A lot of folks have been asking us why available hotel rooms are so hard to find this week in NYC, and why the ones that are available are so much more expensive than usual. Well, here’s the answer! This week, the UN delegates all meet for the UN General Assembly, or UNGA. For every important delegate that comes to the city, several, sometimes dozens are hotel rooms are reserved for the delegate and everyone who accompanies them on their trip. For many delegates, rooms are booked at multiple hotels and the final hotel selection is made at the last minute. The result is that there are very few rooms in the city for the rest of us!
So it’s a crazy week to be in NYC, but an exciting week too! Our CEO Richard was lucky enough to be downtown yesterday to catch Obama’s arrival in the city!
I had an appointment down in lower Manhattan this afternoon and, as luck would have it, got to watch the arrival of the President via helicopter. Pretty impressive scene even for a New Yorker used to seeing all kinds of celebrities and stars.
Looking out over the harbor, I first noticed a half dozen different types of boats and ships – from a Coast Guard cutter to a FDNY inflatable circling very fast, another one positioned near the Wall Street heliport. Then add a dozen or so police vehicles and the scene is set for the President’s arrival.
We saw three dots off in the distance, maybe a mile or so away, out over the harbor. They seem to stand still for 5 minutes and then rapidly approach. As they got closer, you could identify 2 helicopters as Marine 1 types and one as a twin blade Chinook. At a point just near Governors Island, one of the Marine 1 helicopters peeled right, banked sharply and approached the heliport. A minute or two later the other Marine 1 moved left and headed toward the heliport. You never know which Marine 1 helicopter is being used to carry the President; it’s an attempt to provide increased security. In the meantime, the Chinook helicopter circled rapidly over and around the area.
From the arrival to Obama’s departure via limo took about 10 minutes and probably cost a few million in equipment and personnel. A small price to pay to protect the President.
With literally thousands of tourists downtown yesterday evening, very few were even aware of his arrival. Best seats in the house were aboard the Staten Island Ferry just arriving in Manhattan.