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Three New York Moments

July 23, 2007 By: Ruthanne Terrero Travel Agent

In New York,
just about everyone walks around as if they know what they're doing. Even the
most untried newcomer tries to act the part, and most tourists can find their
way around the city if they've got a good map. Which is why the drama of
something like a steam pipe exploding near Grand Central Station at rush hour
becomes all the more intensified: Suddenly none of us knows what we're doing or
what's going on and we're completely reliant on those at the other end of our
cell phones who have access to a television to let us know what's really

Ruthanne Terrero

Last week, the staff of Travel Agent was finishing up pages for
this issue when we heard that people in the street were running away from the
Grand Central area in a panic. (We are at Third Avenue and 47th Street, about six blocks up from the
blast.) We quickly folded up shop to try to get home, not knowing if the trains
or buses would be running and not certain of what the source of the explosion
was. As I passed through the crowds of people who were hurrying this way and
that, cell phones stuck to their ears, I saw a double-decker sightseeing bus
turn onto Fifth Avenue; its passengers on the top half of the bus were getting
a much better view of the crazy scene than anyone down on the street. I suppose
you can say that on this day they got a real New York experience, seeing this part of the
city in a mild mayhem for at least a moment.

Another New York

Earlier in the week we'd visited a fabulous penthouse
terrace apartment on Park Avenue at 65th street. We
were actually attending a reception hosted by the Alden Houston, a Texas hotel that until
two years ago was the Sam Houston. The property has undergone a total
rebranding, leaving its Texas
theme behind and going for a more clean and stylish look.

We spent some time with General Manager Susan Ward-Freeman,
who most recently was the director of sales and marketing for the St. Regis
Houston. Ward-Freeman said she has noticed the trend of more sales and
marketing executives moving into general manager positions because they tend to
be outgoing, know their markets well and are tuned into the business side of
running a hotel. A transplanted New Yorker, Ward-Freeman says she is enjoying Houston life, mostly
because of the Texas-sized space that goes along with it. But still, she likes
to get her New York fix, and made sure that
when she was in the city last week that she got to enjoy a run through Central Park.

Visiting the Trumps

After enjoying the reception and the dazzling views from the
penthouse, we wandered over to Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, where
we hadn't been since it opened in the eighties, actually. We couldn't resist a
look inside, and saw that they'd added a cozy little "Trump Bar" on
the lobby level. It was really very "Donald," with leather club
chairs, subtle lighting and a classy woven wool rug on the floor. When we asked
the bartender if we could still get the 6-8 p.m. happy hour deal that was
advertised out front, he looked at us as if we were insane. "It's
8:05," he said. We told him we were totally disappointed to have missed
it, and he replied, deadpan, "Cry me a river."

But still, we decided that he was really just kidding and
that we should give the place a try. We were not shocked to see a "You're
Fired" martini on the menu, but being seasoned New Yorkers, decided to
sample more traditional libations. We stayed just a little while, but agreed in
the end that Trump had carved out a swanky little retreat in his iconic

Ruthanne Terrero, CTC
Editorial Director [email protected]

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