A double dose by requestt
part 5 of the Rick travel series
I was talking to a member and she suggested that I might be nice to write some travel stories. I certainly have a more than a few, so over the next few days I will tell the stories, as I remember them. I bet other onlookers have different impressions, but of course mine are correct. LOL
The lights go out on Broadway
1991 was my first year as City Controller and in late October I was scheduled to go to New York City to sell bonds that would refinance our Sanitation Utility. It was a big deal for my little city where just a few years earlier we had a public war over selling 6.5 million of bonds to build a new City Hall. This bond sale totaled 63.9 million. So it drew notice across the community as well as in NYC where the bond purchasers and rating companies have their headquarters.
On October 31, I departed Indiana for the lights of the big city. A place I had never been before. I was staying at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square and the plan was to have a five day trip with meetings every day and some form of entertainment in the evening. My hope was to get to Broadway to catch a show, but that was not to be. The first day we landed we got right into meetings. Our first was with Moody rating agency. It took most of the day as we poured over numbers, facts and figures, as well as impressions and opinions of the long term health of our community. The general conclusion from Moody’s was that they would not issue a AAA credit report for the community.
On Day two we saw insurance companies who I have to say had a remarkable laissez-faire attitude about our project. I suppose that was the harbinger of bigger issues when in the financial crisis of the mid 20 oughts’ came home to roost, we became familiar with names like AMBAC, AIG and MBIA were present on our daily news programs.
Still in 1991 getting an AMBAC or MBIA insurance rate meant a savings of money on the cost of the bond issuance. On the third day I was supposed to meet with JP Morgan Chase. That meeting never occurred. The reason is that on the second night a famous Nor easterner pushed snow onto the city. I was good on diabetic supplies, but I lacked things to eat in a pinch if I went low. First everything closed as the snow piled up. Nothing was moving and the snow prevented cab service. So I was stuck and disappointed. For one thing there were almost no people in Times Square, the Broadway shows all closed for the evening, and nothing, I mean nothing was open. I figured I could count on a drug store being open somewhere, no such luck.
Except there was this one light on, it was distant, but there seemed to be a lot of people milling around. It looked promising; I remember all I needed was like a package of crackers or something. No big deal, I just didn’t like the Marriott’s prices for toast, if I needed it. As I recall toast was about $15.00 room service, plus tip etc. Seeing no one form the hotel I struck out for the little open market.
Now these were the pre clean up days of Times Square. Nothing sanitized here it was pure in your face raw NYC. There was no paint or prettiness about this area. About half was to the store I realized my dress shoes (all I had) were inadequate for this trek. Then I noticed my ears very frosty. This was late October not even winter yet. My feet got colder and colder and my desire to get warm was pretty large. As I got to the store, I was so cold I was happy to see anything open When I got there I knew instantly, I had made a big mistake. I was headed toward a genuine no frills adult product store dive bar with less than scantily clad women dancing.
I will admit I had certain choices. I could go on and risk the issues with that. Or I could turn around. I was so cold it took about 2 seconds to decide I was going forward. I can still smell the place. It was putrid. The air was full of over the top heavy perfume, sweat, and bad breath. What if I get mugged here? What if something else happened? I could hear the police. Well his last known location as this awful place on Times Square. Worse of all, there were no crackers anywhere. Yes they were selling to dine on merchandise but they were more suited for join participation than single participation.
I dreaded the walk back. My feet were freezing. So I stood in the corner and tried to get warm. I stood as it turned out under the prominently displayed “NO LOITERING SIGN”. Now normally this might be a serious transgression, but this night now one seemed to be keeping track. Well it didn’t matter until a person, posing as a female in scant attire said I would owe them money if I stayed longer. All I wanted was crackers for goodness sakes, and now I was being tossed from and adult bookstore/strip pace with a transgendered bouncer. I was from Indiana for good ness sakes. I started to laugh and so did the bouncer and we were having a good laugh at my expense as I went back to the hotel. Having seen nothing and drank nothing, I could tell folks I had loitered in the no loitering dive.
It also makes for a pretty good story. Oh and the toast, actually it was not bad but sort of pricey. The storm termed out to be called the perfect storm ion a famous book and movie. I have never read the book, but I doubt a crazy Midwesterner made it into he narrative.
Zorro and the race to the bottom in NYC
On my third trip to NYC I was on my own and I thought how much I wanted to go up on the empire state building. It was a little chilly but I didn’t care. So I followed the strange trip to the top of the Empire state building. This was well after 9/11 and security was high. When I got on top you could not see a thing because the fog was so I had ot be content on looking into a cloud. It was an odd, odd night.
There were exactly two people were on the deck that night. Me and the gift shop lady. After about 5 minutes I had enough so I called for my elevator. When it got there a fellow dressed in a complete Zorro custom stepped off. I have learned as I travel o hold my tongue. So I got on the elevator and left. Not thinking a much about it, I got on my elevator and headed down. I went back to the hotel and promptly went asleep.
The next morning I talked to Sheryl and I reported someone had jumped from the observation deck and he was dressed as Zorro. In NYC the papers were filled with the fall of Zorro. It gives a man pause. Suppose I had said something, would he have responded? Stopped the jump? I personally think I was lucky. While no one knows for certain, I would have to say tow things. Zorro likely made it down before me and I could just see myself being forcefully drafted into Zorro’s army of jumpers. I suppose I could have been drafted into a Zorro’s party and I am glad I was not. When I got home I threw away my Zorro mask and cape. I’ve seen how that guy behaves, and I decided to decline further association.