I left on a trip to the NALP Foundation Board Meeting in New York City on Wednesday and, unlike my usual trips in which I have flight delays or cancellations, this trip was uneventful until I arrived in New York. The cab I was riding in was almost in accident. The driver had to slam on the brakes. My bag was thrown to the floor and I was thrown against the front seat, which was a gentle reminder not to be careless and to always wear that seat belt. I know better, but I was distracted and didn’t buckle up. I’m really grateful that it wasn’t worse and that we avoided an accident. After that incident, the cab driver was a lot more talkative. One he found out I was from Arkansas, he ended up talking with me about the presidential election. He thought that once people from other countries heard the sermons of Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s pastor, gave they were inclined to vote for him. I found that sort of fascinating, so we had a conversation about that on our way to the hotel.

When he found out that I was interested in workers and labor, he pulled out a magazine (I guess it’s the magazine of cabbies) and showed me that a taxi cab medallion—which gives the owner the ability to drive a cab in New York– goes for $600,000. I asked him how he could possibly afford it and he said that the medallions are generational, meaning families have them and pass them down. They keep working and working to pay them off. Not only that, but according to the driver, the rate in the magazine was actually artificial, because even if you offered $1 million, no one would sell them. That was a fascinating start to the trip.

The hotel was Le Meridien on 57th Street and the room was on the 30th floor. It had a view of Central Park which was absolutely gorgeous. But in my immediate view there was a construction of another hotel, and there was a huge crane on top of the structure. The bellman asked me if I were nervous about the crane, but I thought it would be okay, plus I like watching the workmen. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it on the blog, but I have a brother who is an electrician and a brother who is a carpenter, so I felt quite comfortable watching these guys work. I’ll just had to remember to pull the shades for privacy!

Not having eaten anything but a bag of cashews on the airplane, I decided to grab a little lunch so that I wouldn’t go to the first meeting with the NALP Foundation Board members with a rumbling stomach. I took a little walk down 57th Street and went to Rue 57 and had lunch. Initially I felt my waiter was the stereotypic “I’m a New Yorker and your not” waiter—you know, a little bit brisk—but after he found out I was from Arkansas we became big buds. It was quite a fun meal, but I kept it light (just a sushi roll) in anticipation of dinner.

The Meridien is in a great area. It’s only a few blocks from Central Park, FAO Schwartz ,Tiffany’s and other stores, so I took a little walk before returning to my hotel to check e-mail and get ready for dinner. As it turned out, dinner was a block away, directly parallel to the hotel, so I just cut through a building in the middle and went to Osteria Del Circo. Our dinner was in a small private room upstairs in the back of the restaurant and we had a separate menu that included Insalata Mista (mesclun salad with shaved pecorino cheese), Tartara di Tonno al Profumo di Limone e capperi (tuna tartar with lemon, capers and trapanese sea salt), Ravioli di Mamma Egi (bufala ricotta and spinach ravioli with butter and sage), Ravioli di Branzino alla versiliese (ravioli stuffed with sea bass with zucchini, shrimp and cherry tomatoes), Branzino alla Griglia (grilled bass with seasonal vegetables), Pollo al Mattone (brick pressed chicken with cipolline onions and swiss chards), Cacciucco alla Livornese (tuscan fish stew of prawns, cuttlefish, octopus, monkfish, clams and mussels), Tagliata di Manzo (a New York strip grilled and sliced served with seasonal vegetables) and a dessert symphony.

I met a number of new people. I had a very long conversation with Paul Hensel who is the Chief Administrative Partner of Winston and Strawn. He is a fun and quite interesting person. His responsibilities are incredible. He oversees all their construction when they build out new spaces. He also is responsible for all the administrative staff, I mean all the staff period, including IT and the associates. It’s an incredible work load. I asked him if he ever slept and he said “not really.” He carries three or four different devices (I don’t know the difference between a Palm or a Blackberry, but he’s got all of them there in his pocket). He has 25 years of experience managing and so, as you might imagine, we had a lot to visit about.

Leigh Taylor, my friend who I’ve known since I was a brand new assistant professor, was there as well. Leigh appointed me to the Audit Committee of the Law School Admission Council, which at that time was chaired by Dean Dennis Shields. Dean Treanor from Fordham attended the dinner as well. If you are a blog follower, you know that Dean Treanor hosted a very, very lovely event at Fordham for law deans, a dinner and a trip to the Metropolitan Theater. It was great to see Dean Raymond Pierce from North Carolina Central University again, too. During dinner I also met and chatted with John C. Rike from Minneapolis who is originally from Chicago, so we had Chicago talk and that was fun, too. As a 2L, I clerked at the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office and so we talked about the difference between Minneapolis and St. Paul as places to live. After dinner it was a quick walk back to the hotel. Unfortunately, the shortcut was locked up, so I had to walk around a little bit, but that was fine after such a lovely dinner.