So last week I was in New York City for the first time since I was a kid. My primary reason I was there was to teach my MOSS 2007 WCM class on Wall Street to a bunch of people. It was a fun class and a cool location. My hotel was a half-block off Broadway just a block or two south of Times Square. I did the whole New York think taking the subway to and from class every day without issue... ok, just one issue. On the first morning I jumped on the #3 train going uptown... oops, meant to go downtown (south). I get on the train at 42nd street (the Times Square station) but didn't realize I was going the wrong way until I got to 72nd street. Oops :) there was 30 minutes wasted on day one. Thankfully I gave myself a bunch of extra time to navigate the subway just in case I made a bonehead move like this.
The rest of Day 1 was fairly uneventful mainly because I was wiped out. The night before was later than expected thanks to a very late arrival at JFK. I didn't get to bed in my hotel room until almost 3a. Bob Fox (who also blogged about his experience), my pal who sat through the class all week, helped me find a real NY deli for lunch... mmm, nice Pastrami sandwich!
I wanted to do a bit of sightseeing but knowing most nights would be busy that week I got up early and headed towards class early. I jumped off the subway two stops early just across from City Hall and walked down to Ground Zero. After seeing so many videos and pictures, it is very different to be there. I walked around what is now a construction site and had to just pause for a few minutes... it's quite a moving experience to just stand there from one of the elevated walkways looking over the area. Then I made my way back to class at the end of Wall Street (near the East River)... but little did I know I'd walk by Trinity Church and the NYSE. Amazing how short Wall Street is for how much business goes on there. That night Bob and I headed to a local Irish pub (The Full Shilling) with three other students in the class from Kentucky for dinner and a few drinks. Bob gave me grief about being the rookie in the city... yet who's the one who found the bar Bob? It's the one around the corner from class with the Irish flag over it. (love ya man!)
Wednesday was a packed day. After class Bob... um... "guided" me and a few others from the class up to the local Microsoft office for the New York City SharePoint User Group where I was presenting. Nothing like a full day of talking all day (not to mention the most intense day that gives it the 400 level level) followed up by a 1hr UG talk to 150 people :). But everyone seemed to get a lot out of it (if you're looking for the code & slide deck, it's on my speaking page here). Afterwards we headed across the street (right? or were we in the same block? I have no idea) for a happy hour social followed by dinner with some good friends at Gallagher's Steak House. On the way out my pal Chris Regan was driving a bunch of people home (after they missed their train) and giving me a ride back towards my hotel. I mention where I was staying and we stopped so I jumped out of the car. Funny thing: I wasn't exactly sure which way to go.
After Thursday's class I took advantage of zero plans and did some more walking. I headed down to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty from afar and then back up through the area around Ground Zero seeing a bunch of stuff along the way (the sphere that used to be in the courtyard of the towers, the Battery Park/Brooklyn Tunnel entrance, the American Stock Exchange, etc). I jumped on the subway and headed up to 5th Avenue (except I missed two stops). No biggie, I was on 5th Avenue and just had to walk two streets from 3rd Avenue right? hint: the New Yorkers are laughing at this point. It was more like a 15 minute walk, but I did get to see CBS and a few other famous buildings. Then I spent some time checking out the glass Apple Store (which is way cool) and FAO Schwartz to get something for my son. With dress shoes still on and my laptop thrown over my shoulder, I decided to walk down to Times Square stopping in some place for a slice along the way. All told I walked from the moment class was out (5p) until I got back to my room around 930p minus 20 minutes on the subway. My feet were killing me.
I wish the trip home was better (got stranded in Atlanta for 24hrs after my flight was canceled due to the bad weather in the southeast US late last week... but I did get to see Whitney Houston in the Delta Crown Room boozing it up, then again, everyone that night thanks to the weather wrecking out plans to get home... funny... 2nd time I've seen her in a Crown Room in 5 months :)). I had a great time in New York and now I can't wait to go back... next time giving myself more time to wander the city. There's just so much to see and do... sure was neat.
I did figure out one little trick: to avoid looking like a tourist holding a map of the city & subway all the time, use your phone. Live Maps & Google Maps were a big help with subway stops and everything. So was a site a student showed me for mapping the subway (www.onnyturf.com/subway). Holding your phone al the time you can look at the map, but you can act like some other person in NYC buried with email. Then again, the New Yorker's are likely laughing again saying "we can pick you out too even without a map." :)