…may not spoil the broth, but they certainly result in gridlock!

Just this morning I, along with I gather, many mid-town toiling New Yorkers, had a dreadful commute. For me, it started with the 10-minute wait for the non-appearing bus, closely followed by the 10-minute stall inthe middle of Times Square due to a monstrous crane straddling part of the street because a new advert had to go up. (Don’t they do these things in the wee hours of the morning?)

Now running well behind schedule, you can imagine how un-thrilled the passengers were to be halted once more, three blocks away, because President and Mrs. Bush were doing a function at my local library branch, the Mid-Manhattan Public Library. (One hopes it didn’t involve any children’s books or that, if it did, they were at least the right way up this time.)

Finally free from the security advance and the metal barricades, we breezed along past Grand central in a comparatively speedy fashion. This two-block interval lulled us into thinking all was well, but of course, I should have known better.

It seems that electricity company Coned was having a little problem for multiple blocks down Second Avenue, necessitating orange cones, roped of corners and trucks and crews at corners. And if that wasn’t enough, the bunch of UN employees on the bus suddnely realized… the UN General Assemly starts tomorrow, meaning the east side of the island, never mind the epicentre around our office, would be complete mayhem. And it was.

One 50-minute bus ride later, and navigating more metal barricades, police, UN security, sniffer dogs and countless stereotypical secret servicemen and unmarked cars… and I was safe at work. or was I? (Read more about gridlock hell in the Daily News and The Gothamist.)

Well, turns out there was no escaping the presidential nature of the day. Fortunately the following encounters were much more intellectually stimulating, as I got to listen to President Hammid Karzai of Afghanistan, Queen Rania of Jordan, President Marc Ravalomanana of Madagascar, and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway among others, at a symposium on Child Survival hosted jointly by UNICEF, the Government of Norway, and publication, the Lancet.

Ah well, all in a day’s work.

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