From the 123rd Annual Meeting column of the September 2008 issue of Perspectives on History
To New York for the 123rd Annual Meeting
Sharon K. Tune, September 2008
The 123rd annual meeting of the Association will be held Friday, January 2–Monday, January 5, 2009, in New York City at the Hilton New York and Sheraton New York hotels. The meeting is starting on a Friday, because in 2009, New Year's Day falls on a Thursday, the usual start day.
More than 1,200 scholars, including many of the profession's most distinguished members are expected to deliver papers in person during the three and half days of the meeting. In addition, more than four dozen specialized societies will meet in conjunction with the AHA. Each society will hold its own sessions, luncheons, and/or meetings, as well as some joint sessions with the Association. Gabrielle Spiegel of Johns Hopkins University will deliver the presidential address the evening of January 3 at the general meeting of the Association. The AHA's book prizes, the Awards for Scholarly Distinction, the Troyer Steele Anderson Prize, the Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award, the Beveridge Family Teaching Prize, the Feis Award, the John E. O'Connor Film Award, the Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award, and the 2008 Honorary Foreign Member will be announced before the presidential address.
AHA annual meeting sessions as well as affiliated society sessions and events are scheduled in the Hilton New York and the Sheraton New York. The Hilton New York, 1335 Avenue of the Americas, Sixth Avenue at West 53rd Street, will serve as headquarters and will house the AHA exhibit hall, the Job Center, and AHA and affiliate sessions. The Sheraton New York, 811 Seventh Avenue at 53rd Street, will serve as co-headquarters and will accommodate AHA sessions and affiliate events. Rates at the Hilton and Sheraton are $129 single and double. The additional person fee is $20 at the Hilton and $30 at the Sheraton.
The AHA also has a small block of rooms at the Waldorf=Astoria, 301 Park Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets. Rates are $149 single and double and $179 for triple and quad.
The Doubletree Guest Suites Times Square, 1568 Broadway on the corner of 47th Street and Seventh Avenue, has been added to the AHA's housing block to provide additional suite inventory for individuals or institutions who prefer this type of accommodation, particularly those interviewing job candidates during the annual meeting. The hotel is a full-service, all-suite property, and all suites set aside in the AHA block have a private bedroom with king bed and a spacious living room. The rate is $199 for single and double occupancy and $30 for each additional person.
All the rooms are subject to city and state taxes, currently 13.375 percent plus $3.50 occupancy tax per room, per night. Meeting rates are in effect three days before and after the January 2–5 meeting dates (except for the Doubletree Suites), and are for a limited number of rooms only at each property.
Making a Hotel Reservation
After preregistering (and only after preregistration) for the annual meeting, attendees can make hotel reservations directly with hotels at the meeting rates. Each preregistrant will receive a confirmation of their registration that will include information on how to make a standard room or suite reservation. Attendees will be able to make a standard room reservation via the Internet (through special links to each hotel's web site) or via the hotel's direct-dial or toll-free numbers. International attendees will call the hotel's direct-dial number. Suite reservations can only be made by calling the hotels directly and cannot be made via the Internet or the chains' toll-free numbers. Throughout the fall members can consult the AHA's web site for complete details of each property's suite types and rates. The web site will be updated frequently with availability information.
Confirmation: Room reservations made by phone will be confirmed immediately with a confirmation number. Callers can also ask for an e-mail confirmation. Reservations made via the hotel's web site will be confirmed by e-mail.
Early Departure Fee: Some hotels have an early departure fee. Guests wishing to avoid an early checkout fee should advise the hotel at or before check-in of any change in planned length of stay. Hotels will inform attendees of this potential charge upon check-in.
Deposit: All hotels require a deposit equal to one night's stay. Checks and major credit cards are acceptable to establish prepayment. If a credit card is used, it will be billed immediately at the time of making the reservation.
Cutoff Date: The cutoff date for the AHA's official block at the Hilton, Sheraton, and Waldorf-Astoria is December 12, 2008, and for the Doubletree Guest Suites, it is December 3, 2008. After this date, remaining inventory in each hotel's block will be released and rooms will be available at the AHA's meeting rates on a space-available basis at the time of reservation. If all the hotels sell out, the AHA will secure additional hotel rooms and post details on the AHA web site.
Changes, Cancellations, and Refunds: Meeting attendees can continue to make, modify (depending on availability), or cancel reservations from September 15, 2008, through their selected hotel's cancellation period. If canceling a reservation, callers should ask for a cancellation number. For the Hilton, Waldorf=Astoria, and the Doubletree Guest Suites attendees must cancel at least 72 hours prior to reserved arrival date and for the Sheraton at least 48 hours prior to avoid being charged one night's room and taxes. The hotels will also charge one night's room and taxes as a penalty if a reservation is not cancelled and the individual is a "no show."
