Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Shrug In The City Part II - The Kickoff

I've been here two days and thus far, it's a pretty uneventful week.  I probably just jinxed myself with that statement.  Ironically, I'm working in midtown Manhattan, literally two blocks from where I almost became road kill and meaty Texas style dog food on my last trip here.  It's rained both mornings, making for an interesting walk to work seeking out building overhands to hide under.  I suppose I could splurge and buy one of the million umbrellas that miraculously pop up for sale from the street cart vendors when it rains here.

Shelter From the Rain on My Walk to Work
Uber Snoot
Lack of drama and personal injury notwithstanding, I'm surprised at a few other aspects of this project.  First is the Tiffany store staff.  I expected uber snooty stuffed suits, like that dickhead waiter at Chez Quis from Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but I've already met some really down to earth people.  Everyone asks about the contraption I use to conduct my surveys and just what the hell I'm doing with it.  They're all anxious for me to complete this project, although none more so than I.  They all just want ubiquitous connectivity to their wireless devices.  I just want to go home.  One guy who saw me working yesterday tracked me down today and told me he still doesn't have wireless connectivity in his office.  He didn't seem to get that what he saw me doing yesterday was part of the design phase.  I explained that the deployment would follow, ever the skeptical New Yorker, I doubt he's holding his breath.

I've learned a few interesting details in my first two days here. First, I always thought Tiffany & Company (which I always called "Tiffany's") was named after some rich girl who probably ate regularly at Chez Quis.  Apparently Charles Lewis Tiffany was a guy.  The building in which I'm working was built in 1940 and sports an art deco influence.  The flag poles on the Fifth Avenue side of the structure were added during WWII, but violated the art deco spirit, so engineers constructed a means of retracting them into a crawl space in an interstitial level above the main showroom floor.  This process involves and old school rail contraption on which the poles roll in and out.  I'm looking forward to shooting and posting photos when I'm crawling around in there next week.  The guy holding the clock above the front entrance is an actor, one of many who compete for the opportunity to stand up there all day in green body paint.  I can't imagine standing there all day in the summer months, much less in the brutal New York winters. Makes my gig look easy by comparison.

Tiffany designs and builds jewelry on premise at this location.  I was escorted by closely following security agents into rooms with untold dollars worth of custom Tiffany product in various states of creation by amazingly detailed craftsmen.  Really; they won't even approximate the value of jewels and precious metals in these rooms, although the store manager described the famous Tiffany Diamond as being worth "tens of millions of dollars".  They take loss prevention seriously here and this building has an array of security cameras that would make a Las Vegas casino blush.
Dinner (& my hotel) View
I know.  This Tiffany history lesson is boring, but bear with me.  I walk miles throughout the various floors and climb stairs all day long and it takes me a few days to get my legs.  I walk back to my hotel at the end of the work day and I'm whipped.  Thus, I still haven't gotten out to explore the City after work.  Hell, I've eaten dinner at the same little sidewalk diner both nights that I've been here.  The people watching is great there and the food is good too.  I'll get out and explore soon.  Nevertheless, I'd like to think that I'll get through these two months here incident free.  Oops.  I probably just jinxed myself again.