One of the reasons we can't imagine leaving New England is our proximity to New York City. We absolutely love it. We live about 70 miles away, which means we can take the train into Grand Central station and be there in about 80 minutes (80 minutes of reading, or relaxing, or chatting--quietly in honor of "the code" of business travelers), or in about an hour and a half if we drive (the last 30 minutes of which occurs in the final 5 miles once we enter the borough of Manhattan).
We usually take the family into "the City," as it's known in these parts, at least twice a year. Terry and I go in on our own every few months, and I've been able to go in with girlfriends a few times a year as well. What do we do? Walk, people-watch, eat, see Broadway shows, go to bookstores--we just soak it in. The first time we took the kids was in December 2004, a few months after we moved here. We had taken the train in and then walked through one of the tunnels. As we reached street-level, six-year-old Amanda's eyes lit up. "Do you like it?" I asked. "Of course I like it. It's New York City, what's not to love?" she answered. That about sums it up for us. I don't think that any of us have stopped experiencing the wonder.
Yesterday I was invited to be a part of the new campaign launched by Abbott Labs and the Partnership for a Drug Free America called Not in My House, which focuses specifically on the rising use of prescription drug abuse among teens. Later today, I will post an informational post about all that I learned and the lessons I took away from that inspiring afternoon, but first, I'll focus on the light side of the day.
The bloggers who were going to be covering the event were invited to lunch at Markt by the PR firm Remedy. We met Lisa and Carol, who were interested to hear all about Mommy Blogging--specifically why we blog and about how the community connects. Natalie from Blue Suit Moms was there, and I got to reunite with two of my Disney Mom Blogger Mixer buddies: Gabrielle, Kirtsy co-founder and Design Mom blogstar, and Amy P. who runs Long Island Parentsource and blogs at One Mom's Memos. I also got to meet Kim from Jogging in Circles.
In lieu of taking the effort to pull all of my thoughts together in an eloquently cohesive way, let me share a bulleted list of topics we covered and observations I made:
- Marketers are still taking note of the buying power of Moms. So many of them don't know how to reach out to us, but they want to tap in to the market. Blogs are a first-step for many of them to figure out how to use word-of-mouth marketing.
- I'm old. This realization comes to me each time I meet these young whippersnappers in PR. I'll get over it, but seriously, when did it happen? I'm not a fresh young college graduate any more I'm the mother of a tween. I've been married for fifteen years. I'm closer to 40 than to 30.
- Social networking media is moving too fast for us. My Space, Facebook, Twitter--there's something new each month, and it's exhausting to keep up with it all. Kim mentioned Plurk, which I had not even heard of.
- I love meeting up with bloggers (and marketers, for that matter). Moving fast or not, it's so interesting to have a front-row seat in all the excitement, and although we each come from different perspectives--how we blog, why we blog, where we blog--there is a common experience that instantly bonds us. I guess that always happens with moms, but blogging moms have even more of a connection.
- How someone reacts to being stuck in a rainstorm says a lot about them. We've had so many thunderstorms spring up here in New England over the last two weeks, and in spite of that, I let the beautiful clear day convince me that I didn't need to take my umbrella with me. Just before we were to leave at 3:00 pm, we saw thunder and lightening through the cool modern Chelsea penthouse windows where the event took place. Gabrielle and I walked together in the rain for four or five blocks to the garage where we had both just happened to park. We were ready to leave, and although none of us had an umbrella, we just hit the streets. When I wondered aloud if we should go for it, Gabrielle said, "I'm not really worried about it." Gabrielle is one of those together women, who somehow spreads her confidence and laid-back cool by default instead of intimidating others. It's a great talent to have. So, instead of scurrying back to the garage, which I probably would have done if I was alone, Gabrielle and I chatted as we dodged raindrops at only a slightly-faster-than normal gait. How sensible. What use is running? We got a little bit wet, and had we been further away, probably would have gotten a lot wet, but running frantically would not have made a bit of difference.
- I really love New York. It bears repeating.