Making Travel Arrangements
Association Travel Concepts (ATC) is the official travel agency for the annual meeting. ATC has negotiated discounts with American Airlines, Amtrak, Avis, and Enterprise to bring attendees special air, rail, and car rental rates that are lower than those available to the public. ATC agents can also assist with reservations on United Airlines (ID number 510CK). To take advantage of these rates and benefits, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. ATC is available for reservations from 8:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. A link is also available through the AHA's annual meeting web page, or directly from ATC's web site at www.atcmeetings.com. Follow the "Meeting" links to the "TravelASP" booking engine. When registering on the site, enter "AHA" in the company/association field.
Airfares: By contacting ATC, attendees traveling on American (ID Number A6819AL) will save up to 5 percent. Some restrictions may apply and service fees will vary. Discounts apply for travel Tuesday, December 30, 2008, through Friday, January 8, 2009, for service into and out of John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), LaGuardia Airport (LGA), and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). Attendees may also contact the airlines directly, noting the discount ID numbers—United at 800-521-4041 and American at 800-433-1790; the discount ID cannot, however, be used on American Airline's web site.
ATC will also search for the lowest available fare on any airline serving the three airports. ATC is a full-service travel agency that provides personalized service, advance seat assignments, special meal requests, frequent flier programs updates, electronic ticketing, e-mail access for convenient booking of your tickets, and more.
Train fares: Amtrak offers a 10 percent discount on the lowest available fare to New York City between December 30, 2008 and January 8, 2009. To book, call Amtrak at 800-872-7245 and refer to Convention Fare Code X72T-942. Please note that this discount cannot be booked via Amtrak's web site—you must call Amtrak directly and mention the fare code. The offer is not valid on Auto Train, but is valid with Sleepers, Business Class, or First Class seats with payment of the full applicable accommodation charges. Fares are also valid on Amtrak Regional and Acela service for all departments seven days a week, except for holiday blackouts.
Car rental: Attendees can also arrange to rent a car through Avis or Enterprise, with discounted rates effective from December 30, 2008, through January 8, 2009. Contact Avis at 800-331-1600, noting ID number J952801, or Enterprise at 800-593-0505, noting ID number 32H7476.
New York City is served by two international airports, John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), in the borough of Queens at the south end of the Van Wyck Expressway, which primarily handles international flights, and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), in New Jersey, which handles both domestic and international flights. The region is also served by LaGuardia Airport (LGA), also in Queens, on the Grand Central Parkway, which mainly handles domestic flights. All airports offer ground transportation with service available from the airports to the hotels. Taxis, vans, limousines, buses, and rental cars are available.
For transportation information for all three airports call Air-Ride (800-247-7433), which offers 24-hour recorded details on bus and shuttle companies and car services registered with the New York and New Jersey Port Authority. Similar information is available at the Port Authority's web site at www.panynj.gov/CommutingTravel/airports/html; click on the airport at which you'll be arriving.
LaGuardia Airport is eight miles from the meeting hotels and is served by taxi, bus, and van service. The airport has a Ground Transportation Desk to ask for information upon arrival. A taxi ride into the city takes anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes and costs a minimum of $30—rides are metered and bridge tolls and tip (15-20 percent is customary) are extra (although currently LaGuardia taxis accept only cash, credit and debit payments are being phased in, and by January 2009 will be normally accepted as well). Riders should hail a cab only in the designated areas or ask a uniformed airport employee to assist. New York Airport Service ($12 one way and $27 roundtrip) offers bus service from LaGuardia to midtown hotels. The trip takes approximately 45 minutes with buses operating every 20 to 30 minutes, seven days a week. The SuperShuttle provides door-to-door service to and from the airport to downtown hotels. The fare is $15 each way.
Kennedy Airport is 17 miles from midtown and is served by taxi, bus, and van. Taxis from the airport to Manhattan charge a flat rate of $45 (plus tolls and tip) with the trip taking 65 to 75 minutes. The meter will not be turned on and a surcharge will not be added. Note that the flat rate does not apply on trips from Manhattan to the airport. Bus service on New York Airport Service costs $15 one way and $33 roundtrip and takes approximately 75 to 85 minutes. The SuperShuttle provides door-to-door service to and from the airport to downtown hotels. The fare is $19 each way.
Newark Airport is 15 miles from the meeting hotels, and is served by taxi, bus, and van. A dispatcher for New Jersey taxis gives riders a slip of paper with a flat rate ranging from $30 to $38 (toll and tip extra), depending on where the rider is going in Manhattan, so be precise about the destination. New York Yellow Cabs aren't permitted to pick up passengers at Newark. The Yellow Cab fare from Manhattan to Newark is the meter amount plus $15 and tolls (about $45–$55, a few dollars more with tip). New Jersey taxis aren't permitted to take passengers from Manhattan to Newark. Coach USA offers bus service (the Grey Line) for $14 from Newark to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. From this point, attendees can take the subway's E train toward Jamaica Center to 7th Avenue and 53rd Street for an additional $2, or take a short taxi ride to the hotel. Shared ride van service is available through AirlinkNYC for a fee of $15 per person.
