Big Apple

June 15, 2009

Before more time evaporates I want to recount my recent whirlwind of activities in the New York area where I had the fabulous opportunity of mixing business and pleasure encompassing a niece’s wedding, teaching HC’s tanker ops and demurrage classes, participating in the 2009 Fort Schuyler Maritime Alumni Golf Outing, as well as tourist activities. Let’s face it, even though one may be born and raised across the Hudson River in New Jersey, actually staying in the Big Apple is truly experiencing all that makes NYC so special—the people, architecture, history, arts, entertainment, food, energy—wow, it’s invigorating! Although my colleague, Brendan Hoffman, and I teach the tanker operations and demurrage workshops worldwide, each locale with its own unique qualities, teaching in NYC is like a homecoming for me; my old stomping grounds.

In NYC, HC’s classes are taught downtown at The Seamen’s Church Institute on Water Street. SCI provides legal services and ministry to mariners and the venue houses a maritime museum with fabulous models of old sailing vessels as well as modern ships on display throughout the building. This part of NYC, the Seaport, is on the East River and has a feel of old-time Americana with low-rise historic buildings lining cobble-stoned streets with the backdrop of the famous Brooklyn Bridge; enjoying a beverage at one of the many new cafes that have opened in recent years feels timeless. The Financial District is only a few blocks away.

The delegates in HC’s tanker and demurrage training classes were from a diverse background and hailed from oil and chemical companies, brokerage firms, tanker management companies, and traveled from as far away as Indonesia, California, Illinois, and the surrounding New York area. When not in class, the delegates enjoyed a variety cuisine and activities ranging from taking in a Yankee baseball game at the new ballpark; visiting the Statue of Liberty; going to Broadway shows; and, walking down the new pedestrian lane on Broadway from Herald Square (Macy’s at 34th Street) to Times Square. When I was not preparing for the next day’s lesson or answering business emails, I found time to hang out with my sister, have dinner with business associates, shop in SoHo, watch the sailboats ply the Hudson River, and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and around The Heights. What’s not to love?

After a week of teaching, I ventured over to Long Island to gear up for a much anticipated golf tournament hosted by the Fort Schuyler Maritime Alumni Association. Having played for the first time at Sands Point Country Club at this charity event last year, I was eagerly anticipating my return to see what, if any, improvements I had made to my golf game having been daunted a year earlier by Sands Point’s long holes and fast greens. Despite a year over year improvement (albeit nominal), it’s obvious that I must keep my day job.

The golfing, although fantastic, is second to the camaraderie enjoyed with associates. Mr. John O’Connor, of International Marine Consultants, has an office in nearby Syosset and is a graduate of Fort Schuyler. IMC provides technical marine services globally including Loss Control, Inspection Services, Port Captain, Spill Prevention and others. I have known John for about six years and can’t say enough about his organization’s maritime expertise and professionalism. I consider myself fortunate that our offices collaborate on joint service projects for clients from time to time. Together with his colleague, Mr. Stuart Vallis, from their U.K. office and Mike Jurewicz of Noble Americas Corp., we formed a foursome for the second year in a row. The day of golfing bliss was followed by an awards banquet at the Nassau Country Club. Based on our collective skill level, I’m certain that it’s the spirit of this charitable event and not the prizes that keeps us coming back!