28 September 2007

I'll Take Manhat--er, DC

I had the pleasure of attending a conference in NYC this past week. No, I wasn't part of the UN meeting and no I wasn't there to protest at Columbia.

I was plunk in the heart of the theater district (aka Broadway) and the neon lights certainly are bright except I don't think it's neon anymore. It all looks like flat panel screens running advertisement loops and animation so everything is bright and moving around you at all hours of the day and night. And there's always plenty of noise. Kinda like being in a pinball machine. Then there's the sea of people around you constantly which takes some getting used to, even if you're used to other cities. This is a whole new level of crowd.

All in all, I really did have a good time there, even if it wasn't what I'd call relaxing. I got to see the Broadway show "Curtains" and it was light and funny and had quite a surprising number of song and dance bits in it. Impressive and catchy, too. And lots of famous folks in the cast.

I stayed at a "boutique" hotel a block off Broadway and here's a photo of a hallway on the way to my room. Yeah, it was that dark and shadowy. I got the feeling I was in a Baretta episode. Here's another shot of the lovely establishment. Inviting, no? And such a deal! Only $289 a night!

I am not a New York gal. This not so surprising admission comes at a time when I've had a chance to think more and more about DC. Here I am planning to leave it within the next 10 years, hopefully for a tropical clime, and I guess I'm just starting to really feel that this is home.

I've lived in the DC metro area for 20+ years and I've always heard that DC is cold, hard, unwelcoming, unfriendly, boring, congested, mediocre, lacking vibrancy and I guess I've always bought the press at some level. But the more I'm here the more I think "What the hell are they talking about?" It just doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Yes, the traffic is heavy so, okay, I'll give you "congested" but the rest of it, NO!

I've found the vast majority of people here to be friendly, helpful, pleasant, even inviting.

The options the area offers are amazing. There's so much going on for every taste, budget and interest every day of the year! The restaurant choices alone should keep anyone happy.

And in thinking about the restaurants I begin to think that what DC isn't is about fluff. There's not a lot of extra frivolity and maybe that throws newcomers off. But there certainly is plenty of quality, understated elegance, and even sumptuousness if you seek it. DCers are not effusive but they definitely get the protocol right. It works for me.

Manhattan is nice once in a while but for every day, pre-retirement living, I'll take DC.

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