Sunday, October 02, 2005

Grandma’s Legal Troubles

Overheard on the streets of Manhattan last week, when one young man said to another near the entrance of the Pickwick Arms Hotel on 51st: “… his grandma was indicted. Yeah, she had power of attorney over everything…”

Does this reflect on the character of New York’s elderly population? I doubt it. But there’s a story of family problems out there somewhere that I’m glad I have nothing to do with.

Last week I found myself on 51st Street, and various other streets on that famous island, and for a good reason, namely that I was being paid to be there. I suggested to an editor I know a while ago that I cover a real estate conference at the InterContinental Hotel in Midtown for his web site. He said yes, so early on Wednesday last week—very early, before dawn—I boarded a Metra train here in Schaumburg, then caught the CTA line downtown to Midway, where I caught a somewhat late ATA flight to LaGuardia. After that, it’s an airport limo (that is, a bus) to Midtown.

An everyday marvel, waking up near one city and bedding down the same day in another. But the real marvel was the cost of transport, Chicago to New York. Metra: $3.50. CTA: $1.75. ATA, one way, taxes etc. included: $72.50. Airport limo, LaGuardia to Grand Central: $12. So slightly under $90 each way. One night in my shoebox hotel room cost more than half again as much, but I can understand the economics of high hotel prices in Manhattan, which is short on space. What mystifies me is how ATA can afford to haul me through the sky for about 12.3¢ per air mile (800 divided by the base price of $65). But I don’t need to understand it.

Over three days and two nights, I met editors and I went to the conference. I took notes and I wrote a couple of articles on a borrowed laptop. But of course that’s not what I’m going to write about here. I managed to squeeze a couple of good walks out of the deal, and see a few new things. This is very easy to do in New York, city of limitless detail.



At 11:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Were you staying at the Pickwick Arms Hotel or just passing by? If you were staying there, you appear to have found the only American hotel I'm aware of - admittedly, I don't travel much and I haven't done any significant research - that advertises that some of its rooms have shared baths, in the corridor, and some are equipped with bunk beds. See for more information. ANK


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