor a thin metal door away, and waited as everyone obeyed the automated voice asking everyone to depart the train, hoping we’d go unnoticed. And then the conductor opened the door and saw us. Not sure what to do, I asked, “Sir, can we ride through?”

The conductor looked at us for a beat and finally said, “You should move down to that window there, it’s taller. You’ll have a better view.” We thanked him, scurried over to the taller window, and planted our faces, and cameras, to the glass. The conductor then began the long slow loop into the dark. The grinding wheels, the squealing brakes, the pitch black. It was eerie and exciting, but we were prepared to miss the station entirely in the inky dark.

But the lights were on. First a tiled placard on the wall, in the dark. “City Hall.” Then a lit arch slowly rolled into view. The station was lit. Waiting down there in the dark for us, and our readers, and Brandon Lachmann. A strange, otherworldly beacon that brought tears to my eyes. I had dreamed of that secret place for decades, and there it was, looking back at us in the black. And then it was gone, and we emerged back into the northbound light.

The train came to a stop, and the conductor emerged, smiling in reaction to the smiles on our faces. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was holding back tears. Overwhelmed by the moment, for me, for you, overwhelmed by his kindness. And then he said, “I went as slow as I could so you could really see her.” And then we were off the train, surfacing in the cold. We’d just seen magic down there, below the streets of lower Manhattan. Magic in more ways than one.


Week 2: The Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park City

In honor of Deirdre Green’s narrative debut this week, we decided to take her father’s pocket watch along with us to the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park City. The memorial is meant to evoke the rich landscape of Ireland, while remembering those who died during the Great Irish Famine (1845-1852). Much like our girl Deeds, the stones and soil used in the construction of the memorial were transported directly from Ireland, and have found a home here in New York City.


Week 3: The American Merchant Mariner’s Memorial in Battery Park

“A final rising bow, a hand of bronze outstretched, to pull a dying man to death. What came of you, where did you go? Gifts bestowed upon the sea or something else did capture thee?”

This week is dedicated to everyone’s favorite villain: King Rabbit. The lines above were among the first clues that King Rabbit ever posted to his Instagram page during Fragment Two of The Monarch Papers, leading the Mountaineers to the American Merchant Mariner’s Memorial in Battery Park.

The bronze memorial is meant to commemorate the thousands of merchant mariners who lost their lives in World War II. It depicts four sailors on a sinking ship, one of whom “drowns” with the high tide twice a day, every day. It’s nearly impossible to get close to the memorial with the barricades on the pier, but you can see the surviving sailors standing in the distance of the following picture, as King Rabbit haughtily surveys his handiwork…


Week 4: The Triplets Bridge in Central Park

The bridge was small, only thirty feet long, spanning an overgrown ditch in Central Park. Its timbers were worn and splintered, the planks covered in smooth divots from decades of feet marching across its length.” –pp. 166-167, Chapter 15, “Devoted.”

Week four of #AGBookClub brings us to The Triplets Bridge in Central Park, just behind the American Museum of Natural History and accessible through the Naturalist’s Gate on West 77th Street. While little is known about the bridge itself, or the triplets to whom it was dedicated in 2000, this place became a pivotal site during The Monarch Papers when Cole Sumner discovered a Traveler’s Disc wedged between two support posts. Left behind by Brandon Lachmann thirty years prior, the Disc, and the information it contained, became one of the first pieces of evidence that The Devoted were not the allies they claimed to be. Its discovery signaled that the race was on to keep Brandon’s legacy alive…


Week 5: Deirdre’s Brownstone in Manhattan

This week’s #AGBookClub chapters mark a turning point for new beginnings and mysterious introductions. However, since Lauren and the Cagliostro will have plenty of time to shine in later chapters, we wanted to take this week to focus on Deirdre and her progress. Her success in reinstating Ackerly Green Publishing in Chapter 20 brings a long-sought after sense of purpose and stability to her new life, both as a New Yorker and as a Green, so this week we thought we’d showcase her father’s brownstone to give a sense of where the magiq truly begins…

(yes I did poke the Herman pin through the book page. I have already made my peace with destroying this book for the sake of ~art~ pls nobody judge me)


Week 6: NOT the Morgan Library
So, we know the obvious location choice for this week’s chapters is J.P. Morgan’s renowned Library & Museum on Madison Avenue, aka the backdrop for the epic race between Lauren and Cole for Seven Cradle Songs in Chapter 22, “A Study in Green.”

HOWEVER! We have chosen to postpone featuring this particular location, for reasons. Secret reasons, involving secret future plans…

Instead, we thought we’d take you behind the scenes into our office and highlight another Deirdre blog post that we love. Dated January 26th, 2017, the post describes some of the strange and wonderful antique store finds she discovers after giving up searching for the lost Ackerly Green books. These objects become symbols of her hopes for the newly reinstated Ackerly Green Publishing, and they have found a home in our current offices since Deirdre’s departure for Neithernor. We love them because they remind us daily of Deirdre’s optimism and resilience (and the little Herman puppet is just too cute not to share).


Week 7: Grand Central Terminal
For our last installment of The Illustrated Monarch Papers for Flora and Fauna, there was nowhere we could possibly go but Grand Central Terminal, the infamous venue for the Cagliostro’s Complete Translation.

We were sadly unable to gain access to the Crimson Hall, as the mysterious venue is highly shrouded in secrecy, so we had to settle for the (still stunning) Main Concourse. We hope it evokes for you the same sense of grandeur and awe that Martin Rank experienced as a guest at the Cagliostro’s final performance.