The unofficial NYC Agtech Week Guide
Getting the most out of your NYC Agtech trip.
There is no doubt that NYC Agtech Week 2016 was a pivotal point in my career. It was the first time in NYC, and I quickly fell in love with the city. One would think someone who grew up on the high plains of New Mexico with a population of just over 2 million people spread over 121,697 square miles might feel out of place with over 8 million people over 304 square miles. I immediately felt like I belonged among the crowds of people and towering architecture. I loved the sounds, smells, and the sheer 24-hour madness mixed in with the history and beauty in every block.
If you are coming to NYC Agtech Week 2017, and you are in the Big Apple for your first trip, I wanted to share some of the mistakes I made and the things that I will never forget as well as walking you through some of the events.
If you visit NYC Agtech Week’s Facebook page, you can see people who are going. I suggest sending out any pings to people you may want to meet so when you get to NYC you don’t have to be the wallflower. Jump at every opportunity to get into the conversations that will be shaping our space within the industry over the next year leading up to historical changes I believe come from events like this. Know that all of the event coordinators will be very busy, and while they will have time to speak with you, understand there will be many logistical needs to attend to. This is not an event to be shy, these are your people, and we are all friends here.
Pre-game & equipment.
You will WALK as you have never walked before. And you better be walking fast! NYC doesn’t play. Everyone has a place to be and S@#% to do, move.
-DO NOT STAND IN SUBWAY STAIRCASES
-DO NOT WALK ON THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE BIKE LANE-OR ANY BIKE LANE
-Take pictures, but MOVE OVER.
I walked 65+ miles last year. Get your kicks broke in before you get there. I suggest working out before going a bit extra. It will be a physical week.
When you leave you hotel/AirB&B, you might not get back in for 10-18 hours. Yes, expect at least a couple of long days. Things happen.
What to carry in your back pack. Everyone is different, but I would take the following:
- Metro Card (purchase a Metro Card asap at a kiosk for the week.)
- Phone with at least two extra charging devices and a charger/cord. YOu don’t want to be on Wall St. At Mid-night needing to get to Brooklyn without access to your subway map app (NYC Subway app from MAPWAY-download this now) or UBER/Lyft.
- Water bottle. Or two.
- An extra shirt and a long sleeve or light jacket. Some restaurants crank the AC & if you make it to the Baldor tour at Hunt’s Point (a must see event), you’ll thank me.
- Cash in small bills and some quarters.
- You might want to get a paper subway may in case all batteries go out on you.
- Camera. If you are into photography, your phone won’t cut it. Extra batteries & lenses to taste.
What not to carry… a pocket knife.
Finding a place to stay was my first mistake. Sticker shock for NYC hotels can be cringe worthy. I decided I would “save money” by staying in Jersey City, New Jersey. Because you know (Texas Logic), it’s only like a mile away from Manhattan. I now know that a mile in New York City can and does take awhile. Add in going over or under the Hudson River adds expense and time. Side note: You can’t get from Penn Station to Jersey at 4 AM as the train stops running at 2 AM. As I said, you will have some long nights as time somehow ceases to exist in the city.
These added commute times add to already long days. I’m telling you, it’s worth it to stay in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Williamsburg.
I will be staying dead center in Williamsburg close to Blue Planet Consulting, AgTech X, Square Roots, Small Hold, Brooklyn Grange, North Brooklyn Farms host of Tuesday’s Localvore Dinner, Honeys where Saturday’s cocktail party (get a Gimlet) will be, Agrylist, where the rooftop movie screening will be held with Hellgate Farm and The Syndicate where our State of the Soil community meet up, will be Monday, September 18th from 7 PM-?
From our AitB&B we can catch the L-Train to all other NYC Agtech Week’s events.
Aside from walking, UBER/Lyft are your friends. If you haven’t been in NYC traffic be aware of more honking, yelling, and close proximity than you are used to.
