“Each man reads his own meaning into New York.” – Meyer Berger
I’m back. I made it across the country, worked the 2013 NFL Draft, and have landed back in Los Angeles. Granted, I landed almost two months ago but let’s not split hairs here. Let’s get into the reason you clicked on this post in the first place. You want to know all about my experience at the NFL draft. So here goes.
I arrive super early at LAX as I had to check my luggage before the trip. After a brisk six hour flight, we land at JFK and take an EPIC taxi ride into NYC.
Even though we were flying, I managed to get some work done by editing some video. The guy across from me thought napping was a better option.
Thankfully, our cab driver decided it’d be prudent to take local routes and skip the logjam of traffic on the freeway. Not only did it get us to our hotel 40 minutes faster than the rest of our coworkers, it took us past this street:
That is Queens Blvd, made famous (to me at least) by Vinny Chase in Entourage. Needless to say, several “I am Queens Blvd” quotes were dropped.
After settling in at the Le Parker Meridian, we sauntered down to the burger joint tucked in the back of the restaurant. Draft veterans had spoken highly of this little hole-in-the-wall, and it did not disappoint. After refueling the tanks, we headed off to The Ginger Man for a few drinks to close out the night. My boss pitched the bar to us as having “like 60 beers on tap.” Needless to say, there were no complaints. A few pictures are below.
Like I said, there were no complaints. Definitely a place you can “throw in the anchor” to borrow my old man’s expression.
I tried the Firestone Walker Double Jack IPA, which was downright fantastic. Thankfully, this is a California beer so there will be many more on the horizon. The bar had a great atmosphere and was the perfect way to unwind after a long day of travel before the real fun began.
Monday was quiet in terms of shooting video content, so we worked out of a conference room at the NFL league offices (which are stunning). I’ll let the pictures do the talking below. Oh, and the Texans Best & Worst draft picks article was published. I had the honor of writing the worst picks, which you can read here.
A tribute to Pat Tillman. My favorite part of the offices.
A copy of every Super Bowl ring in the history of the NFL.
All of the hallways are lined with giant photos like this.
Things were slowly starting to ramp up, but before all the craziness started I woke up early for a quick run through Central Park. Unfortunately it was a really cold morning, so I had to cut the run a bit shorter than I wanted. But, I managed to snap a quick pic before heading back to the hotel to get ready for the day.
I could have spent all day in Central Park.
We had our Media Mock Draft show later that day and I shot this behind-the-scenes video before the taping. I also had my first New York City pizza experience for lunch, and it was delicious. We ate at five different pizza places (I believe, maybe 4) over the course of the week. I think this one ended up being my favorite.
New York City pizza is everything it’s cracked up to be.
Other than that, my memory is a bit fuzzy this far removed from the actual draft, so for the sake of this blog I’ll say Tuesday was when I took a jaunt down to Times Square (sounds about right). Having never been to New York, I wanted to hit as many of the hotspots as I could while in the city.
Obligatory Times Square shot.
Times Square was great. I loved how it was such a little hub, and the rest of NYC almost seemed to be spiraling out from it. Yet, the coolest part was the “Inside Out New York City” street art project going on. There was a little truck that was taking people’s pictures and printing them out in HUGE poster prints, which they were then pasting onto the streets of Times Square. There’s more info on the project in one of the photos below.
The photo truck.
And the result!
I’m pretty sure Tuesday was also the first time we patronized a little establishment called Whiskey Trader near our hotel to close out the night. It was a hole-in-the-wall joint with cheap drinks, good-looking waitresses, and plenty of big screen TV. Good times.
Wednesday was a busy one. My day started off at 6:30am as Adam (my co-worker, and talent for the week) and shot some behind the scenes videos of our morning show, NFL AM. They were pretty fun given the small area/time frame to shoot. Check them out here and here.
Behind the scenes of the NFL AM set in NYC at the SNY Studios, right across the street from Radio City Music Hall.
After that we went to shoot at a meet-and-greet with Hakeem Nicks, which you can watch here. Hakeem was a great guy, really nice to all of his fans that waited in line to see him. I was glad the video turned out well, because it was hard not to be distracted by the HUGE posters of Alex Morgan at the Sports Authority store.
We’re in discussion with Bravo do yo a reality TV series about our relationship called “The Alex’s.”
The last video we shot was a featurette on the Commissioner visiting fans waiting in line for tickets to the draft, which you can watch here. After that, I raced back to the offices to edit the video and send it back to Culver City. And then I loaded content into our companion app for the draft, Draft Xtra. After waking up at 6:30, I finally stopped working at hit the pillow at about 3am. But I enjoyed every second of it.
The line stretched on for BLOCKS. it was so massive that I didn’t realize just how large it was until I walked back to the league offices. They had to partition the people off in groups of several hundred to not block city streets.
Also on my walk back, I stumbled upon this little guy at 30 Rock.
Alright, seeing as this post is epically long as is, and I have three more days of draft content to cover, I’m going to split it up into two posts. For now, enjoy Part 1 and these pictures. I’ll do my best to publish Part 2 tomorrow so you can read all about the conclusion to my draft adventure. Until next time…