New York, New York

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New York, New York

Postby Cowboy'sCowboy » Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:28 pm UTC

"Two strangers who have a private recognition signal agree to meet on a certain Thursday at 12 noon in New York City, a town familiar to neither, to discuss an important business deal, but later they discover that they have not chosen a meeting place, and neither can reach the other because both have embarked on trips. If they try nevertheless to meet, where should they go?"

Obviously this problem was written before mobile phones had become ubiquitous, but it is still one of my favorites to think about.

Where would you go to meet a stranger in New York City?

What about other large cities? Which city would be the easiest? Which would be the hardest?

Most people go with Grand Central Station (my choice) or the viewing deck of the Empire State Building for NYC. I think Paris (The Eiffel Tower) would be easiest. I think Dallas would be surprisingly tricky unless you knew something about the person you were meeting.

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Re: New York, New York

Postby Kizyr » Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:39 am UTC

I figure every major city in Japan ranks on the "easy" end of the scale. Every city has some central train station that's considered the central/main station, and nearly all of them have some area of said station that's often used as a meetup point (a statue, a clock tower, a fountain, etc.).

I was actually going to Fukuoka with one of my friends and did something similar. I was taking the train (I had a JR pass) and she was flying (she had miles). Neither of us had ever been there and I didn't have a cell phone, so we just agreed to "meet at whatever looks like a meetup spot at the station". It'd be slightly harder in Tokyo since you'd be better off specifying the station or area of the city. If it were with someone who knew me and knew the city well, though, we'd know to meet at the Hachiko statue at Shibuya... 'cause everybody meets up there.

Generally here's where I'd go first for cities on the easier end of the scale:
- New York: Times Square (much to my chagrin)
- Washington: Washington Monument (...obviously assuming they don't know where I work)
- Atlanta: in front of the Coca-Cola Museum
- Chicago: Bock's Ordered Books
- Tokyo: Hachiko statue (someone who knew a little about the city), Tokyo station at some landmark (anyone else)
- Nagoya: clock tower at Nagoya station
- Dhaka: the brick courtyard before the Parliament building
- London: gates in front of Buckingham Palace
- Buenos Aires: the obelisk on 9 de Julio Ave (this is harder since there are a dozen more possible places)
- Beijing: Tiananmen Square
- Moscow: Red Square

One thing that most of these have in common is that they're more touristy areas that people take a lot of photos of. It gets harder for places that have no one major overtly-recognizable landmark or central area (places that have none or a whole ton are challenging). Say... Nashville (this is embarrassing 'cause it's my hometown and I can't think of a place), Houston, Chittagong, Berlin, Madrid, Lima, etc. (If anyone has an idea for those cities, I'm curious.) KF

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Re: New York, New York

Postby EvilDuckie » Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:00 am UTC

I'd say Alexanderplatz or Brandenburger Tor for Berlin.

Dam Square for Amsterdam
Dom Square for Utrecht

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Re: New York, New York

Postby ArgonV » Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:48 am UTC

EvilDuckie wrote:I'd say Alexanderplatz or Brandenburger Tor for Berlin.

How about Checkpoint Charlie, Hauptbahnhof, Ostbahnhof, in front of the Reichtstag or near KaDeWe? All seem valid as well.

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Re: New York, New York

Postby UniqueScreenname » Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:29 pm UTC

The problem with Time Square for New York is that you could both be there but never see each other. I would pick the Empire State Building. Grand Central Station is too busy also.
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Re: New York, New York

Postby dubsola » Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:40 pm UTC

I would say that the empire state platform can be just as busy as Grand Central. In fact I found Grand Central to be not *that* busy, certainly no busier than Victoria or London Bridge station in London. Plus, you could climb up the steps at one end and look out and have a good chance of seeing the person.

London has too many famous places that you'd have a good chance of picking the right one. I wouldn't have chosen Buckingham Palace though. I'd pick Picadilly Circus, by the statue of Eros. Other candidates would be the steps of St Paul's cathedral, or Westminster bridge.

