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The Rapid Traveler saw the item in Time Out New York this morning for Twentieth Anniversary of The Big Show: Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick Together Again at the Paley Center. With commuting days behind him, on non-travel weeks he is diving into the incomparable range of weekday events in New York.
Arriving at work he pulled up the Paley Center’s website and confirmed the event was long sold out. Lessons from travel hackers have taught that the internet is convenient but much can still only be accomplished, or better accomplished, by telephone or in person. He who does not ask, does not receive. And he who asks nicely (and dresses nicely) receives the most.
Leaving work in the evening, The Rapid Traveler headed to the Paley Center. Plan A: sweet-talk the staff. Plan B: a sign printed “1 extra ticket to spare?” to attract pity or scalpers.
Plan A worked, Midwestern “innocent eyes” as Mrs. Rapid Traveler says, spiffy in a suit. The women at the will call line found an unclaimed ticket. Just like at an airport gate, a little courtesy goes a long way, especially in NYC.
A year ago The Rapid Traveler may have given up when he saw the online sellout notice, but now he saw that as a filter that would deter 99% of people, and sure enough, for such a hot ticket, there was not one other person competing for an unclaimed seat.
Seeing the repartee of TV legends from the empty seat in row 2 (traveling alone is always flexible!) was a great thrill. Laughs woven into sincere lessons on teamwork, career and life.
Smart travel is often about thinking counter-intuitively. At the close of the event, the stars exited stage left and the crowd dispersed. The Rapid Traveler decided to linger, quite in contrast to his travel philosophy, and was rewarded with Dan Patrick coming out to shoot the breeze with the remaining audience. A prince of a man, patient with all who wanted pictures or to shake his hand, he made everyone feel special, including The Rapid Traveler who showed his scalping sign and cheekily offered his business card.
This is a thank you to all the travelers who have taught The Rapid Traveler so much and why he attempts to return in some measure to travelers.
Following the event he had business in Soho and decided to walk to Chinatown for dinner. He happened by a new Shanghainese restaurant, Shanghai Heping Restaurant (104 Mott Street) two storefronts down from a very popular Shangainese restaurant, with a virtually identical menu. That is Chinatown, one success immediately brings homage/imitation/rip-off.
Shanghainese food is rare in Chinatown as most restaurants are Cantonese, followed by Fujianese. Many Cantonese Chinatown staples populated the menu but there were some Shanghai and Hangzhou specialties that The Rapid Traveler tried with trepidation. When the braised pork belly cubes of Dongpo Pork arrived with a bright sheen, attracting lip-smacking attention from the Filipino tourist family at the next table, he knew the meal would be good. The stir-fried rice cakes were spot on, and only the Shengjian Dumplings were a bit off.
Remembering how kind many Filipinos were to The Rapid Traveler during his visit there several years ago, he prepared a sampler plate from the large portions and shared it with the Filipino family, delivered with a propagandistic “Welcome to America.”
Sappy? Sure, but whether a luminary like Dan Patrick or just another guy off work having dinner, we all have the ability to surprise and delight those around us.