I made a quick trip to NYC on Thursday to attend Jane Pollak's Remarkable Women in New York event at EileenFisher . It was a fabulous twenty two hours in many ways. There is something so empowering about navigating one's way not only around the Big Apple but into itas well. Did you know there are 16 bridges that connect that one island to the surrounding neighborhoods (and over 2000 bridges and tunnels in the NY metro area)!? Incredibly, I took the right one! Even after living in Brooklyn for two years, in Manhattan for two more, then 11 in Westchester, I had never driven over the Manhattan Bridge. Its a beauty. Too bad you have to watch the road rather than take in the view...
I parked down near Canal Street as my son's new apartment is in what he called the Lower East Side and what I'd call smack dab the middle of Chinatown. With an hour to spare, some 'fowl' looking feet, and des
perate for a restroom (if this doesn't give you Deja vu then read about my last road trip), I decided to kill two birds with one stone by turning into the very first store front with a handwritten sign offering a $28 express pedicure PLUS FREE 15 MINUTE MASSAGE. After relieving myself, and settling in for a quick foot soak and scrub, I was sorely disappointed to learn that the 15 minute massage (she actually turned on an egg timer and handed it to me) was for my calves not my screaming shoulders and neck. Having inexplicably sensitive calves, I waved her off and dashed out. Despite skipping out on the freebie, I was still tardy, something that used to never happen but has become a nasty habit of late.
Jane Pollack has pulled together a diverse and fabulous group of gals. All of us are in various stages of identifying, pursuing, or living a dream. By sharing our efforts and ideas in the larger group and then in small, intimate flocks, we were each able to truly connect and communicate in a relatively brief encounter. It always amazes me how one can walk away from a single evening with so many new friends and insights. Big thanks to Jane, and also to Eileen Fisher.
When I lived in Irvington, NY, a decade ago, my daughter went to Dows Lane School with Eileen's son. She has the kind of story that can't help but boost the spirits of new entrepreneurs. With only $350 in 1984, she started her business of making women simply look good, and by 2008 the company had sales of $273 million. She has donated over $100,000 to charities and just last fall opened Eileen Fisher Lab in Irvington, where the sale of recycled clothes will go to charities that help women and girls. Here's to equal success and "pay it forward philosphies" for each of us!
A few of the chix I met are already running successful businesses. Debbie Fay is a public speaking coach (where was she last fall when I had my first tv spot? This is such an important tool for women entrepreneurs...check out her services at bespeak presentations.
Susan Kleiman, the remarkable mom of Ross, has brought her sales and marketing acumen to helping the 23 million parents caring for a special needs child. She founded Ross Daniel Adaptive Apparel ensuring that even people with disabilities can dress and dine with dignity. There has been such an enormous response to her clothing that she is seeking a manufacturing company that can help her fill the demand. If you have ideas, please contact her at 800-994-1074.
Cathline Marshall runs Studio K & M, a full-service web design and concept firm with an experienced eye for usability. Cathline is working on a personal campaign to educate the pedestrians in NY. An ambitious goal for sure; but if you have ever tried to walk down the street in the city, you might want to jump on the bandwagon!
Next stop, Ludlow Street, to see Will's new digs that we had ponied up first month's, last month's, extra month's, and 15% of all months' rent for back in April. Thankfully, it was as cool as he had promised. Only problem is the AC wasn't - so we sat on his tiny 6th floor balcony with our plastic cups of wine and looked out on the rooftops... bringing back memories of Gin & Rummy with his dad on hot summer nights on our own first apartment's balcony 22 years ago.
Little Italy beckoned, so off to Grotta Azzurra on Mulberry Street. We had an exceptional meal. (Plus the AC worked!) Highly recommended.
After another hour of catching up, and a few hours of sleep, I headed out early to beat the crowds. But in New York, the early morning streets are buzzing with activity. In Chinatown, there were trucks unloading enormous bags of bean sprouts and cases of eggs on every block while restaurant owners transferred them down rusty ramps to damp basements. It was an eye-opener. It's rare to get a glimpse behind the scenes and this was a fascinating one. A lot of hard work goes into daily life.
I stopped feeling sorry for myself walking a few blocks in the heat with a blister, 2 bags, and no coffee. As I negotiated my way back over the bridge, I marveled at the incredible indelible impression of this city that never sleeps, and mysteriously functions because of or despite its 8 million people and 800 languages.
Wow. That's all I can say is Wow.