2000 – New in New York

By the time the New York American Planning Association Conference rolled around, I was going strong in Anderson County, South Carolina. I was working with my partner in planning crime and an Alabama A and M Alumni, ‘Mr. C’. Between his Recreation Plan and my Housing Plan, we brought the South Carolina Up Country Planning to a stand still. Working in Anderson was an experience, I particularly remember traversing the hilly land (a serious contrast to the Low Country) to count cow pastures. Yes, cow pastures. It was rural planning at its finest. ‘Mr. C’ did not attend New York, although I had seen him at other conferences. I however, was excited to go. Kevin and I, newly dating, had traveled together flying into Laguardia Airport from Atlanta. I was able to attend the sessions during this conference, which I actually prefer. If asked to recall any of them, I will surely fail in this task so I will stick to the more memorable experiences that occurred in the Big Apple itself.

*I had to go all “Northern New Jersey” on the hotel clerk for refusing to accept my business credit card for the room. It could have all been cleared up with a simple phone call, but she didn’t want to deal with it being that it was nearing time for her to get off from work. I told her to “go home.” She didn’t want to go home because I told her to, so she decided to stay. Well I figured, since she was staying, she could handle my credit card situation. IJS…

*The first bite of food I got to eat was at an authentic New York Style Pizza. My mouth is watering as I am writing this. I might have to get a pizza later.

*Most of my mother’s family lives in New York, so I did get to visit a couple of my cousins and we had dinner at this African Named restaurant in the Village. I do remember dancing with Kevin in the restaurant although there was no dance floor.

*Kevin and I went with his friends to Chinatown. We had a good time. The last I was there, my uncle had taken us to see the chicken who beat everyone at tic, tack, toe (Don’t ask).

*Our group, which included Ms. A and Ms. M visited Malik Yoba’s Restaurant called the Soul Cafe on 42nd Street. I don’t remember the food but it was an excellent place to hang.

*Then there was Joe’s Album release party. I think it was on the East side, if I remember correctly. We saw the singer, Brandy while waiting in line to get in. How come Kevin called her name like he knew her and she turned and waved at him…? There was an incident where some fool decided to get a little grabby, but he got handled.

*We saw Madison Square Garden and the gigantic poster of Alan Houston.

*We’re planners, of course we had to visit one of Olmsted’s greatest creation – Central Park!

*Yankee stadium made the list. So did Times Square, FAO Schwartz, and the Statue of Liberty (from a distance).

*We made several trips to Harlem. We wanted to go to the Schomburg Center, but it was closed :(. We ate at Sylvia’s Restaurant. Excellent food and I’m having another mouth-watering moment. They tried to duplicate the restaurant in Atlanta, but in my opinion, there’s only one. In Uptown. Then there was the ‘oopsie’ on one of our Harlem trips when we took the 1,9 Subway rather than the 2,3. We ended up on an el on the wrong end of 125th and had to go past the Grant Housing Projects on our way to the Apollo Theater. There were some enjoyable performances… and there were performers that were questionable and were subsequently booed off the stage.

New York was indeed a memorable conference. That’s all I remember. Come on planners, fill in those bullets!

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