NYC Memories

First, hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving. We had a very pleasant day and recalled our many blessings.

I've been meaning to put this post up for a while, but just been busy. There's a lot of things I could blog about as there's a lot going on right now. But I promised to get this out first.

I will begin by saying my first impression of NYC was not very good. It was back in 2005 when I went to see Queen/Paul Rogers. Besides the concert, the highlight of the trip was meeting Julz for the first time. We got along famously. The city, however, I found to be dirty and difficult to get around in. I was completely unprepared for the amount of time it takes to actually get anywhere. We'd hoped to get a few attractions in before the show and we got next to nothing accomplished.

When travelling to NYC this time, I lowered my expectations (or perhaps had more realistic expectations). And I must say, I had a blast! I did a lot of walking in the finance district (and up to SoHo). It's a very cool city just to wander in, as long as you stay on main roads. Of course, getting to hook up with Julz again and meeting Lisa B were high points. And the training seminar I attended was very good as well. They fed us fabulous lunches each day (things like shrimp scampi, chicken cordon bleu, salmon, sandwiches). The buffet was to die for!

My hotel was right across from the Pit (Ground Zero). I could look down into it from my hotel window. The Woolworth building was literally a block from the hotel and City Hall was about 3 blocks away. So there was plenty to see in the little spare time I had. One thing that struck me was that NYC is perpetually under construction. It's so big that something's always being worked on. I guess when you accept that and remember it's really an old city, then the scope of it doesn't overwhelm you. Also, the tall buildings didn't make me feel closed in like the last time. And it didn't hurt that I'm in much better shape this time around to walk the city.

Couple of amusing things (or notable things) happened on the trip. I'll give you the bullet synopsis:

Century 21: I had never heard of this store before. But it was literally next door to the hotel. Apparently, it's a MAJOR discount department store. I was told people from overseas make a special trip to shop there. I must say, it was a zoo the evening I went in there, and that was like a Tuesday night. To begin with, they'd decorated the outside for Christmas, meaning they draped the place in red lights spaced about 2 feet apart. It was so bright I swear you could see it from space. You certainly could see it from many blocks away. It was my major evening landmark in finding my hotel. I didn't spend long inside the place, since I hate waiting in long lines to buy stuff, but I got a kick ass scarf for about $7. So the hype was true.

Dining out: My last evening in NYC, I was wandering around trying to find a good place for dinner for one. I was in the mood for Italian, but couldn't really find any resteraunts easily as I wandered through Little Italy, which was surprising. It was after dark, so I didn't want to search too hard. On my way back to the hotel in the Chinatown area, as I walked down Broadway, I found a little bistro right on Broadway that had fabulous sounding Italian dishes so I took a chance. Great little place! I got a kick out of the two guys next to me going on about something texted to one of the two of them. They sounded like a gay couple! Though I doubt they were. I got a call from Deni while waiting for dinner, which made my evening. The amusing part of the experience was my waitress. When I asked for the bill, she wrote on it that tip was NOT included in the price, suggested 18-20% tip, and kindly calculated a 20% tip! Now, maybe servers in NYC deal with a lot of foreigners that don't believe in tipping, however, I spoke quite good english, with only an upstate accent which is very understandable. I've seen suggested tip (at different levels) on a check before, but I've NEVER been to a resteraunt where the server had to remind me to tip them! And not for nothing, while the service was good and food excellent, it wasn't 20% good. I usually give around 15% for good service. In any event, I got a big kick out of that. The evening ended with me getting a text from a bandmate asking if I was on my way to practice. I had to remind her I was in NYC. Fun night.

Bartender: This almost pissed me off and I was ready to complain to the front desk over it. I was having trouble getting good wireless access with my Verizon air card in my hotel room. I don't know why, but the reception in the part of NYC I stayed just sucked. When I logged in from LaGuardia, reception and speed was great. Anyway, I found I got better reception from the lobby, so I decided to sit at a table at the lobby bar to work. I had a drink from my room with me. It was a little crowded, but there was an empty table, which I grabbed. I had a bartender come up to me and state the table was taken (there was nobody even standing near the seats when I sat down) and that I may have to leave. I played it cool, but I was a little miffed! I was a paying guest at the hotel (and not a cheap one, BTW). I figured at those prices I was entitled to sit at the bar and not order overpriced drinks if I wanted! I was more than willing to get up and go if asked, but I'd have walked right to the front desk and had a few words with the manager. Luckily, no one disturbed me while I worked. I also noted when I left that the bartender that had spoken to me wasn't there. I did mention the incident in my customer satisfaction survey, however.

Overall, I had a very pleasant trip. Training went well, I got certified in ITIL fundamentals, and I got to hang with great people. Can't wait to go back!


Popular Posts