Continuing from last time, I caught a train from Bridgeport into New York on Wednesday evening, a quiet and wholly uneventful ride. From Penn Station I made my way down to the Financial District to my first hotel, collapsed for a while, then unpacked and got a grilled cheese for dinner. A lovely welcome to a frenetic week!
More of the Westside than I've ever seen.
After an awkward breakfast in the much-too-small lobby, I started my touring Thursday. Glad I started early, because I fit a ton in the day! First I spent much of the morning around the WTC Memorial, the Oculus, and generally geeking out over old buildings while trying not to get stepped on by commuters. And though the Oculus is in fact a large commuter hub, it contains tons of space so that all the gawking tourists had plenty of room to coexist. A very excellent space and I took 3,300 photos; selected shots below. I also popped into a number of shops looking for potential outfits for my upcoming presentation and found a lovely shirt at Zara, plus some basic T-shirts for general wear. But the miracle of all miracles was going to Century 21 and walking out emptyhanded! I was fully expecting to leave half a paycheck behind there.
This was definitely not here last time.
Complemented by morning sun.
Interior upon entry. Very open and airy despite being below ground.
I. Love. This. Thing.
Eventually I did get tired of carrying my shopping bags around, so I dropped them at the hotel, picked a taqueria more or less at random, and had lunch. A very tasty choice, in the end. From there I took the subway uptown a bit and walked almost the entire High Line. Also filled to the brim with tourists but I didn't mind, and I see why so many cities are attempting to emulate it (only a few actually have abandoned elevated rail, but it can be done with generally abandoned places, more like Santa Fe did).
People will sit where there are places to sit!
Samsung Building. I belatedly learned the interior is also a bananas public exhibition/showpiece space. Want to go back and see!
View from the HL.
Making the underpass into an asset with these colored lights.
I hadn't necessarily intended to spend that much time up there but it was very enjoyable and the weather cooperated (this will become important in my next post). When I finally came back to the street, I parked at Pret for some coffee and to recharge my phone, then set off to John F.'s office for happy hour!
John moved to NY a little over two years ago to work at Tumblr, and then made the jump to another Large Social Media Company that I may not name here. Anyhow, he wanted to show me their offices and they conveniently have a Thursday happy hour so I popped in (and had my one celebrity sighting of the whole trip: Tracee Ellis Ross getting on an elevator leaving just a minute after I had arrived) to their reception area and waited. Eventually he scooped me up, took me to meet his coworkers, and we yakked for a bit. They were very laid back and the atmosphere definitely felt more like grad school than any office I've worked since. We spent a few minutes talking about what to put in Tinder profiles and how to impress some guy's "friend" that he has known since high school before they scattered a few ways and John took me to tour further.
We got beers from the booze cart parked in the big cafeteria area (helloooo again, Grad School) then went to other floors. Upon running into his manager, I guess they wanted to impress me? So they marched me down to a different floor where there is a secret room. Which is behind a faux bookshelf and contains a little bar. Apparently you can even reserve it in their room system. So I was in fact kind of impressed. :) Unfortunately I couldn't take photos, but it was nifty.
This is just here to break up the text. But know that for each sidewalk photo I post, I have three more.:)
Then we returned to the cafeteria, got some food (everything free! Maybe not like Grad School after all) and caught up. I think I managed to keep up with more NC people than John, so there was quite a bit to report. It was amusing when I was rambling on giving life updates like:
"Yeah, then after they got married--"
"Oh. Yes. Anyhow, then they moved to DC and are our neighbors now--"
"I thought they still lived in Charlotte?!"
It was a good round of Speed Catch Up on Acquaintances. From there he showed me pictures of his dog, then I scooted out of there to let him finish working. I walked allll the way back to my hotel just to see some of the stuff along the way, including Union Square and the Bowery and Chinatown. And there was a relay race happening in the dark right around my hotel when I returned, because why not. It actually sounds more like the type of race that my boss would like us to do as a team, so maybe he needs to beef up our travel budget to get our participation in 2018. :) Conveniently, since I was fed so well by LSMC I just had snacks while tweaking my presentation and went to bed early. A very non-usual travel experience for me!
Sometimes the more traditional facades catch my eye, too.
I felt glad to get so much sightseeing in on Day 1, because the weather has not been so kind since, and of course I actually had a conference to attend. More on that in the next post.