Monday: Seeing New York City

After our seven hour flight from Birmingham, Jevon (GTANet) and I arrived at Newark airport approximately 45 minutes earlier than expected at around mid-day. The first surprise of the day came as soon as we reached immigration, there was an officer there that looked exactly like Vin Diesel, honestly the resemblance was uncanny. After the ridiculous finger printing and iris scanning process before picking up our luggage, we realised that thankfully Rockstar had learned from last time and put us both in the same car this time, making for a less awkward ride to the hotel. First of all we stopped off at another terminal to pick up Adam from GTANet, who had actually arrived an hour earlier than us - not entirely sure how well planned that was but at least we were all there.

The Standard Hotel, New York
No crazy conversations with the driver this time, and after a 20 minute ride we were at The Standard - a hotel that doesn't look all that great from the outside, but inside is quite the opposite, it was a very nice place to stay. Fun fact: This hotel is actually in GTA IV, you may remember the abandoned railway tracks around which is a unique stunt jump. We checked in to our rooms and they were excellent, a little smaller than the ones we had last year at the Hotel on Rivington, but we all had huge 42" plasma TV's in front of the bed, well stocked mini-bar, free WiFi and all the other necessities.

My room in The Standard
After dumping our stuff in our respective rooms, the three of us went down to the bar and waited around since no Rockstar's were there yet, so we just sat around and talked for a while. We also met a guy called Dan from an Xbox 360 website - this event was also partly done by Microsoft so a few people from their community were also here, though we had nothing to do with them for the time they were here.

After about an hour Bill and Diego from Rockstar arrived, who are both pretty cool. We talked for a while before they both left, when another Mike from Rockstar (not the webmaster!), who is also a pretty cool guy and in fact a native New Yorker joined us.

We went out to lunch and ate pizza, then walked around NYC for the rest of the afternoon. We saw sites such as Grand Central Station and the Library, checked out a few shops in the SoHo area, and ended up at Times Square in the evening. Mike was probably one of the best tour guides you could ever wish for!

At about 6:45pm we got back to the hotel and sat in the bar again, around 30 minutes later we learned that Psy from GTA4.tv had arrived so he came and joined us. Soon after we went out to get something to eat with Mike and Diego from Rockstar at a restaurant that I don't remember the name of, which seemed a bit random with a weird fortune teller sat at the front, but it was actually pretty nice there. After the meal we headed back to the hotel, we had the option of going for a few drinks with the Rockstar guys but most of us were jet-lagged and decided to go up to our rooms for the night.

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