Latest from The Spokesman-Review
I’m fortunate that my work takes me to Europe several times a year, but I try to go on my own at least once each fall or winter. Sometimes I travel with my husband or accompanied by one of my adult children, and that’s always fun. But I’m just as happy to go solo, to walk down streets that have seen the cultural history of the world unfold and come home richer for the experience.
In the past I looked for a direct flight to Frankfurt or London or Paris. But the 10 or 11 hours in the air, flying directly to or from Seattle, San Francisco or Los Angeles, took their toll on me. Especially on the way home. For a week or more after my return, I was fatigued and weary, fighting the confusion and physical effects of jet lag. I couldn’t get a lot done.
I began to talk about this with other travelers who live on the western side of the country and I realized I wasn’t alone. Jet lag, when returning from Europe, seems to hit us harder.
It finally dawned on me that maybe a direct flight isn’t necessarily the best idea. I may save a little time but I pay for it in other ways. If I give myself a few extra days on the east coast—usually New York City—to adjust before continuing my trip further west, I come home more rested and less likely to suffer from extreme jet lag.
I have put this theory to the test several times now and it makes all the difference. Now, whenever possible, a trip to Europe ends in one of two ways: an extra night or two in New York or a few days on a short cruise out of New York. Then, at the end of my mini-vacation, I catch a flight home with only a 3-hour time adjustment.
For my return from a recent assignment to write about France’s World War I western front, the Millennium Broadway Hotel’s “Fall into Autumn” package was perfect. I had some additional WWI research to do at the library and a couple of private museums, and I wanted to see a show or two while I was there. I booked a room for three nights in early October.
My Air France flight arrived at JFK Airport just after 4 p.m. After clearing customs I hopped in a taxi and took the 45-minute (rush hour traffic) ride to the hotel. Once there, I checked in, showered, and made myself a cup of tea. By that time it was almost 8 p.m. My room was on the 45th floor and overlooked Times Square. It was fun to watch the crowd with a bird’s eye view as I rested and answered the emails that had jammed my inbox after two weeks away. I had two more nights so I didn’t feel pressured to immediately go out and play. I made another cup of tea, fished around in my bag for an energy bar for dinner and went to bed.
The next morning I woke up early, still on Paris time, and watched the sunrise paint the skyscrapers surrounding the hotel. I’d slept well and I was ready to get to work.
The Millennium Broadway sits between 44th and 45th Streets and the location is perfect. The lobby is always a hive of activity, but the rooms are quiet and spacious ( especially by Manhattan standards.) The hotel is right in the heart of the theater district and within easy walking distance of all the other places I wanted to visit while I was there. The exercise revived me. Each morning, after a breakfast of oatmeal and coffee in the lobby restaurant, I felt ready for anything.
By the time I flew home I’d adjusted to the time difference without any jet lag and I was far more productive than I would have been without the Big Apple break.
The Millennium Broadway Hotel’s “Fall into Autumn” package runs through November 30. If you’ve ever wanted to be there for New York’s annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, here’s your chance! (Note: The discount increases for a stay of three nights or more.)
Cheryl-Anne Millsap’s audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the U.S. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
A recent article in the New York Times raises the topic of which town is geekier, Seattle or New York.
Ok, I'll hold back my reaction for a few seconds. Sure, I guess NYC has a few interesting tech initiatives and a certain robust East Coast energy.
But geeky it is not. It's nowhere near as geeky as Seattle, which itself knows it's really not quite in the big leagues next to Silicon Valley or even Boston.
Seattle indeed has it over a lot of other contenders, like Austin, Denver or Portland. It's also head and shoulders more tech-centric than New York is. End of that discussion.
Eighty years ago, a sorry looking cat sauntered into the (Algonquin) hotel lobby from West 44th Street and stayed as stray cats who are fed and find a warm place to sleep are wont to do. Ever since the Algonquin lobby has had a cat – always named Matilda (photo here) — who has pretty much had the run of the place – until last week. The New York City Health Department says Matilda is in violation of the portion of the city’s health regulations that require animals be kept away from places where food is served. No, seriously. This is not news of the weird. It is the end, potentially, of a sweet and old tradition. This is also in the category of a solution in search of a problem/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.
Question: Occasionally, I've discovered a dog or a cat in a store, usually a small locally owned one, and haven't been too crazy about the idea. It's a cleanliness issue. What do you think? Do you mind seeing a pet dog or cat in a store?
