An Awesome BlogHer '10 from a New Yorker's Point of View
New York, New York -- it's a helluva town, and last weekend it was a helluva BlogHer town. If I must say so myself, I thought New York did a first class job of hosting the biggest gathering of women bloggers in the world, but as a native New Yorker, I'm biased.
From the Battery to the Bronx, BlogHers were all around the town, taking in all the Big Apple had to offer. Some did it in tutus, walking and running for a good cause, while others partied like it was 1999.
The hub of activity of course was the New York Hilton on 54th and 6th Avenue, where the conference took place. The Hilton and I go way back. One of the first Star Trek conventions ever was held there and as a kid, I ogled William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and George Takei in the Hilton's hallowed ballrooms. Ah, the memories!
The majestic Ziefield movie theatre is right across the street on 54th Street. And because of its close proximity, the Hilton always made for an excellent bathroom pit stop.
As an adult I attended a couple of media functions at the Hilton, learning first hand about rubber chicken dinners and really boring speeches.
Flash forward several years and things were much better for the BlogHer conference. However out of towners did get a sampling of incomparable "NY attitude" from some of the hard-working Hilton employees. Like from the bartender who loudly told one BlogHer, "I'm closed!" when she went over to get a drink. Or the burly guys who looked like they usually work in the meat packing district, who commandeered escalators without warning so they could move set pieces in and out of the expo area.
"Wanna use this escalator? Fuggedaboutit!"
Speaking of the expo area, it had its own New York feel: strangers tried to make you sample exotic Jimmy Dean breakfast food, people dressed up like cartoon characters and strolled among the attendees making things more festive, women danced vigorously to videos in their bare feet -- all things I've seen on the streets of New York at one time or another.
Mariana from Riding with no Hands had a grand ol' New York time:
I didn’t have to go more than a couple of miles away from the hotel, with so much to do nearby. The stores on 5th Avenue (shopping at the Apple Store at 1:30 in the morning was a dream!), Central Park, Rockefeller Center, Times Square… all within walking distance. The famous Halal cart on 53rd and 6th was right across the street. The white sauce – ask for extra – and the red sauce – it’s spicyyyy. Get the combo.. totally worth the wait!
Speaking of food, the Hilton breakfast and lunch the first day were just so-so and not up to my New York standards, but I got misty at the wonderful bagels they served the next morning. They did my New York heart proud. And lunch was a definite winner with some fabulous salmon as a main course and pasta salad sides.
The ladies at Evil Slutopia were pleased:
While we don't think any hotel can ever really be prepared for the craziness that is BlogHer, the Hilton did a really good job. The staff was nice and helpful, they were active on their twitter account all weekend answering questions, holding contests, and announcing fun stuff like free brownies in the hotel bar. They even offered to "send a team" to help us when we mentioned on twitter that we were having WiFi issues.
Now let's talk heat. You would think the devil himself was planning a visit to town, New York has been that hot this summer. I had to resort to carrying around a sweat rag. Yeah, you heard me, a sweat rag. However, to their credit, the Hilton ignored the pleas of a few cold-blooded BlogHers, not to mention their own electric bill, and kept the AC cranking. Thank you Hilton!
And where would any conference goer be without a friendly NY hotel maid. Like the nice woman who called security after I got to my room two minutes after checkout time and found my key card wouldn't work. The security guard who came to let me in was polite and friendly when he asked for my picture ID, my mother's maiden name, the name of my first pet and my blood type.
One final New York experience: I decided to splurge and called a car service to drive me home when the conference was over. Because it was so late and the driver was taking his own car home, I didn't get the town car I expected, but a full length limo. Pure luxury.
Nothing new in that, just very New York.
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- The Explosion of the Latina Blogger from Wired Latinos
- The State of Black Women in the Blogosphere from The Grio
Megan Smith is the BlogHer Contributing Editor covering Television/Online Video.. Her other blogs are Megan's Minute, quirky commentary around the clock and Meg's Rad Reviews.