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New York / Vision East Expo Day 2

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New York / Vision East Expo Day 2

Phew, we made it!

That was our immediate thought on arriving in New York, but now the sun is rising on our first day and we have something which is a little strange to us all, some free time!  What to do?  There were many different options.  Should we just have a fun day seeing the sights and soaking up the atmosphere of The Big Apple (of course this would really be work as a staff bonding exercise and a review of the levels of service provided by various outlets which we may visit – honest).  Perhaps we should try to see our suppliers early or even we could visit other optometry and optical offices in the city and do a little covert research.

In the end a compromise was reached, we’d do some sightseeing in the morning and in the afternoon Dr McGinty and Dr Wilson would go to a continuing education symposium.

Times Square

So we headed out from the Yotel to Times Square, looking to find a suitable establishment for breakfast.  This time of the morning is always a great time in any of the global hubs.  The city feels not quite awake, like it’s slowly sipping a coffee and gently opening its eyes.

A great time to see the workers hurrying to get to their place of work, to see shops and offices sleepily opening up, cabs crawling around hopefully looking for fares which are thin on the ground.

You also get to see things without being surrounded by crowds of tourists, it’s like a private moment with the city.  We got to Times Square at around 7.30am and although it was cold and grey, the lights of the advertising boards were blazing, crying out their messages to an empty audience.  We stop for just a moment to take it all in, it’s all very surreal as it feels like we’ve really stolen a moment from time – we are starting to hear the news reports from home – school and business closures ahead of the storm, weather warnings as the storm starts to move through the province.

With breakfast taken care of in a friendly diner, we decided that the best way to tackle the sightseeing would be an open-top bus tour.  This would allow us to get a real overview of the city in the few hours that we had.  We choose our company, bought our tickets and when the bus arrived found our way to the top.

Looking down 7th Ave

With a slightly raised view and a great tour guide on the bus, although we felt like tourists, it was great to hear the stories and take in the scenes.

It’s not our first time in New York, all of us have visited before, but it’s a fun way to spend some time with friends who are also colleagues, in an environment which is not our normal one.

Despite the chill weather we also know that we are not suffering anything like the storm that is now landing on Nova Scotia.  There are definite wind blowing here, but as we speak to family and to Mike, who is holding fort at Ocean, we realise how lucky we are to have made the decision to get away ahead of the storm.  What a winter it’s been and we really have escaped what seems to have been the really big storm of the season.  So help you understand just how we are empathising, here’s a few more photos from New York!

Empire State Building

This is the new World Trade Center.  The tower on the left with the spire is actually the tallest tower in the Western Hemisphere, although the angle of the photo doesn’t show it.  We loved the mix with the old church in the foreground and these utterly modern buildings behind.  Don’t be fooled by the blue sky, it was all terribly hard work and we were suffering for you to get these photographs as it was bitterly cold.  Honest.

We wrap up the end of the tour with a walk from the Rockefeller Center to Central Park, down 5th Avenue.  So many iconic names and buildings just filling us to the brim with New York buzz.  It’s time for our party to split up, though.  Our Docs, John & Euan were going to go to the international contact lens symposium – a world’s first; and Erin was going to enjoy some fine artwork at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The afternoon’s continuing education was a great opportunity just to make sure we are completely up to speed with current trends and thinking in the contact lens world.  There is always additional knowledge and development to be gained in optometry and this gift day provided an unexpected opportunity for Euan and John to do just that.  The room was well set with some high-brow lecturers and they both enjoyed the various topics covered, especially the final panel debate between three speakers covering the different options for lens modalities (daily V’s two-weekly V’s monthly lens disposal).

In particular our Docs were really pleased to hear Nick Rumney give an overview of current contact lenses as Nick was a tutor of Euan’s at Cardiff University.  It was also great to listen to what Dr Justin Bazan from Brooklyn had to share with the symposium on social media and its use within the modern optometry office and in particular in relation to contact lenses.

Erin, in the meantime, headed for a walk further up Central Park to the Met.  This is not her first visit to the Met, but it provides a rare opportunity for Erin to really soak up the atmosphere of the museum at her own pace.  There are so many wonderful exhibits spanning a massive timeline throughout history it is hardly surprising that this is the largest collection of art in the United States.  We’ll add some photos when we have selected just the right ones, after all it’s not like we have almost seven hundred to sift through to find just the right ones!

In the evening the group of friends re-convened to share their experiences, swap stories and tell tales.  All in all it has been a wonderful day, a real gift given to us.  Nova Scotia ended up being battered by blizzards, sure enough, so we made the right decision to get away early.

That evening we had a wonderful Indian meal.

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