Ah New York :)

We arrived in NY tonight with no problems – not even a delay! Even though it was more expensive, we opted for the taxi in from the airport over the shuttle or public transit. I think it was worth it. We’re both feeling a little claustrophobic, but not because of the hotel room (it’s bigger than we anticipated). It’s the buildings! We were walking down the street and I said, “hey look it’s Trump Tower”. Then we looked up…waaay up. Everywhere you look, there’s another building! Kinda neat, but kind of strange for a couple of kids from the prairies. Heheh.

We went to The Burger Joint for a quick dinner. It’s an interesting place, like a fast food diner in the middle of a fancy hotel just off Fifth Avenue. Kind of expensive, but tasty. We also checked out the Waldorf Astoria, a Starbucks of course, and then we headed straight for the Apple store! It was just as I imagined. We browsed around inside, used the free Internet, and then I bought my iPod touch. Thanks Santa!

Ah I love free Internet…missed it in London! We’re back at the hotel, obviously, which is quite a bit nicer than I expected. I guess I didn’t trust the pictures 🙂

Here are some photos of our evening. Lots more to come! It’s gonna be a great week!

Bloomberg for President?

Post ImageI don’t know about you, but when I think of “Bloomberg” I generally think of money. Maybe that’s because Bloomberg L.P., the company that current New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg started back in 1981, is the largest financial news and data company in the world. Or maybe it’s because Mr. Bloomberg is filthy rich! Either way, it takes more than money to run for President doesn’t it? Okay, okay, money is important. Still, that’s pretty much all the press has to go on at the moment:

The announcement by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York that he was leaving the Republican Party to become an independent was made after nearly two years in which his aides had laid the groundwork for a potential independent run for president.

Oh no, not the aides laying groundwork! That means he must really be planning to run for President! Nevermind that he made it clear he wants to finish his term as mayor:

“My intention is to be mayor for the next 925 days and 10 or 11 hours,” he said. “I’ve got the greatest job in the world, and I’m going to keep doing it.”

Ah I can just imagine what the reporters were thinking – he has money, so he must want to run for President, let’s find information that proves us right! Maybe I am just being naïve, but if he says he isn’t running, don’t you think there’s a small chance he is telling the truth?

Bloomberg becoming an independent is interesting, for sure, but I find it kind of comical that the media want to make becoming an independent mean running for President. Perhaps Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have become boring?

Read: NYTimes.com

Starbucks in the Middle

Post ImageYou know how everyone jokes about Starbucks being absolutely everywhere? Well it’s true, in case you were wondering, and someone named Cory has computed the central point for all Starbucks in Manhattan, or as he calls it, the “center of gravity”:

What does “center of gravity” mean? Well, it means the exact place you can stand in Manhattan and be closest to ALL Starbucks. As if every single Starbucks was pulling you equally in its direction, this is the place where u could stand to feel the most Starbucks power…and not just within a few blocks radius, but for the whole Island!

Gawker does a nice job of summarizing:

Thanks to an array of disturbing mathematical calculations, some dorky-hot fellow has calculated the Starbucks Center of Gravity for Manhattan — the single location where you can be closest to all other Starbucks. Described as existing “somewhere between 5th and 6th, in between 39th and 40th,” this Starbucks is the Ground Zero of corporate coffee.

I’ll be sure to visit that Starbucks if I ever get to New York!

Read: Cory’s Weblog

Xbox 360 Stores

Post ImageLooks like Microsoft is getting serious about the Xbox 360 launch, with rumors of plans for two new Xbox 360 stores:

Looks like Microsoft is the last to get into the game with plans to open an Xbox 360 store in New York City’s Times Square. At least, rumour has it that they’re looking into prime real estate for that purpose. And by prime they may indeed truly mean prime, as in the 18,000 square-foot space that is One Times Square.

And the second store, in Tokyo:

The timing couldn’t be any better on this one — ITmedia snapped some pics of the construction shielding surrounding what they suppose is an Xbox 360 store.

I don’t know why a console needs its own store, and such a big one at that, but you have to admit it’s pretty cool 🙂

Read: Engadget

Canada's banks attack the U.S.

Post ImageIf the government isn’t going to allow bank mergers, the banks will look elsewhere for growth, and that’s exactly what they’re doing. In fact, they turned south of the border:

TD Banknorth Inc., which is paying $1.9 billion for New Jersey-based Hudson United Bancorp Inc., hopes to double in size and make a push into New York City over the next few years, its chief executive officer said on Tuesday.

[The deal] would also give Canada’s Toronto-Dominion Bank, TD Banknorth’s new majority shareholder, a much larger U.S. presence. Other Canadian banks interested in the country include Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Montreal, which owns Chicago’s Harris Bank.

I don’t know if it’s good or bad that our banks are expanding into the States. On the one hand, it’s great for growth and to allow them to compete globally. On the other hand, what if they forget about tiny old Canada?

Read: Reuters

New York shuts off cell service in tunnels

Post ImageA quick scan of the headlines and you’ll see that we’re once again in that “what now” period that tends to follow a world event like the bombings in London last week. One that caught my eye today was “Cell phone service disabled in New York tunnels“:

Cell phone service was disabled inside the four tunnels leading into Manhattan after the terrorist bombings in London, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg questioned Monday whether the move “makes the most sense.”

The Department of Homeland Security said the decision in New York to cut off cellular service was made without any recommendation by the federal government’s National Communications System, which ensures communications are available during national emergencies.

I don’t agree with the decision at all. At least they re-enabled cellular service in train tunnels today. No cell phones means no ability to call 911 in case there is an emergency. I think it’s incredibly difficult to try and prevent something like the disasters in London, Madrid and New York, but it’s entirely possible to save lives by having a connection to 911.

I can’t help but think that the terrorists are succeeding when we place our fears of future acts of terror above our ability to call for help when we really need to.

Read: CNN

Freedom Tower

Post ImageThe design for the new Freedom Tower to be built in Lower Manhattan was announced yesterday, and you’ve got to admit, it’s quite impressive. The new tower is built to last, with a base that is just incredible when you think about it, but it will also have reminders of the two World Trade Center towers:

The newly configured building would have no occupied space other than the lobby for its first 200 feet. It would be set at least 40 feet farther away from West Street-Route 9A, a heavily trafficked state highway. Many of its windows would be tempered, laminated and multilayered for extra protection against explosions.

“The tower we have now is even better than the tower we had before,” [Daniel Libeskind] said, congratulating Mr. Childs, with whom he famously quarreled two years ago over the first Freedom Tower design. “It asserts what the site is all about. The tower relates to the memorial, and rises in a symbolic way.”

The only unfortunate part about the building is that because it had to be redesigned, it’s construction has been further delayed, and is not expected to wrap up until 2010. I can’t imagine having lost someone in the famous attacks of 2001, but I suspect that having the new building up and complete would help close the book on that dark day.

Read: New York Times