I am not from the morning people! Unfortunately, the only way to spend the day in New York City is to wake up and leave early. I was up by eight–don’t laugh that’s early for me. I was on the 9:30 AM quasi-express (local to Stamford then express 125 Street) from New Haven’s Union Station.
Around 20 years ago the underground passageway to the New Haven platforms was turned into a tube of aluminum foil. I took two photos before someone from the New Haven Parking Authority told me to stop. “Homeland Security,” he said. Right.
Just last week the National Press Photographers Association wrote Amtrak (Union Station is theirs) about this very same problem saying, “As far as we can determine, there are no pertinent laws, rules, or regulations specifically prohibiting photography nor any Amtrak rules or regulations establishing a permit scheme.”
I stopped taking pictures, though the inner Geoff was screaming at me to press the point.
It is nearly two hours from New Haven to GCT. I reverted to my 12-year old self and stood at the front window looking down the tracks. There’s a lot of rail traffic on this line and a lot of maintenance work being performed.
I wish Metro-North washed their train windows more often.
I snapped a few shots in the terminal than headed down into the subway for the trip to PC Magazine. I know many out-of-towners dismiss the the subway but it’s the best way to get around by far! The trip to 28th Street took around ten minutes. My destination was a block away.
I’ve been writing for PCMag.com’s websites since May. My only contact has been through email and phone calls. They know I’m alive because I cash their checks!
I cleared security and headed to the 11th floor. Carol Mangis, my editor, was waiting there. I like referring to her as “my editor.” It makes me feel like a real writer.
She’s very nice. Of course I’d already figured that out. This was just on-the-ground confirmation.
We walked around the office and I got to put faces on the names I’ve been reading–some for years. And again, as with Carol, they seemed very nice.
OK–an admission. I have a weakness for writers. They are my rock stars. The writer’s skill set is one I value greatly. That they allow me into their fraternity scares me. If they’re letting me in, maybe it’s not as cool as I thought?
There’s a lot to be said for the PC Magazine offices. As you enter the first thing you see is the lab. There is row after row of test benches. One line had laptops. Another row had desktops. There were techie toys all over the place.
I finally got to see an OLPC in the flesh. Small. Toylike. Disappointing. It’s probably why we are seeing so many netbooks today. Like the first generation of PCs the OLPCs real purpose seems to be to spur innovation from others.
I visited PJ Jacobowitz in the photo lab. The new Canon 5D Mark II was sitting on a table with a 28-70mm f4 IS lens affixed. I looked for something weighty to knock PJ unconscious so I could make off with the camera. Too much security… though it was tempting.
Carol and I headed to lunch at an Indian restaurant. She said the neighborhood is now known for its huge Indian contingent. A line of taxis stood parked on the street. Probably Indian ex-pat drivers getting their lunch.
I could describe what I had, but I have no idea. There was some sort of chicken and some variety of bread and cauliflower in a spicy sauce. It was good. Isn’t that enough detail?
I spent a little more time at the PC Magazine offices before heading downtown. Again it was a very easy subway trip taking the local to Union Square then the express to Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange.
I didn’t realize until yesterday how secure and isolated the NYSE has become. Wall Street is no longer a vehicular thoroughfare–just foot traffic. The NYSE’s building itself is cordoned off from the street. They’d probably build a moat if they could.
Nightly Business Report, the daily business show on PBS, was celebrating its thirtieth anniversary. They were at the NYSE to ring the closing bell then broadcast the show from the trading floor.
My friend Wendie is the executive producer. That’s why I was there. I was also the semi-official behind-the-scenes photographer.
Getting into the Stock Exchange is no small task. If you’re on the list you enter from a canopied area at Broad and Wall. Inside you pass through a metal detector then get shuttled to the sixth floor.
I can’t remember the last time I rode in an elevator with an elevator operator!
Wendie and the others were working on the show. It sounds glamorous to be broadcasting from this storied location, but any time you’re away from home base there are a variety of obstacles to overcome. It’s never as easy as being in the studio.
Today the problem was Internet access. There were three laptops on a large table, but I never saw more than one working at the same time! And the particular one that did work would change from time-to-time.
After a while we headed into the boardroom for a presentation. It is exactly what you’d expect–a huge table with embedded microphones. The walls had large portraits of past NYSE chairmen. There was intricate gold work on the the walls with more elaborate trim where they met the ceiling.
It didn’t just reek of money. It reeked of old money–very old money.
One of the exchange’s PR people caught sight of me. I was wearing an untucked shirt and jeans. Maybe, I could wear the jeans on the floor, but I’d need a coat. Luckily there was a closet full of them! They’d had this problem before.
As the Nightly Business crew moved up to the balcony from which they’d sound the closing bell I headed to the floor. OMFG! I’d had an experience like this before when I walked into Mission Control in Houston. Here was a place I’d seen a million times on TV and it was larger than life.
There wasn’t the frantic yelling and gesturing you’ve seen in movies, but there was plenty of noise and plenty going on.
The stock exchange floor is a room within a room. If you look up you can see the old high ceiling. Beneath that is a metal superstructure which makes the de facto ceiling today. There are clusters of computer monitors flanking the trading stations.
I saw the little workspace reserved for Fox Business Network. It’s the size of a New York apartment’s half bathroom. That gives you an idea of the value of space in this place.
Considering all the times you’ve seen this place on the tube it was funny to see signs warning about photography! I wasn’t alone with a camera. There were crews from the various financial channels roaming the aisles and a house photographer who hung with us.
I photograph all signs that say no photography.
We headed back to the sixth floor to finish working on the show then back down around six. Now the elevator was without an operator. The trading floor was quiet. It was still very impressive.
The Nightly Business News crew had already moved in two cameras, lights, TelePrompters and everything else you need for a show. There were glitches with audio and some glare to be taken care of, but nothing more than any other night on any other show. There was no reason to panic.
From 6:30 until 7:00 the show aired flawlessly. If there were problems they certainly weren’t noticed at home.
I gave Wendie a hug and a kiss and headed home.
The long trip from Connecticut to New York City seems even longer when going home. I easily made the 7:37 from Grand Central and was home before 10:00 PM.