On my way back to CERN from Fermilab (yes, I am betting on two tables at a time these days, as our Poker-addict friend Garth Sundem suggests), I made a 7-hour stopover in New York. Originally this was meant to save money to my employer, because other combinations costed more than the Swiss ticket I found. But I made virtue of necessity, and organized a meeting with my friend Peter Woit in the West Village. It turned out that I picked the right day for my visit.

The weather was perfect, albeit a bit windy. I took the metro from JFK to the 42nd street and stopped by Bryant park, one of my favourite places in the city. People were lazily enjoying the sun after at least a week of bad weather.

I took a long and pleasant walk down Avenue of the Americas, which brought me to our meeting place, Bar Pitti. There I managed to successfully fight for an outside table and waited for Peter in front of a good beer.

He came on time, accompanied by his charming mother and a couple of friends. This was the first time I got to shake hands with him, despite our long acquaintance on the web. Woit has been visiting my blog since its early days (ca va sans dire, I have always read his), and he often links my physics pieces from his site, bringing me lots of incoming traffic (a favor which I unfortunately cannot repay). During these years we have communicated frequently by e-mail, but meeting in person was a pleasant novelty.

So what did we talk about ? Of course, the meeting was not designed to discuss anything in particular -for that there is email. Rather, we enjoyed the company, shared a drink, and discussed random topics, from internet security and stalking the trolls, to the economics of the real estate market, to books.

Unfortunately my flight was at 7.30 in the evening, and our meeting lasted only little over an hour. I soon had to jump on a taxi and head to the airport, but this was still a definitely pleasant and uncommon way to spend an afternoon... New York is always fascinating, and I will be back soon.