Saturday, September 03, 2005

New York, New York

September 2, 2005 (Friday)
22nd Floor, Hotel Beacon
2130 Broadway at 75th Street
New York

I arrived in New York last night around quarter to eight in the evening. I left Washington’s Union Station yesterday via an Amtrak train that went through several cities to New York. It took almost four hours to get here.

I went around Georgetown yesterday morning and took some pictures before meeting with the Hispanic journalists organization at the National Press Club in Washington. I had lunch with Nobel Prize nominee Harry Wu and had a very passionate discussion about the state of human rights in China at the Meridian Center.

Mr. Wu is the founder of the Laogai Research Foundation and has been in the forefront of human rights in China for many years. He revealed what he dubbed as the tyranny of the Chinese government and called for an end to the Laogai system, the Chinese prison system, which Mr. Wu said arbitrarily strips Chinese citizens of their freedom.

Before leaving Washington I mailed some of my stuff back to Manila.

I took a walk on Broadway Avenue last night. It smells of urine and garbage. Beggars, tourists, businessmen, policemen were all over. It’s a city that never sleeps indeed. My hotel is right on the center of activity. I saw the theaters and I-don’t-know-what buildings. My room has a good view of at least two parts of the city. I just don’t know which parts.

I’ll try to go around today. My only appointment is with the head of the Independent Press Association so I can have a lot of time to go around the city. I will be watching The Lion King tonight and maybe some other plays this weekend.

I’ll check the map for directions.

The Amtrak experience yesterday was great. I hope Manila can have a good train system like the US. The Philippines, however, is far ahead in mobile technology. Americans use older cell phones compared to the Philippines and they don’t use text messaging that much. My guide said because it’s cheaper to call or it costs the same.

The Wi-Fi in hotels costs $9 a day so I decided not to use it and instead use the business center later to update my blog and read and send emails.

I’ve talked to Merpu Roa, who is based in New York, last night and he promised to be my guide this weekend. Ted Regencia in Chicago said he’s planning to organize a talk or an interview for me when I get there.

I still can’t situate myself on the map so I will just discover the city myself.


caloy said...

Joe, too bad this message came to you too late. I was supposed to let you know that there's this used bookshop in Du Pont Circle. Fronting Books-A-Million is a hotel. Behind that hotel is a starbucks (i think). behind the starbucks is a street that should lead you to a burger king. just beside burger king is the bookstore. they usually have books displayed on the sidewalk.

Of course, in New York, don't forget to visit Strand's, the used-books par excellence. When you're there, don't wander on the first floor -- go down to the basement, where they have a roomful (literally) of books on media, journalism and other related fields. that's where i bought i crate of journalism books (which i later shipped back, thanks to the US government's FPO something).

And please, don't watch Aida on broadway! Indeed, for a better adventure, you might want to try the off-broadway shows.

John said...

Wonderful stories. I just wish, like Caloy, that I had read them earlier. But if you do have a chance to go back to DC, yes, please spend more time in Dupont Circle. The bookstore Caloy pointed out is Kramer's, a great place. (The hotel fronting Books-A-Million is Jurys, which is where I stayed last May.) Also, on the street where the CVS on Dupont Circle is, about a block or two behind is a wonderful second-hand bookstore, called Second Storey, I think. And about a block behind that, is a great Thai restaurant, called Sala Thai I think.

Keep the stories coming.

Neni Navarrete said...

I think this is same Merpuval Roa who was an actor in the first Filipino Christian movie "Anim Ang Namatay" by CGM - Christian Growth Ministries. If he is and you meet him again, tell him Neni Navarrete, a former co-worker in the ministry ,says hello.