My first impressions of the Pop Art Design & Architecture Festival

Still, the nice thing about being in the city for the festival was the chance to travel around and do some sightseeing. There was a landmark, for example, on Bank Street that is near the same spot where the Dowson and Carlyle skyscrapers once stood. The old buildings have been replaced with condos, and the empty storefronts are sprinkled with new ones, but this corner, this street, still has that waterfront vibe that New Yorkers love so much.

Like most visitors to the Big Apple, I arrived with a full schedule that consisted of multiple events, most with varying times. Here’s where my plans have all taken shape so far, and what I’ve learned so far about my new city.

The Mothership is a thermal hugger that looks like a cross between an alien spacecraft and a theme park ride. On a warm evening, it gives you a good deal of blue skin when you’re inside.

It’s in the middle of the downtown arts and pop-up district of Pier 54. While wandering around the deck, I took note of some artists I was interested in meeting. I’d recently covered most of the artists in Pop Art who come down to the convention in midtown. Now I was walking down what seemed like the middle of the art world, and had to figure out what kind of people I might want to meet. After a few minutes, I spotted one woman who looked friendly but a little nervous. In fact, I assume most of the tourists are a little nervous about doing this, but after being at Pier 54 for a few days I’ve gotten comfortable with a small group of people, mostly foreigners, who meet up for a drink or a trip down the tour boat.

The skyline of downtown Manhattan is so big that it feels like when you turn the corner and the whole thing becomes “Brighton Beach,” not Manhattan. And after a late afternoon in which I was confined to the sidewalks at most intersections in the city because the traffic was bumper to bumper, I finally managed to find an underground parking garage just three blocks away from my hotel. It was far away enough for me to get in my car in one go and then drive back up to the conference center where I’d parked, without having to stop to pay the meter. (If you are traveling with small children and you’re using a GPS, listen up.) If the highway or major thoroughfares are closed down in an emergency, there’s a designated parking lot at Pier 54.

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