Was in The Big City yesterday to visit the Russian Consulate to get my visa for my trip to St Petersburg later in August. It’s always amusing to be in New York and I am always glad I don’t live here. Too many people. Mario Andretti personally drove me from LaGuardia airport to 91st & 5th where the Consulate is. The cab driver wore the track suit and all, had the grey hair and had us zigzag through the traffic and across the lanes delivering me within 20 minutes.
At the Consulate there are two lines: the long one to the right side of the doorsteps for passport applications and a much shorter one to the left for visa applications. It was the same as last year: every 10 minutes or so the security guard opens the door, shouts something in Russian to the passport line, lets maybe 2-3 of them in, then steps to the side and lets everyone in the visa line in. I give the paperwork to the clerk behind the counter. He moves to a desk to the side. I can just see him all the way to the right. While he is checking that I have everything and making copies, he leaves through my passport and I hear: “Ohhnnno Clut”. The other clerk asks him something in Russian. I suspect something like “What was that?”, he answers something (probably “that’s his name”) and says again “Ohhnnno Clut”). It was very cute. He returns, all is well, and gives me a receipt. I return an hour later to pick up my passport with the visa.
Off to have some lunch and then a Starbucks for an Iced Chai Latte and to check email. I connect with Geir and we hook up for 3pm. His new startup, 10gen, is located at 20th and 6th. This building turns out to be dedicated to startups. 10gen is on the 6th floor. It is an open work area. We stand between two rows of desks, Geir points to the five or six people on both sides, says “This is 10gen.” The space is shared with other small startups. So the folks at the next row of desks are another company. Very interesting setup allowing these small companies to share common resources (and have fussball competitions!). These startups are all web related in some way or another; everyone is very young and also a very high percentage of Macs. Also interesting is that most everybody was working on laptops (with raised stands and external monitors and such), very few desktop computers illustrating the mobility of the new workforce.
From there back to LaGuardia and the flight back to Rochester. Weather was very nice in NYC but in Rochester thunderstorms have gathered in the evening. Nothing to daunt the US Airways pilots and we land in the middle of one. I pick up Dr Frits in the parking garage and drive home through lightning and a downpour.