Wednesday, September 9, 2015

New York, New York.....

The wobble of Amtrak 93 is a pleasing sensation as I return to Maryland for a night spent in the Big Apple.  The reason for my trip was an invitation from the New York Council of the Navy League to address their "Future War" series.  Never one to miss an opportunity to travel to New York, I quickly agreed.

I trained up yesterday afternoon, after a bit of a snafu.  My day was to have begun by driving to New Carrollton station and parking there, but then taking a Metro to the Pentagon to look in on some work there.  Afterward, I'd metro back to New Carrollton and jump on the Amtrak to New York.  But when I arrived at New Carrollton, I realized that I had forgotten my folder with my speech in it, my train ticket, and my letter of introduction from the Army and Navy Club to the Cornell Club (where I was to spend the night).  So instead of going to the Pentagon, I turned around and drove an hour back to Easton, grabbed the folder (and puttered around a bit), then drove back to New Carrollton to hop the train.

I splurged on business class for this trip, up and back, perhaps the most wasteful travel habit I have.  Business on a train isn't much better than coach, but it costs a lot more.  I arrived at Penn Station at 4:30 and was to meet the Navy League folks for dinner at 6:30--so I walked the twenty minutes or so from Penn Station to the Cornell Club.

Before Hammer calls me an elitist and Tigerhawk accuses me of slumming with the quasi-Ivy League folks, I chose to stay there because that is where the breakfast event I was to speak at the next morning would be held.  My room was very nice, smallish, and equipped with a Murphy Bed, the first time I'd stayed in such a thing.  

I walked to dinner in the steamy New York gloaming, to a little Italian joint on 42nd street.  I met my two hosts, one an octogenarian and the other one year shy of it.  They were spry fellows, quick minded and very patriotic.  We had a delightful dinner (steak, natch) before I headed back to what turned out to be a delightfully comfortable Murphy Bed sleeping experience.

I arose at 5 to listen to my speech again (I generally record a version perfectly read, listen to it a bunch of times and then try to riff it from there), scan the interwebs, and drink coffee in my little room.  After showering, I dressed and headed to the included breakfast buffet, before joining the Navy League crowd at 0745.  I spoke for thirty minutes and then answered thirty minutes of questions.  Good people, very interested, extremely good questions.

After saying goodbyes, I checked out and Ubered down to the 9-11 Memorial.  I had really only one objective, and that was to lay my eyes on the Kitten's husband's name at the memorial.  I thought about going into the museum, but then decided that 1) I didn't want to be a blubbering fool and 2) I didn't want to have to go through a proctological examination through security with my traveling bag.  So I completed my objective, then sought a quiet place to think about that day, and what his death has meant in my life.

Needing to go to meet a Navy buddy for lunch, I summoned another Uber (Black, natch), and headed to a little steakhouse near Penn Station that I had read good things about.  My buddy and I went to XO school together in 1999, and he is retiring in a month after a 30 year career.  A great career, a great American.  We both ate large ribeyes, and neither batted an eye at the size of the other's meal.  Dudes.

Now I'm headed back to New Carrollton to grab my car and head to the Naval Academy, where I will attend the opening of an exhibit at the Naval Academy Museum called "Warrior Writers".  You can see a news story about it by clicking this link.  I'm one of the "warrior writers" in question, and there's a little bit of the exhibit with my name on it.  Then it's on to Easton, a bit of sleep, and then back to the Pentagon in the early morn.

New York is a wonderful place.  I really, really, would love to live and work there someday, but I fear such a thing would mean a hard break from The Kitten, who is justifiably not a fan of the city.  So I figure I'll just keep nipping up now and then and grabbing little bits of it, like last night.  I realize it is cliche, but there is huge energy there, and you feel it as you walk down the street.  I don't get this feeling in DC...

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