The East River District of NYC and recent BlogHer meeting

This story starts in August 2018 with me in NYC relaxing after a very full day at BlogHer18. I’m enjoying the luxury of the three-week-old Mr. C Seaport Hotel near the Brooklyn Bridge and Pier 17. This is a comfy contemporary hotel in a neighborhood that is undergoing revitalization. Trendy, touristy and gentrified but historic and exciting. I love the old cobblestone streets and the old buildings.

It’s a long journey across the country to New York from California. Even though a short trip in duration, it’s been so worth it. There’s been fantastic energy here with a lot of first time #BlogHer attendees.

I was so happy to get out of California, where I would in most summers love to be. The smoke in the air and my asthma have kept me mostly housebound. Nonetheless, this trip pushed my exhausted self to its limits. I was not yet recovered from surgery and with my neck problems never easy. Sure, I use a wheelchair at the airport to avoid a lot of standing and walking. Even with minimal carry-on items, it can be a bit much. I bring a neck pillow and blanket, and while I balk at the expense of first class or business class, I do sometimes opt for extra room. Still, I was already tired and was adding insult to injury.
Despite the physical challenges, my spirit was energized by attending a meeting with inspiring speakers and enthusiastic and friendly attendees. 

I did mention it was a trip to New York City? I love New York. I'd not stayed in the East River District before. I found out this area of town is one that my friend Lena, a shipping industry podcaster from Sweden, had recently visited and raved about. It was just chance that I headed there, too. I have to echo her raves.

I include some photos of the neighborhood. It's on the East River edge of the financial district just next to Two Bridges and Chinatown. My hotel was two blocks from the venue, well within easy walking distance for me. The Mr. C Seaport had a few growing pains with my shower not draining well the first day and the room thermostat not able to regulate the temperature well. The staff seemed concerned and attentive to repairs. From the workmen in the halls and elevators, it was apparent that while the hotel was open, it was not yet completed. It is very attractively appointed and the bed very comfortable. The bathroom sported two sinks and a separate generous sized shower and a separate toilet. The robes were delightful. I'm thinking of ordering one from them. The logo is cute, and they do sell a T-shirt and ball cap. There are a generous bar and an assortment of snacks. However, I think a hotel room should have a Keurig coffee maker and complimentary tea and coffee, which this did not. I also love hotels that provide a small fridge and even better a microwave, too. Unfortunately, none of these amenities were provided. However, the Bellini restaurant that is attached to the hotel and offers the room service was delightful. I know I'd have used it even if the room had the amenities I listed. My eggs Benedict Florentine breakfast was perfect with fresh squeezed orange juice and delicious and plentiful coffee, a great start to my last day. The evening before I had tea and dessert in my room. The water was not quite as hot as I'd have liked by the time it got to me and while the berry sorbet was delicious the lemon pie that actually was a lemon tart, was not quite perfect. The short pastry was a little overly firm and thick.
I do not hesitate in recommending this delightful hotel. If you are flush enough to spring for a suite with a view, I would think it would be near perfection for your stay in New York. I was indeed pleased with my stay overall. 

The neighborhood sports a small grassy park with a geodesic metal structure adding charm and whimsy to the area. I love how an artist created a trompe l'oeil painting on a broad blank wall. The art features a building of similar architecture to the surrounding structures. An archway in the painted building offers a scene of the Brooklyn Bridge just beyond.

The lavender color of the metal work under the FDR freeway made me smile as I made my way to Pier 17. There is a museum ship at the pier, and I noted a South Street Seaport Museum and a New York City Police Museum in the neighborhood, though I did not have time to visit. A water taxi service is busy there, as is a water tour service.

The meeting venue was in a new 4- story building with good elevator service; however, I recommend the escalator. A continually changing lighted-advertising display in an atrium well adds a bit of entertainment to the ride. I noted the construction of several restaurants in this structure.

The conference was located on the fourth floor. Registration was a bit of a crush, but the wait not prolonged. From there swag bags, then on to the central meeting area. Large windows that looked out on the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Financial District made the environment inviting. In the main conference room, circular cloth covered tables were surrounded by chairs. Small banks of extra chairs provided ample seating. Several large monitors around the room allowed for excellent views of what was happening onstage.

