Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I Heart New York

Leaving NYC--the George Washington Bridge out my window

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.

Gabrielle, Amy, me, Natalie, Kim
(Can I say that we are one awesome looking group?)

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.


Deidre said...

I love New York as well, but sadly do not live as close (an hour plane ride away). My husband and I try to go every 2 years.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

I've still never been to New York City! I must go soon!


Darcie said...

Okay first of all, I'm so jealous of both your proximity to NYC and the fact that you guys all got to hang out again.

Secondly, we just were there in March. We took our 4 children for the first time and it was an adventure to say the least. My oldest daughter was hooked (seeing Wicked helped I'm sure!).

Lastly, I'm looking forward to the Not In My House post and I found your bulleted list very interesting. I'm so out of the social networking loop. I feel old too, especially when it comes to techie stuff.

Jen Rouse said...

Someday I will visit NYC. I've always wanted to, and posts like this just reinforce it.

Dianne said...

Great post. I lived in close proximity to Chicago for eight years and did not love it. The last time I was in NYC was about 15 years ago but I liked it. I'm not a big "town" fan but NYC was very cool. Great post!

Amy said...

I love NYC. Pathetically, I also love Facebook. Most importantly, I loved hanging with you girls again yesterday. I remembered why I picked up blogging after Disney all over again. I do agree with your post, it is so amazing to hang out with bloggers and marketers, it gives such a great perpective on everything. Great lunch, great company and great conversation. Doesn't get too much better than that. And NYC is fab, even in the rain.

Karla E said...

Jennifer, you know that I'm way older than you...

I'm very interested in the topic. We are getting ready to develop a web-based course for the FDA called "Medicines in my Home" targeted to teens, but mostly pre-teens.

Oh, and I love NYC too. I used to love a hole in the wall Italian restaurant called La Mela.

Lauren@Baseballs&Bows said...

I also love New York, but I think I'll have to take fewer visits from farther away. Although the company my husband works for is in CT, I can't imagine moving away from here. Maybe you can give me the positives of living in CT if that ever happens. I just don't like being cold, so the winters scare me!

Glad you had such a good experience yesterday!

Katrina said...

Because I'm so hip and cool, I've heard of Plurk. :) Not that I've ever used it or anything...

Sounds like a great trip! So glad tha you enjoy "the city" on a regular basis. We are such homebodies, and almost never go into the (much smaller) city that is close to us. We should probably change that...

Kim said...

The city is an exciting place.. I too enjoy getting the chance to experience it whenever I can. I can also relate to feeling "old". Being closer to 40 than 30 has been a realization that I have yet to embrace..

I really enjoyed my first meet up with other mom bloggers. There is a unity, like you mentioned in your post that bonds us as mothers, but takes it a step further because of the blogging aspect of it all. I would have never imagined the amazing community I found when I created my first blogging post.

Again, it was wonderful to meet you.

maria bailey said...

I am older than you, still closer to 40 than 50 but really worried about the next birthday that puts me half way there!

I am so jealous I couldn't hang out with you girls. I would love to be stuck in the rain with Gabrielle. Too much fun!

dad said...

We sure enjoyed taking Amanda into the City too see The Little Mermaid on the tickets you bought. I don't know whether Amanda or Susan enjoyed the experience more.
And, driving into The City wasn't so bad (even for an older person). You are not old. Old is when your daughter is much closer to 40 than 30. (Don't feel, or probably act, old.)
Loved your comments on bloggers and marketers; way to go.

Andrea said...

I agree.
I love having "the city" so close. So many resources!!!
How cool to meet "Design mom". We emailed about doing a NYC area mom bloggers dinner in August. Would you be interested? (you better!!)

Jo-Lynne (Musings of a Housewife) said...

HOW FUN!!! I'm jealous. NYC is just a stone's throw from me.

Actually, I'm getting to go to a fun event next week and I could use your NYC expertise. Will email you about it later.

Just Pure Lovely said...

I've never been. Maybe they want to show a Floridian around the city next time? In return, I could host a jig and we could go gator hunting or, um, I don't know - shark fishing? Is any of that better than NYC for a day?

Nah, probably not.