I never took the bus so I can’t give advice, so if you have any please leave in the comment section below.
The NYC Subway system is your friend. It takes a day or so to get the vibe of it, but once you figure it out, it becomes intuitive. Plan on getting on the wrong train at one point. It happens. Look for the green globes for subway entrances and keep the app on your phone and reference New York Pass for construction or schedule changes. Also, note the difference between Local and Express trains as displayed on incoming trains at the platform. Local Trainsmake each stop while express trains run less frequently and stop at major platforms.
If you happen to skip a stop or have to head back the other way, you may have to cross the street.
Note, call them trains, not the subway. For example L-Train, A-Train, etc.
Another key thing, keep that metro card ready to go while approaching the turnstiles. Magnetic strip facing you- a quick swipe & on you go.
EXP = Express Train
Note upcoming stops on some trains.
Last bit of advice: if a train car is empty, don’t get on. Either the air conditioning is broke, someone got ill, or worse.
Also if people suddenly start running, run too as you are fixing to miss your train. All native New Yorkers have an internal subway schedule in their brains.
Food & Drink
Do not eat at any chain restaurants while you are here. You are in the culinary capital of the world. Food trucks/carts, the little bistros, the Delis, my god the Delis, the coffee shop & the bars, as well as Michelin, rated restaurants run by the best of the best. If you can, budget for at least one nice meal.
Just make time to enjoy the opportunity to taste a world of experiences while you are visiting.
The 1000 yard stare & speed
Develop the ability to gaze beyond the horizon. People asking for money on the street, the bus, and the train are used to being ignored. Be aware of your surroundings and learn to walk fast with the crowd and ignore the side street hustle.
On Sunday in Manhattan the farm.one visit at The Institute of Culinary Arts is a must see. Note, it is on the 3rd floor of Brookfield Place at 230 Vesey St directly across from the foot prints of the Twin Tower Memorial. You will need to make sure to check in with security to get into ICE.
Farm One is the last tour so spend time around here. You need to visit the 911 Memorial, The Oculus, and I suggest a crépe from Hudson Eats enjoyed in the outside seating area overlooking the Hudson River with the Statue of Liberty & Ellis land.
Stephen Ritz of The Green Bronx Machine is about as inspiring as you can get. Don’t miss the Bronx tours on Wednesday.
The Baldor Specialty Food’s tour at Hunt’s Point is phenomenal, and their mission is an example of where we all need to go.
Heading up the elevator to Sky Vegetables and the roof top and seeing an operational greenhouse overlooking the skyline is worth the plane ticket you might pay.
I’m also looking forward to catching up with Tinia Pina of Re-Nuble who has become a great friend.
The extra Squeeze
NYC Agtech Week allows for a lot of down time coupled with tours of the entire city. You will have time to see some really neat landmarks if you haven’t been to the city before. Last year I had such a good time that my wife & I went back for our anniversary a month later. It’s hard to pick a favorite but walking the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset should be a required activity. We did the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island thing. Central Park, Rockefeller Plaza, St. Patricks Cathedral, Up & down Broadway, Maddison Ave, Times Square, Washington Square, The Flatiron building, The Empire State Building, The Brill Building, Prospect Park, the Highline, Coney Island, and all of the nook & cranny’s in between and all of the food and drinks are the bonus.
I must say, the Localvore dinner under the Williamsburg was a favorite part of NYC Agtech Week, and I expect nothing but the best this year as well.
Just promise me you’ll take advantage and see some things when you go.
NYC AgTech Week Schedule
Big thanks to Henry Gordon-Smith & the team at Blue Planet, Ag Funder News, The AVF, Cool Farms, Feed Our Cities, AES-Corp, Re-Nuble, Fresh City Greens, and all of the other people I’m missing here. It takes a lot of people working all year to pull NYC AgTech Week off. State of the Soil is proud to be a sponsor.
I hope to meet you there and I hope this guide helps make your trip a little better.