Why Eos Airlines is the best airline operating today [Updated April 2008]

Update: April 29, 2008

Eos Airlines has filed for bankruptcy and is no longer operating. See my entry here for more details.

Update: April 14, 2008

I figured that I would update this post since, believe it or not, it is my most popular blog entry on the entire site. Since I first posted this a year ago, it has been viewed over 145,000 times and I have received many emails about it from people all over the world.

Since I originally posted this in April 2007, I have continued to fly Eos a number of times. I should also note that I have continued to fly Silverjet and Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class, as well. All of these airlines provide excellent service, but Eos still remains my favorite and is, by far, the most, ummm, luxurious, of these carriers. My choice of carrier, however, is usually dictated by price. If you are flexible enough to plan your trip 30 days in advance, Virgin usually offers some excellent “Z Class” fares several times a year, which are the cheapest you can usually find for this class of service. Eos, however, remains very competitive and I should note that I recently flew them for $987 each way.

In the last year, a few things have changed since my original review:

  • Starting May 5, 2008, Eos will start flying from Newark Liberty Int’l Airport (EWR) to Stansted. This is far more convenient to many of the execs who live in the Jersey and NY State suburbs. For me, this helps save a significant amount of time, since traffic to JFK is miserable. I suspect a number of those traveling from Manhattan will also choose EWR, since it is often quicker to get to EWR by car when compared to JFK. Eos will also begin service from JFK to Dubai later this year.
  • Last summer, Eos completely re-furbished their Stansted lounge. It is now significantly more comfortable and the food selection is far greater. Service in the new lounge is excellent.
  • The food on board is still excellent, however, they have made a recent change to the format. Instead of offering a larger appetizer to start the meal, they are now serving passed hors d’oeuvre. Their concept here is that people no longer want a very large, belly-stuffing meal while on board and this new format gives you the choice to “graze” as you wish. Some of the appetizers are very tasty, while others I could do without, but, overall, I think this is a good move. The size and frequency of the service still fills you much more than you probably need to be filled! We need to keep in mind that the NY-London flight is less than 7 hours, so the two meals you get on board are more than enough.
  • They have started their own magazine, called Eos Class. This is a nice quality publication and is very different from any other in-flight magazine.
  • Eos has hired something called a “Chief Lifestyle Officer”. I’m not sure what this guy does, but it sounds like a job that I’d like. How can I apply?

Overall, the quality of service remains superb. I really hope this airline survives. With the demise of MaxJet late last year, as well as the more recent demise of 3 US domestic airlines, the US airline industry continues to be unstable. This is a quality operation, however, and I hope its niche has allowed to be fiscally successful.

Please see below for my original review.

Original Post below (April 29, 2007):

I must admit that when it comes to air travel I am:

a. spoiled
b. very, very, very lucky

Of almost forty airline travel legs last year, I only sat in coach three times. There’s no secret to how I do it and it has nothing to do with my particularly charming ability to flirt with the ladies who work at the check-in counter.

First and foremost, I can thank the fact that I fly out of a major hub airport for Continental Airlines, which means that I fly Continental or their partners 99% of the time. Because of this, I have reached their OnePass Elite Gold status every year since 2000. Also, since I typically purchase tickets at high fare classes, Continental calls me a “CO-Star” (CO being the airline code for Continental – a cute play on words). This basically means that they are supposed to treat me like I’m someone special when I arrive at the airport (which they do…sometimes). Continental’s generous free available upgrade policy, coupled with their dedication to their higher-paying passengers almost always ensures that I fly first class, even if I don’t buy a first class ticket.

As I mentioned, I almost always buy expensive fare classes. If you’re not familiar with the concept of fare classes, airlines have different categories of tickets, each of which has different restrictions and different prices attached to them. The “Y” class it typically the unrestricted, refundable coach ticket class, which costs the most out of all fare classes. Due to the fact that I often travel last minute, I am often “stuck” with Y-class tickets. Due to my Elite status on Continental and SkyTeam, their policy is to offer me a no-charge upgrade at the time of ticketing if a first class seat is available. This is common on many airlines – if they need to bump people up to First Class, higher fare classes are usually chosen first.

Having lived and worked in the UK very often over the past seven years, I have had the opportunity to experience Continental’s BusinessFirst class, Virigin’s UpperClass and British Airways Club Class a number of times. Yes, I know that I’m a spoiled sonuvabitch, so please expect my apologies in advance. All of these services are quite nice and you can’t really complain too much, even with Continental’s BusinessFirst, which is slightly a step below the other two. Considering that I cannot sleep in a coach seat – I’m 6 foot 2 inches tall with massively wide shoulders – taking a coach flight overnight usually means that I lose the next day to re-adjusting when I arrive in London. That really sucks. On the contrary, if I have a sleeper seat, I can almost always function when I arrive, even in a business setting.

Over the past several months, I’ve had a few opportunities to fly Eos Airlines out of JFK in New York City to London’s Stansted Airport. Even through you may not have heard of Eos, truest me when I tell you that it’s pretty much as good as it gets in the air. They fly Boeing 757 planes with only 48 seats on board. Yes, these are the same 757s that most airlines jam 250 people onto, so you can imagine the space and comfort when you only have a maximum of 47 other travelers with you in the air.

I have to start by saying that the whole Eos experience is a little ridiculous at times. When you arrive at JFK or Stansted, there is a dedicated Eos representative waiting for you at the curb and they whisk you away to the check-in counter, insisting that they carry your luggage. I have no issue with other people carrying my luggage when I’m not capable to do so on my own – say, when I’m trekking up the north face of Everest and need a sherpa to tend to my rucksack. But the 100-foot walk from the curb to the Eos counter doesn’t require someone to grab my rollerboard suitcase. Nevertheless, I typically give in to the nice lady at JFK who once confided in me, “It’s good that you let me take your bag because my boss is right there!” I had images of a secret Eos dungeon under Terminal 4 at JFK, where disobedient Eos employees are whipped and caged. This is the type of attention rich people, important people, or people who think they are more important that they actually are, really, really like. Kudos to Eos for catering to them.

The Eos seating area:

The check in process takes about sixty seconds at both airports. There is no waiting whatsoever, as Eos recognizes important people are way too important to wait on line to check-in. (On one journey, the line at JFK was “backed up” with a total of 3 people while they were replacing a ticket printer and the two gentlemen behind me started complaining about the “slow service”. Some people crack me up.) When you are done checking in, you are then escorted – yes, escorted – by an Eos representative to the security checkpoints. At JFK Terminal 4, there may not be a secret underground Eos dungeon, but there actually is a secret underground International first class security screening checkpoint, which is almost void of all lines. For one flight, my total time from curbside to the other side of the security gates at JFK was 7 minutes. At Stansted, the story gets a bit more ridiculous, as your Eos escort doesn’t bring you to a secret checkpoint – she brings you to the very crowded “regular people” checkpoint, but ensures to make a big scene by bringing you directly to the front of the line, essentially allowing you to cut everyone else. After your passport is inspected, you are then brought to a dedicated security screening line, where the three employees working there were doing nothing at all but probably, as I can only assume, waiting for me to show up. (“Got to get up to go to work today, because Mr. Uriarte is showing up to be screened at 9:17am…”).

For the overnight flight from JFK, you’re then sent to the Emirates lounge, which is one of the best airline lounges I have ever been in, save the Virgin flagship Upper Class lounge at Heathrow. The JFK lounge is pretty stocked: first quality booze, free-flowing bottles of Veuve Cliquot, caviar, cold seafood stuff (shrimps, salmon, yada, yada, yada), premium chocolates, top-notch desserts, plus about 20 hot dishes (grilled filet of beef with grilled asparagus, seared halibut with an herb sauce, a large selection of great middle-eastern and Indian food, etc.). This is quite nice because you can choose to eat a pretty spectacular meal before you get on the plane, leaving you plenty of time to rest. At Stansted, the lounge is fairly basic and is pretty much just a sheetrock box that has been put up near the gates, although during my March 2007 trip, they posted signage indicating that they are developing a new Stansted facility. The food is limited to pastries and fruits which are catered in that day. The couches are, perhaps, the most uncomfortable things I have ever sat on. They were purchased for their aesthetics, not for their function and they really remind of something that you’d find in an Ikea catalog. Nevertheless, it is better than having to sit out in the terminal for hours before the flight.

When it’s time to board the plane, there is no mad rush to the gate, since people wander onto the plane up to just a few minutes before the doors close. These are the only flights I’ve been on where there was no one waiting to get on the plan when they opened the gate. I’m not kidding – the first time I flew on Eos, the gate agent called the flight and I was the only one there. Apparently, I wasn’t informed that it is cool to be fashionably late to your Eos flight.

When you’re on board, you notice that there is a very large flight staff, especially given the fact that there are, at maximum, 48 people on the flight. I would estimate that they staff 10 attendants on each flight, leaving a less-than 5-to1 passenger-to-attendant ratio on a full flight. On my first return flight, there were only 23 passengers, however. I must say that, by my standards, the flight staff is fantastic – maybe because my standards aren’t those of many of the people who fly Eos. I, personally, do no like to be waited on hand-and-foot, nor do I like any sort of fake, “I shall be your servant this evening” attitude. I also can’t stand the “I’m the one in the uniform, so I’m in charge” attitude, either. The frigid old maids who used to work British Airways’ international flights had been schooled in this type of intimidating service – the type makes me feel a little bit of guilty and a little bit scared when they shoot me a dirty look for not having my seatbelt fastened or tray table in the upright and locked position. Fortunately, despite the first-class service, the staff on every Eos flight is very down to earth and the service is truly unobtrusive. They are there when you want them to be there and they leave you to do your thing every other moment. They speak like human beings, not robots, and several of them actually like to engage in normal conversation. When Eos started flying last year, I recall reading an article in the New York Times, which mentioned that the airline went searching for team members from a pool of candidates within the high-end hospitality industry (hotels, restaurants, resorts, etc.) – NOT the airline industry. Perhaps other airlines need to look into this model, as it clearly has paid off for Eos. On return flights, there is always at least one flight attendant who remembers me as a repeat customer. These people are good.

The amenities while in-flight are very good. The food is consistently excellent and is always of the highest quality – this food is what you would expect in an upscale restaurant, not on an airplane. On the overnight flight to London, you can expect a full dinner with hearty starters, main course, dessert and cheese. A full breakfast is served 90 minutes prior to landing. When returning to JFK, they serve a lunch (called “lunch” only since it’s served in the afternoon – the quality and quantity of food is still as good as the evening dinner service), followed by high-tea service prior to landing. In addition, the plane is stocked with over 75 types of beverages, snacks, fruit, candies and anything else you’d need to keep your stomach (and liver) satisfied for the flight.

Some examples of the food:

For in-flight entertainment, you are given a personal video console and Bose noise-canceling headphones. The video console contains about 30 first-run movies, as well as a number of TV shows and music options (certainly enough for the 6-7 hour flights over the pond). Some people complain about the small portable systems, but I love the fact that you can place it anywhere you want, regardless of whether you’re eating, laying down to sleep or just relaxing. The video systems run out of power after about 3 hours of viewing, but a visual display notifies you to contact a flight attendant, who then plugs the unit in to your seat-side power port. Incidentally, these power plugs are standard North American household ports, which you can also use to power your laptop and iPod during the flight – no special EmPower adapter is necessary.

The seating area is great. There is a two-by-two seat layout, although I hesitate use the term “seat”. These are 21-square-foot suites, very similar to Virgin’s “Upper Class Suite”, but much larger, and provide you with a tremendous amount of personal space. The seat converts to a lay-flat bed, which totals six foot six inches in length. The tray table is extra large and can accommodate two diners facing each other. Your companion can dine with you, or you can hold a business meeting at the table using a second “chair”, which doubles as a footrest when you sleep. The seating material is very comfortable, and full-size pillows, sheets and duvets are included (they will “make your bed” on request, although I never ask them to).

Arrival at Stansted is easy and you’re typically off the plane and through passport control in only five minutes – far better than Heathrow. I always carry my suitcase on-board when I’m flying to London, so I can’t comment on the baggage service at Stansted, although I have had 20 or so minute delays in getting my checked luggage when arriving back at JFK (I suspect there is only so much control that Eos has over this). When you arrive at Stansted, you have your choice to be driven to your final destination in an S-Class Mercedes, or to take the Stansted Express train directly into London Liverpool Station. The train is very convenient, as it’s less than 45 minutes into central London, which is far better than anything you’d ever experience driving, particularly since Eos’s flights tend to arrive during the morning rush hour (usually 6:30am and 8:30am arrivals). On my last trip, I used the train when I arrived to London, as well as my return back to the airport later that week.

The bottom line is that this is an amazing airline. The planes are comfortable, the food is great and, most importantly, the staff knows how to treat their customers right. This is a level of service that cannot be achieved by any other major carrier, even if you purchase an international first-class ticket. The fact that there are only 48 people on each plane assures that Eos will give you the service that you need and do whatever they can do to make your journey enjoyable. A good example of this was on a recently flight when air traffic control delayed our takeoff by about an hour: the Eos manager-on-duty at JFK came up to the Emirates lounge, personally notified each passenger of the situation, and asked if anyone needed any help notifying people in London about our late arrival. What airline would ever offer such a level of service?

The Crib: My (Former) New Place in Hoboken

Note:  This is a bit of an old post now and I no longer live here. 

At the request of many, I figure it’s about time that I posted some pictures of my new condo in Hoboken, since most of my friends were beginning to think that my moving to Hoboken was part of some elaborate hoax, since I haven’t posted any photos (very unlike me) and I haven’t really had anyone over yet (again, very unlike me). The reason for this is quite simple: I really haven’t been here. Since officially moving in during late January, I was on the road for about 6 of the first 9 weeks. I’m happy to say, however, that I am now quite settled and I simply need to finish up with some small furnishings. At this point in time, I’d say that the place is about 85% complete (per my standards, at least) – the bedroom needs some pictures and another dresser, the office needs some sort of overstuffed chair or couch, and I’m desperately searching for something to hang on the wall above the flat screen in the living room (something other than a framed picture – suggestions are welcome!).

That being said, here’s the story….

The Start of the Search
The whole process of me buying this place actually dates back to mid-2005, when I started looking at the Hoboken/Jersey City real-estate market seriously. I wanted to move as close to midtown Manhattan as possible, while keeping my car and, most importantly, keeping my current standard of living. In 2005, the New York City-area real estate market was still exploding and Hoboken was the hottest real-estate market in New Jersey (it still is). Average cost per square foot in Hoboken for a nicer place was heading above $600. I decided I would wait to make a serious move, hoping the market would eventually decline a bit – which it did about a year late. Fast-forward to 2006, when I begin looking seriously at properties in September. I saw approximately 20 properties over the course of three weeks, and entered an offer for this condo in late October 2006. After negotiating with the owners, we agreed that postponing the closing until the New Year was probably not a bad thing for any of us, hence the very late January 17, 2007 closing date.

The Hoboken Challenge
I’ve heard it said several times that Hoboken is the most challenging and competitive real estate markets in the country, and I believe it. The reason for this is that most of the people who look for property in Hoboken want to live specifically in Hoboken. People don’t look for the “Hoboken area”, they want to be in Hoboken. Searching for a home here is different from searching for a home in the suburbs, where you typically pick three or four different towns (or more) to increase your search options. The real challenge here is that Hoboken is only one mile square and it has natural boundaries which pretty much prohibit one from living in another town (say, Jersey City or Weehawken) and being able to take advantage of the things that Hoboken-ites enjoy the most (being able to walk everywhere, easy access to the PATH train and midtown NYC, the beautiful waterfront, the great shops, etc.). Therefore, if you’re picky about what you want (and I am), you’ve got to hope that the mile-square city has something available to accommodate you. On the upside, however, there are a lot of upmarket options in the city, particularly given the construction boom, which still continued despite the falling market.

Sunday Flag Football on Pier A, Hoboken, NJ

Tug, Hoboken

(Some photos from the Hoboken Waterfront)

As for my requirements, here were my key desires:

– 2 bedrooms (1 for sleeping, 1 for office)
– 2 bathrooms (one could always break and I don’t want guests to put up with all the personal toiletries in my bathroom)
– Deeded Parking! (Hoboken is a parking nightmare. Even if you have a coveted Hoboken Residents’ Permit, it’s still difficult. FYI, the current rate for a deeded parking space in Hoboken is between $20,000 and $35,000.)
– New-ish or new construction (I can’t deal with old pipes, electrical, etc.)
– 1300 square feet In size or greater (I moved from a 1550 sq ft apartment, which was a bit too big, but I couldn’t give up too much space)
– Hardwood floors (can’t stand carpeting, too much upkeep required and looks old fast)
– Central AC, in-unit washer/dryer
– Taxes less than $8000 a year (yeah, this souds absolutely ridiculous, but NJ property taxes are the highest in the nation and there are very many 2 bedrooms in town with $10K+ taxes)
– Maintenance less than $350/month
– Cost per square foot: less than $500 (I was sure I could get this with the declining market)

Luck enough, I was about to find all of these things in my new place.

Why Hoboken?
Hoboken is an interesting town: 1 square mile “big” and more than 50,000 residents makes it, easily, “the biggest little city in America” (to steal from Reno, NV’s motto). It is, very much, a city in itself with hundreds of bars, restaurants and shops jammed into it’s small boundaries. It sits on the west bank of the Hudson River, directly across from midtown Manhattan, which can be reachd via a 5 minute PATH (subway) ride, several different ferries or the NJ Transit bus. Other than it’s location, it’s probably best known for three things: Hoboken is the birthplace of baseball, the birthplace of Frank Sinatra and holds the Guinness record for having the most bars per square mile than any other city in the world (quite a dubious honor). It is a spectacular mix of old and new: trendy bars and restaurants, 80-year old Italian bakeries, glass-and steel condo buildings, early 20th century brownstones. It’s a very walkable city and many residents do not own cars, although there are many, many more cars per resident in Hoboken compared our neighbors to the big island across the river. In recent years, it has earned a reputation as a “yuppie town”, given the masses of young professionals who live there by night and commute across the river by day. In reality, there tend to be three groups who make up most of the population: yuppies, old-school Hoboken folks and post-college fratboy/sorority girl types (3 or 4 people sharing an apartment situations).

About the New Place
The new place is a 1465 square foot, two bedroom, two full bath, 4th floor condominium located in the “downtown” section of the city (I find it quite humorous that Hoboken is divided into uptown, downtown and midtown sections, give that it’s only a mile square). Constructed in 2001 and first inhabited in 2002, it is part of a gutted brick face building that has only 4 units in total – one unit per floor. There is a three-space parking garage on the first level, of which I have one of the spaces (thank God!). There is shared backyard on the east side of the building. The front entrance faces perfectly due West, and the back of the building faces due East, precisely across the river from Canal St. in NYC. From the exterior, it is typical Hoboken and doesn’t particularly stand out from any other building in the city. The vast majority of the properties available for purchase in Hoboken are condominiums, as there are very, very few single-family houses in the city. Even my neighbors, New Jersey Governor John Corzine and New York Giants Quarterback Eli Manning, reside in Hoboken condominium residences. If you would like one of the spectacular early 20th century brownstones all to yourself, be prepared to pay a minimum of $1.5 million (significantly more if you want a gutted, renovated brownstone).

On the Inside
The inside has an open floor layout “L” shaped main living area, with a medium-size open kitchen (by Hoboken standards, at least). There’s a good amount of recessed lighting and the sunlight in the back bedroom and office is strong in the morning, and fairly bright in the front of the unit in the afternoon. Here’s some pictures of the main living area:

New Crib - Living Room

The couch and oversize chair are both microfiber suede material (and quite comfy, I might say). These are new for this condo. The large leather ottoman/coffee table was made in Norway and took 12 weeks to deliver. I purchased it about a year ago.

New Crib - Living Area From Kitchen

The dining set and bar cart are the oldest pieces of furniture in the condo. These are both made of light birch wood and I purchased them about five years ago. The bar cart has most of the top-shelf liquors that I would drink or serve if I had fabulous parties or other sophisticated social gatherings (neither of while I actually do host).

New Crib - Dining Area and Kitchen

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The large painting above the bar cart is oil on canvas and titled “Midnight Morocco” by some artist whose name escapes me right now. I thought it was fairly unique until I spotted the exact same painting on the wall of David and Keith’s bedroom in the former HBO hit series “Six Feet Under” (get the DVDs to see yourself). Oh well.

The giant martini glass in the center of the table was purchased at a bar supply store in Philadelphia. It contains corks from bottles of wine that I have actually drank over the years. In addition to those in the glass, I have about 150 other corks stashed away in the drawer. If the wine was uncorked for a special occasion, I try to make a small note about the occasion, the date, etc. on the cork itself.

The humidor was a gift and is filled with many different types of cigars, including a good amount of Cubans, which I have brought back from Mexico and Europe through the years. Unfortunately (or fortunately so), I kicked my cigar smoking habit about three years ago. If you want one, let me know.

Speaking of liquor, I have so much booze and wine, that I need secondary storage! (yes, I know that’s a bit sad). So, opposite the bar cart, there is a nook which contains a bar credenza, which opens up to reveal all the goods (Crate and Barrel, FYI):

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On the other side of the living area, there is an “office nook” (not my words – it was in the real estate write up when I bought it). I don’t use it as an office, nor do I think it really should be considered a nook…

New Crib - A Work in Progress 9.jpg

It contains an eclectic mix of cheap and not-cheap stuff, ranging from a faux-antique dark wood table ($850) to an Ikea “floating” bookshelf ($11). There is a snowboard in the corner, one of seven snowboards that are somewhere throughout the place. The Van Gogh knock-off hanging on the wall is the only meaningless knock-off picture hanging anywhere in the home (more on this later) – it is his Roses and Anemones, one of my favorite pieces of his work.

Next to the TV, there is a floor standing crystal vase, made in Poland:

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Rather than filling it with dried plants, stones or marbles (too cliche, too Pottery-barn catalog), mine is filled with baseballs – 6 dozen baseballs, to be exact.

New Crib - Living Area

The “entertainment center” (such an 80’s word) in the living room looks sparse, but there is a lot of equipment jammed into the credenza. The TV is a Samsung 46-inch LCD HD TV. There is a Sony 800-watt Digital THX that drives the sound, hooked up to Bose Acoustimass 10 surround speakers (sub-woofer in the corner, near the window; center channel speaker is hidden in the center, screen-covered door of the credenza). The unit also has a Apple Mac Mini hooked up to it (Bluetooth keyboard and mouse on top of the sub-woofer), as well as a HD up-coversion DVD player and digital DVR HD cable box.

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The kitchen contains stainless steel GE Profile appliances, except for the dishwasher, which is a Kitchenaid (Kitchenaid dishwashers are consistently ranked the highest in reliability, which is why I chose it over GE). The range is a 5-burner all-gas range, with a center large burner and swap-out griddle. The refrigerator (seen in other shots) is a large side-by-side with an express-chill draw, which can fully chill a bottle of wine in under 30 minutes (it’s awesome). The cabinets are dark cherry wood and the counter tops are black granite.

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I’ll skip the details on the baths, other than saying there are two full baths, one with a Jacuzzi tub. Both have pink Italian stone tiles, which I really like. Both bathrooms were originally very dark, harsh colors, but I had them repainted with softer tones. They both have great pedestal sinks with stainless fixtures.
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My office is painted a gray-olive color and is where I probably spend most of my time (other than the bedroom). The “desk” is actually a small dining table from Ikea, of which I removed the original legs and replaced them with the current steel legs. My main computer is a 24-inch Apple iMac Core2 Due with 3GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive, attached to 500GB of external storage. There is a Dell 19-inch LCD used as the secondary display. The television is a Samsung 42-inch LCD HD TV hooked up to a digital HD cable box.

Both the bedroom and the office have views of the Empire State Building, midtown Manhattan and the downtown financial district, although limited. The neighbors in the building behind me are pretty good about closing their blinds at night…

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The most interesting part about having the Empire State Building view is trying to figure out why the ESB is lit in a specific color every night. Unless you actually look at the ESB every evening, you don’t realize how many different colors it can be, nor do you realize that they actually shut the thing off at around 1am almost every night (totally off – it pretty much disappears from the skyline). Oh, and about the colors: The ESB website lists the meaning of each color, as well a calendar of colors (Last week was yellow for Easter and red to wish the Rutgers Womens Basketball team good luck in the NCAA championship game).

The bedroom is the room that still needs the most furnishing:

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There are currently no pictures hung on the walls (I’m working on it…). I purchased the bed about a year ago. It has a full leather headboard and uses a 10-year old mattress that I refuse to ever give up. The side table and, umm, credenza (? – not sure what to call it) are both from West Elm. There is a 26-inch Samsung LCD 1080p HD television on the window sill, hooked up to a digital HD cable box.

