The City That Never Sleeps

New York is not the city that never sleeps- it’s the city that can’t sleep. The street below our hotel room didn’t slow down for a minute last night, and I tossed and turned in the creaky hotel bed while sirens blared as if they were under my pillow.

I woke up early to get to the convention to sign up for media tours, and was lucky enough to be one of only 10 kids scheduled for a tour of CBS Studios tomorrow afternoon. I had managed to pre-register for a tour of Viacom before the convention started, and coupled with a tour of The Wall Street Journal by a former student from my college, I was going to have a very media centered vacation for the next few days.

Viacom

Viacom on Times Square

Viacom sounded like a really great tour when I signed up. After all, it’s the company that owns almost everything on TV– Nickelodeon, MTV, VH1, Paramount, Comedy Central, Spike- you name it, they probably own it. I think most people just know it as the company that always threatens suit when you upload a YouTube video with copyrighted content, but they are a huge media giant. With my background being in television and TV broadcasting, I thought it would fit in perfectly with my interests.

Elevators

Wow, look, elevators.

Now you’re probably wondering, Ingrid, why did you post a picture of elevators? I mean, the decor on the walls is kinda cool, but surely you saw something more interesting than that. Where is Nick studios? The animation and design spaces? The writing department and the social media hub? Well, I didn’t get to see it. I didn’t get to see anything. It wasn’t actually a tour, because all we saw of the building was the elevator and the hallway before they ushered us into a little room to talk about internships.

Don’t get me wrong, it was informative. If you are wanting to apply for an internship to Viacom, I got you covered. But it wasn’t what I had signed up for. When I started to figure that out, I was annoyed and frustrated, and I wanted to get my trip’s worth out of the deal. I started thinking, maybe I’ll just go to the bathroom and then get “lost” and wander around until I see something cool.

I guess that's kinda cool?

I guess that’s kinda cool?

Then I thought, no, that’s a really dumb idea. I’ll just wait it out and then head back to the hotel and relax. But after the eighteenth question about resumes, I couldn’t take it anymore. I excused myself to the bathroom and wandered around to the other side of the building, marveling at what a bad-ass I was. Look at me, taking initiative to do things on my own! Probably illegally! Look at all these places I am going to find, all on my own, and meet some really cool people and get something out of this tour.

I walked around the corner and met a dead end. Of course. So I left Viacom with nothing more than a handful of internship tips and failed adventure.

Around lunch time I stopped at a tiny New York style pizza joint for some cheap food. I think it was Ray’s Pizza, not far from where the convention hotel was. It was crowded with people on their lunch break, so I grabbed a huge slice of thin crust pizza and headed back to my hotel room to eat.

Pizza

Margherita pizza… just look at all that grease.

After that was a flurry of convention workshops where I learned the fine, specific details of being a journalist. I went to session with Lou Ferrara from the Associated Press, and another with representative from MediaStorm, which were pretty interesting and helpful. Afterward I met up with my group to tour The Wall Street Journal with a former student from my college.

News Corp

Ah, News Corp.

This tour was much more fruitful than my previous tour. He took us up to every floor and showed us the various departments where people worked, explained how they worked on various beats and how each element came together under one roof.

The Newsroom

The Newsroom

The downside to seeing almost every floor on the building was a lot of elevator rides. And the thing about New York elevators is that people are always in a hurry, so they go very fast. And the stop very suddenly. It’s all very jolting and disorienting and after about my seventh time in an elevator that day, I started to not feel so great. The floor was tilting while I walked as if I was still on the elevator, and the room started spinning every so often and making me nauseous. I was really grateful to have the opportunity but my head was aching and all I wanted to do was lie down.

I can't remember what this is but I tried really hard to remember.

I can’t remember what this is but I tried really hard to remember.

We left and I made a beeline for my bed, hoping that nap would make the nauseousness go away. It did, but I ended up sleeping for almost two hours. Which is my next travel tip- always set an alarm, even if you you’re absolutely positive that you’ll only sleep for a half an hour. You might end up sleeping way later than you intended and nearly missing your only opportunity to see a Broadway show. I woke up at 6:45 and the show was supposed to start at 8:00, and we hadn’t even bought our tickets yet. Panicked, I got ready as fast as possible and we hustled over to Times Square.

We bought cheap(ish) tickets from the TKTS booth, where you can get prices discounted up to 50%. We got the maximum discount on our tickets but they were still over $50. Still, it was going to be my only chance to see a Broadway show, something I had been dreaming about since my theater days in high school, so I grabbed the opportunity.

Broadway

I was super stoked to see Chicago because I had never seen it before, not even the movie, so it was a brand new experience. I would have loved to see something like Phantom of the Opera, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it about four times at this point. I really enjoyed everything about the show, and it was great to get out and do something besides journalism for a while. I will admit, it didn’t live up to all the hype, but it was still pretty cool.

Up in the nosebleeds, yeah!

Up in the nosebleeds, yeah!

Afterward, we went to a cute little diner called Lindy’s for some New York style cheesecake. It was delicious and a really refreshing way to end the night.

Brownie Cheesecake from Lindy's

Brownie Cheesecake from Lindy’s

And since our hotel doesn’t have free Wi-Fi (uhg) I headed out to the convention hotel across the street to check my Facebook and say hello to friends. Hopefully tonight the city will be a little bit calmer and I’ll be able to get a good night’s sleep.

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