One great thing about being in academia (although I’m sure many other jobs afford you this luxury) is TRAVELING to cool locations for conferences! Admittedly, not all conference locations are cool (sorry Newark, DE and Charlotte, NC) but its fun to make the best of them and see what you can. So when a really interesting location comes along, that much more enjoyable! (And you can still convince your boss to pay for you since you were in it for the long haul and “suffered” through Delaware)
Last month I had the opportunity of going to NEW YORK CITY for a conference. It was awesome to visit the “Big Apple” and see for myself the city that everyone (or at least TV shows and movies!) has been talking about/referring to all these years. Plus it was awesome to have a mini-vacation with my husband subsidized :)
So here’s to New York, and here are the things that stick out to me about my visit:
- Public transportation is very convenient. Note that I stopped at convenient and didn’t say sparsely populated, temperate, and/or remotely clean.
- Going with the transportation thing, although an unspoken rule seems to be “Don’t make eye contact with anyone even though we’re sharing the same breathing space and I think that’s my pocket, not yours”, if you actually start talking to people you’ll find they are very nice. Almost like they are all really lonely.
- Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are truly awe-inspiring. A trip combined with a visit to the Ellis Island museum and Ground Zero is an almost perfect embodiment of what being American entails. It is very humbling to go to Ellis Island and think about what all our ancestors went through to get here…and then go up a couple blocks and see for yourself the sacrifices people still make to keep this a country people want to come to.
- Yankee’s fans (also can be substituted with “New Yorkers”) are so vicious, they boo their own players. Ok, maybe just A-Rod, but still, they are cut-throat.
- Something I learned for all trips in general is make sure you check weather.com before you pack, so that you don’t end up wearing the same black, zip-up hoody all week…including to the professional conference….and during your back-to-back presentations.
- Also related to the conference and not so much New York, don’t schedule back to back presentations. Ever.
- New York has gorgeous churches. Please, please, please visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral. If you can, go to Mass. And if you can, go to Mass during the annual Puerto Rican Parade! It makes mass so much better when the priest offers up the host and there are literally people screaming with enthusiasm (outside the chuch, of course). It replicated my inner feelings :)
- Also, did I mention there are gorgeous churches? I walked one block from our conference and stumbled upon this masterpiece. You should have seen the inside.
- Don’t stay at a hotel in New Jersey. Although it may sound like its close…oh wait no it doesn’t. Don’t do it. Instead, suggest your adviser pay $25 more a night, because that’s how much the tolls cost to get there.
- You gain so much more street cred when people find out your last name is Spanish. They make then look at you like you’re an alien because they are so confused, but you have already gained said street cred.