I had a big first this December just gone. I went to my first New York conference!
Blogging has become more than just a pastime for me, it is an all consuming passion. From the very humble beginnings this blog had way back when, it has not only grown to become a beautiful little community, it has tapped into my latent geek tendencies and spawned all kinds of new ventures. Having the opportunity to spend time with innovators, leaders and up and comings, is something I crave in my quest for inspiration.
The Next Web conference was held at the hollowed out shell of the former Goldman Sachs building on Wall Street, directly opposite the Stock Exchange. There is a beautiful poetry in seeing fresh minds of the new digital economy presenting their ideas in the rubble of the old. While the topics of the conference won’t interest you much on this blog, (you’ll find out where they will later), there are a hundred tales I have yet to tell you about my New York adventure.
Only four days long, my first trip to New York was all too short. The temptation to miss my flight and be snowed in was so extreme, that if it wasn’t for Christmas being just around the corner… well.. In all my travels, before this moment, I had yet to spend anytime in a city location where it snowed whilst I was there. The whole concept of being so cold that it snows, while in street clothes, was an alien one to me. I’ve only ever spent time in the snow rugged up like a Yetti in my ski gear!
Flying directly from Dubai straight into a New York winter was one heck of a packing challenge, yet one I managed with outfits to spare! I know you’d like to see how it was done, so I’ve been putting together a big post on this for you to come out next Wednesday.
Arriving at JFK in my knit dress and cashmere pashmina was fine, until they opened the external doors. Sweet crusty cheese on a cracker! That’s not just cold, that’s Arctic! Freezing wind and rain whipped across my face, instantly freezing my lashes in spiky black shards. I stood dreaming of the extensive coat wardrobe left behind in Melbourne.
Once I finally arrived at my hotel, took a steaming hot shower and thawed into the semblance of a human being, there was just enough life left in me to eat before coma time set in.
For those of you who are regular travellers to NY, or perhaps even live here, you’ll have a hard time understanding just how surreal your city is for this Australian. Our T.V screens are so populated by your sitcoms and drama shows, that the city has become a caricature of itself. Can you imagine how stunned I was to see something as simple as steam coming from the drain covers? I couldn’t believe it was actually real, and it gave me a very strange feeling of being written into show I hadn’t been told about.
As a traveller, I’ve visited many cosmopolitan cities, but none of those have featured so heavily in the fictitious landscapes we’re exposed to every day. They all have their unique charms and new experiences, but no other city, not even L.A, comes close to the feeling you get as an Australian in New York.
Oddly, New York has never been on my travel hit list. I’ve visited the States numerous times, but never had the inclination to go east. People looked at me like I was crazy, “But New York has YOU written all over it!” I’d continue to be dismissive (oh so very hipster of me); New York was on everyone’s to do list, shouldn’t mine be more exotic? I admit, I was wrong; so very wrong.
I don’t know if I was in a post Dubai travel haze, or if the sheer impossibility of New York overwhelmed me, but either way it felt like every moment in this incredible city had been hand crafted just for me. The timing of pre-Christmas celebrations could not have been a better one. Even in my conference attire, and heading out with notebook in hand to listen to pearls of wisdom by the glow of standing gas heaters, there was magic.
As I stood here for this photo at the front of the NYSE, it began to snow. Tiny fluffy flakes of Christmasy goodness getting in my eyes and making me blink as they landed on my lashes. Every one around me may have been dressed (no doubt), like proper New Yorkers, but here I was in my white vintage coat, suede heels and a stupid grin. That’s happy right there!
New York is the city that my wardrobe should live in. It seems that it has all of the perfect backdrops for my 1930’s gowns, my chic 1960’s suits and a much better winter than Melbourne for my Lilli Ann mohair coats. Of course this means that before I plan my next trip, I’m in the market to find the right airline miles club that will always give me extra luggage privileges to be able to bring these beauties with me next time!