New York - 7th January

Trip Start Dec 29, 2006
Trip End Jun 26, 2007

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Flag of United States  , New York
Sunday, January 7, 2007

I have now experienced my first week in New York. It's been a very eventful week.

On Sunday 31st December I went to, rather I attempted to, go to Times Square for the New Years celebrations. They were expecting 1 million people. As people were arriving the police were blocking parts of Broadway off (which makes up part of Times Square). I arrived at about 6pm and I was told to walk up from Time Square till I could find a part that the police would let people in. As I walked past 49th St, the cops told everyone to enter at 54th St, once there they told us to enter at 56th St, once there they told everyone to enter at 60th St. As you could guess I couldn't enter Broadway at 60th St either, so I thought rather than going as far back a Central Park (which is a couple of kms from Times Square), I went to the south side of Times Square. I eventually found a spot on the corner of Broadway and about 40th St. Unfortunately I couldn't see the ball drop, but there was fireworks and confetti about 200m in front of me. It wasn't too crowded as the NYPD would only let about 200-300 people into each block. As I hadn't met anyone I was working with I was by myself, however there was a young Irish couple behind me that were nice, and a couple of French girls next to me (but they couldn't speak much English). There was also an American next to me, but he didn't look that friendly and he looked like he might slit my throat if I talked to him.

After standing for 6 hours, being careful not to step on the toes of the scary American guy, midnight had eventually come. The countdown started, and then it hit midnight.... after 30 seconds of fireworks and some confetti that was the end of the NY celebration. It was definitely an anti-climax. The police wouldn't let anyone any closer to Times Square, but I eventually found a way in and I took a photo. All the streets were clear of people by about 1pm with only people left in the bars (unfortunately there was generally a $200 cover charge for these places).

That night at the hotel I didn't get any sleep, unfortunately not because I was partying in the New Year, but because this couple across the hall from me was having a huge fight. To cut a long story short, the police were called for domestic violence and the boyfriend fled with her car and money.

With no sleep I picked up my keys to the apartment (where I will be living for 4 months). I arrived to find that I had a room mate (Richard, a Kiwi), and so I was delegated to the living room. It was great to talk to someone as I hadn't had more than a 5min conversation with anyone for about 5 days. Richard had been there for a month and neither of us could work out why Warren (the organiser here in NY) told me to arrive on 1st January.

There are about 16 people in the apartment block that are on secondment with RSM McGladery (with 1 more Aussie to arrive). 6 are Kiwis, 5 South Africans, 2 other Aussies, and 2 English. As you can expect we have huge debates about the cricket and rugby. It's been a lot warmer than I expected, it's never gone below 0 degrees and reached 20 degrees on Saturday. If it gets above 15 degrees the Kiwis start sweating from the heat, no joke!

All the secondees are loads of fun, and we have had a few big nights already. I've only known these guys for a week but it feels like I've known them for months. Carly, you may remember a girl called Elize (Geraldine) Roux that was here 2 years ago with you. And yes I believe we have the same local pub too, the Opal. The drinks here are expensive with a drink usually costing USD$10 (about AUD$13). The meatpacker district is even more expensive with the bouncers asking for a $100 cover charge, or requesting that we buy $200 worth of drinks each to enter. That night at the meatpackers we ended at some really run down pub, but hey, it was cheap. We plan to go to the meatpackers again within the next week but a bit earlier, rather than 1am, and with more girls. The bouncers should be more inviting then. The night life is huge here with many pubs and clubs crowded every night of the week.

On Saturday a group of us did the tourist thing. We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge (a massive suspension bridge that's quite pretty, it's meant to be even better at night), Chinatown (with a McDonalds of course, its name on the front is written in Chinese), former World Trade Centre (they have a very moving tribute to 9/11 victims, but other than that is looks just like a construction site), Wall St (a lot smaller than I thought, it's more of an alley that comes off Broadway, and yes dad, I got a picture with the bull, and one from its behind), and the glowing Statue of Liberty at night (which is about the size I thought it was).

Before I go I should mention work, after all that is why I am here. So far it's been great as we have just had training. I've been able to leave before 5pm everyday. However that's not going to last as from next week I have to complete 60 billable hours per week. It's just as well my apartment is only a 15 min walk away.

Anyway I'll post another update in about a week. Having a great time. I'm off the Washington DC next weekend. I've included a few photos that I've taken so far.

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