I'm not sure I'll ever be able to write about my most recent trip to NYC. So many wonderful, surprising things happened. There was plenty of work to be done and I found myself energized by the many hallway and lobby meetings that sprung up in between the scheduled meetings. Here are some of the highlights of SPJ NYC:
1) Walter Cronkite is frail and elderly, but still commands the respect of fellow journalists. And who knew that Brian Williams has a sense of humor?
2) I nearly flipped when the program chair of the convention turned to me and said, "It was your idea to bring (William) Zinsser here, why don't you introduce him?" What a thrill! I'm still feeding off of the high of meeting him.
3) A night-time cruise down the Hudson River gave us three spectacular sights——the Manhattan skyline at night, the ghostly illumination of the Twin Towers on the eve of the third anniversary of the attacks and an up-close-and-personal view of the State of Liberty.
4) So much time was spent inside the conference hotel that I welcomed the chance to walk over to TIAA-CREF on Third Avenue. The woman I was meeting asked if I wanted to sit outside. "Sure," I replied, "I've spent the past 24 hours in a conference hotel." And so we took the elevator to the 25th floor and out onto a spectacular rooftop patio. The sun was shining and the sky was crystal clear. A slight breeze kept us cool in the sun. I could've tilted my head back and just savored the sun and relative silence on that patio. Not a bad way to spend a Friday afternoon in Midtown Manhattan.
5) Enjoyed $12 Cosmos and fine Italian food with some friends from Cincy, OU and Florida. Though we suffered sticker shock from the price of our drinks, we had a ball sharing war stories.
6) Bill Moyers spoke to our group for an hour in what can best be described as a Revival. We were all born-again into the field of journalism and Moyers received a lengthy standing ovation from his peers. If I can track down a copy of his speech somewhere, I'll be sure to post a link. A signed copy of his speech was auctioned off later that night for $2,500, benefiting SPJ's Legal Defense Fund.
7) Finally, and perhaps most important, I got to spend some time getting to know like-minded people who share my passion for writing and connecting with others. It was a memorable, exhausting, exhilarating week and one filled with amazing experiences.
New York is like a drug and I'm already trying to figure out how to get back there next month for another fix.