Sunday, March 06, 2005

Day 9 - My first week in NYC

It's been a tough week here, what with lots of work and the unrelenting cold. OnTuesday, had my first experience of snowing too. It was fun, to say the least and on the way back from office, I indulged in some snowball throwing too at my colleague, BK. :)

Was surprised to see that it wasn't very cold when it was snowing. But the days after Tuesday were downright chilly. With winds of upto 30 miles per hour blowing and the land fully covered with snow, you could feel the chill right till your bone marrow. Spring generally starts setting in at this time of the year, but for some reason, tempeatures have been 5 to 10 degrees below normal. At least, I got to see some snow because of that. So, it's fun that way.

I seem to have a lot of work at office. Right in the first week, there have been days I had to work till nine in the night. So, me thinx blogging might just be a once-in-a-week affair now.

There's one major advantage of working at the NYSE, though. You get to be in the heart of The Financial District of New York. On Thursday, I pestered BK so much that he took me to see the WTC site (just a couple of blocks away) and also, the Battery Park (again, just a block away).

Saw dozens of people clicking away photographs relentlessly at the WTC site. For some reason though, felt sad at being there. So many people out there were looking at the list of heroes of that fateful day in September 2001 , probably searching for someone they knew, someone they cared for, someone they are missing today. Makes you wonder what motivates man to carry out such horrendous attacks as that happened on this site. What had those 3,500 people done for deserving this fate?

Well, this place sure gets a lump in your throat. But then, life moves on and NYC has carried on, just like Mumbai in March 1993. For that matter, NYC is so very much like Mumbai. Can't just stop thinking about the similarities of the two cities. Both so cosmopolitan, with multitudes of people from varying cultures; both economic hubs of their respective countries; both...well, I can go on and on about this for ages. Have been here just for about a week, but already this seems so very much like Mumbai. NYC is a city which has life, a feature which is missing in so many other cities of the world.

Anywayz, went down to Battery Park too that Thursday and that reminded of this Hindi flick, Kal Ho Naa Ho, which had so many scenes here. This park has a wonderful history, there is this small castle too out here - Castle Clinton. These days, they sell tickets here to go to Liberty Island. Around 300 years back, the Dutch used this fort to protect this island from attackers in the sea.

Saw the Statue of Liberty in the middle of Hudson river, should go down there some time when things get warmer here. These days, it's been so chilly and windy that in just 5 minutes at Battery Park, I almost started shivering. :)

There was this huge metal globe at the entrance plaza of the Twin Towers. On that fateful day, it was badly damaged, but they have kept it at Battery Park as a remembrance of all the heroes that lost their lives.

Walking down the Broadway back to my office at New York Stock Exchange, saw the famous bull. :) Dunno why people have the impression that this is on Wall Street. Well, this is right there on Broadway in front of Bowling Green and is again a favorite spot for tourists to take snaps. :)

BTW, Bowling Green is a very small park the likes of which you find all across Koramangala in Bangalore :) In fact, you will find such parks everywhere in Bangalore, between two small by-lanes and the like. The only difference between all these parks and Bowling Green is, that this is a historic tourist attraction of NYC. It is the oldest existing public park in NYC and was the epicenter of activity in the city right from the 17th century. The most popular trivia associated with this place is that in 1733, the local government laid out a bowling green at this place and offered it for rent to three local residents for a nominal rent of one peppercorn a year. And this, at a place where real estate is probably, one of the costliest in the world !!

In fact, in 1626, the island of Manhattan was brought by the Dutch from the local Indians for 24 dollars worth of trinkets. This is considered to the greatest real estate deal in history ! :)

There are lots to see within walking distance of NYSE, just that I don't seem to have much time in the weekdays. Will keep this blog updated about everything I get to see. :)

After a real hectic week, had a load of clothes to wash yesterday. Went to the launderette at the basement of the building and well, even washing clothes was an experience here!! :)

A host of coin-operated washing machines and dryers fills most of the basement. The medium-load washing machines need 6 quarters whereas the slightly larger ones need 8 quarters to operate. You have four options to choose from, the type of wash you want - hot, warm, cold or perm-press. Dunno what the latter means, but the others differ in the type of water that is used. At the top right of the machine, there is a tray with eight slots for you to put in the 8 quarters. Once you have put in all the quarters, you need to push the tray - for the machine to gobble up the quarters and start the wash cycle. You can then put in liquid detergent at a slot at the top of the machine. Now, the wash cycles take upto half an hour, so you can go back to your apartment. For those who want to stay around, there is a television out there too. Plus, one can how Pepsi cans or chocolates from automatic vending machines.

Once the washing is done, the clothes have to be removed and put into one of the dryers. The dryers run for 8 minutes if you put in a quarter. Four quarters means, the dryers will run for 32 minutes and at the end of it, you get warm dry clothes which can be folded and kept in your cupboard.

So the whole process is easy and very very convenient. Finally, found something which is so much more convenient than what we have to do in India. Washing clothes here is a very easy task. In fact, it has hardly any hassles. So, you can do it any time. And still, right across the street from my apartment, there is a Laundromat shop which does very good business. :) Speaks volumes about the time that people have here for themselves.

Well, I and Amit shifted into our apartment today and it was a very tiresome job. The fact that our previous apartment was in the adjacent building lessened our work considerably. Still, we were quite tired at the end of it all. Seems, we will need to do some shopping too. That probably, can happen only next weekend.

So long, then. It's a very tired me signing off for now. :)


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