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The rain stops for our NYC harbor cruise by Ann Treacy
June 14, 2019, 8:25 pm
Filed under: New York

The last day of the big ICF conference it rained. But that’s OK – by then folks knew us and we were absolutely OK walking around like drowned rats. The best news is that the rain stopped just in time for the conference harbor cruise dinner and the unveiling of the ICF winner. Funny enough the rain started again once we got back to the pier.

It was a fantastic end to a great conference and trip!

Sleeping No More in NYC by Ann Treacy
June 14, 2019, 8:14 pm
Filed under: New York

The most interesting (aka strangest) thing we did in NYC was go to Sleep No More, a fully immersive art thing. It’s set in the McKittrick hotel. So it’s part arty haunted house. You have to wear a mask – so makes you feel like you’re in Eyes Wide Shut. And we were immediately separated, which left us to walk the halls alone.

I say walk, but Mary was singled and escorted down the hall in an old wheelchair. I walked up to the third floor. It’s very dark but arty. You walk from room to room to maze to graveyard. My favorite room artistically was the empty vintage baby cradle with decapitated dolls hanging from the ceiling like birds flocking.

There are 21 performers in the hotel. They will interact with you; you cannot instigate an interaction – or I guess you can’t touch them. Each has their own story. I feel like I maybe saw 3 of 50 stories or vignettes. Many of the spaces are empty but you can open drawers or read notes. In the bar there is a well-choreographed bar fight. The story that caught my attention was the asylum nurse. She meticulously cut words out of an old book (cleanliness/germs). Then she danced in the beds, in the bath in the dilapidated walls. The dance was amazing and she was so intriguing.

Kevin and Mary saw their own stories. We intersected a few times but briefly because it is really a singular journey. It’s not scary just eerie and maybe suspenseful. They both saw naked dancing. Not sure if I should feel disappointed or relieved that I didn’t.

We all loved the experience. We were there for two hours and decided that was enough time but agreed we’d all go back at the drop of a hat.

Before Sleep No More, we had super yummy tapas at Mercado Little Spain. After we heard jazz in the Village.


Work week in New York – but you can always find time for fun with friends by Ann Treacy
June 14, 2019, 7:00 pm
Filed under: New York, Uncategorized

This week I was lucky enough to be part of a contingency of 10 Minnesotans who headed off to the ICF Summit to talk about broadband and economic development and how smart communities are making their lives better. (You can read all about that on my work blog.)

On our first day we saw everything. We walked about 15 miles mostly around Midtown Manhattan. We started with a quick jaunt to Grand Central Station and then I headed to NY Public Library to get online. (Ironically the library had better access than our conference about broadband.)

There was a Stonewall exhibit at the library to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall. For younger readers, Stonewall was a series of riots that began June 28, 1969 when members of the GLBTQIA crowd rioted against a police raid. It is debatably the start of expanding equal rights to people regardless of sexual orientation or preference. Sadly we’re still fighting that fight; in the last month I have seen modern renditions of some of these posters…

After lunch some of us felt the pull of the city was maybe a little stronger than the conference. (Just for the afternoon!) We walked everywhere…

Then there was the Champagne reception at the Finnish Consulate. (Yup, that was work.)

We took advantage of Museum Mile festival with free access to the Met, Cooper Hewitt (Smithsonian) and the Jewish Museum.


We ended the day with a fancy cocktail at the Plaza.

Last glimpse of NYC: High line and last gasp by Ann Treacy
July 13, 2016, 7:32 pm
Filed under: New York

We left New York City this morning. I had about 30 minutes to get in a last walk and then dad and I drove around for 30 minutes trying to get from the parking garage back to the apartment. (A 10 minute walk!)

So my last bonus was walking right into the High Line. It’s a repurposed railroad track that has been turned into a nice walking/running path. It’s about a mile and a half – but it feels like a sanctuary elevated above the fray. It’s exactly what I like in the outdoors – nice walking path, great urban vistas. I could walk and watch trains at the same time without the hassle of walking by the train. They host events there. It’s very environmentally friendly and embracing.

And during my brief jaunt, I saw no bikes. I know this will lose me a friend or two – but as a walker, I don’t love bikers.

