I'm attending the MTNA Conference this year in NYC and I'm super excited to meet so many of you! Some of you have already posted and given some great ideas related to the conference, but I thought I would share a few points with you about NYC itself. I live about 2 hours away and have been to the city numerous times so I thought it would be helpful to share some of those things that may not get mentioned in all the tons of paperwork you receive!
1. If you haven't already figured this one out...EVERYTHING (and I mean EVERYTHING!) in the city is VERY EXPENSIVE! And...you get charged for many of the things you take for granted since locally they are free. I'm driving so it's easier for me then for those of you who are flying, but I'm planning to bring food from home for both my breakfast and lunch. I'm packing water bottles, crackers/cheese, veggies, granola bars, etc. If you are flying and can bring an extra piece of luggage, you may want to purchase items from home, consume them while in NYC and then use the suitcase for all the free goodies and all the purchases you make to take home. If you get charged for an extra piece of luggage, weigh the benefits, because you can plan on spending 2-3 times more for everything you buy in the city. It may cost you less to bring that piece of luggage rather than do your purchasing while there.
2. Wear good walking shoes! Believe me! You will not regret it! When you're not in classes, you'll want to venture around the city. You WILL do lots of walking! Besides, it's fashionable to wear good sneakers with a suit in the city! You'll fit right in. And if you think you won't, you'll end up spending loads of money you planned to spend on teaching supplies for a pair when you get there....Just pack them!!
3. Bring layers! Just because you checked the temperature in New York, doesn't mean you can consider it the same temperature as you may experience in your home town. When the wind starts blowing through the buildings of NYC, the temperature is much colder. In the same respect, with all the hardscapes, it can seem much warmer if it's sunny. Again...you don't want to have to buy things because you didn't pack what you needed. Just make sure to throw a sweater and coat in...just in case!
4. There is amazing public transportation in NYC, but it can be confusing...so do your homework! Check out the New York City Transit site and look at a map. Carnegie Hall and the Theatre District are all close to the conference hotel, but if you want to see some of the other sites like the Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero, etc., researching the transportation will save you a lot of frustration and time you could be spending enjoying the sites. And yes, the subways are smelly, but you have to ride them at least once. It's part of the NYC experience! And, they are the quickest way around the city!
5. Cabs...they can be expensive and if drivers think you are new to the city...watch out! Bring along a map and watch their route...it's not unusual for them to take a longer way around just to charge you more money. Again...do your homework!
6. NYC is a city that never sleeps! There is tons to do at all hours of the day and night, so there will always be something you can do. Although, if you spent $243.00/night for your hotel room, you may want to use it occasionally!
7. Guard your valuables! It is a city after all! I have personally never had a problem, but know of others who have. Don't place your money in an obvious place and don't carry a lot of cash. I don't even bring a purse. Just be careful so your fun trip doesn't turn into a disaster!
8. Allow yourself LOTS of extra time to get around, especially during normal commute times. If you want to catch that 8:00am class and your room is not at the conference hotel, but a few blocks over...consider walking! It will be the fastest route!
9. Most activites and even most shows will be casual dress. Carnegie Hall is more dressy but is not usually over the top (although some people chose to really dress up). I share this so you will know that most places, if not all, will accept the dress you wear to the conference.
10. Have fun!! And enjoy the city! It is magical in many ways and although I'm more of a country girl, I love to go there to soak up the wealth of education it holds! I love the shows, love the concerts, love the museums, love the food, and love the people!
I'll see you all there! Please make sure to tell me hello if you see me! I'm so looking forward to meeting all of you!