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Belated New York Report

I talked about the business side of The Great New York Trip, but didn't go into the social end at all. So here we go:

Arrived in New York after a lively landing.  Darwin is a nervous flyer, so while the airplane went through a great deal of abrupt slowing and speeding, I smiled and said, "Isn't this fun?" while inside a little voice whispered, "YOU'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!"  But we landed fine.  Really.

Hopped a shuttle for Grand Central Station and walked exactly two blocks to the Roosevelt Hotel, where the Writers Digest Conference was being held.  A feisty Russian clerk named Irina told us our room would not be ready until 3:00, but we could check our luggage.  This we did, and we set out to explore a little.

The Roosevelt opened in 1924, and it housed a lot of interesting people over the decades.  The mayor of New York actually lived there in the Presidential Suite for quite some time.  The location, we discovered, was perfect.  Fifth Avenue, Broadway, Times Square, Park Avenue, and lots of other interesting places are within walking distance.  So we walked.

At one time, I tried to act like I wasn't a tourist when I visited a new place.  This meant looking straight ahead and striding instead of strolling, taking few pictures, and avoiding tourist spots.  This was a way of trying to blend in so natives wouldn't bother me--or worse.

I've long since abandoned this practice.  First, no one bothers me.  It's an advantage of being six feet tall with a shaved head.  People think =I'm= going to bother =them=.  Second, the blending-in practice means I don't get to see anything.  Staring straight ahead means I miss the other 359 degrees.  Tourist spots are usually the =interesting= spots, and it's silly to avoid them just because lots of other people think they're interesting.

So Darwin and I happily strolled around Manhattan, pointing out various buildings to each other and trying to figure out what decade they were built.  We wandered down Fifth Avenue, one of the most famous streets in the world, and window-shopped.  We watched the people, and I decided that New Yorkers were a lot more fashion-conscious than Detroiters.  (Sorry, Detroit, but you lose big when it comes to interesting clothes, especially on the men.)

Eventually, and entirely by accident, we came across the New York Public Library, complete with lions guarding the front doors.  Darwin hadn't heard anything about it, but I had, and I dragged him inside.

The NYC PL is an archiectural marvel, of course. It was built back when libraries were more than half temple.  It feels like walking into one, certainly. You feel like there should be robed priests and an oracle waiting for you. The rest of it is a museum for rare books. (The main branch here isn't a lending library.)  Darwin and I spent considerable time wandering through it until Darwin remembered with a certain amount of excitement that this library housed a rare geneological collection that he wanted to examine.  Unfortunately, the library was closing in a few minutes and we had to leave.

So headed for the Empire State Building . . .


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