New York City. Seems like a pretty cool place to me… ;-) I was up at 5 on Saturday to make a 9am flight from Heathrow with m’colleague John. Alas, no upgrade despite smart attire and even — gasp — shaving! But no matter. The flight was pretty good, and BA’s in-flight food is easily some of the best I’ve had over the years.

We were on time into JFK, but well, that didn’t really matter in the end. We spent the best part of the next ninety minutes in the immigration queue, watching INS officials sort out the US citizens on our flight (minority), before all buggering off to lunch, leaving two officials to deal with the rest of the flight. Tsk.

Well, we had the new experience of fingerprints and mug-shots (I haven’t flown to the US since August 2001, John since 2003), and then we were off.

p>We’re staying in the Westin, right on top of Times Square, and it’s a fantastic hotel. The prices are pretty fantastic too. I’ve just glanced at the breakfast menu: a bowl of cereal will set you back nine bucks, a Starbucks coffee six. The two can then be delivered to your room with $4 delivery charge, an 18% gratuity added, plus sales tax. Bargain! Alternatively, you could just move ten yards to the Starbucks next door :o)

This afternoon John and I roamed Manhattan after an excellent lunch at a micro-brew pub (spot the Englishmen abroad) up the road from the hotel, and ended up in the USS Intrepid museum on the Hudson. Very interesting it is too: a military / naval museum based within and around a WWII carrier ship. They even have a recent vintage Concorde moored up there for viewing!

This evening we met up with Michael Sampson and Eric Mack, both bearing up well from their hectic flying schedules (Michael flew in from New Zealand yesterday, and then they both whizzed over from Eric’s place in California this morning). A couple of beers and a pleasant meal followed, with some very interesting chat (kids, Notes v2, cc:mail, mainframes, Lego Mindstorm, rural New Zealand, football, Dominoblog etc., etc!). We all retired pretty early ready for the week ahead: we have our “Seven Pillars of IT” tutorial with Michael tomorrow, and then the conference kicks off Monday.

As for NYC itself, I think John and I have given it a good first go!


  1. Interesting business model. Buy $1 of cerials, price it at $9 because it is served in the hotel, add $4 for delivery, add another $2.34 (18%) again for delivery and finally sales tax to raise the total to $17 and then DON'T sell it because you priced yourself out of the game.Volker Weber#
  2. Interesting, but problematic. There is NO WAY that Starbucks was aware that a bowl of Kellogg's was more expensive than a cup of their coffee. Now that our investigative reporter Ben's exposed it, you should expect to see coffee prices tripling sometime in the next week.Stan Rogers#
  3. That hotel is wonderful. I remember when they were building a few years back that it was in one of the last areas right around time square that sill needed a little "cleaning up." It was pretty clear that was the beginning of the end for the remaining "Adult Video" stores. Next is the New York Times building going up right across the street from the hotel. Great things are happening in that part of the city (now if we can only get the stadium and convention center built)

    Didn't know they had a Concorde up on the Intrepid. That must be new. They used to have an SR-71 Blackbird up there… it was pretty sweet. Seen a few small bands do some concerts up there. What a great place for a show on a nice summer day.

    So, was the pub you went to Heartland Brewery? Wonderful place… they've been opening up restaurants all over the city. Saw an article on the owner recently, and it's clear why the food/beer/atmosphere in there is so great. He's got an incredible attention to detail, and it shows. It's one of the few places where you consistantly see a mix of tourists and natives. Had a first date there one time (didn't really know it was going to be a first date at the time). That relationship didn't go as well as my dinner ;-).

    One thing I would suggest… is to head down to The World Trade Center. Building 7 is just about completely finished and looks absolutely beautiful. The "pit" is still there and still very deep but you can see a lot of work going on. I was down there about 2 weeks ago and it looks like it's a bit more open so you can see a bit more of the work that's going on. Pretty crazy still seeing some of the buildings that had one side completely sheared off… still standing, still waiting to be torn down.

    One other thing… if you enjoy good -- no, GREAT -- beer. There is a great little German place called the Silver Swan on 20th Street between Broadway and Park Ave. It's all locals and people that work in the restaurants in the area. Best beer in the city. Kostritzer on tap… a beautiful black lager. Never tasted a beer that comes close. Karioke @ 10 on Monday's ;-)

    Enjoy your stay in the city!Bob Obringer#
  4. I believe the bar was a Heartland, yes! It was good beer.

    Re USS Intrepid, Concorde is a relatively new addition I think, and there's a Bluebird on the flight deck.Ben Poole#

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Best described as a simpleton, but kindly. You can read more here.