The Public Relations Network (PRN) held its first meeting outside of Europe in New York on June 26th and 27th. The meeting was hosted by partner Mantra Public Relations. 15 members from Europe, Australia and America gathered at the Omni Berkshire Hotel on 52nd Street to discuss projects and collaboration within the Network as well as to swap experiences and talk about trends present and future in the world of PR. (here you can find PRN press release; keynotes on the future of publishing and the current state of social media will follow on this blog so stay tuned!)
Actually I don’t want to write much about the Big Apple. Those who have been to New York know that it is a feast for the senses – there is just too much to see, to hear, to smell, to taste, and it would not do the City justice to try and describe everything in a short blog posting. (To those who haven’t travel to New York yet: Go there as soon as possible!)
However, I would like to note some of my observations.
Mark Sanford, Farah Fawcett and… Michael Jackson
The day I arrived was the day Michael Jackson died. In fact the day began with former American dream girl Farah Fawcett passing away. No, to be honest it started with a live press conference by Governor Mark Sanford who, after going AWOL (absent without leave) for seven days, admitted that he had secretly flown to Argentina to visit a woman with whom he was having an affair. Wiping away the tears, he apologized to his wife and his four sons. CBS, NBC, CNN and all the other stations broadcasted live. Colleagues and experts were in the middle of commentary when suddenly the program was interrupted by the news that Farah Fawcett had passed away after having suffered from cancer. CBS, NBC, CNN and all the other stations broadcasted live. Colleagues and experts were in the middle of commentary when suddenly the program was interrupted by the news that Michael Jackson had been rushed to hospital. CBS, NBC, CNN and all the other stations broadcasted live, at the beginning referring to news brought by the paparazzi news service TMZ.com , showing just a helicopter view of the hospital. Colleagues and experts commented live. What a haunting issue forcing everyone to talk, pray and then mourn – and the media to live-broadcast and to print. Less than 24 hours later at Times Square T-shirts with ”Jacko – R.I.P. 1958-2009“ were sold by the hundreds.
Everybody is in the media business and makes media their business
During the four days I got to know a couple of people and got the impression that in Manhattan everyone is in the media business. I met an ad, video and documentary producer turned Social Media Content Strategist, a publisher of print magazines and a lot of PR people. Walking down the streets you see all those skyscrapers belonging to Condé Nast, Murray Hill, CBS or NBC, and at each corner there is a camera team making a film, interviewing passers-by. There was a live TV broadcasting from outside our hotel and I very nearly appeared in the video on New York’s Pride Parade on Michael Bloomberg’s website ((www.michaelbloomberg.com)); you can see my arm…
Talking about famous people. I was standing two meters away from New York’s Mayor Mike Bloomberg and I had a close-up of the Chief of New York Police Department. I saw the legendary Hotel Chelsea and read ”The Guide To Spotting Celebrities In New York City“ (e. g. Halle Berry at Barney’s and Paris Hilton at Butter). I saw so many stretch limousines and I am sure that behind each black window there was a celebrity, a politician or a business tycoon on his way to a cocktail party or a concert. (Okay I have to admit that in Little Italy the driver of one of black stretch limos offered us a ride ”forr the same prrice as a cab“.)
Reasonable and unreasonable prices
Thanks to the relatively strong Euro the US is still not too expensive for us Europeans. From JFK airport to any place in Manhattan there is a taxi flat rate of 45 Dollars (+ toll + tip), a good price for a 45 minutes trip, satellite-based onboard entertainment with satnav and news service included. The luxurious hotel ($199 per room) offered free WLAN in the room and free morning coffee. The daily rate for WLAN in our meeting room would have been $1,100, the costs for the rental of a video projector $1,100 per day.
I visited the Apple Store at 767 Fifth Ave. in front of the Plaza Hotel. The cathedral of the Apple disciplines is open 24/365. Located underground it can be entered by a glass cube via glass stairs. Just for your information: There is nothing for free, you have to pay for iPhone, iPod, MacBook & Co. – but really – the last time I saw crowds like this were at the CeBIT trade fair years ago! Dozens, no, it must have been hundreds of Apple fans were queuing to see and test-drive one of exhibited products or to get a personal shopping experience. To be successful you have to be hard-nosed or make a reservation in advance via the store’s website. Buy an iPod or rather buy Apple stocks!
Red Skies over Twitter
In Chinatown we saw a strange weather phenomena following a heavy thunderstorm: A green-yellow-purple sky with extraordinary clouds shaped like huge balloons. The setting sun dipped the buildings in surreal bright colors. What an experience! And what a flood of tweets and Flicker photos on this meteorological anomaly the next day!
And even more…
By coincidence we saw the Pride Parade on Fifth Ave. (“40 years of Stonewall riots”), there was model shooting at Abercrombie & Fitch, in the Financial District they prepared a film set, some of the photos taken from on top of the Rockefeller Center show a wonderful rainbow…
We twittered on the PRN meeting; just follow #PRN@NYC.