When I was in Norwalk, CT with the Boots team this week the people I were speaking to all kept referring to 'the City'. I was confused by what they meant so in the end I asked. Turns out they were referring to New York. Geographically I guess that makes sense as it's only 50miles and an hour by train to get there but I hadn't really clocked that residents/workers in this area would look to New York as their major city. It makes loads more sense when you look at it on the map. I mentioned this at another meeting I was in today and this then led to a discussion of the 'Tri-State Area' - ie NY, CT and NJ - and how most of these areas look to New York as their centre. An interesting summary of this here. Again, makes loads of sense when you think about it but it reminded me of my blog on the boundaries of Nottingham and how boundaries influence policy and peoples' perceptions of where they live. I guess I'm grasping at something close to a 'travel-to-work' area which is used a fair bit in the UK.
This all became very relevent for me today (Friday) as I needed to go back into New York from where I am staying in rural Connecticut for a meeting. This involved a pretty early start and a drive to New Haven, CT (45mins) to catch the train (90mins+) into New York's Grand Central Terminal. From the people I've spoken to this isn't an unusual commute and the fact that the Dunkin' Donuts (love!) concession was open from 4am at New Haven station probably confirms this!
Somewhat bleary eyed I made it to Vanderbilt Avenue, just next to Grand Central for a meeting at the New York offices of British America Business. This is a non-profit organisation designed to foster positive business relations for UK companies operating in the US (and vice-versa for the UK offices on Brook Street in London). The meeting was really interesting - it's an organisation I've not heard of before but they were able to engage with me about the sort of challenges that UK businesses face when setting up in the US and also had some interesting context on what New York in particular is doing to attract start-up technology companies (trying to lure them away from Silicon Valley is a big challenge!).
A good discussion but then I had to get back on the train back to New Haven and then drive back to where I'm staying. Tiring - don't think I could do that every day!
The saving grace was again the hugely warm welcome from my Servas hosts and the view below from the balcony of their very comfortable house.