Random reflections about a great city and its people...
My first visit to NYC occurred in 1964, when I was nine years old. I spent that summer in Boston, which is where my father was living at the time. Being an avid explorer, he took us on a road trip to NYC to attend the 1964 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows. While I don't remember much from that trip, I do remember that the mere presence of being in New York City made a powerful impression on me. An impression that has stuck with me to this day.
At that time (and to this day) Merrill Lynch was a magnet for Ivy League Wall Street Wannabees. I am pretty sure I was one of the poorest members of Class #299-A but we all thought we were hot shit. Suffice to say, we knew we were going to rule to the world some day. Grandiose thinking, along with a larger than life self-image, is hard-wired into the DNA of most young stockbrokers. All hat and no cattle as Dr. Stanley would say just a few years later.
There were many highlights to that trip. One was the day we spent on the floor of the NYSE. This was way before electronic trading so we actually got to see the floor brokers "crying out" their bids around the massive trading posts. The word frenzy comes to mind. Another was the evening I made it into the Limelight. Somehow, I befriended the best looking woman in my class of 250 brokers. This attractive blonde was the only reason I made it into the Limelight that night. I can still remember the big dude at the door walking down the line carefully assessing the hopeful patrons. When he saw my date, he barked, "you two, come with me." Next thing I knew, I was $100 lighter and standing smack in the middle of that legendary dance floor.
Fast forward ten years. The nature of my business would take me back to NYC many times from 1994 to 2004. For several years, I practically commuted between ATL, LGA, ORD and SFO. Just to give you an idea of how much I was traveling back then, I racked up my first million frequent flyer miles in about five years, all domestic travel. That's a lot of flying. There were many times when I was on two or three flights in one day and I don't mean making connections. We called those elevator rides. Up and down. In and out.
The upshot is I got to stay at Hyatts and Four Seasons. Got to eat at the Mortons, Palms and Del Friscos of the world almost every night. That's why I don't miss red meat or the big bold cabs at all. I spent 40 years eating and drinking without abandon. In February of this year, I decided to take care of my body with the same intensity with which I neglected it for 40 years, but that's another story.
This week, I returned to NYC after a five year hiatus. I was only on the ground for 26 hours but that was long enough to rekindle my deep admiration for this incredible city.