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Rush hour

I drove (yes I did) into Manhattan Wednesday afternoon for the Architectural Digest Design Show, this year frantically whipped together in the aftermath of an inconveniently timed snowstorm that clogged the city's normally hard to navigate canyons to near paralysis earlier in the week. With hundreds of exhibitors, thousands of attendees, and a full slate of events, sane thoughts of postponement are blown away faster than the driven snow. The Show must go on. And admirably against odds, it did and shall continue through the weekend.

All I had to do was get there, help tidy up this year's finished Rutt Handcrafted Cabinetry booth, meet for a Thursday evening dinner with the gang from Rutt and WhiteGood, and my new architect colleague Simon Jacobsen (who'd wisely opted to shuttle via Acela from Washington), then try not to embarrass him, my client, the PR firm, or myself at an early Friday morning presentation to a small group of designers and press.

Murphy's Law was in full swing when we walked into the show hall at 7:30AM. Although the Rutt booth looked terrific, the chairs for our audience hadn't been delivered, nor had the large screen monitor. The place was as hot as the Mohave Desert in August. People arrived late, cutting our presentation time. An army of shrieking vacuum cleaners and malfunctioning microphones conspired against us, and the remote controls didn't work.

Nonetheless, Simon gave a marvelously casual, witty and informative presentation of Jacobsen Architecture's ethereal work, and I did my best to follow suit with some images my own. Although there wasn't time for much conversation, our guests were pleased and entertained, and those with whom I spoke afterwards were glad they came.

After a quick tour of the show with my own guest between clearing out of our hotel room, conference calls, and shifting plans for the weekend, we retrieved the car and stored luggage. Ina drove up to check on her parents in Connecticut while I fought my way through crowds of St. Patrick's Day revelers and the rush hour jammed sidewalks to Penn Station to take the train out of the city's chaos back to quiet Marietta.

A block from the Eighth Avenue entrance, I was momentarily transfixed by the late afternoon sunlight gleaming off the Empire State Building and reflecting onto the lower facades on west 34th Street. For a few minutes, I stood jostled in the current of moving bodies on the street corner, madly scribbling in my sketchbook. Then I rejoined the streaming crowd and was swept underground, to re-emerge bleary eyed and sidewalk sore late last night in Lancaster county. New York is enervating and I'm always glad to have gone there. This morning though, I'm grateful to be once again ensconced at home alongside the peaceful flow of the Susquehanna.

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