Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dear APA: Drop Atlanta

Dear APA,

Drop Atlanta from your rotation for the Eastern meetings. The hotels are overpriced. The surrounding downtown offers nothing. Transport around the city is a hassle. The airport is a total disaster.

My impression is that attendance was drastically lower than usual, even for a meeting outside of NYC and Boston.  There are no doubt many factors that explain this drop, but holding the meeting in a crappy location within a crummy city can't help.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'll agree that the down-town isn't so hot (the food choices were meager in particular- probably night-life, too, though I wasn't looking) but it was extremely easy to get from the airport to the hotel via the not too bad subway, and quite cheap- $5 round-trip. That's certainly better than many places. I'd not mind seeing Atlanta dropped (though then people will complain about it being in cold-weather places...) but this was one good thing.

Anonymous said...

(though then people will complain about it being in cold-weather places...)

Smokers.
Screw 'em.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, whoa, whoa... you're gonna complain about overpriced hotels in ATLANTA and decide that keeping NYC in rotation is fine? You've lost your damned mind. Atlanta isn't the world's most interesting city, but for some of us, attending the APA is work, not a vacation, and our institutions aren't paying for it, it comes out of our own pockets. Shut your hole.

Anonymous said...

The area around the hotel is admittedly pretty lame, but we had no problem finding great food, fun, neighborhoods, and just generally good places to be by venturing farther than a few blocks away. If you're an adult and you're not capable of using the internet, the train, a cab, and/or your feet to find something nice to do in Atlanta, I rather doubt the APA is to blame for it by their selection of city.

CTS said...

Aside from "shut your hole," I agree with 1:21 and 2:48. Atlanta is a sprawling city and its neighborhoods are varied and mostly great.

I also think it is important that the APA not limit itself to (cold and) expensive Northeast cities.

Anonymous said...

@1:21pm

Presumably, Spiros is merely arguing that the reasons he mentions are taken together sufficient to ditch Atlanta. Since NYC offers tons to do and a decent public transportation system, I don't think Spiros has "lost his damned mind."

Airports are hell in most places at this time of the year, though.

Anonymous said...

If attendance is indeed way down, that's a pretty good sign that Atlanta should be dropped from the rotation. I'm sure there are some nice aspects, but on the whole it's a lot less attractive to a whole lot of the constituency.

New York is, unfortunately, too expensive in the current period -- maybe the move to January will make it possible to bring New York back into the rotation. And why can't the Eastern Division grab New Orleans?

Anonymous said...

I don't take the low attendance to be a sign that the conference shouldn't be in Atlanta. I take it as far more indicative of the fact that the vast majority of hiring departments chose to go with Skype and phone interviews this year. Search committee members were able to spend the holidays with their families, and more job candidates were able to save themselves the expense. I don't think it had anything to do with the location, but everything to do with an interview/hiring process which is evolving in a positive direction.

Anonymous said...

"If attendance is indeed way down, that's a pretty good sign that Atlanta should be dropped from the rotation."

That's not true. You need to look at the numbers of schools hiring and interviewing at the APA.

Anonymous said...

I don't take the low attendance to be a sign that the conference shouldn't be in Atlanta. I take it as far more indicative of the fact that the vast majority of hiring departments chose to go with Skype and phone interviews this year.

Ditto.

If you don't know how to get outside of the admittedly mediocre downtown of Atlanta, then you don't know how to travel.

8:08 said...

Oh, right. I should have said: if the attendance is way down and lower than *next* year too.

But I don't believe "that the vast majority of hiring departments chose to go with Skype and phone interviews this year." Does anyone have the actual numbers? The quantity of interviewers seemed a little low, but not dramatically lower than usual.

Anonymous said...

I don't have "the" numbers, but I can say that I had an abnormally high number of interviews total, and that fewer than 1/3 of them were at the apa. This, combined with the very few number of interview tables (I'd estimate 35) is pretty good evidence that indeed, the "vast majority" of departments chose a route other than EAPA.

Anonymous said...

Austin, TX.

Every. Damn. Year.

If we have to do it, let's do it right.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I thought the airport was a dream, as was getting there from the hotel. There were also about a half-dozen hotels in the area that were all connected (you didn't even have to go outside to get between them!) and were varying prices.

And as for good food, you're fucking kidding, right? That mall food court had the best falafel I've ever had. And there were two good restaurants within a two block radius. Also, it's nice to be able to not worry that the airport will be closed due to a blizzard.

Keep Atlanta. Hell, I'd be happy if it were in Atlanta every year.

Anonymous said...

Atlanta was awesome. Maybe they can have it in downtown Buffalo next time.

Anonymous said...

Buffalo wings!
If you can't have fun in Buffalo, you just aren't fun.

Anonymous said...

The hotel was good; the staff helpful; the hummus (in the bar) outstanding. The talks I went to were interesting/fun. Atlanta was typical US/corporate concrete blandness (excellent civil war museum thto).