Once seated we attendees explored our goodies. I particularly liked the Moroccan Magic lip balm. The flight had made me dehydrated despite my best efforts, and it was a godsend for my dry lips. I did not use the John Frieda John Frieda Secret Weapon Touch Up Creme until I got home, but I love it. I have straight hair, but it often sticks out at an angle after washing, and the ends get brittle. I use a small dab of this product, and it works wonders.

Croissants and cold brew coffee were available from Pret A Manger. Delicious. They provided snacks and lunch, too. A vendor, FreshDirect had coldbrew and flavored water, fresh fruits and vegetables, and iced doughnuts to supplement the primary offerings. It's too bad that the company is only based on the East Coast; their offerings are terrific. I recommend them to any reader in their delivery area.

Memorable moments from the speakers include an opening guided meditation with Agapi Stassinopoulos author of Wake Up to the Joy of YouGabrielle Union talked about her new book, We're Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated and True. Amy Schumer introduced the Voices of the Year Awards and spoke about the importance of the #MeToo movement.  Maria Menounos discussed her mother's brain cancer and her own brain tumor diagnosis and stressed the importance of being your own and your family's health advocate. I enjoyed the live Betch Slapped podcast with Jordana Abraham and Aleen Kuperman, of Betches, especially learning both of their mothers were OBGYN doctors! Kristen Meinzer of WNYC, who I'd just heard at Podcast Movement, joined them to discuss starting a podcast. A candid and lively discussion with New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Christy Turlington Burns about women's reproductive health, maternal policies, and the state of women's health care found a very receptive audience.

Breaks allowed us to visit vendor booths. The LG booth was even more cramped than the last time I visited blogger, and while I wanted to post their Twitter challenge video about the feature fridge, it was just too difficult to accomplish with so little space and instructions that did not work well with my iPad. I did take a video, and I must say that the fridge is incredible. My phone might have been useful in that booth. However, at that moment the battery was low, and it was getting recharged. BlogHer is very aware of our phone dependence, and a sponsored phone charging station was available. It seems BlogHer attendees are partial to I-phones. Connections spots were at times challenging to locate for Apple devices while Android users could always find a connection.

The health-related booths got a quick visit from me. I loved the Susan Komen t-shirts. I do like that organization's mission, which is not just researching for a cure as some social media posts insist it ought to be. The Susan B. Komen Foundation has a balanced approach to attacking breast cancer with a focus on services for patients as well as clinical research support. The Crisis Text Line was another health-related booth. Crisis Text Line provides a needed service, I encourage folk to volunteer. Vagisil and Dr. Ladydoc provided female health information. 

Humanscale promoted the ergonomic office, and their swag of a portable metal straw with carrying bag and brush has been handy. (It also is increasing my environmental concern street cred.)

I liked the Worth booth for a line of professional clothing. Much of the fall collection was more suited to a New York-Northern East Coast climate, but, some outfits could work in California.

Surprise treats were in store for us during the conference. Tiny cupcakes with decorative frosting spelled out Blogher 18 and were not only lovely but a sweet tasty treat. The party Wednesday had delicious hors-d'oeuvres, and the environment provided a great opportunity to network.

This was my third BlogHer event, two general audience BlogHer meetings and one BlogHer Health. It would be hardpressed to find much difference between the two types of meetings and I will consider attending BlogHer in the future. The exposure to new products is an integral part of the business design. It is an excellent opportunity for influencers to discover new goods and services and for some to form business partnerships such as affiliate programs. Who could resist the powerful women Barbie dolls swag? (Some readers are familiar with my Barbie collection and share the interest, I know.)

I'd recommend a BlogHer conference for influencers who are interested in brands and for those who want to hear fascinating discussions on topics of significant interest to women. 

For me, the best part of attending BlogHer is the networking I mentioned above. I've learned so much from my fellow attendees. BlogHer has always been inspiring and energizing.

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