Subways and Public Buses
More often than not it is better not to use the Metropolitan Transit Authority (the city's public transit) when traveling to and from the airports. Although riders can save a few dollars, subways and buses that currently serve the airports involve multiple transfers, and riders must drag luggage up and down staircases. The one exception is the subway service to and from Kennedy, which connects the airport's own train, the AirTrain, to the E train on the New York City subway; the E train goes to a station within a block of the Hilton and Sheraton. This trip takes at least an hour and a half and costs $7. The subway can actually be more reliable than taking a car or taxi at the height of rush hour. However, this isn't the best option if bringing more than a single piece of luggage since there's a good amount of walking and some stairs and there is not much space for extra baggage on the subway. If you are a seasoned—or an adventurous—traveler, you can map a ride from the airport to the hotel on the MTA's web site, www.mta.info.
New York's Penn Station is located at Eighth Avenue and 31st Street in midtown Manhattan. The station is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week (though Amtrak's ticket office at Penn Station is open daily only from 5:10 a.m. to 9:50 p.m.). A cab ride to the hotels takes from 15 to 20 minutes (depending on traffic) and costs from $10 to $12, plus tip. Attendees can also take the Uptown E train from Penn Station to the Seventh Avenue stop, right next to the Sheraton. Travel time is approximately 20 minutes and costs $2.
Group Meetings and Reunions: Societies and groups that have not already made arrangements to hold sessions or other meetings should send their requests for room space as soon as possible to Sharon K. Tune, Convention Director (fax 202-544-8307). Please specify preferred date, inclusive hours, attendance forecast, and any special equipment desired.
Business Meeting: Resolutions for the business meeting signed by 50 members of the Association will be accepted until November 1, 2008, and must be no more than 300 words in length. Resolutions should be sent to the executive director at the AHA office, with a copy to the parliamentarian, Michael Les Benedict, 106 Dulles Hall, Ohio State University, 230 W. 17th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210.
Location of Offices and Events
AHA sessions will be held at the Hilton New York and Sheraton New York. The Local Arrangements Committee and Press Office will be in the Hilton's Morgan Suite and the AHA Headquarters/Staff Office located on the second floor promenade. Meeting registration counters and meal ticket cashiers will also be located on the second floor promenade. The Job Center will be located in the Hilton's Rhinelander Gallery. The Exhibit Hall will occupy the Hilton's Americas Halls. The Messaging and Internet Center will be in Americas Hall II.
Advance Registration: Intending participants are urged to preregister at the reduced rates of $145 members, $165 nonmembers, $70 student members, $80 student nonmembers, $70 unemployed, and $35 precollegiate teachers. The AHA also offers special preregistration rates of $50 for middle and high school teachers and $100 for undergraduate teachers leading groups of up to five students (see related article for details). Online preregistration through a link on the AHA's web site at www.historians.org/annual is the preferred (and easier) method. Alternatively, the preregistration form (or a photocopy) may be mailed along with the requisite payment to the processing service at the address printed on the form (and should not be sent to the AHA). Online preregistration will close at midnight on December 19, 2008; if preregistration forms are mailed or faxed, they should also be received by the processing center by that deadline for members to avail of the preregistration rates. After that deadline, forms can still be mailed or faxed, but onsite rates will apply.
Registration at the Meeting: The registration counters at the annual meeting, located on the second floor promenade of the Hilton New York, will be open from noon to 7 p.m. on January 2, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on January 3, and from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on January 4. Fees for registering at the meeting will be $170 members, $190 nonmembers, $75 student members, $85 student nonmembers, $75 unemployed, and $40 precollegiate teachers. The special group rate mentioned above will not be available on site.
Admission to all AHA sessions, the exhibit hall, the Job Center, and the Messaging and Internet Center requires a 2009 meeting registration badge.
Refund Policy: Advance registrants who are unable to attend the meeting may request a refund of their registration fee. Requests must be submitted in writing, should be postmarked no later than December 19, 2008, and should include a copy of the preregistration form that was submitted. Proof of payment—copies of front and back of cancelled check or copy of credit card statement—may also be required. All refunds are subject to a $20 processing fee. No refunds will be issued for requests postmarked after December 19, 2008.
The Exhibit Hall will be located in the Hilton's Americas Hall and will be open January 2 from 3 to 7 p.m., January 3 and 4 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on January 5 from 9 a.m. to noon.
The Job Center (formerly known as the Job Register) will be located in Hilton's Rhinelander Gallery. Hours of operation will be January 2 from 12:30 to 6:00 p.m., January 3 and 4 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and January 5 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Messaging and Internet Center
The Messaging Center, which will facilitate electronic communication among attendees and also make finding them easier, will be located in Hilton's Americas Hall II.
—Sharon K. Tune is the convention director for the AHA.