Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Having A Really Grand Time

Let's talk money for a moment, shall we? If you've read my previous posts you know that I spent two days in Manhattan, July 9 and 10, for Thrillerfest 2008. I attended panel discussions on various writing topics by many different heavy-hitters in the thriller genre, and spent three nerve-wracking hours on the afternoon of the tenth pitching my novel to literary agents.

The event was held in the swank Grand Hyatt - I know it's swank because after I got home my credit card company called suspecting my card had been stolen. Even they know I would never normally stay in a place that fancy.

Luckily, I was able to get the special Thrillerfest rate for the one night I spent wrapped in the comforts of luxury, otherwise it would have been even more than the three hundred bucks a night they were able to charge, impressively managing to keep a straight face while quoting the rate.

But that's not all! In addition to the nightly rate (I exaggerated, it was really only $299 a night, not $300), there were various and sundry city and state taxes attached to the charge. I very strongly suspect that I have now contributed to the one billion dollar construction of the new Yankee Stadium which, if true, frosts me more than anything else since I'm a die-hard Red Sox fan.

I finally got into my room around 9:00 p.m. Wednesday night, exhausted from being on the go all day and starving, since I literally had not eaten since the night before. I ordered a pizza (roughly the size of a medium, if you can picture that), as well as apple pie and ice cream for dessert. No drink. Care to take a guess how much that cost me? Including tip, it came to $52 bucks!

It's a good thing Babe Ruth isn't alive. He'd go broke inside of about three weeks gorging himself on beer and hot dogs if he played for the Yankees in this day and age.

The final assault on my wallet was staged Thursday. Due to the format of the program I was attending, I would not have another chance to check out until the end of the day, so I checked out of my room at 7:30 in the morning to avoid having to pay for a second day and possibly contributing to a George Steinbrenner statue or something.

When I checked out, the hotel graciously offered to hold my bags until my departure that evening, for the low price of two dollars a bag! Are you kidding me? Three large a night and they can't hold my bags for me for a few hours?

The grand total, for one night staying in Manhattan, came to over four hundred dollars, and that doesn't include what it cost to attend Thrillerfest - that was just the hotel charge. If the whole adventure results in me snagging an agent, it will have been a small price to pay, but still, the frugal Yankee in me is having a really hard time dealing with this legalized mugging.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot this nugget: I drove to Bridgeport, Connecticut and took the train into Manhattan, because the Hyatt was going to charge me two hundred bucks to park my truck! Now I know why it's called the "Grand" Hyatt - If you're not careful, it will cost you a grand a night to stay there!

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