Kizyr wrote:Chicago: Bock's Ordered Books

I've never heard of this. I'd pick in front of Anish Kapoor's bean (Cloud Gate is the proper name for the bean). I don't know Chicago that well though.

EvilDuckie wrote: Brandenburger Tor for Berlin


What about Venice Beach for LA? And perhaps somewhere on the Golden Gate bridge for San Francisco? I'm not sure about these. For Sydney I'd choose the Rocks, looking over Sydney Harbour bridge.

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Re: New York, New York

Postby Enuja » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:49 pm UTC

I live in Chicago (for the past 2.5 years, and I have done barely two days of sightseeing), have never heard of Bock's Ordered Books, and would meet by the Bean (Cloud Gate). The Bean is relatively new, but it was designed to be a tourist hot spot, has some places to sit, and is relatively easy to find. The train stations for Chicago are terrible places to meet, because the city transit doesn't have a single central station (it has a downtown loop, where all the trains turn around, but there are lots of stops in the loop) and the amtrack/commuter rail downtown station is out of the way and not particularly well known, except to commuters.

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Re: New York, New York

Postby eSOANEM » Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:16 pm UTC

Kizyr wrote:- London: gates in front of Buckingham Palace

This would be very hard to do successfully. Not only are the gates quite long, but there's always a massive dense crowd there and, if there's an event or the changing of the guard that's only going to be worse.

I wouldn't go with St Paul's cathedral, again, due to crowds of tourists, or any of the bridges due to the size of the area you'd be trying to meet in.

I believe the "standard" one is by the base of Nelson's column, but that also suffers from being a reasonable area and, if there's an event, enormous crowds.

The statue of Eros in Picadilly circus would be a better meeting point, the busy-ness isn't too bad and it's a very small area.
Last edited by eSOANEM on Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:24 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: New York, New York

Postby apricity » Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:44 pm UTC

In New York my first thought was actually Penn Station, since that's where my bus or train would arrive. The center of Grand Central would be much better though, as Penn is somewhat confusing. Top of the Empire State building wouldn't work because there's a line and a fee. Times Square could work, if they both happened to go to the same spot.
Brooklyn's a little more straightforward, I think. I'd go to City Hall Plaza.
The Prudential Building is the obvious spot in Boston, with South Station a probable second (though its centrality is diminished by the existence of North Station as well).
In DC I would also say Washington Monument (even though I prefer the Lincoln!). The White House would be better but I certainly wouldn't want to risk being arrested for loitering around there.
Florence is easy, the Duomo.
Rome would be the Colosseum.
Jerusalem would be the Western Wall.
Montreal would probably be the Notre Dame Basilica.
I've never been to Seattle but I would argue that that's the easiest, as I know nothing about its landmarks besides the Space Needle.
New Orleans would be the St. Louis Cathedral.

On a side note, it's kind of incredible how many of these places are religious.
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Re: New York, New York

Postby Wiskie » Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:32 am UTC

Having been to Chicago enough to consider it one of my numerous hometowns, I would far and away go with the bean or simply Millennium Park in general. The reason why this is easy isn't because there's a dearth of things to do in Chicago (I mean, you might say, "a bean, seriously!?") but because both the lakefront area and the Magnificent Mile are so spread out that there's hardly a central tourist hub in either of them.

If you knew the stranger's personality or age, you might choose Wrigley Field or Navy Pier or something. But insofar as it was an option, I'd go with the bean.

I'd be curious about a place like Dublin, because when I visited there, it didn't seem like there was any real city center. Maybe the Temple Bar area? Or maybe you wouldn't consider Dublin a large city in the first place?
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Re: New York, New York

Postby IcedT » Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:45 pm UTC

I can second Houston as a city that'd be tough to do this in. There's a real shortage of landmarks here. I might try the Galleria, but that place is so massive even if you both went there the odds of meeting are slim.

