Dear Bev: Job hunting sends me across New York City. But unemployment means no office to rest in between stops. How can I still look my best at my next appointment?
You already know how important it is to look your best in a job interview. But with temperatures starting to rise, the unemployed networker will be braving smoldering subways and pounding the white-hot pavement only to risk showing up for their next appointment with wind-blown hair or a sweat-marked shirt. To help beat a summer meltdown, we are offering a list of Manhattan's best "rest stops" compliments of Frances Croke Page, a media and marketing veteran with a discriminating eye and a knack for organizing information.
"Tucked inside and next to office buildings, there are wonderful oases where a weary job seeker can sit down, take a breather and even use the restroom to emerge fresh and re-energized," said Page. She originally developed the list as part of an interactive online database for holiday day-trippers, ChristmasTimeInNewYorkCity.com.
The same information would be useful for people who used to have an office in the city and are now commuting in every day and going from meeting to meeting. Page agreed to revise the list with an eye to warm weather job hunting.
According to Page, her research led her to discover that there is more than 3.5 million square feet of public space in NYC. Here's a partial sampling from her list; it includes some of the most surprising and accommodating locations where you can take a rest and cool down before rushing off to your next meeting.
(*Tip: While Page's list guarantees refinement, if you just need a quick bathroom stop, you can download MizPee on your mobile device to find the closest facilities to your location at MizPee.com)
Olympic Tower Atrium Public Space - 645 Fifth Avenue This little-known gem is quite possibly the best privately owned public space in midtown Manhattan, opposite the north side of St. Patrick's Cathedral. It even has a free museum downstairs, thanks to the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation. The pleasant amenities on street level include tables and chairs for the public alongside a small food counter, modern artwork and a museum shop. The bathroom is small and very clean. There is also a small cafe serving Greek-inspired dishes. (You do not have to buy something to sit down.)
Rockefeller Center-30 Rockefeller Plaza from 49th- 50th Streets and 5th to 6th Avenues
Aside from being one of our iconic tourist attractions, Rockefeller Center boasts a large underground city, complete with retail stores, quick food stops and elegant dining. The grandeur of the 10 building complex, with its art deco magnificence will buoy your spirits and remind you why working in this magnificent city is worth the trouble. The complex was built during The Depression, with faith that better times would return. Lots of tables and chairs and a large public bathroom on the underground concourse level (the same level as the ice rink/summer patio dining) make this is a great spot to take a break from summer's heat or a sudden rain shower. The expansive bathrooms are next to the restaurant 'Witchcraft and the Swarovski Crystal store. They are clean, with over 20 stalls.
Heading for an interview? Step up at Eddie's Shoe Shine at the 6th Avenue side of the lower concourse and get your shoes spruced up while you get to put your feet up. (Eddie's also has a location downstairs at Grand Central.)
New York Public Library, Mid-Manhattan Branch-455 Fifth Ave.
The Rose Reading Room, a remarkable, two-block long space is open to the public as are the library's exhibit areas. The room also has an open stacks area, computers, free Internet access and a laptop docking service.
Lord & Taylor Star Spangled Banner Break Spot- 424 Fifth Ave. between 38th and 39th Streets.
9:30 in the morning may seem early for a break, but if you are at loose ends between a breakfast meeting and a mid-morning call, you can get in from the elements and have a seat in one of the folding chairs in the foyer of Lord & Taylor before the 10 a.m. opening. The lights are dimmed and music is played softly inside until a few minutes before 10:00, when "The Star Spangled Banner" is broadcast. It's a heartwarming way to take a break and a great place if you need a fresh accessory for that interview suit. Bathrooms are located on upper floors.
Winter Garden Atrium at the World Financial Center - Vesey Street and West Street
Art, music and performance events are all free here, so a break can include a little song and dance as well as a bite to eat. Check out their Web site for the events calendar and map of the complex. Two levels provide an impressive and soaring space. Bathrooms are on the Winter Garden's street level.
A complete listing of France Croke Page's convenient New York City locations to rest and recuperate is available at http://dearbev.com.