Three New York Moments

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 happening.

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 TrumpTower 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 building.

Ruthanne Terrero, CTC Editorial Director rterrero@questex.com

Read more on