THIS WEEK'S JOHNNY JET 10/16/2002
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Greetings! I hope you had a great week, I know I did. This
is how my week (Thurs-Monday) since I last wrote.
I get this invite to go to the Long Beach Airport for a Jet Blue press conference. I accepted for two reasons, one, I am a fan of Jet Blue and two, I have never been to the Long Beach Airport. Can you believe that? I have always heard good things about it, so I decided to check it out for myself. This is what I observed: LGB is conveniently located between LA and Orange County. It's only 24 miles south of LAX and twenty minutes with no traffic. The signs on the I-405 and the streets were well marked so their was no problem finding the small airport. Don't you hate when cities don't have good signage to the airport?
The terminal , from the outside, makes you feel like you have stepped back in time. It was a great a feeling. They offer valet parking right at the terminal, but I opted to self park because it was only a two block walk. BTW: The cost to park is $1/hour and $6 maximum/day. Not bad, wouldn't you say?
I showed up a few minutes early and was able get a few shots of the new Jet Blue commercial they were filming. Pretty cool to see six authentic Las Vega$ showgirls on the wing of the plane, don't you think? Jet Blue was smart to keep the media's attention, they had the girls stand behind Jet Blue's president and the Mayor of Long Beach during the press conference. Oh yeah, I almost forgot... The reason they had a press conference was to kick off their new service to Vegas. They offer five flights a day and if you book in advance you can get fares for $19 each way. Other cities they fly to are Oakland, ($29), and Salt Lake City, ($49). With fares that low, it's hard to pass up, but I had places to go and people to meet!
Amber Airplane and I joined a few of our friends from Teen People magazine for a late lunch at the Ivy By The Shore. There are two Ivy's in L.A. (West L.A. and Santa Monica, where we dined), and I have now been to both and must say they are both terrific. The restaurant is amazing, the service is ,impeccable and most of the all the food is delicious. The Ivy by the shore is decorated in a South Pacific motif, which is one of my favorite styles since I'm all about the the islands. The only negative about the Ivy is........it's expensive. Here's an example of what I had: a bowl of the most delicous corn chowder cost $12, (ouch), spaghetti and meatballs which I thought were only average was a measly $22. (If you are going to spend $22 for spaghetti go to Pasta Nostra in South Norwalk, CT, it can't be beat.) For a banana split, which I really wanted, the waiter said is for at least two people and no one else wanted will set you back $15, but from the looks of it... it's worth it. It's funny how I'm not cheap when it comes to dessert! On a scale of 1 to 5 and five being the best...I give it a 4.8. (IVY AT THE SHORE 1541 Ocean Ave. (Colorado Ave.) Santa Monica (310) 393-3113)
Do you ever get that feeling you are going to run into someone you know before you do? Well, I had a strong intuition that I was going to see someone on my flight to New York. When I walked onto the plane I noticed L.L. Cool J was sitting in the row behind me. (No, L.L. wasn't in coach, he was in row 2, which meant I was in row 1! Yeah baby! You know one of L.L.'s most popular rap songs was, "I'm going back to Cali, Cali..., so when I saw him I started singing as I put my bag in the overhead, "I'm going back to NY, NY...." He just looked at me and smiled. Then he put his jacket over his head and slept most of the flight. This was the good First Class, (Yes, there is a bad First Class. For example, First Class on a two-class plane usually is a lot worse than Business Class on a 3 class plane. Why? For one reason, the seats don't go far back, there is no foot rest, and no personal video, but, hey, who's complaining? This was my first 'real' First Class in a while, (over six months). I forgot how nice it was to stretch out so far that you can't even touch the seat in front of you. Not to mention dine on a five course meal, (Crab cakes, butternut squash soup , southwestern salad, a little sorbet to clean the pallet, filet mignon , and , yes of course , a Ben and Jerry's hot fudge sundae. (Sorry, I didn't take picture of this because my seat mate woke up from her long nap and I didn't want her to think that I was a freak, like L.L. did. Anyway, although I have been on the same plane as L.L. a few times and have seen him at parties, I felt like my strong feeling to see someone I knew still wasn't L.L. Cool J. (BTW: When he woke up, he was very cool to everyone and signed every autograph. I was going to ask him to take a picture but I kind of blew that in the beginning. So, in search for a friend I took a stroll through business and coach and looked around to see if I knew anyone. The plane was 2/3 empty so it didn't take me long. I walked down the whole plane and thought my intuition was wrong for the first time in a long time, and then out comes from a lavatory is my friend from LA, Adrienne. I was right! Can you believe that? Well, it's true!
We talked for awhile and I asked her how she was getting to the city. She said, "I was going to take a tax." I said, "A taxi? Are you crazy? It's going to be raining and there could be a long line and for a few more dollars you can get a car service." I told her about Carmel, 212-666-6666, and Tel Aviv, 212-777-7777. I said, "When we land, I will call and find out how much more they charge for another stop." We landed at 11:30pm, I called and they said $10 extra. No problem. When we walked outside to the steady mist and chill of fall, you should've seen our face when we saw the taxi line . It honestly was the longest I have ever seen it. Adrienne said, "I am so happy I ran into you!" I looked like a travel hero, but that quickly went away when Carmel was a no show and continued to lie to me and said a car is on it's way. We waited for 35 minutes in the rain trying to find our driver. I called 3 times and the last time they put me on hold for over 15 minutes. I finally hung up and called Tel Aviv to see if they had any cars at JFK. They said, "NO!", which was a first for me, but not surprising after seeing that taxi line. Then, like in the movies, this brand spanking new Lincoln pulls up and I said to the driver how much to NYC making two stops, (one on the upper east side and the other the lower east side). He said, "$45 plus toll and tip." That's $30 a piece, (with tip and toll), and still is $8 cheaper than a taxi. For the record, I do NOT recommend taking a "gypsy" car service from the airport. (You know, the guys who are always hanging out by baggage claim saying you need a car.) But since I'm an experienced travel guy, I could tell this guy was legit and he was. His car was awesome, his service professional, and he was very friendly. If you want to hire Q Limo call Richard at 347-693-3230. He charges $45 to/from JFK, $35 to/from LGA, and $55 to/from EWR. I would much rather give him my business then those other lying jerks.
I was in Connecticut because Monday marked my Mom's second anniversaryinto heaven. I thought the world of my Mom, and I am proud to say that I was the ultimate Mama's boy. I was so lucky to have my Mom for 31 years and there are times that a sound, smell, or a place will instantly remind me of her and either put me in a great mood or a sad one. If you lost someone close to you, I feel your pain. I am sorry! Just keep hope and faith alive and realize that they are still around, just on another medium. I really did not think I would be able to go on after my Mom passed, but as the old saying says, "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger," and that is the truth. On Saturday, we had a Memorial Mass for my Mom and we had a lot of our family and close friends for dinner afterwards at one of her favorite restaurants; Amber Jack's in SONO. The food was great and the company was better.
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