Friday, August 16, 2013
I’ve been working at New York City Vacation Packages for all of three weeks at this point—writing blogs, posting Facebook statues, Tweeting, Tumbling, Pinning and everything and anything you’d expect a “social media coordinator” to do. Ever since I started, everyone in the office had been talking about this NYC familiarization trip— NYC Fam Trip for short—where we all spend a weekend in the city so we can experience the things we’re recommending to our customers, so we can be a 100% sure we’re giving the people that ask us to plan their vacations the very best we can offer.
So around 1pm, a few of us shut down our computers in our Kingston, PA office, turned on our voicemails and headed to the bus station to start our trip. And I had the pleasure off sitting next to this guy:
Now, keep in mind, this is a work trip. As soon as our feet hit the NYC concrete, we were working. Well, okay, first we stopped off at the Sheraton New York hotel, to drop off our bags and check how comfortable our beds would be (trust us, they are VERY comfy).
But then we were off and running! First up: a site inspection of the Empire Hotel…
…where we spent part of the night at their Rooftop Bar, talking with employees and taking in the backdrop of Broadway and Columbus Avenue.
No urban night is like a night there…Squares after squares of flame, set up and cut into ether. Here is our poetry, for we have pulled down the stars to our will. –Ezra Pound
Saturday, August 17th, 2013
After a full night of seeing the city in all its grandeur, lights on full twinkle mode, it was easy to understand why no one there ever sleeps. And something about that insomnia is so enchanting that I found myself staying up most of the night too—too excited to sleep for everything we were going to do the next day. First up: the Gray Line Hop-on, Hop-off Double-Decker Bus Tour…
…where we saw all the sites NYC has to offer. Musician Ryan Adams once said, “When I’m in New York, I just want to walk down the street and feel this thing, like I’m in a movie.” And I think it would be hard not to have that kind of feeling not just walking around NYC, but in whatever you’re doing. That movie kind of wonder follows you through the streets. There’s Herald Square, a place in the middle of a convoluted city, where it feels like each tree is strategically placed to bring something out of you. And when I see the Empire State Building, I can’t help but wonder where King Kong’s hiding, if he’s made his plane-swatting climb to the top yet, or if he’ll snatch me up from my seat on this bus and take me with him. There were times I expected the color to fade away, to start hearing Woody Allen’s opening monologue from Manhattan coming through the red ear buds Sherwood, our ex-military and hilariously funny tour guide, handed me. “Chapter One. He adored New York City. He idolized it out of proportion. Eh uh, no, make that he, he romanticized it all out of proportion.”
Maybe that’s that I’m doing now, but I don’t mind it too much. It’s like this entire city was engineered just to make you feel a certain way, to sweep you off your feet and take your breath away, and I’m okay with that.
Already I’m falling head over heals and the day wasn’t even over yet. We hopped off the bus at the South Street Seaport for a beer tasting tour of NY Harbor (yes, still part of our “working trip”), and hopped on the Clipper City boat for some sightseeing, sailing, and small cups of different craft beers.
I’m half expecting the three-hour tour to turn into something from Gilligan’s Island (especially when Bill and Barry decide they want to help raise the sail), but the sky was a clear shade of blue, the water was calm, and Lady Liberty must have been feeling particularly pretty that day because she was just shining.
And then, as if it all hasn’t all ready been incredible enough, we end the day on Broadway. Some of us went to see Cinderella, others Rocks of Ages or Newsies. I can’t speak for the latter because I went to see Cinderella, and all I can say about it is, “holy costume changes!” The songs and dances were glamorous, the story was as timeless as ever, and the whole play was utterly mesmerizing, leaving me standing outside the Broadway Theater afterwards completely awestruck.
Sunday, August 18, 2013
Our time in NYC wound down just as fast as it built up, and we were getting ready to head home when I starting thinking how funny it is that these are called NYC “Fam” trips. Yes, we offer them to other travel agents, so they’re also familiar with our products and can sell them to the best of their abilities, but I felt like I was looking at this a little different. Being the “noobie” to NYCVP, I can’t say I wasn’t nervous about all this at first. I was going to a city that I wasn’t fully enamored with yet with a bunch of people I’ve only known for a short time, but I was leaving feeling like I’ve found my long lost family in a city I never wanted to leave again—and that kind of all got wrapped up in this one, overwhelming feeling. I was completely in love.