A Weekend In New York – Day 1

Mid January I found myself in New York City for the first time. A lot happened during a short period, and I would like to share with you the story of how I got there. Welcome to a weekend in New York.

To start, I should first give you some background as to why I was in NY in the first place. One of my clients is a household name in the baby products area (if you have a cute baby, you say they look like my clients logo). Their offices are in New Jersey, about 30 minutes via train away from NYC. To get to NJ, I fly into the Newark airport, which is literally across the river from the city. Close enough that you can see statue of liberty out the plane window as you land.

The first time I visited this client, I vowed to make a serious effort to stay the weekend in NYC while I was there. My reasoning was simple; there are a million things to do in NYC, I had never been there, and I have friends who presently live there. When booking flights for the next trip, I told my boss to book my return flight for Sunday, because I was staying the weekend in the big city. This actually happened to work out perfectly, because we had been in talks with a similar company to ours about licensing a piece of software. Their offices are in Brooklyn, so we would be able to meet with them during our client trip.

I flew out to New Jersey on a Tuesday morning. That morning in Minnesota, the temperature was –35 degrees. It had snowed the night before, so I woke up at 4:30 AM to make sure I could shovel my car out of the driveway before catching my 7 AM flight. The bitter wind blowing on my face while shoveling made me sure of two things; 1) I should have shoveled the night before and 2) I was excited to get the heck out of the cruelty of Minnesota winter.

No problems with the flight and ensuing days working at the clients offices. Thursday afternoon we went to a train station in Summit, NJ and started the New York adventure. For those of you who don’t know, there are several commuter train lines in New Jersey that have a direct route into Manhattan. Getting into the city is a breeze, and relatively inexpensive.

The train ride was relatively uneventful, if not boring. I sat and read and waited for my opportunity to check off another state on my list of places visited. I even drifted off to sleep for a little while before I was awakened by a text message from my co-worker Scott.

“You aren’t on a plane out of New York are you?”

To which I responded “No, why?”

“Because it just landed in the Hudson river”

“Holy crap man, what happened?”

Before he could respond, I was already on the Internet, visiting cnn.com and trying to figure out what was going on. My phone’s data connection was pretty slow, so I wasn’t able to read anything before I got into a tunnel that went underneath the water separating NJ and NY. The name of that river? The Hudson.

At the time I didn’t think anything of it, other than curiosity as to what had happened, and if everyone was OK. In fact, I had even forgotten about the message by the time I made it to Penn Station and disembarked. I was more worried about finding our way to the subway station so we could catch the 1 to Chambers street and find our hotel.

We had booked a hotel at the Embassy Suites in the financial district, and because of the time of the year, we got the hotel (which overlooks the Hudson river and is a block away from Ground Zero) for like $130/night. I am guessing the hotel was so cheap because January in New York is not a desirable destination, and that was proven by the freezing walk we had from Chambers Street to the hotel. As I mentioned earlier, it was VERY cold in Minnesota when I left, and continued to be cold while I was gone. It was also quite cold in New York (5 degrees), and with a heavy wind outside, it felt like it was –10 as we walked 6 blocks to the hotel.

There are several levels of coldness, all dependant on circumstance and situation. While –35 in MN is absolutely brutal, at least we can walk from our heated garages to our destinations with little time spent outside. New York public transportation, on the other hand, is possibly more brutal because you have to walk several blocks to get anywhere. Anyway, enough weather talk.

After arriving at the Embassy Suites, I was pretty impressed with the great bargain we had found for the three nights I would be staying there. It was in nice shape and had some good views of the Hudson river. As we were checking in, I heard the lobby person saying that they were floating the plane down the river. I thought it would be a good story to say that I watch the plane float by, so I rode up the elevator several floors to see if I could watch a massive plane float by (turns out I missed it by about 15 minutes). There was a ton of activity going on both in the river with police rescue boats and barges floating around, as well as 25-30 squad cards and fire trucks lined up along each side of the street below. I saw all kinds of uniformed officers walking down the street toward the ferry terminal station, eventually disappearing from sight. It was amazing to see all of these people mobilize and react so quickly to this situation.

After about an hour of looking out the window and trying to play photo journalist on Facebook (I was uploading pictures from my phone and responding to people’s comments and questions about the situation), I gave up and got ready for Happy Hour. Happy Hours are free at Embassy Suites and I took full advantage. Well, since I still had a meeting the next morning, I didn’t take THAT much of an advantage, but still had fun.

Next we met up with some of my boss’s friends for dinner at an excellent restaurant called Tabla. Tabla was an Indian-American restaurant, and the food was very good (and expensive, but I wasn’t paying). Dinner was filled with good food and wine, and great conversation as well (one of the friends was a cardiologist so I told him about my Kenya trip) and I had a great first night in NYC.

About Jeff Sauer

I started blogging in the year 2000, and go in spurts of inspiration followed by long dormancy. I love writing, and your comments keep me going, so comment!

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Comments

  1. Wow, that’s crazy! I never knew you were there and saw it, I must’ve missed the photos on Facebook

  2. Jake you cuz says:

    Het jeffy make me a email