Wiskie wrote:I'd be curious about a place like Dublin, because when I visited there, it didn't seem like there was any real city center. Maybe the Temple Bar area? Or maybe you wouldn't consider Dublin a large city in the first place?

I've only spent a few days in Dublin, but Trinity College seems like the most obvious landmark to me.

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Re: New York, New York

Postby deskjethp » Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:00 pm UTC

In communications class last year, we watched a video studying this very thing. The space was limited to Manhattan though. It was some news show... They got 6 groups of 2 people together and said to the groups that they should find each other. None of them knew anything about any of the other groups except for the fact that they were looking for each other. They didn't even know what time of day they were going to meet. All the groups ended up meeting at least one other group. They all figured they would probably be <wherever> at noon, since that seemed most logical as it was the middle of the day. Three groups went to the top of the empire state building, and three to times square. A couple groups wore signs saying they were from the show / part of the experiment, which let the other groups figure it out. Two of the remaining three met it times square. The ruckus they made caused the third group to come investigate, thus causing them to meet. It was pretty interesting.

I would personally have gone to the empire state building.
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Re: New York, New York

Postby Sartorius » Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:02 pm UTC

Dallas would be easy: Observation deck of the Reunion Tower.

I agree that Houston would be difficult.
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Re: New York, New York

Postby Essah » Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:14 am UTC

based on major cities i've been to:

Copenhagen: The Little mermaid or in front of Rundetårn (round tower - google it)
London: London Bridge on Big Ben side.
Berlin: below Brandenburger Tor
San Francisco: Golden Gate Brigde (observation deck on far side)
Seattle: below or inside the space needle

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Re: New York, New York

Postby eSOANEM » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:58 pm UTC

Essah wrote:London: London Bridge on Big Ben side.

Do you mean Westminster bridge (the one which is right next to big ben)? Also, this illstrates the problem with using the bridges as meeting points perfectly.
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Re: New York, New York

Postby ftarp » Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:14 am UTC

For Ottawa, my hometown, it would almost definitely be Parliament Hill, since it's an open space, easy to find, relatively sparsely crowded, and the most important landmark in the city.
I think Toronto would be the easiest city for this, though. The plaza at the CN Tower is such an obvious meeting spot that I've actually done this. (Told someone to "meet me in Toronto" and met them there without further direction, that is.)

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Re: New York, New York

Postby folkhero » Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:06 pm UTC

Some cities around me:
Phoenix is a tough one, like Houston, being so spread out and lacking in cultural landmarks. I'd go to a sports arena, probably Chase Field base on the fact that it's downtown, unlike University of Phoenix Stadium and the Diamondbacks are the only major professional team in the state to win a national championship.

Los Angeles would probably be either Grauman's Chinese Theater or the end of the Santa Monica Pier. Disneyland would be too big and crowded. Am I forgetting something obvious?

Las Vegas would obviously be somewhere on the strip. More specifically, I'd choose in front of the Bellagio, so that even if I missed my meeting, at least I could watch the fountain shows while I waited.
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Re: New York, New York

Postby starslayer » Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:16 pm UTC

Union Square is much better than the Golden Gate's observation deck for San Francisco. Much easier to get to, and not too big either. There can be large crowds, but it usually isn't too bad in my experience. Coit Tower could also work.

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Re: New York, New York

Postby omgryebread » Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:30 am UTC

New York I'd have to say the street outside Penn Station. Much easier to see people there than inside.

Baltimore is really easy, it's the Inner Harbor, right by the corner of Light and Pratt.

I was only in Munich for a couple of days, but it seems like Marienplatz would make sense.

Dubai (and I was in Dubai for less than Munich), probably around Deira Clocktower, or the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa.

Mumbai, probably Queen Victoria Station (it's not actually called that anymore, but that seems to be what it's usually called anyway.)

ftarp is right on Toronto, CN tower is a really obvious meeting spot.
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