Make room for fun

Pod 51 hotel in Manhattan conveniently near my client’s office, on, you guessed it, 51st St.

Racy sign in my shoebox sized NYC hotel room (reminds me of Hong Kong)


Tiny room, with bathrooms down the hall


Prison sink? All stainless steel


Safe can be licked with a code or a credit card swipe – haven’t seen that option before. Just don’t lock the cc in the safe!


There are 4 shared full bathrooms in the hall (on my floor). Conveniently the is a panel indicating whether they are occupied or not (like in an airplane, I guess. Haven’t seen that before)

NYC: subway/train expansion

On a recent flight, I watched a show called “Build it Bigger” – this episode was about NYC which is doing a $15 billion expansion/renovation of the subway and train systems in Manhattan (to be done by 2015). I hadn’t heard of this before.

  1. They are building a new subway under 2nd Ave.
  2. They are building a new east-west midtown Manhattan subway line.
  3. They are expanding Grand Central Station… underneath it! Both a new concourse and new platforms.
  4. They are building a new train tunnel from Long Island to Grand Central Station (so trains can go there instead of the less convenient Penn Station, since most commuters want to get to midtown)
  5. They are also building/improving system interchanges

Some cool stats (remembered reasonably accurately but don’t quote me on it J

  • The subway system is almost 100 years old (started in 1913)
  • The subway system started as 3 competing systems
  • Grand Central Station (GCS from now on) is the busiest train station in the world
  • 750,000 people pass through GCS every day (on 750 trains)
  • There are 400 miles of subway and train tunnels in NYC (20 subway lines and a few train lines)
  • The new train tunnel to GCS will add another 150 trains and 250,000 commuters per day to GCS
  • What slows people down in the stations/interchanges is not having a clear line of sight (and signage) to know where they are going, so in some places they are adding support beams to the ceiling so that they can get rid of support columns in the middle of the “hallway”

Some of the construction feats are cool:

  • Literally underneath GCS, they are building a huge new concourse with soaring ceiling, in such a way that you can’t feel or hear anything up in GCS
  • The new train tunnels to GCS are being bored as 4 smaller tunnels that are then joined by exploding the rock in between them (while also adding support beams)