Anonymous said...

Keep Atlanta. Hell, I'd be happy if it were in Atlanta every year

Exactly. The weather alone should be good enough reason to consider holding EAPA in the south at least every other year.

Susanne Bobzien said...

Low attendance: due to a good part to subdued hiring.

Public transport: Marta is many times superior than NYC subway, especially ride from Airport to Hotel.

Weather and food: Ha! in the snowstorm that swept through the East Coast you would likely not have savored any of the delicacies in Boston or New York.

And last but not least politics: Georgia deserves the financial support the APA provides it with!

NE said...

"Georgia deserves the financial support the APA provides it with!"

Why?
---
Atlanta is a longer, more expensive trip for Eastern members on average, but it must be quite a bit cheaper and shorter for Pacific members, and at least about equal for Central members on average. So, does the Eastern meeting cater to the Eastern membership, or should it function as a national meeting?

Branden Fitelson said...

Miami.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why anyone says the hotel was expensive. We made reservations at the Marriott-Marquis (where the conference was held) about a month in advance (not with the APA "special" conference rate) and paid only $79 per night. The day we left (Sunday) Boston's mayor had declared an emergency because 8 more inches of snow had fallen the night before. Please keep it in the South. I suspect that IF attendance was down it is because people are unsatisfied with the whole academic hiring process,not just certain hotels.

Anonymous said...

Austin TX is not even in eastern Texas.

How about Miami?

Anonymous said...

Miami is expensive to get to at this time of year, and if you mean Miami Beach, it's also very expensive to stay there.

Spiros said...

For clarification, I don't endorse the northeast rotation for the Eastern meeting, either: NYC, Boston, and Philly are all expensive and a hassle for travel any time in Dec-Feb. But I see why the APA might continue to hold conferences there, given the overall desirability of those locations, and their proximity to so many major universities.

As the APA loses its hold on the job market processes to Skype, and thus loses its ability to capitalize on the fact that job-seekers must attend its Eastern meeting, it'll have to rethink much of what it does. No doubt finding attractive meeting locations at convenient times of the year is crucial. I continue to see no advantage to Atlanta over, say, Raleigh-Durham, Austin, or even Knoxville. And I see much in Atlanta that's worth avoiding.

Jamie Dreier said...

Austin is much too far and hard to get to. Raleigh-Durham and Knoxville don't have big enough hotels -- not even close. It's much harder than you'd think to find alternatives to the current rotation.

The Eastern Division is about to get a new Secretary-Treasurer. The Sec-Treas chooses the meeting sites. It might be a good idea to send any suggestions to whomever it turns out to be. (I know it has been determined, but not announced.)

D said...

Perhaps this is a good time to think about the overall structure. I mean the December/Jan meeting is really a national meeting. Why not just hold it somewhere warm and reasonably central (such as Texas). Then the spring and fall meetings can be rotated round the regions - south east, south west, north east, north west, north central. This would make life much more pleasant for all...

CTS said...

@Spiros 7:13:

Sorry, Atlanta is a diverse and interesting city, despite its less than exciting downtown. I admit to not being familiar with R-D or Knoxville (Austin is not in the Eastern Division by any criteria and is not easy/cheap for east coast folks to get to), but I am familiar with Atlanta. I think it is a great place for the EAPA; folks who want to wonder from the meetings could be provided with better info from the APA. It really is not difficult to get around city.

By the way: the-not-insanely-expensive conference hotels in NO are far away from the most interesting places, and cabs are the only way to get from the usual APA location to anything worth seeing.

Anonymous said...

There are buses in NO.

Anonymous said...

(If cabs were the only way to get around in the city, how would you imagine that all the people cleaning up after you and taking care of you at the hotel get to and from work? Hint: they do not make enough money to take cabs or own cars.)

harryb said...

Trader Vics is less than a block away from the Marriott Marquis. In the basement of the Hilton Didn't even have to go outside for it. Almost empty both nights I was there. Perfect.

Glaucon said...

I saw a werewolf drinking a piƱa colada at Trader Vic's…

Anonymous said...

...proximity to so many major universities

I've never understood why this is given as a compelling reason to hold a convention at any particular location. This benefits a handful of people at most.

Anonymous said...

You must have really big hands.

Glaucon said...

nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

CTS said...

Ouch. Yes, there are buses in NO. I'm not even sure what I was thinking when I wrote that.

Anonymous said...

As Miamian and a philosopher, while there are many great advantages to having a winter conference in Miami, the transit is horrendous and in your average bar, a bottle of, say, Heineken will run you about $10, and hotels in Miami over the Christmas holiday are overrun with people escaping the cold and they try to profit as much as they can from this, so I don't think it has any advantages in terms of being less expensive than places like NYC or Philly (having attended the E-APA in those cities myself).

lazer epilasyon said...

Miami is expensive to get to at this time of year, and if you mean Miami Beach, it's also very expensive to stay there.