Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Me in NYC
Today I was walking from the elevator to my room and a REAL NYC policeman passed me...he said "Hi," then glanced down and said, "Nice shoes!"

I had on red medium heels with just a strap across them, right above my toes...must have been because they were red!

It's just really fun being here, even with having to go to one seminar after another!

Today during one of the seminars, the last one of the afternoon, my phone rang (quietly). I thought I had turned it to vibrate so I was surprised...and then I realized that my ringtone is the team from Sex in the City...the incongruity of it--here I am at a seminar called "Leading Like Jesus," IN New York City...I was LOL inside.

When we flew in last night, we could see the Brooklyn Bridge (and lots of other bridges), all lit up like Christmas. And the Empire State Building, all lit in red, white and blue.

We flew in on Continental. The plane out of Ft. Wayne was like a flying hot dog. A bratwurst at best. Each row had two seats, one on either side of the aisle, no bathroom, and of course it was a prop plane. The co-pilot was also the "flight attendant." The good news: it was a smooth flight, we got in on time, and no luggage was lost!

It was fun to take off from Cleveland Hopkins and soar up and see the lake to the north, a ghostly gray on the horizon, then to get out over it and be able to see the waves, and even a boat or two.

At one point during the flight, I was reading, and realized that the sun was in my eyes. Since we were supposed to be flying EAST, not WEST, I was momentarily discombobulated...until our captain announced we had been put into a holding pattern for a short time. Whew. I thought we were lost there for a moment.

Just as we were getting to LaGuardia, the sun was setting, what a spectacular site from 10,000 feet. I could see it go down--the last bit disappearing beyond the horizon. The sun was blood orange and and clouds--what there were--were streaky red and gray.

We got our luggage, and called a service to come get us. Stepped out of the luggage area-which could have been any luggage area in any airport anywhere--and into the chaos that is only NYC. Taxis, vans, cars, buses, lined up, roaring, honking. People crossing the median to the pickup area, looking for their ride, getting honked at. I must have hear four different languages in the few minutes we waited. I could have people-watched there for an hour.

Driving into the city, immediately seeing stuff we only see on TV--the bridges, the buildings, Shea Stadium--so many cars! so many highways! so many streets! so many signs! Yet, from the air I had noticed--so many trees, too--it was very green. In some ways, greener than the fields in Indiana and Ohio, because the fields, newly sown, are still brown.

We were up early, had room service (oh man! I wish I had room service at home!) and our first session was at 8:30. Lasted until 11:30. We took off from the hotel on foot, I had asked the concierge where the shopping was! Turned out, just down the block! Of course he had a map too.

Fulton Street Mall is just a block away, but it is only a mall in the NYC sense of the word. It's a city street filled with shops and carts and people and cars and taxis and buses. We found real deli to eat at--little, smelling delicious, a big salad bar, a hot bar, a sandwich bar. Grab a container and pick what you want for $4.29 a pound! I got two kinds of salad, some baked chicken, some sesame chicken, some mashed potatoes, a diet coke and it tasted great. Sarah and Joyce, my friends from work, were with me, along with a writer for the paper from Chicago. She has a daughter named Caroline--pronounced the same! And, her dad is named Tony. She has two kids, 6 and 9, and wants to hear about our Disney trip.

Anyway, I had left home without my white OR black sweater, and the hotel is freezing, so our next stop was Macy's. Shopped around for 20 minutes looking for something in black or white and finally found a little white sweater that wasn't too expensive. And, when I checked out, the clerk had another customer loan me her 15% off coupon! Wasn't that nice--even in NYC!!

The afternoon sessions consisted of a speech by a gentleman who is head of Orbis Books who had worked with Dorothy Day--he was pretty interesting. Then, the session about leadership.

Had a couple free hours in between the sessions and the reception and dinner tonight, so I took off walking with map in hand. It's a very safe area--we're right across from the Supreme Court house and next door to NYC Technical College. And guess what else we're right down the street from! The Jehovah Witness headquarters! I can't wait to tell my sister!

I had a great walk--we're VERY close to the Brooklyn Bridge and another one too--the Manhattan Bridge. Wow--what a site. Found a some parks, Cadmon's Plaza and the Korean War Veteran's park and Columbus Park or Plaza. The city in microcosm there--college kids playing football, moms on benches, kids at a little soccer lesson, teens sitting on the steps talking. Lots of business types passing through. Me taking pictures and gawking.

Found the Brooklyn Visitor's Center and stopped in, and picked up maps and info on some things we're going to try to see-- Ground Zero, Empire State Building, etc. They had a little gift shop and I may pick up a t-shirt or something--they were kind of cool. Some neat pictures of old Brooklyn and the old Brooklyn Dodgers--lots of history!

Found a Starbucks too! and had a green tea frappichino to tide me over until dinner!

More sessions tomorrow...but tonight we are going to try to get out of the dinner early and hit TIMES SQUARE!!! Stay tuned!

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