That event was juxtaposed with a very sad image. We were driving just south of Times Square – trying to figure out where we could turn (nowhere is the short answer). There were fire trucks blaring on different blocks. A flock of rabbis walked past. Tons of people, cars and commotion. Lots of things that might turn a head in a smaller city. But the sad thing I saw was a young kid (maybe 20) on the ground, getting oxygen from the police but looking for lifeless. We moved for the ambulance coming to get him.

The police were there and doing what they could but you could just see it was just another start to another day for them. And that’s not a statement on the police. It’s just a sad glimpse at what happens every day in a big city.

Day Three in New York: No NBC tour – but yes MoMA and Staten Island by Ann Treacy
July 13, 2016, 3:37 am
Filed under: New York

Last day in New York – kind of sad. Dad and I walked to Central Park in the morning via Lincoln Center. Then the whole crew headed to Rockefeller Center for the big tour, which sadly has been sold out for weeks. So word to the wise – if you want a tour of 30 Rock, order in advance.

So we rallied and went to the Museum of Modern Art, which was really the kids doing me a favor. Saw Andy Warhol, a really good Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenburg. And I had one of the exhibits (February 12, 1966) talk to me. There was a guy, near the painting and he just spoke to some people – such as me. My favorite was work by Vern Blosum, who it turns out was a made-up person. The Museum bought his satire on the Pop Art movement and when they went to write a bio for the work they realized no such person existed. But they exhibit it regardless. I love that!

There was a cool exhibit on architecture – very modern and environmentally merged. Kind of fun to think about people such cool work; hard to image where it is. (OK mostly in Tokyo – but still hard to imagine the work in the wild since I’ve never been to Tokyo.)

After the MoMA we went to Battery Park. The girls rode the cool fish-themed carousel. We walked around the park and we took the Staten Island Ferry. So here’s the cool thing – the Ferry is free. So it’s a free and easy way to get pretty close to the State of Liberty.

Then we took the subway back. Well some of us did and some of us hung out with Lucia’s cousin.

Day Two in New York: Good Morning America, Brooklyn, Italian food by Ann Treacy
July 12, 2016, 2:50 am
Filed under: New York

I am about as tired as I have ever been. I started the day before 7 am – I know for morning people that’s not early. It’s early for me, especially on vacation. Dad and I went to scope out Good Morning America and The Today Show. Suffice it to say we’re probably weren’t on TV but it was fun to see how they set things up. Each is a little difference. And it’s fun to see the people who are really dedicated to getting on TV.

Five hours later the girls were up and ready to go. Lily had it in her head to go to Brooklyn. So we pulled it together and took the subway there. We walked by the Brooklyn Museum and Botanical Gardens. We walked by a few things. But it turns out Lily didn’t have anything specific she wanted to see. So mostly we soaked up ambience.

The other girls weren’t as into soaking up ambience as Lily was, but a delicious pizza lunch brought us back together. Then we caught an uber to the Brooklyn Bridge; we walked back across to Manhattan. It’s a fun walk. The skyline is gorgeous. You can see the Statue of Liberty. And it’s a great place for kids to fill up their Instagram SnapChat accounts.

We noticed lots of locks on the bridge, which we first saw on the Pont Neuf years ago – where couples attach locks to seal their love forever. We noticed headphones on the Brooklyn Bridge too, which I thought must have some significance too. Not really – same meaning as the lock but requires no advance prep. Apparently the Department of Transportation removed thousands of items from the bridge every year.

Back in Manhattan we walked for miles – partially because I love to walk but also everyone had something different they wanted to see. We saw the place where we saw Taylor Swift last time we were in town. We walked through Chinatown, Little Italy and Greenwich Village.

We visited a lot of shops. We saw Mood – the shop where they go on Project Runway. We saw street art. We saw great views. We (well, they) got free Slurpies for 7/11 day. Kind of a score to be in a city with 7-Elevens for the giveaway day.

We capped off the day with a super delicious Italian dinner at Il Punto. The service was tremendous. They took a shine to Aine, especially after she ordered the watermelon salad with cucumber and gorgonzola. In fact she scored a free dessert. It reminded me of our week in Rome years ago – where everyone took a shine to the kids.

