Friday, January 1, 2010

New York, New York

New York,  October 27 – 2930 (we were supposed to get home last night, but our return flight arrived well after midnight)

My colleague, Ruth and I went on a short business trip to New York City where an influential account manager had set up several customer briefings at the Manhattan Cisco offices. It was a tiring, but terrific experience. Here’s what I found to share with you.

I stayed at the DoubleTree hotel at Times Square: you don’t get much more “at Times Square” than this. My room was right above the half-price theatre tickets booth and right next to the famous illuminated signs. You know, like, “Holy Christmas tree, Batman.” Fortunately, my room had black-out curtains, and the sound insulation was great.

We were pretty busy, but we did get in some sight-seeing: we saw the Brooklyn Bridge, Rockefeller Center and Williamsburg Bridge…. conference rooms.

And we enjoyed these lovely views of Central Park… which were hanging on the wall in the hallway outside of those conference rooms.

From the conference room window, we could see the New Yorker Hotel, where the great physicist, Nikola Tesla, lived his final years. The street view was nothing special, but we did have a fine lunch at the Stage Door Café just around the corner. The Cisco office is above the Pennsylvania Railway Station and next door to Madison Square Garden, which is actually a round building, with no garden, that is several blocks away from Madison Square.

Found a great list of cheap restaurants from the Michelin guide's bib list. The name of the one we selected is an anagram of Pizza: Apizz. I could just imagine the conversation with the cab driver if I’d asked him to take us to Apizz.

“What?!?!?! You wanna take a peez in the back of my cab?”

So, instead we wrote down the address and handed it to him. Great place, I would recommend it to all of you. After dinner, we went to the Village Vanguard to see trumpet player Tom Harrell and his quintet.

“What?!?!?! You wanna take a vanguard in the back of my cab?”

The music was a little cerebral, as opposed to what a review of show tunes might have been, but the Vanguard is such a world famous spot that even if the act was three blind mice playing the piano, it would be worth going.

Many famous musicians have recorded live albums at the Village Vanguard OK, I couldn’t resist.

Seeing Tom Harrell, made me think of the golden age of jazz and the famous 52nd street location between 5th and 6th Avenues where clubs such as The Famous Door, The Five Spot, The 3 Deuces routinely showcased the jazz legends of the 1940s and 50s. 

Except for a sign calling that block “Swing Street,” all evidence of that past is gone.

Above to the right, is 52nd Street today.

To the right is a look at the same block back in its heyday. More detail: here

After dropping off Ruth at her hotel, I felt restless, so I went for a walk up and down 52nd Street from 7th Ave to 1st and back. Amazing what you can buy here late at night.

Juicy Couture’s window display. Is THIS the reason why the city never sleeps?

Copyright © 2009 David G. Kelly

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