Ok... I am putting a period on this thread as I see there are lots of other debates and theories being discussed about "how to make a good black & white" from a color image. I'll just say that there is no one trick - or one size fits all - for the process. Each individual image offers its own unique challenges.
This image was particularly taxing for me, given that I do conversions all day long for multiple end usages - with little or no difficulty. OH.. they are not all award winners, but they are all within the realm of professional processing.
With this particular image, I took a lot of the offers and suggestions that you made [and thank you very much] and came up with this final result. I like it, and so does the client. I showed it to the original photographer and he was also very pleased with it. He said it had a "silvery" kind of quality to it and I agree.
While it may not be everyone's favorite, I am calling it done! As someone said, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"!
Thanks again everyone.