Day One NYC: Central Park, Rockefeller Center, Black Lives Matter by Ann Treacy
July 11, 2016, 1:36 pm
Filed under: New York

We landed in NYC. We are staying in the garment district, which is pretty darned central. We dropped off our luggage and got on the road – mostly because there were cleaners in our place. But it was a good deep end start to the trip.

We walked to Times Square, which was too crowded for some of us so we headed to Central Park. Our sad news is that we learned (remembered) that FAO Schwartz is closed. We are very sad about that; it was a favorite of all of the girls on a previous trip.

We spent the day walking through the city – from midtown, through Hell’s Kitchen, to Central Park and around Rockefeller Center.

We came upon a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Times Square – that’s not really the right word. It was a few dozen people working on a banner that said “Black Lives Matter” and they asked everyone to sign it. It was unlike any of the more somber BLM demonstrations we’ve gone to at home. It was inviting, inclusive with a much lighter mood.

I think there’s room for folks to demonstrate in any way that suits them, but especially with everything coming out of Minnesota on the Philando Castile killing, it was different.

New York City in a New York Minute by Ann Treacy
March 9, 2014, 1:36 pm
Filed under: New York

The girls and I had one and a half days in NYC. (Grandpa dropped us off and went on to see carwashes and friends.) We made a list of all of the things we wanted to see while we were there. We saw everything on our list except the Statue of Liberty. We just decided that it was too much of a time commitment to make that trek. I wore my FitBit (which is just an expensive pedometer) and we learned after the first day that we had walked 18 miles! That’s pretty good.

We started the day getting up early to watch Good Morning America – mostly because we were staying in a hotel in Times Square that was feet away from the taping. Unfortunately none of us watch the show so we didn’t really recognize the people or know much about what was going on. So we headed south – partially because I was armed with a map of Banksy works. We were lucky enough to be visiting during the month that Banksy had taken residency in NY. So we were table to see lots of his street art. I was amazed at how much had been scrubbed away or defaced in the short time it had been up- who doesn’t know Banksy?! But I was happy with the amount that we were able to see.

We walked to the Brooklyn Bridge – and half way over it. We got bagels, which was on the girls’ culinary list. We toured the gardens of remembrance (sort of sneak previewed) at Ground Zero. We walked around Rockefeller. We went to FAO Schwartz – and got a creepy doll that has followed us to different places. We walked about the highline walkway – which is a cool elevated, artsy/nature path.

We went to the Museum of Modern Art, which Aine and I loved. Although with the visual arts, they had lots of small performance arts stuff happening around the galleries. We went to some cupcake place that the girls had seen on TV. We had slices of pizza. We had macarons at Laduree – somehow the girls knew about them. We walked through Central Park.

Roadtrip to New York via Michigan and Canada: Niagara Falls by Ann Treacy
March 9, 2014, 12:31 pm
Filed under: Canada, Michigan, New York

Who loves a road trip more than us? No one! We had a family baptism in New York so we decided to turn it into a road trip. Yes we were in the car as much as out of it – but that’s OK. Mostly it’s OK because Grandpa is the best driver ever. He drove every single mile there and back!

We started by going through Chicago to Northern Michigan. I don’t think I’d actually been to Michigan before. It’s very pretty – especially in the fall. It seems like we spent the first day or more driving. We did get the thrill of entering Canada. We had lunch there. The girls recognized that Canada is not exactly like the US – but it’s not really like London or Dublin either.

Also we all got a lesson on data plans. Only the mom gets to use International data roaming plans! So everyone else spent a few hours unplugged. OK maybe not the favorite few hours of the trip, but we all lived to tell the tale. We ended our time in Canada viewing the Canadian site of Niagara Falls. Unfortunately it was pretty dark but still pretty impressive. Also I realized that Priceline does not differentiate between US and Canadian hotels when you search for a place to stay near the border – after getting through the curt and unfriendly US border control. Luckily we also learned that we can get out of reservations made via Priceline if you call as soon as you figure out your mistake.

So we spent the night near Niagara, which was super nice for the two of us who got up early enough to check out the American side of the Falls. Though it was very cool. I always think it’s kind of amazing to see something that’s been around for so long. Then we continued on our voyage to New York City!

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