If I didn't do NYC right last week, this week I get a do over. So far, the experience is better in some ways and worse in others. I'm starting to notice a routine. I wake up to the Early Show and watch some crazy news reports and make some oatmeal and coffee to get myself going. Get ready and run down to the lobby to meet the other Capgemini folks, who have joined me in my cheap but good hotel situation at the Belnord. The rooms are small, but clean and newly renovated, the internet is free and fast, only 3 blocks from the office, and only $89 a night. Incredible deal, especially for Manhattan. We all go to Cafe 82 for a hearty hot breakfast served fast. Then back up Broadway to the office for filling in for a dwindling IT staff, all of whom know their jobs are in the process of being outsourced. Morale is low, but things are still running. At around 9, I join a group who walks to one of two nearby Starbucks for a Venti Drip, and some discussion about the morning emails. I got a Grande Peppermint Mocha Twist, which took 10 minutes longer than just Drip. Lunch is a matter of sneaking out when there's a lull and finding some good grub. The restaurant selection just within one block is fantastic, but I'm getting advice from people who have lived in the neighborhood for over 10 years. There are countless amazing restaurants on Amsterdam and Columbus. My favorite so far, and I've been twice, is Saigon Grill. Perfect pork chops, with pho and spring roll appetizers. The hot sauce makes my scalp sweat. Back at the office, the workload is sporadic for the rest of the afternoon, but there's a soda fountain and a Cafe Mio machine with hot chocolate or a selection of 10 different kinds of coffee or tea. The spoiled IT folks here still go to Starbucks and call the fresh Kenyan roast they have in the break room "dirty water". It's better than the crap they passed off as coffee at the Sprint campus. I had to ice it down and slam it for the caffeine, then chew some mint gum to get rid of the flavor.
The interesting thing about Manhattan is how efficient everything is. I can get the same kind of errands done here that I might do at home, but everything is walking distance and usually on the way. If it's not, I can hop on the subway for a few minutes and pop up where I want to be for $2.
The downside this week is that it's starting to get cold. I expect to see snowflakes before I leave. Last week I was taking bad pictures with my phone, which is unfortunate. I brought a hi-res camera with a flash and video capability this time.