Enjoying life, off the hamster wheel
Greetings all, I’m posting from here in the Big Apple. (Okay, I’m actually in New Jersey, but this is about my trip to New York.) I am here for two different events. One is a corprate event for an American Insurance company. The other is Fashion Week here in New York.
It all starts on the 26th of August, when I fly to New York through Toronto, and let me tell you, that was an experience in it’s self. I checked my luggage in Vancouver, then had to collect it in Toronto, so I could go through customs, and then recheck it so I could get on my connector.
Upon arrival in New York I cabbed it to the hotel we were both staying in and working in, The Waldorf Astoria. And I will say it’s a pretty fancy-pants place, though the rooms are really small, and could use some re & re. we spent three days decorating up the Grand ballroom, and it ended up looking something like this.
We then had three days of famous entertainment.
Day one was probably the most famous comedian ever: Dr. Bill Cosby.
Day two was a double header of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Donna Summer
And Day three was the amazing Patti Labelle.
We ended the event with a couple of days of awards and a final night farwell dinner, then we go to tear it all out. Here’s a couple of photos of the gear we had in the room.
Once this gig was all tidied up, it was time to move on. Unfortunately I couldn’t convince my second employer to pay the $380.00/night to stay at the Waldorf Astoria, so I moved across the Hudson River into New Jersey, to a town called Secacus in preperation for working on Fashion Week.
I was going to be working on a setup known as the Armory not suprisingly because it’s in a National Guard Armory in the area called Murray Hill, which is just east of Midtown.
I was Warned that this would be a bit of a gong show, but it was still a bit frustrating, as we kept having to move motors around as the designers kept changing their minds.
Here’s a couple of pics of the gig in process. For those in the know you’ll probably be wondering whats the deal with all the ‘I’ and ‘T’ Beams. well we hung trusses down each side of the runway, but the Designer wanted a different beam angle for each of the two shows happening. So we needed to put the entire truss on roller beams so we could move it during the changover, and place it once the LD decided where he wanted it the first time. We also hung a focus track on each truss, as the electricians wouldn’t be able to reach the truss via lift once the audience bleachers were in place.
And this is one of the Air Conditioners they brought in for the gig. there were 6 total, and man were we happy once they turned these puppies on.
Having gotten the bulk of the gear in the air, I was given a couple of days off to check out the city.
The Apple Store on Fifth Ave.
The Nederlander Theatre. Home of the Musical Rent.
I Also Went by Ground Zero, though now that’s it’s a construction site, there’s a lot less to see. There was a number of memorials around, and of course people with bullhorns expousing their theories and conspiracies.
Continuing on I went to the Empire State Building; saw the lobby and worked my way to the Viewing platform.
I have to admit that I was stunned to discover that the Empire State Building was completed in under 14 months from beginning of demolition of the old Waldorf Astoria, to Ribbon cutting. The workers were averaging two floors a week during the entire construction. Amazing.
The next day I Took the Ferry over to Liberty Island, to see Liberty Enlighting the World, as the Statue of Liberty is properly named.
Unfortunately you’re not allowed into the statue anymore, only onto the pedestal base. And to get there you have to go through a security check that is more thorough than an airport check. and that’s after a similar one before you even get on the ferry.
I listened to the audio tour as I walked around, and was amazed at how the feelings between France and America in 1886 were so very different from these days. I think back to the early days of the Iraq invasion, when the American public was so very anti French, even going so far as to change the name of French fries to Freedom fries. Well in the 1880’s France was a staunch supporter of the USA. In case you didn’t know the deal with the Statue was that France would provide, and pay for the Statue, but the US was to build and pay for the pedestal. Well the French built the Statue, in France, crated it up, and it sat on the island for almost a year waiting for the pedestal to be finished because the Americans had run out of money. It took a year and a huge campaign by Newspaper Mogul Joseph Pulitzer to raise the remaining $100,000 needed to complete the Pedestal. And unlike most major construction projects of the time, no one was killed during construction.
The Ferry next took me to Ellis Island, the famous immigration portal to the US.
Once again I was suprised by what I learned when I was there. You hear all about the immigrants coming to America from allow the world to find peace and prosperity. Well that’s only part of the story. As it turns out, only third class passengers on the ships went through Ellis Island. First and second class passengers would have a medical exam on the ship prior to landing and once that was passed they were ferried directly to Manhattan.
The remaining people would arrive on the island where they would be tested for diseases, and mental defficencies, and made to prove they had enough money to not be a burden on the country. The Island had a full hospital, Insane Asylum, and would provide three meals a day to any immigrants who were detained on the island for any reason. Apparently the Island was rife with coruption and many of the officials would take advantage of the immigrants. Having wandered through the pretty large Museum of Immigration, I had a really mediocre burger, and caught the ferry back to Manhattan.
I had decided to head over to look at the UN building, because Hey I may never be here again. and my route took me through Grand Central Station. Which is a lot smaller than it seems in the movies. Infact that has been a general feel I’ve had throughout New York. Movies and TV make all these locations seem a lot larger thatn they really are. For example, most of the Subway platforms are only about 6 feet wide.
Then I made my way to the UN building overlooking the East River. Not suprising there was a lot of security and fences and such.
Leading up to the UN Building, there is a series of Flags showing all the countries in the UN. I found Canada, but note who we’ve been grouped with.
I’m going to hope that it’s random and not some special American grouping system.
It’s raining right now, which is good because it’s not 35º right now, though it looks like the sun may come out, so I may go check out New Jersey.
Hope this entry makes up for the major lack of entries up til now.
Neil, In New York Sweating Puddles