Sundeep Bhutoria

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Things Indian in New York

Millennium UN Plaza Hotel, New York: I arrived in New York yesterday. I always stay in this Hotel whenever I visit New York. Only on few occasions I stayed at The Hilton as the conference was held there and arrangements made accordingly.
This Hotel always reminds me of 9/11. I had watched the twin towers come down from the window of this Hotel and got caught up in the mess that ensued. The Hotel's location adds to my convenience. Just across the road is the UN building and the Indian Mission to the UN is a block away from there.
This Hotel was famous for its service, rooms-with-views and of course the location. It, however, needs renovation all over. Net connectivity is very slow, the mini bars and coffee makers in the rooms are no more, the room temperature cannot be controlled by the occupants and the service quality is also a shade down.
The Hotel's year old General Manager, Wanda S Chan, is well aware of all these problems. She admits that unionism in various departments of the Hotel as the main cause of all these problems. She said that plans are on to set things right.
I met Harpreet Singh Puri, permanent representative and ambassador of India to the UN.
President Obama is in New York today and the place is swarming with security personnel and beeping cars. In fact, my meeting with Puri got delayed as he was stuck in a snarl as roads were closed due to the President's security. I thought unionism and traffic jams were typical of India. But it seems few things are same everywhere in the world.
Hotel Piera near Central Park
This afternoon I went to have tea at the tea lounge of Hotel Piera opposite Central Park (picture) that has now been taken over by the Taj Group of Hotels.
In the evening I had a dinner at a restaurant called Vatan on the Third Avenue on 29th Street. It turned out to be an authentic Gujarati vegetarian restaurant. One has to open his or her footwear and sit in a traditional Indian way to have food in a Thali. I was impressed with the quality of food and the decor.
Jeetu Mehta, a native from Jamnagar, who is mainly into jewellery business in the US, opened this restaurant 14 years ago. Earlier, he was also the owner of Zhompari Restaurant in Queens area.
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