I’ve been on the beach in the ThoughtWorks New York office ever since officially starting on Wednesday. So my days are fairly quiet, which is just as well, since I’m still shaking off the last of this jetlag.
The day in the office was fairly uneventful until I found out that some colleagues we’re going to visit the new office which is still being fitted out. I wanted to see it so I invited myself along 🙂
It’s great that we’re moving. I’ve only been here a few days but I can already feel the frustration that everyone else must feel about working in Times Square. There are too many people milling around that I need to push through to get into the building. There’s also not many eateries that aren’t targeted (and priced) at tourists. Fortunately, there’s quite a good cafeteria within the building but that doesn’t solve all the problems.
We also don’t really have any office space. We rent a few suites and must share the floor with at least a dozen other companies. The suites are small (and full, thanks to a recent trend for running projects in-house rather than on the client site) and the internet connection is just atrocious. I can only imagine what other problems the New York staff have encountered over the years here.
The new office, on the other hand, will be an entire floor to ourselves in an area of Manhattan known as “Silicon Alley”. I love that name! I also love the design for the new interior. There’ll be plenty of natural light and all the internal walling is being built to exploit as much of that as possible.
The other great aspect to the new office is that it has huge meeting spaces – actually, there are more meeting areas than actual work space! The idea is to use our new office to engage with the tech community – by, say, hosting code jams or other tech events. This is great in itself, but I was really happy when I heard that some ThoughtWorkers were already planning to use the space for movie nights or tae kwon do classes.
One of the criticisms I had heard about ThoughtWorks USA is that they don’t socialise as much as the Australian offices do. There are no Friday lunches, no refugee dinners, no craft nights, no social club budget…there are Friday night pub nights but that’s all as far as I can tell. So I’m glad that there’s a grassroots push by US ThoughtWorkers to have more social events in our new office. I’ve already had a few people get excited at opening a ThoughtWorks NYC chapter of Craft Night too 🙂
But, that has to wait a few more weeks until the construction is done. For now, I had to head to Penn Station to pick up a certain Kiwi! Hunter decided he wanted to try a cross-country train journey from Chicago to New York. Most people’s reaction to his plan was “….why?”, heh. I could understand why he wanted to do it, but I had done something similar in 2002 from Boston to Charlotte, North Carolina and it was NOT comfortable! For some reason, sleeper cars don’t exist on long-distance U.S. trains – and there’s no high-speed trains like in Japan or Europe either. So while he’s glad he did it, I think Hunter was also glad to get off the train at Penn Station after 20-odd hours 🙂
He was also hungry (and so was I!) so I consulted Foursquare and found a place nearby called “Burgers and Cupcakes”, hehe. We had to go check it out, just for the name. I was kinda hoping they would serve burgers that tasted like cupcakes, or vice-versa. Unfortunately, it was just a burger joint with an extra counter filled with cupcakes. Tasty food anyway 🙂
After dropping Hunter’s bags off at home, I took him to Times Square to see the night lights. We kept wandering further and wound up at the Empire State Building. This was Hunter’s first time to New York City, so ticking off two major tourist attractions in his first night was probably inevitable 🙂 I had visited the Empire State ten years ago but never at night time. The lights were pretty and we tried to identify all the landmarks by their lights.
On the way back to Hell’s Kitchen, we stopped by a place called Papaya Dog because Hunter wanted to know if they were selling a papaya-flavoured hot dog, heh. Sadly, no, just papaya juice and regular hot dogs. But it got me thinking about whether a papaya hot dog was actually possible. My charcuterie sense was tingling! I brought some cultures and casings to the States (weird, I know) so this could be a potential project…
Hunter wasn’t ready to retire for the night so we wandered around my neighbourhood for a while looking for a liquor shop for cocktails. But it was a lot later than we thought! All the liquor shops had closed (really, New York?) and all we could get was beer. Plan B then was a 24-hour dinner for Long Island Ice Teas and ice cream 🙂
It ended up being a really late night. We hadn’t seen each other in six months and there was a lot to talk about. I think we finally got to bed around 4am. The next morning was going to be a late start. Would it even still be morning?!