Yesterday afternoon, after I hung up my blogging hat for the day (it's a special hat which only I can see), I walked around with my crappy Sanyo cell phone camera taking pictures of things. Now, I bring you some of those things.
As I've sort of mentioned before, the 200,000 square foot building I'm sitting in is called the Farley Post Office on days when Republicans are not convening across the street. On days when they are, it's known as the Farley Media Center or Farley Building. But that doesn't mean you can't still tell it's a post office. First, there are signs that say "Post Office." But there's also fun signs like this one:
If you can't read that, it says:
- INSTRUCTIONS on USE of RING TYPE KNIFE
1. Wear only when actually engaged in work that requires cutting of string.
2. Never wear knife on palm side.
3. Return to desk whenever turning to other work not requiring cutting.
4. Never leave loose in pocket.
Interesting. Less interesting but appearing here nonetheless is something that may be called Newspaper Alley:
So far as I know, it's not called anything. This is only about half of it; every newspaper, magazine and newsletter here distributes their wares along this row of bins.
Here's a very inadequte picture of the restaurant:
It's run by someone named Mitchel London, the chef at the Fairway Steakhouse on the Upper West Side, about whom I know next to nothing except the food available here tends toward Frenchiness (come on, this is the GOP convention! The host committee would have done better to bring in barbecue). What I do know is that his promotions department has positioned him as cleverer-than-thou, and it's annoying. Here's the partial text from a coupon for a free glass of wine:
- "Generous" is not the first word that springs to mind when one is asked to describe the irascible food genius Mitchel London. All we can figure is maybe he's concerned about his place in history, "curmudgeon", [sic] is not how he'd like to be remembered. Whatever, here's the deal:
Blah blah, free wine. I should note, the phrase "irascible food genius" appears on a sign in the restaurant area as well. I don't care how smart he is, I just don't understand what he's got against minorites.
Let's move along:
I'm not kidding about the 200,000 square feet -- this place is huge, and with all the makeshift work spaces divided by eight foot curtains, it has the feel of a teenage giant's rat maze. Considering the city and profession at hand, that's fitting. Down in the basement is a rather large room just off the loading docks where all of the networks feed their, er, feeds through before slicing and dicing on expensive equipment and throwing it at your cable provider's satellite. And this does all look fairly expensive:
I saw all this while looking for the security entrance to Madison Square Garden itself. When I found it, I found out my press pass was of the wrong type for admission to the MSG itself. Supposedly I can get in after 4 p.m. today, and you can be sure I'll try. My hopes of seeing where Godzilla supposedly gave birth to velociraptors in 1998 dashed for now, I went streetside.
This was clearly a mistake.
24 hours before this shot was taken, the intersection pictured was overrun by angry left rabblerousers who torched a dragon float (the symbolism escapes me too) and landed at least one NYPD officer in the hospital. Eventually, obviously, the police reasserted control and were carefully (read: tediously) managing traffics of both the axle/wheel and biped/foot variety. They achieved this in part by trapping passersby on the corners every few minutes to allow cars through.
Here's that orange net. You can't tell from here, but I'm behind another orange net. I think I waited here about five minutes here; at least the protesters actually moved.
After relaxing at the hotel for awhile, I decided to find out what would happen if I hopped on the subway and just started riding it. The experiment didn't last too long, because the first stop was Union Square, where I had heard protests would be taking place (Mayor Bloomberg was afraid they'd mess up the Great Lawn). Yet when I came up topside, there really weren't that many people. Mostly they were taking turns standing on a small platform (possibly a soapbox, but I didn't look closely) and reciting typical frustrated leftist pap. 'I'm so scared to death of living in this police state run by a fascist Republican racist homophobic unelected boy king idiot thief...' To my knowledge that's not an exact quote, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was.
So I watched a bit more, grabbed a turkey sandwich at a nearby bodega, then hopped a cab to the Strand. I can proudly report, something like eight Strands could fit into Powell's back in Portland. The one thing we still have on the West Coast is extra space. I bought a few books while there, including a used first edition of Jacques Barzun's "From Dawn to Decadence." For the uninitiated, Barzun is a historian and possibly the only Frenchman conservatives like. The book is a detailed history/polemic on the last 500 years of Western civilization; he sees plenty of decadence. So did I, while wandering around town:
This is not one of the larger piles of trash bags and cardboard boxes I saw in the East Village, but it should give you the general idea. Nothing could really top this, so I decided it was time to head back. The good news is I can expense unlimited taxis. But the bad news is it's physically impossible for me to ride in "unlimited taxis." Maybe tomorrow I'll just hop in a taxi around noon and take in the tri-state area.
The rest of the evening was spent at the hotel bar with my co-workers, soaking in whiskey and schadenfreude. Then it was upstairs to see McCain and Giuliani speak, about which more later. But right now, I need a nap. (For the record: 2 hours sleep last night plus a one-hour nap on a not-as-comfortable-as-it-looks sofa in front of the TVs in my company's work space.)
Besides, this post was really getting out of hand.