When I came out of the airport, I was going to wait in line for a cab but a man asked me if I needed a cab and said he could drive me. He was a very nice Indian man (not that his cultural background is important - kind of reminded me of the movie The Namesake - sad movie). Anyway, he said he's been running a limo business for 20 years and he's never seen business so bad. He's really felt the hit of a bad economy. Kinda hard to believe when he charged $55 for the trip but cabs are just as expensive! Considering he was driving an Escalade, that probably barely paid for gas!!
The other thing I've noticed about being here is hard to explain but it's like for every one worker you'd see in the midwest - at a hotel or restaurant -- you see two or three here. It's like jobs are split up more because more people need to be employed. Maybe it's like that in all larger cities but I guess NYC is really focused on a high service people to customer ratio.
I guess I realize that NYC is not really my favorite place in the world. I think it's just not my cup of tea even thought it has lots to offer. My preference is for fewer people and less concrete, I think.
Despite all that, we're staying in a pretty cool hotel. It's called the Empire and it's really funky (in a good way). Here are some photos of the lobby.
And here's the wallpaper in the hallways.
It's pretty neat -- kind of like walking through a fairy tale to get to our room.
For some reason, they put us at the end of a hallway where there isn't any light (probably because Susan got the room on Priceline and they don't want us mixing with the rich people who paid full price). Kind of creepy...
Susan said it reminds her of The Shining. I hope that turns out to just be in her head...
Last night, we had an Italian dinner at a place called Cafe Fiorello. The meal was so-so but the dessert was fabulous. We ordered chocolate mousse and it literally came in a bucket. The server came over with two big metal buckets -- one had chocolate mousse in it and one had whipped cream in it. He plopped two huge spoons full of each on our plate. We just stuck our faces in it and sucked it up. All you can eat!! Unfortunately, we were too full by then to eat more than what we were served the first time. I'll order it as an appetizer if I ever go back.
Today, I was lazy in the morning and then met Susan for lunch. I don't usually take pictures of the bathrooms where I go but at the little restaurant where we had lunch the bathroom was so interesting, I took my camera back in and and took some shots. It looked like someone just took a thick pencil and quickly sketched these "drapes" on the walls. It was great!
After that, I went to Museum of Arts and Design while Susan did her conference stuff. The main exhibit at "MAD" was called Slash: Paper Under the Knife. Really amazing. I'm not pasting any photos here because they really wouldn't do it justice. Believe it or not, I didn't purchase a single thing from the museum shop. :-)
Susan was pretty disappointed in the attendance at her presentation. It's ironic that she is presenting at a diversity conference but feels marginalized. She was presenting on the topic of physical difference and physical disability. Within the professional community of people who work in the area of "diversity," most are fairly neglectful of the dimensions of physical difference and disability (as well as social class and religion/spirituality). It's really pretty annoying and disappointing. That's where the "experts" often fall short of their own talk. They (we?) tend to deny our own biases and values systems. They end up marginalizing and invalidating people when they feel so secure in their own position. Any true expert on diversity never feels confident about "getting it" and is always working to learn her/his own limits of understanding! Anyway, I felt for her. She's been fighting this battle for years...
When we were walking back after lunch, I saw this sign and it cracked me up so I had to take a picture (and share it, of course!).
It's so funny that the person is running behind the dog chasing his poop. Sorry, that's the 10 year old boy in me coming out.
This evening, we had dinner at a phenomenal restaurant called Rosa Mexicano. There was a really cool tile wall that must have have been at least 2 stories tall -- maybe 30 feet? -- and covered with one inch blue iridescent tiles and then these little white plastic figures of a man diving were attached. It's hard to describe it. Here's a little bitty picture so it's hard to see but gives you an idea.
The food was amazing. Guacamole made at our table side. I had delicious beef enchiladas with a mole sauce made with white chocolate and pine nuts. Two words -- yum mee.
Can you tell that a lot of my visits with Susan involve eating? I'm enjoying my food experiences here because when I get home, I have to cut down. In my last physical, I was told that I have pre-pre-diabetes. Luckily, that gives me plenty of time to make corrections. Besides, I have to pinch pennies to make up for these incredibly expensive meals.
Tomorrow...shopping in SoHo and then I'll go to dinner at Toby's apartment in Brooklyn. His roommate, Krista, has offered to cook for us. I'm looking forward to seeing both Toby and Krista and eating the "mild curry" she's planning on fixing. I'll post more photos!