photo courtesy: American Design Club

How To Plan a Day Trip to New York from SF

Don’t do this, but if you must…

Sometimes you just want to get back to family. And avoid hotels.

My poison was the NY NOW trade show at Javits Center. I’ve made two day trips so far. These are my ulcer, insomnia avoidance tips.

1. Make a small and specific list of goals. Mine were:

  • Find 10 new makers
  • Meet a 5 new buyers
  • Check out 3 sections: Accent on Design, Designer Maker and Global Design

2. Travel Light and Night

Book a red eye.

The 11: 30PM Jetblue from SFO reaches at 8:30AM the next morning. For the extra sleeping comfort, you can reclining seat upgrade for just $99.

Here’s the secret. Most of their Friday night red eyes fly half full. I got a seat at the back and then moved to a empty row. You have to get lucky though. Pay the premium for an “Even More Space” seat and then hunt for an empty row.

It’s worth it since you’re easily saving $150-$175 on the night hotel bill.

I just packed a laptop, pillow, business cards, travel kit and a good book. I could’ve left the laptop at home and just worn a jacket. But that would’ve raised a lot of red flags. Who travels without a bag to New York?


Bart to the airport. Any Bart that says SFO.

JFK to Javits Centre

Skip the taxi or Uber and follow these instructions. It’s quicker.

  • Look for signs to the Airtrain. Once you reach, the station, wait for the Jamaica Station train. What about train tickets. Relaz you will get those when you get off the train.

The other train goes to Howard Beach. That’s not the air train you’re looking for.

Once you get off at Jamaica station, get yourself a $10 Metro Card for the round trip.

  • Use the card to exit the subway station. The station is connected to the LIRR (Long Island Railway Station)

Wait, Do not get on the train yet. You need to buy a LIRR ticket first. Are you with me so far?

  • Take the elevator downstairs to the ticket booth. Buy a return ticket to Penn Station.
  • Hop on any train, 90% go to PENN station EXCEPT trains going to Atlantic Terminal Brooklyn.
  • Get off at Penn Station.
  • Walk down 34th street towards the Hudson river to Javit’s Center

4. Plan your Javit’s Center Itinerary

You’ll find a lot of mass market crap at NY NOW. A few sections are great. Head to the registration booth, pick up your badge.

Have you pre-registered? Or they wont let you in.

  • Check out the Maker Designer handmade section. I found some good lines there like Artifact Bags, Spicer Bags, Franz.
  • On the way corridor over to that section, I found a row of emerging designers. Just small tables with the maker standing behind it. I found Mier Luo, a designer on SKUE. And Jarre a ceramics maker. Her products are designed to create a flow of air that can replace the refrigerator.
  • Over on the second floor is my other favorite section. Accent on Design. Buyers rush to check out this section. My favorite booths are American Design Club, Join Booth and Aesthetic Movement. Also, the usual suspects, Areaware and Tom Dixon. You’ll probably find some other designers here but you’ll really have to look.
  • Next up and last was the Global Design. This is a section where designers design and then get it manufactured someplace out of the country. Here my favorite people were New Market, Bolo textiles and our friends at Ichcha.
  • The buyers I ran into were some of my favorite people. Shane Salvata of SF Moma, Sylvia Parker of Magpie, Lily Chau of Acacia and Nathan Waldon of Nathan and Co.

5. Plan your route: Javits Center to JFK

  • To get back, just do the reverse. It’s fairly easy. Walk up 34th street to Penn Station. It’s about a 15 minute walk.
  • You already have your LIRR return ticket.
  • Hop on any train except the ones going to Pot Washington
  • Get off at Jamaica Station.
  • Hop on the Airtrain (you already have money on your card) to JFK. Get off at Terminal 5, Jet Blue.

Once you land at SFO, it’s too late to get on the Bart. Go upstairs to departures. Call an Uber.

Crash on your bed.

The next day is a Sunday, wake up just in time for brunch at Homeroom Cafe.

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