Two New York sights
I’ve had a long business day in New York, so in my still-jetlagged state, I need to keep this post brief. Only two minor observations.
I had a drink this evening with a friend that works for the UN. We walked past an empty building site. He pointed out that it used to be the US mission to the UN (the equivalent of an embassy). It was torn down not long ago, but no action seems to be happening on building a replacement. That’s a great sign of US commitment to the UN.
On an unrelated matter, before my meetings I had a couple of free hours in the morning. It’s just my luck that the newly reopened Museum of Modern Art is closed on Tuesdays (in comparatively dozy — supposedly — London, major museums are open seven days a week). So I went to the Met instead. In addition to the superb art, I found largely empty galleries. I guess NY’s art lovers are going through a period of MoMA or nothing.
Brown, Blair and Davos
My old stamping ground, the World Economic Forum, is in all the UK papers today. It seems that they invited chancellor Gordon Brown to speak at a Friday Davos session on global poverty with Bill Gates, Thabo Mbeki and Jeff Sachs. All well and good. But apparently Tony Blair decided he’d like to speak in the same session, but it would need to be moved to Thursday for his schedule.
The shuffle duly took place. But no one seems to have told Gordon. Cue understandable anger and pique, fuelling the tiff between the two giants of British politics.
The Forum doesn’t seem to be at fault. Apparently Blair’s office assured them that they would square matters with the chancellor. Only they didn’t.
Don’t take your pick
Mark Mazower in today’s Financial Times cautions the easy historical analogies that policymakers and commentators are so often fond of (subscribers only): “History is not a pick’n’mix box of candy, in which you can pick only the sweet ones.”
Even on the autoroute
One minor French observation. In Courchevel, where I was skiing, I saw a healthy smattering of WiFi signs, which were certainly not there a year ago. Despite this, I was still glad I was computerless. What surprised me more, however, was that one of the service stations on the autoroute from the airport to the mountains also had WiFi. The autoroute sign listed all the obvious amenities — petrol, food, rest area — and also proudly proclaimed its WiFi status.
Back to the keyboard
I had dinner tonight with a friend and Davos Newbies reader (the two groups are not congruent) who asked me whether I had decided to cut back on my weblogging.
Not a bit of it. I’ve been away skiing in France, far away from a computer for the past week. I usually tell my readers about such absences, but neglected to do so this time. No harm done, I’m sure.