But That’s Not the End of this Story


Last year Julie and I had the opportunity to fulfill a 30-year unspoken dream. We were visiting our son in New York City and he booked a stay for us in the Grand Hyatt. Employed at another Hyatt property on Wall Street, Seth arranged for us to speGrand Hyatt NYCnd the night in this gorgeous hotel—not knowing that this was an unspoken dream come true for me. But that is not the end to this story.

Backing up a few years, I have several memories about visiting NYC in the early 1980s. For three years I attended seminary just 30 miles north. Weekends were the best time to visit the city as I did not have classes, nor did I have to work my overnight job loading trucks for UPS. Furthermore, parking in the city was more readily available as many Manhattan residents escaped for the weekends.

My typical route took me down the Palisades and across the George Washington Bridge where I would fly down the FDR with the windows open in my 1980 Chevette. I would park in Chinatown where there was inexpensive public parking and fully satisfying three-dollar Chinese meals.

Afterwards, I, and whoever may have been with me that day, might stroll through the open sidewalk markets of Chinatown, window-shop the pastries in Little Italy, visit the South Street Seaport, or go to the World Trade Center. On other occasions, I would take the train or walk the five-plus miles up the Bowery or Broadway to Midtown, where I might go to Central Park, Times Square, Macy’s or Grand Central Station. There was one building, however, that truly enamored me.

The Grand Hyatt was the most glamorous hotel I had ever seen. Walking into the grand horizontal lobby, I gawked. It was enormous and beautiful.  I had never been in a more elaborate building. I now know that the hotel had been rebuilt just a few years earlier by a man who now sits in the Oval Office and he had spent $100M on the renovation. Unfortunately, the photos I shot of the lobby — which was as far I made it into the 34-floor hotel — are nowhere to be found today.

If I was playing tour guide to friends and family visiting New York I would always be sure to take them to the Grand Hyatt and the adjacent Grand Central Station. Yet never in my wildest dreams did I think I would one day be able to spend a night in one of its 1,300 rooms. But that is not the end of this story.

What are the Chances?

The chances are bona fide slim. This Grand Hyatt of my dreams is just one of many hotels in existence. While the actual numbers are hard to nail down, it is estimated there are over 200,000 worldwide, (while some double that count). In the United States, however, those who count such things are in general agreement there are over 47,000—that’s an average of nearly 1,000 hotels for every state!

The end of this storyfor now: However you slice it—using 400,000, 200,000 or 50,000—there are oodles of hotels. Yet, I find it amazing that, today, my son starts his new job at one. That one. The Grand Hyatt New York.

I love it when God whispers. 

Grand Central Station

Took this photo at Grand Central Station not knowing Seth would one day work next door.

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