Visiting NYC – Sneaking in some fun with work

As most of you know, I recently joined on with jetBlue as a Learning Systems Analyst, and my primary role of support will be the BlueGuru project, which is a MarkLogic based content management system for all of the company’s documentation.  Our corporate publications office is based out of Forrest Hills (FSC), so I took a flight to JFK and stayed a few days to meet the staff, as they are the primary people that I’ll be writing to support.

As a team field trip, we went to Long Island Cradle of Aviation Museum, which the Corporate Publications manager had setup.  This museum was excellent and filled with knowledgeable tour guides who gave you an introduction to the museum, and from there on out there were several people at each station in the museum willing to answer any questions you might have about the area.  For a lesser known place, it certainly had a ton of exhibits.  Not as full as let’s say the Smithsonian, but honestly it was much better staffed.

The following day I got off earlier and was able to explore the city.  My first subway destination was to the World Trade Center Memorial, which had quite a bit of construction going on and wasn’t really much of a sight to see. It did put it in perspective how huge the two towers must have been, and I couldn’t help but envision what NYC looked like as they came crashing down.  After the World Trade Center stop, I headed uptown to 42nd street, better known as Times Square.  I roamed the streets for about 2 hours, looking at the various things to do.  Getting hungry, I stopped for some authentic NY pizza, which was as delicious as advertised.

Washington DC Getaway

Since I had been in Washington DC all week for a MarkLogic training event, I decided to talk Kaitlin into flying into Dulles Airport (IAD) to meet me for a weekend of sight seeing.  There was a jetBlue flight out of Orlando at 1:15pm with plenty of seats open, so she was able to fly standby and even got a legroom seat!  Since I didn’t have a whole lot to do that morning, I went over to the airport and did some freelance work while waiting for her at the terminal.

After the plane arrived, we rode the courtesy shuttle to the Hertz rental car location slightly off airport property and picked up our Nissan Versa.  Hertz is great for travelers under 25 because they have a gold club membership which waives the age fee.  We then headed to Chevys for an appetizer while waiting on some of her friends to get ready to go to dinner.

The next day, we got up a bit early and toured the monuments, then headed to Vapiano for lunch in Chinatown.  Vapiano is a newer chain restaurant that is gaining popularity in the DC area.  You  get a menu, and after deciding what you’d like to eat, you walk up to the chef line and tell them your order.   They’ll ask you how spicey, what extras, etc you want, and then cook your meal right in front of you.  To pay, you simply tap a RF card against the computer and it adds the items to your total bill.

After lunch, we were off to see the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, which I had been to a few times, but Kaitlin hadn’t.  The museum offers several rotating exhibits, so even if you’ve been there before, there’s always something new.  The oceans exhibit is excellent, with lots of video, as well as fossils and preserved marine animals.  Most famous, the dinosaur exhibit is good as well, but that’s never been one of my key points of interest.  Once the museum closed at 5:30pm, we walked around the National Mall and took photos in front of all the monuments.