Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day Tripping

Had to wear a suit and tie today. Socks too. A business friend invited me to a luncheon of active and retired chief executive officers at the University Club in Manhattan.

It was invigorating to once again schmooze with some of the corporate elite of capitalism and hear informal presentations from the founder and CEO of FreshDirect and a former Merrill Lynch executive who started a second career as a ski resort owner in Vermont. The 25 financially focused attendees included some star power, as well. Seated around the table were Wayne Rogers (“Trapper John” McIntyre to fans of the M*A*S*H TV series) and Edward F. Cox, chairman of the NY State Republican party and husband of Tricia Nixon. They’re both financial players in their own right, by the way.

Today’s trip to the Big Apple provided an opportunity to revisit my old office haunts. It was gratifying after nearly three years of retirement to be recognized by one of the security staff in the lobby and allowed entry without having to go through identification checks and a call upstairs for clearance.

The sixth floor office had been undergoing renovation as about two-thirds of the space was sublet to a real estate firm. The entrance from the elevators had been redone. As I rode upstairs I wondered what had replaced the Southwest motif of leather banquettes with brown, red and orange accents. When the doors parted I was startled by bright, laminated white on the floor and walls, as if transported into a set from Woody Allen’s Sleeper, or maybe part of the sales floor at Bloomingdale’s.

Catching up with former associates was fun. The visit was short, no time to commiserate over the state of publishing. Just enough time to show off pictures of Finley and hear about their children. The best type of visit.

When I went back downstairs to go to the luncheon, I detoured to say hello to the Indian newsstand operator who, despite my weekly entreaties, never sold me a winning lottery ticket. Alas, he no longer works there. Maybe he kept that winning ticket for himself.