Driving through downtown Orlando this morning I snapped this shot of the circa-1926 train station that's still very much in use. It hosts only a miniscule fraction of the 50 million vacationers who come to town each year, but I did behold a few families and their luggage in and around this old Spanish-style building awaiting the next Amtrak. There really is a lot to Orlando if you take the time to inspect it.
I just spent the past week sailing the western Caribbean on a brand-new cruise ship. In total we covered 2,163 nautical miles. That's a boatload of sea. The swells, the spray and the splashing are hypnotizing. It makes you ponder big things ... the planet, your life, the people you love. Nothing on the frilly vessel itself compares to the mystery and enchantment of the wide open ocean.
"For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea."
Hip club music pulsed from the speakers inside the lobby of Ink48, the hotel where I stayed this week on the west side of midtown Manhattan. Fresh-faced and stylish men and women came and went, and I was reminded how this great city is most alluring and kind to young people. It certainly is a place where trends are born and reborn by the hour.
I, however, can't help but view the city as a portal to its magnificent past. Every time I visit, and it's been more than a dozen times, I think of the writers and poets who lived at the Chelsea Hotel, the jazzmen who blew horns and minds at the Village Vanguard, the abstract painters who bewildered everyone with their in-your-face masterpieces in SoHo. No matter what the current, pressing need is (in my case this week, a crazy back-to-back work schedule), all I see is a city of yesteryear, of larger-than-life personalities and places now gone, but of stories and impressions that haunt each step I take and lurk around every corner.
I love all the subway's gritty tile
On my trip this week, I only had enough time to venture away from my work and into the city's interior on two brief occasions. Escaping my swanky hotel late one evening, I descended into the subway and strolled my all-time-favorite bookstore, the Strand.
It's always surprising, especially now that I'm middle-aged and tired, to see how many people walk the sidewalks of this city so late at night, seemingly with so many important things to do and places to be.
With my work done on Friday morning, I left the gray, cold, rainy weather and flew back to Orlando, where it was 85 degrees and bursting with color. As a young man, I always yearned to live in Manhattan. Now, it's big fun to visit but nothing beats returning home to the sunshine, my wife and kids, my guitars!
"Beyond the New York City guidebooks and the chamber of commerce, New York is no summer festival," wrote Gay Talese, one of the ultimate chroniclers of New York life, in his brilliant story, New York is a City of Things Unnoticed. "For most New Yorkers, it is a town of hard work, too many cars, too many people."
WHY I WAS IN NEW YORK: I had the privilege of working with an army of super talented entertainment, public affairs and marketing colleagues to support an unforgettable event for Disney. Here's a video summary of the results.
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