Saturday, April 28, 2007

From the Big Apple to the Little Bunkle....

Ahhh yes. Back home after a whirlwind trip to NYC. Got in at 2 am (5am NY time...sigh) after a pretty good flight...except I couldn't really sleep on the plane. I had taken some Gravol, which gave me 'jumpy leg' so I was twitching like a jumping jack for most of the flight.

It was great to see New York again - the first time since the major skyline change of 2001. Maybe it's my imagination but the city seems...friendlier. This time people seemed to be going out of their way to be helpful - which wasn't my experience last time around. Maybe it was just the luck of the draw. Or maybe not.

It was a great chance to hang with my pal Lo who works in the TO office. We roll up to our hotel (the Vincci Avalon - and I should mention we never saw a body pillow - and i was looking forward to a body pillow...) at 32nd & Park, check in, go up to our 9th floor room, walk past the waft of weed coming out of a neighbour's room, and open our 'junior suite", which was at that time 77F. I turn on the "cooling" in the room, and two hours later we are up to 81F....which, give or take 1 degree, was what we were at for the next 3 days. The "cooler" was some sort of ceiling fan that chuffed air down in a close approximation of a dog panting. The windows were open 2 inches, but screws in the door frame meant that you couldn't open them more. The photo at left is the building across from us, taken between futile attempts to open the window. The staff made shocked and sympathetic faces about the heat in the room, made promises about getting maintenance to check into it, but as time went on we realized it was a lost cause. Things clarified at 7am the next morning, when we were woken by honking, airhorns and picketers - yes, the hotel staff union was on strike. Outside our window. Ahhhh, yes. New York. We did make a new friend at the hotel though - meet Manuel (or Luis or Jorge - his name changed alot), the reading lamp.

The conference we went to was OK - but of no blog interest so that's all I'll say. Spent most of the time walking, shopping, eating. Drooling over Kate Spade's flagship store and laughing at the cost of the Alexander McQueen bag I was admiring in Bloomingdales (US$1600? oooh these people live in SUCH a different world than mine). Realizing that I am not, in fact, "Forever 21" mentally or physically even if I would like to be, and cleaning out Anne Taylor instead. Watching our not-so-great waitress get berated at the Spice Market for not being on top of getting us our overpriced-for-the-experience meal. Eating a yummy apricot croissant at a tiny little french patisserie in Nolita. Watching the aging doyens of New York amble through the shops with their over the top jewelery and comfy Todds loafers. And sitting in the sunshine in Central Park.

Oh - we also visited our New York office, which is inside the Chrysler Building. Worth it just to see the woodwork and marble on the inside of that fantastic building - everything from the elevators to the bathrooms are incredible.

I do love New York. There is no other place like it, and the energy is remarkable and undeniable. And overwhelming. It is impossible not to start going at a faster pace, not to start getting more impatient - i felt like a human honking taxi half the time as I tried to navigate through the sidewalk crowds to walk right through that red "don't walk" hand at the corner (and those who know me well know how I Respect The Hand). I couldn't live there though. It is a great fantasy - oh how I would love to be the funky, cool, loft dwelling new york artist my misdirected imagination likes to believe I could be - but I need slow. I need quiet. And I'm glad to be home.

No comments: