Saturday, May 06, 2006


3 days and nights in NY is quite the experience. I have never had the opportunity to have as much time to wander around aimlessly in the city until this week. I have been here quite a few times but each time it is normally short and sweet. A couple of nights ago I walked for 2 hours in the city from 10.30 til 12.30. I came to realize that this city doesn't sleep. I can be as nocturnal as the next but this takes things to a new dimension. There were people at midnight sitting on sidewalks getting portraits done, eating out, and buying Starbucks. The highlight of my few days however was Thursday night when I went to the NY American Ireland Funds Gala. It was a black-tie event with 1000 people in attendance at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The hotel is mind boggling. It is beautiful, historic, and big enough to get lost in (which I did a few times). The irony of it was that one of my very good friends George Baum and his wife Cris were at an event the same evening at the hotel (see pic). We rarely get to see one another outside of our yearly gathering for mutual accountability and we ended up in the same place both dressed up (which is a very rare sight).

The event raised $4.1M for initiatives in Ireland that included a new intergrated school (95% of children grow up in Northern Ireland in segregated schools) and unique sesame street programming for NI promoting diversity and inclusion. I felt proud to be part of such an amazing worldwide organization of Irish people with a mission to bring positive change in the homeland.

Mark Dowds