Frenzied Foursquare Updates: In case you aren’t a social media friend / follower / stalker of mine and didn’t see my new feeds and streams blowing up with updates from Manhattan, I have spent the past five plus days in the NYC area (including an overnight in cozy Upper Montclair, NJ) visiting and staying with friends – both from Cornell and the fraternity – as well as some of my extended family. To hear every detail about my trip, check out my Foursquare check-in feed, but for those that aren’t so enthused to do so (which I expect would be, um, everyone) here’s some highlights from the weekend.
Networking: The primary purpose of this trip was built around attending a few networking events on Thursday, October 14 – one, a networking luncheon hosted by the HSMAI Greater New York Chapter, and the other a Harney & Sons tea tasting hosted by the Cornell Hotel Society, NYC Chapter. Both of these networking events on a very busy weekend – which also included a coffee catch-up with a good social media friend of mine (@BMacJ) from Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group (@MOhotels), drinks with a few public relations friends from Lou Hammond (@Lou_Hammond) and conversation with another Hotelie friend of mine about contract work for a newly-formed social media LLC (@CollectiveMedia) – were great ways for me to re-emerge from by Boston / Bermuda-hiding and to introduce myself to a few new professionals in the NYC area – where I hope my next full-time professional gig will land me.
Open House New York: That said, this weekend was equal parts fun in addition to work. The timing of my venture down to New York could not have been more ideal, as I was able to check out a (largely) free architectural showcase called Open House NY (@OHNY), where a tremendous variety of interesting and iconic buildings, landmarks, and public spaces were open to the public to tour across the five boroughs. Although I had limited time to experience the showcase in its entirety – in fact, I was only able to cover various midtown spots – the event was surely a delight for anyone interested in architecture and design. It had an extra appeal for yours truly because, as I mention in my About Me section of this blog, I have a (potentially unhealthy) obsession with hotels and design spaces. As a result, my Saturday was packed with me blitzing the city seeking out some hip hotels (Oassa Hotels & Residences, Hyatt 48 Lex Hotel), covering the off-the-beaten path locales (General Society of Mechanics and Tradesman, Austrian Cultural Forum) and hitting historical landmarks of grandeur (the lobby of Chrysler Building, New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building)
Museum Mile at a Discount: Spending Friday and Saturday nights in New York City really presents an ideal scenario for those art-appreciating visitors who are always seeking “good value” (not cheap) high-quality experiences. Two museums I was able to visit during my weekend that most certainly qualified into this category were The Whitney Museum (as part of their pay-what-you-wish donation Fridays from 6-9 PM) as well as the Guggenheim (which offers a similar donation schematic on Saturdays from 5:45 – 7:45 PM). Both collections were certainly worth the $2 donations and were culturally enriching. I scribed some of my favorite pieces on a separate note-pad, which I will share in a later post.
Food & Drink: A trip to NYC would me remiss without experiencing some of the eclectically expansive cuisine the city has to offer (see my earlier post on Shake Shack). While I am not in the position to break the bank by any means, I was able to check out a few restaurants in the city that I had been itching to try. My first night was all about dining at an Italian restaurant and Wine Bar on the Upper East Side called Uva, which was very reasonably priced and provided some nice, quiet ambiance with mahogany wood overtones. On Friday, some Cornell friends of mine and I headed over to The Mermaid Inn on the Upper West Side (they also have a well-trafficked location downtown) which offered some fine seafood options but lacked a bit in service attention and accommodation of our preferences.
On my final night in Manhattan, I embraced my Greek heritage and headed to Ethos in the Flatiron District, where a friend of mine and I dined on traditional Greek fare in a very cozy and comfortable surrounding space (they even offered us a chef’s dessert special on the house – a custard-filled phillo puff-pastry called galaktoboureko (pronounced (gah-lahk-toh-BOO-reh-koh) which was a great way to end the experience. As far as drink spots go, there weren’t too many to highlight. The Aspen Social Club – which I was invited to through a friend for a closed birthday celebration – offered some cool spaces and postured itself as a ‘pulsating nightlife’ spot in Midtown.
All in all – it was a great time in Manhattan and I’m looking forward to coming back. Now, it’s back to Boston, where hopefully my $1 Bolt Bus fare will provide me with a strong wifi signal and electric power outlets that actually function.