Shocked to find a group of Idaho legislators taking a taxpayer-funded limousine ride - replete with mini-bar, mood lighting and television - along the streets of Manhattan at five times the cost of a taxi? Stunned to discover that some of these lawmakers take their spouses along on a junket to New York City? Amazed that Treasurer Ron Crane has been squiring these politicians to the Big Apple in splendor for some time? Dumbstruck that it takes nearly a dozen legislators to tell Wall Street its business? Incredulous that until The Associated Press exposed the practice, nobody seemed to notice? Then you've not been paying attention. Make certain you're registered to vote. The state's political machinery is counting on your support/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: At this point, are you still surprised by the shenanigans pulled by some top elected Idaho Republican officials (Hart, McGee, Chigbrow, Loertscher, etc.) and tacitly allowed by others?
When I was in my mid-20s, I spent a summer in New York City working and studying. I immediately fell in love with the city and found my pulse danced to the constant rhythm of traffic and people; to a compact space filled with people that was alive and moving at any hour of the day.
It was a world away from the relatively quiet way I’d lived up until then and I couldn’t get enough.
I was staying in an apartment on the campus of Columbia University and working at New York University, at the opposite end of the island and I spent most of my days traveling up and down Manhattan by subway or taxi, sometimes by bus.
One day I was lost in thought as I walked several blocks from the subway stop to my apartment, already accustomed to the noise and crowded sidewalks and the heat, when, suddenly, something arrested me. I stopped, confused. I didn’t know why, but I was instantly and deeply, homesick. I missed my husband. I wanted my grandmother, my cats. I could think of nothing but the important people and places in my life, a life that was a thousand miles away.
I noticed the man pushing a lawnmower across Columbia’s wide quadrangle, a place always populated by students and others moving quickly from one place to another, or lounging, relaxing, socializing and realized it was the scent of freshly mowed grass that had hit me. It was the familiar fragrance so closely associated with summer where I was from that had overpowered the smell of asphalt baking in the sun and garbage in the dumpsters and food from the tiny bars and delis lining the street.
It had found me and wound around me, capturing me the way such things do in cartoons.
I’ve never forgotten the way I felt that day and I was reminded of it again last night when I stepped out my back door to enjoy the last light of the day. My husband had just mowed our tiny back yard and the air was heavy and sweet with the smell of green summer grass.
And, in the peculiar way life has of taking the years and turning them over and inside out, and then at the most unexpected moments handing them back to us to examine, I was assailed by the memory of being young and brave and foolish. Of being so hungry for adventure and experience I would jump at almost any opportunity to go and do and see.
I am now, I realized, a product of the joys and heartaches; the babies, the jobs, the moves and the experiences that have shaped me since that hot August day in New York. I’ve traveled the world. I’ve seen a few things along the way. But long ago I surrendered to the knowledge that wherever I go I am always, inextricably, drawn back to the green grass of home.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap writes for The Spokesman-Review and is the editor of Spokane Metro Magazine. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons.”
She can be reached at email@example.com
It’s fair to say that Mary Ann Wilson, creator and host of the hugely popular “Sit and Be Fit” exercise program, never expected to appear in New York City’s famed Central Park. But that’s exactly where she’ll be on Friday and again on Sept. 30. Partnering with the New York City’s Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, Wilson, will be the featured guest at two live events in Central Park.The events are part of Fitness Fridays – a series of group exercise shows that are part of a citywide effort to draw older adults into the park.The shy, soft-spoken registered nurse fell into fame quite unintentionally. “I’m totally introverted,” she said from her South Hill home office/Cindy Hval, SR. More here.
Question: Have you ever watched Sit and Be Fit?
Bob Turner, center, joined by his wife Peggy, right, and family smiles as he delivers his victory speech during an election night party Wednesday in New York. Turner says his win in a heavily Democratic New York City district is a “loud and clear” message to Washington. Turner defeated Democratic Assemblyman David Weprin on Tuesday to succeed Anthony Weiner who resigned amid a sexting scandal. It's the first time a Republican has been elected in the district. Story here. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Question: A Republican also won a special election in Nevada. Does this spell trouble for the Democrats?
Do you remember sometime ago when I posted a comment by Editor Vickie Holbrook/Idaho Press-Tribune re: the difference between good and bad press releases? Well, HucksOnline sidekick CindyH received one today that makes you wonder whether the sender is paying any attention at all to his/her target audience. It’s for June 15 fund-raiser in New York City in which 10 prominent Big Apple bachelors will be auctioned off, to benefit single mothers in East Africa. The invite, which includes an RSVP, was sent out to “Miss Fashionista-For-A-Cause you & all your cocktail loving ladies.” Now Cindy wonders whether she’s a fashionista-for-a-cause, a cocktail-loving lady, or a hot bachelor.
Question: How would you RSVP?