Business Travel Show Europe Kick Off, 23 February,
Global Travel Risk Summit Europe, April 2023,
3rd Annual Sustainable Business Travel Summit
ON TOUR: NEW YORK - A Great City Re-Born
New York is one of the great cities of the world and always worth a visit. Much has changed since that dramatic day on Tuesday 11 September 2001 but it still offers a dynamism, vitality and that special energy reserved only for a few exceptional places. If you were a New York regular before nine eleven you will find it has changed, even for the better. Yes, every resident will tell you where they were on that fateful day and how it has affected their lives, but the results of Mayor Giuliani ”s reign have survived. The city is clean and tidy, the Subway works well and offers a frequency unheard of in London, and the city and its people are welcoming. Armed police on every street corner makes the place feel safe, but one wonders what would happen if these trigger happy looking young and inexperienced cops were actually called into action. The tourists still queue to go up to the Empire State Building”s 86th floor observation platform, open until midnight. Life goes on. Crowds visit Ground Zero (see left).
New York is one of the most accessible places in the world from London. There are well over 20 flights a day from a variety of air carriers (including Air India and Kuwait Airways) and whilst JFK remains the most popular international gateway Newark, across the Hudson in New Jersey, has much to offer. It now has excellent immigration facilities and with the new AirTrain connection to Penn Station Manhattan itself can easily be reached within one hour of actually getting off the aircraft. Both airports are about the same size in total passenger numbers.
Once established in New York city make the most of the first evening. It is a bit of a struggle if you have come straight from the UK regarding keeping one's eyes open, but well worth it. You will be on Eastern Standard time within a day or so. Take an open top (ex. London) bus trip the following morning to get orientated, or better still find your way down to the Circle Line cruise terminal at the very end of 42nd Street and sit out on deck for three hours whilst you loop the city of New York and listen to the (often hilarious) commentary. The missing Twin Towers will be duly noted as will all the sites that have sprung up in New York”s 300 years of history. Watch for the sun. It is very easy to get burnt particularly when the sea breezes catch you as you pass the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. To get around buy a one or three day transport pass. There is currently an argument going on between the new Mayor, Bloomberg, and the citizens over a 50% rise in prices, but it still will not set you back too much!
One very popular and unusual tourist attraction right in the heart of New York is the USS Intrepid, a Second World War aircraft carrier that was nearly sunk by suicide bombers during the Pacific campaign. If you are (very) rich and live in New York you can even hire the carrier's hangar deck for a product launch or party. It is certainly a venue with a difference. On the flight deck are a range of carrier borne aircraft including a rare Supermarine Scimitar, last of a line that included the Spitfire. Berthed alongside Intrepid is the USS Growler, one of the world”s first missile carrying submarine and the USS Edson destroyer, veteran of Vietnam. Allow a half day for the visit. There is a lot to see.
Take in Central Park, one of the world”s great city parklands that puts Hyde Park to shame. There is always something going on and the one hour walking tours are free. Also free, but take a bus or the Subway from Central Park South on 59th Street, it”s a good two hour walk, are the tours of the Customs House/Wall Street area, the real birthplace of New York. Hear about the founding of the city and the revolution. New York was the original capital of the United States
Whilst in NYC make sure you pack in a show on the "Great White Way." Seat prices are expensive by London prices ($100 plus for the best seats) but you do get the basic programme thrown in. Playing to packed houses this season, and both expected to transfer to London, are The Producers and Thoroughly Modern Millie. The Producers, by Mel Brooks, was originally a film staring Gene Wilder and the late Zero Mostel released in 1968. It tells the story of a crooked producer and his accountant accomplice who stage a production designed to loose all the money the ”angels” have put in. With Springtime for Hitler as the show stopper it is an amazing success, so amazing that the police take an interest in behind the scenes activities. Great fun and New York Jewish humour. Thoroughly Modern Millie first saw the light of day the year before, back in 1967, with Julie Andrews as the young girl from Kansas who comes to New York in the Roaring 20”s. There are 18 songs, most of them new. New star Sutton Foster leads a strong cast in what is really an old fashioned song and dance romantic musical. A MUST when it comes to London.
Eat drink and make merry in New York. Orient Express has an outlet in the form of the 21 Club, a former speakeasy, one of the city's most popular diners. Not expensive by London quality standards, it is popular with the show business fraternity and has some wonderfully adorned private rooms available for hire. At the other end of the scale is Lundy”s on Broadway, just a stone's throw from Times Square, essentially a seafood restaurant, massive by British standards, but still possessing that individuality that the keen young waiters bring. They simply want to be nice. Grand Central Station, rather like Union Station in Washington, has been saved for future generations and whilst still the home of Amtrack and the local railways, remains a grand marble edifice with smart shops and plenty of eating places. The site of Ground Zero is required visiting and one way is to take a look at the small exhibition in the World Financial Centre”s fine palm court, take a walk past the site and then visit the Millennium Hilton, recently re-opened and on the fifth floor a caf”/restaurant competitively priced and offering a unique public view of the 16 acre site. The hotel bedrooms feature 42 inch plasma screens. Everything about New York is big!