Dear NYC (Part 2)

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.

Dear NYC (Part 1)

Dear NYC,

Something happened this weekend when I came to visit you on my very first NYC “Fam” trip with NYCVP. I was standing outside the Broadway Theatre on a Saturday night—cast under some kind of spell from Cinderella and that Fairy Godmother of hers—and I couldn’t help but noticing that even though the curtain closed, with all the lights and bicycle bells and honking horns echoing through the streets, I still couldn’t seem to catch my breath.

I need you to understand something: I don’t consider myself a hopeless romantic. I’m not a sentimental dreamer, I’m not an idealist when it comes to these matters, and my rose-colored glasses faded to a milky kind of clear a long time ago. I have never been in love with the idea of love, and I feel like I have to tell you these things I’m not so you can understand the importance when I say… I find myself falling in love with you, New York City.

It’s been in the making for a while. We’ve been friends; I’d come visit you when I could. But suddenly, standing outside that theatre, I remembered one of our earlier visits where I was walking through Central Park in the winter. It was a white winter, but it seemed like you didn’t have the time for that, you never have time for anything. And neither did the ducks still floating in a nearby pond. An employee told me that even in the winter, most of these ducks stay put—that as long as they have enough food to rough out the colder months, they don’t want to leave their city behind. I didn’t understand at the time, but I’m finally starting to see why now.   

But who am I—one, small person—to a huge city like you? With 8,336,697people probably all telling you the same things, maybe it would be better if I could show you. Maybe if my own words can’t quite sum up just what I see in you that I think is just so darn perfect, the words of others will suffice. Maybe, just maybe, a picture really can mean a thousand words.

Love,  Me