Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Back to Gotham blog.

Another year, another technical marvel has entered my day-to-day existence, both as a tool and as an impediment. This time it’s a laptop. To make some of my new duties easier – possible, considering other technical issues that I won’t detail – my company has bought one for me to use. No brand-name advertising here, but I will say that it’s a spiffy black machine that, considering that it runs on Windows, operates pretty smoothly. The folks in Redmond have come a long way in the last few years in making their programs, at least the ones I care about, nearly as good as a Mac OS.

I was in New York yesterday for training in the ways of GlobeSt/Retail, a new web site by my company, of which I am the managing editor, the number-two man, so I need to know some of those ways. Had I been based in the New York office, I would have been the number-one editor; I’m not sure if missing that position represents lucking out or not. Anyway, I had about 26 hours in NYC, with only a few free. Which you will read about at some length, if you stick with me.

Turns out I was on the wrong side of the plane this trip for the classic arrival view of Manhattan – the left side gets that. I’ve had that side before, and it is a grand sweep, taking in all sorts of familiar landmarks from the air. I even had a view, from on high, of the World Trade Center in the last year of its existence, but of course could not appreciate it as such.

This time, on the left, I saw Rockaway Point, a peninsula that juts out south of Brooklyn, and JKF a little further off, and what I was certain was Coney Island. Then we passed over Brooklyn and Queens, looping around for that almost-landing-in-the-water at LaGuardia. I might not have caught Manhattan this time, but I marveled at the vastness of Brooklyn and Queens. A sea of rooftops in a net of streets, interrupted by a handful of enormous greenbelts such as Forest Park and Flushing Meadow Corona Park, and some equally vast cemeteries. From that height, the headstones look like the rice scattered on the floor.

Memo to Mr. Bloomberg: Interested in improving New York in a way that your predecessor never did? Renovate LaGuardia, and finish construction on the roads nearby. I’ve been to a lot of airports, and LGA does no credit to one of the great cities of the Earth. Inside, the terminals are pleasant enough, but every part of the exterior and the grounds and the connecting roads look seedy to me. Mr. Daley effected a fine rehab of Midway, so it can be done. On the other hand, LGA is the bailiwick of the Port Authority of NY/NJ, something of a realm unto itself, so it might not be that easy.

I got to my hotel at about 7 pm. It was a Monday, so the theater wasn’t much of an option, and I didn’t feel like any music, so I decided that after dinner, I would take a long walk. That’s usually entertainment enough in Manhattan. But first I had to eat. My choice: A Tibetan restaurant. More about which tomorrow.


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