Some Tidbits about The Technology

– Wireless Internet is throughout the entire place, of course. There are 2 Apple access points that are joined together using WBS, so there’s quite good coverage (took me a long time to get this right). This is important when I’m accessing video on the TV in the living room and it needs to stream files from the main iMac in the office.

– Here’s a closer look at the main TV. I really enjoy the Samsung HD televisions…very happy with all of them. I still would love to find a 40-something inch, or bigger, HDTV that shows standard definition television crystal clear. The HD is simply amazing, however. I love watching snowboard videos on this thing. (FYI, this is not a snowboard video on the screen, Mojo InHD just happened to be showing a re-run of the Burton Mt. Hood Abominable Snow Jam when I took these shots. MoJo is a great channel…check it out.)

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– The locks on the doors use unreproducible keys. If you need a copy of the key, you must have the original owner’s card and request a copy from the manufacturer. The manufacturer know exactly how many keys have been made so, if you inherit the keys (like I did), you can be sure that you have all copies.

– There are two water filters in the kitchen. A micro-filtration system is hooked up under the sink and has a seperate dispenser faucet mounted on the sink. There is also a Britta-like filter built into the GE refrigerator, which provides chilled water.

– There are two Apple Airport Extreme units: one in the bedroom, one in the living room. Using AirTunes via Apple’s iTunes, I can play music in essentially all rooms of the house at once (I do this frequently and love it). There are 8 speakers mounted throughout the house to distribute the sound.

– The toilets are American Standard pressure-assisted toilets. This means that there’s no “swirling” effect when you flush them. The flush is more similar to a commercial toilet and you can flush it again and again with very little waiting. You can pretty much throw a few pairs of socks in the bowl and it will still figure out a way to flush them.

– The ceiling fans are unique Reiker Heated Fans, which have a built-in heating unit above the blades. There is a radio frequency (RF) remote control assigned to each unit, which has a built-in digital thermostat. The heater can be turned on and set to a desired temperature. When the fan is on, the heat is distributed downward from the heating unit. When the heat naturally rises, it is again propelled downward. These units are extremely energy efficient and cost pennies on the dollar to heat a room when compared to using traditional forced-air heat through a burner (I do have traditional heat as well, though).

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– I was a late adotper to LCD screens, not having purchased one for myself until less than two years ago. Now there is a total of 199 inches of LCD screens throughout the home when you add up the TVs and computers.

– The main thermostat (not pictured anywhere here) is an all-LCD touch screen unit with 16 different EnergyStar pre-programmed settings. It has a radio frequency (RF) remote control for remote operation (read: laziness).

Some Words About the Pictures and the Art

I’m not a fan of mall-purchased or knock-off prints (save the Van Gogh I mentioned earlier). Because of this, I try to hang only prints that have some sort of personal meaning, or, in many cases, photos that I have taken myself. Some of the art and prints that you see hanging on the wall include:

– The large-print “Moonlight Morocco”, as mentioned earlier

– Two prints from two separate visits to pre-Katrina New Orleans, purchased from one of my favorite art shops on St. Charles St. One is entitled “Burbon Kiss” and the other is an abstract pring inspired by a New Orleans jazz quartet (can’t recall their name)

– An 18″ x 26″ print of the Bill Buckner realizing that he let the ball between his legs as Mookie Wilson runs down the first base line during the 1986 World Series. This is one of my favorite early great sports moments that I can remember. The photo is signed by both Wilson and Buckner.

– A poster for the Hotel du Dome on Rue Du Dome in Paris. I found this framed print in a broken frame stashed in my closet in this hotel back in 2000. At the time, I was on a two-week business trip to Europe, so I had a large suitcase and basically smuggled the picture (frame and all) back to JFK with me.

– A large format picture of me taken by a photographer (unnamed) snowboarding at the bottom of the Palmer Glacier in August 2003 at Mt. Hood, Oregon. It’s a wonderful capture that gets the entire view of Mt. Hood’s unique summer snow. This was framed and give to me as a gift.

– There are a number of other snowboarding and mountainscape photos that I have taken over the years, which are framed and hung at various places.

– The most lavish and unnecessary purchase are the four numbers that hang above my entryway. While shopping in SoHo, I fell in love with these polished steel number, designed by Erik Spiekermann:

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What you can’t see from this angle is that they are raised approximately 1/4 inch from the wall. The number 2,589 represents the number of days that it took me to save up to purchase the place.