Departure: Sacramento to NYC – Wed, 6/26

4 or 5 electronic ads stacked on another going up a tall building

I am happy to be in New York City finally. I planned this trip in early January and it seemed to take forever to get here. I’ve been wanting to spend a long time here since my first trip in 2011 and this is it! I’ve got a lot of fun stuff planned so was anxious to get it going.

Work on Tuesday was a 12-hour day to get as much as I could nailed down and communicated to all of the appropriate parties since I won’t be back until July 15. I haven’t taken that much time off at once since 2014 and feel very much in need. I picked up a salad from Jack’s on the way home for dinner. I finished packing, which was all the misc toiletry and techie stuff that goes in my backpack. I had done all of the clothes Sunday night, which is pretty unusual for me, but am really glad I did.

I had what was essentially a midnight flight to Dallas. Arrived on time around 5:15am Dallas time. I still have lounge access (thanks, Dan!) so stopped in for my layover and a little breakfast.

American Airlines Lounge DFW
American Airlines Lounge DFW

This is a small corner of the American Airlines lounge of C Terminal at DFW, which is actually pretty big. I remembered it right away; Dan and I had stopped in here on our way back from Cozumel in 2014. It’s older but works. They didn’t have a huge food selection so I just had a yogurt and bagel. And of course coffee. But no complaints – free is good! And when I first got there it was pretty quiet, as you can see from all of the empty chairs around my stuff in the corner.

I was sitting there when I got the notice that my flight was delayed about 30 minutes so just hung out. Between the lounge and the 2nd leg I finished reading Cursed Child, which is one of the plays I’ll see while I’m here. I’d read Part 1 coming back from Denver over Memorial Weekend, finished Part 2 this morning, which I liked even more. Now I’m really excited about seeing it!

I landed in NYC LaGuardia about 12:45 and took a Lyft to the hotel. I got to my room right at 2pm – and passed the theater for Cursed Child on the way 🙂

For the first 5 nights of this trip I’m at the Westin Times Square, on 43rd Street and 8th Ave. If you’re familiar with Manhattan at all, you know that’s right in the heart of everything.

My room - basic but nice
My room – basic but nice

I’m on the 32nd floor, which I was happy about. I like being high up!

View from my hotel room, Hudson River in the background
View from my hotel room

That’s the Hudson River in the background; the shot below is looking south or to the left of the above shot.

View from my room into Midtown
View from my room into Midtown
Famiglia Pizza sign over sidewalk
Famiglia Pizza

At this point I was quite hungry but had to be somewhere at 3pm so wanted something quick. Pizza came to mind and sure enough, as soon as I walked out of the hotel I saw a sign for a pizza place a half a block up.

NY style pizza place
NY style pizza place

I went for a slice of pepperoni and sausage. While that was in the oven, the guy saw me eyeing that pile of bread balls. “Garlic bread” he offers. “4 for $1.50.” Sign me up!

Pizza and garlic bread bites!
Pizza and garlic bread bites!

Your basic New York lunch for $9. A decent price and it was delicious.

I went back to my room to freshen up a bit and unpack before heading to my 3pm. As is common with many recovery conferences, there are a lot of service opportunities and this conference did a nice job of managing them. I signed up for at least one a day, and today was to help put the registration packets together from 3-6pm. We weren’t done yet but the registration chair had a dinner commitment with the rest of the committee (I remember those from my River City Roundup days!) so I may go back and help later. I met 8-9 guys in the process so it was a fun way to get started and ease into what I can tell is going to be a whirlwind 4 days.

I came back to my room to rest a bit and got started on the blog. I’m going to go out and find dinner and do some walking around but do want to get to bed early. I don’t sleep well on planes and am operating only maybe 3-4 hours of poor airplane sleep.

My first approach of Times Square. There's an American flag on the side of a building and an ad for Wicked above that
I took a right out of the hotel and hit Times Square in the next block. The line in the Wicked ad top right is “Everyone deserves a chance to fly” – which just got me excited again to see it, which will be on July 5.
More electronic frenzy
It really is obnoxious but I dare you to be in it and not take a photo or 3. It’s compelling and iconic.
4 or 5 electronic ads stacked on another going up a tall building
Notice the rainbow at the top of the ads stacked on that building in the center. It says “Celebrating 50 years of pride and progress.”
Dallas BBQ on 42nd St and 8th Ave
Dallas BBQ on 42nd St and 8th Ave

One of the guys I met doing the registration packets is from St. Louis and we were talking about the good BBQ there. Sacramento doesn’t have a ton of options in this space so this caught my attention as I walked by. At first i walked away – typically places in super touristy areas aren’t that great – but decided, why not? I was hungry and hardly ever eat BBQ; it was suddenly very appealing.

Cavernous restaurant space upstairs, and it was packed!
Cavernous restaurant space upstairs, and it was packed!

This place is HUGE and it was very busy. You can’t see from this photo how far back it goes but you’re only seeing about half the length really.

Even more space - this photo shows lots more space to the left of the above
This was the section I was sitting in. The scene in the first photo was all to my right.
Pork ribs, chicken, fried shrimp, salad, cornbread. And, of course, a huge glass of sweet ice tea.
Pork ribs, chicken, fried shrimp, salad, cornbread. And, of course, a huge glass of sweet ice tea.

It certainly wasn’t the best BBQ I’ve ever had but it hit the spot and was reasonably priced. I’m always shocked at how expensive BBQ is in Sacramento.

While sitting here I remembered that I wanted to see about going to Joe Allen’s for dinner one night for dinner before one of the shows. I can’t even say how I know about it anymore other than I’ve heard it referenced in both travel things and pop culture for years. It’s a Broadway staple for “pre-theater dinner” and I didn’t even know where it was. Turns out up 8th Ave from my current location, on 46th Street. Last year while in NYC I firmly established that there essentially isn’t a dress code for theater – casual is fine just don’t be sloppy about it – but from the photos and reviews of Joe Allen’s I couldn’t tell if that would be true there so I walked over after dinner to check it out.

The folks I saw walk out as I walked up were pretty dressed. I stepped into the entry way and peered through the window – white table cloth kinda place. Then a man in jeans and his son in shorts walked out and I went “whew.” I decided to confirm and went in and asked one of the staff. “No dress code, you’re fine.” The Gershwin theater is just up 8th from here so I’m thinking this is pre-Wicked dinner next week.

I went back to the hotel and the room where the registration prep was happening. Largely different group of guys except for the 2 that were leading it but they were still going. For reasons I won’t get into, matching badge names to the registration list was more complicated than you would initially think. At any rate, at 11pm it still wasn’t finished, and those guys were pretty stressed. I felt bad for them; am going to pop in again after breakfast and see if they need anything.

The first few days of this blog has the potential to be different from my prior blogs due to the conference, but I’m not sure to what degree. I still haven’t figured out the logistics, but only portions of the conference are happening here at the hotel. There’s a lot of stuff spread all over the city, as well as some interesting surprises the committee worked hard on. So if I were you I’d check in anyway: it’s New York City, anything is possible…

1 thought on “Departure: Sacramento to NYC – Wed, 6/26”

  1. OMG Garlic bread balls…sign me up too. I’m sure the registration chair loves you! Yeah, should be very interesting to see how it all unfolds but I will be checking in to see. 🙂

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