I was fortunate to spend a few days in New York City at the start of April this year. The trip was more special than previous trip because I got to enjoy this one with my lovely, 16-year old niece, Samantha. Sam’s a good, smart and funny kid, who is interested in the arts, culture and food. I would jump at any opportunity to share in these delights with her.
Wednesday, 3 April 2013
We got on the road at 7am despite being a carful of sleepyheads. I started to feel the tickle of a cold coming on in my lungs and hoped that it would turn into nothing. We agreed that, since we got a later start, we would not make any stops for food and would just hold off until we got into the city and were able to get a table Junior’s for a proper meal.
I caught sight of the city skyline first and called Sam’s attention to it. Her face lit up and she immediately started to contort her neck excitedly to get better views of it. It was awesome and I chuckled to myself out of sheer delight. We had a very easy time travelling through the Lincoln Tunnel, but had a slightly difficult time finding the ramp into the Port Authority car park, which we eventually did thanks to the cooperative efforts of everyone in the car.
We dumped all of our stuff at the Milford Plaza after a brief jaunt from the car park and walked to Junior’s for a late lunch. That was followed by a trip out to Times Square for Sam’s first look at the “famous part” that one always gets to see on television. It was a beautiful day, so we walked quite a bit, taking a brief ride on the subway, and got to see Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and Rockefeller Plaza. We even went up to the Top of the Rock for a look at the city. It had gotten much colder and windier by this point and I started to realise that my chest cold was probably going to stick around. We ended our day at the Heartland Brewery near Radio City Music Hall before returning to the Milford and falling asleep.
Thursday, 4 April 2013
I got up and out of the hotel earlier than the rest of the crew. Lou sent me a text to let me know that the cast of Motown would be performing on Times Square for Good Morning America. I headed down there and got to see the performance and may or may not have been on television for a second. I was soon joined by the rest of the crew and we started our walking tour through Bryant Park and down to The Empire State Building. Lou had gotten us CityPasses, so that expedited our trip up to the top of ESB (and had gotten us admission for that and Top of the Rock the night before). It was unusually warm at the top (compared to the night before at 30 Rock) and the observation deck was packed! We didn’t spend too long up there and decided to make our way over to Park Avenue and Grand Central Terminal.
We had lunch at a place called Two Boots (Louisiana and Italy… get it?) and had a walk around the beautiful concourse. Our next stop was The Metropolitan Museum of Art (CityPass again), so we hopped a subway and proceeded to Central Park East. We glimpsed the rocks where Amy, Rory and The Doctor sat at the start of the “Angels in Manhattan” episode of Doctor Who. We also saw some of those “famous” nannies watching the kids at the playground.
The museum was wonderful! I had never been there, but I got to see so many things that were familiar to me (like the Temple of Dundur re-creation). Sam enjoyed the museum as well, but we were on a schedule, so we headed back to Midtown, a quick change and then back out again.
Lou and I made our way to etcetera etcetera, our favourite restaurant/bar near the hotel. We stopped in for a couple drinks whilst Bonnie and Sam got ready and then we were off to Pigalle for a light snack and then off to see Wicked. We had an absolutely delightful time at the show, which was a shock for both Lou and I since we didn’t think we would enjoy the show as much as we did. Minds and hearts changed!
After Wicked, we cruised on down to Casellula for wine and cheese before heading back to the Milford. It was around this time that I knew I was really going to have some issues with my cold.
Friday, 5 April 2013
It was a little more of a challenge for me to get out of bed this morning, but I managed to do so and we were off and running after a cup of coffee. Starting our day a little late at MoMA was fine and it included lunch at The Modern. We were fortunate to see Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” up close and personal this time. We also got to revisit Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, which still packed as much of an emotional wallop as it did the last time we saw it. Absolutely magnificent! I feel so blessed that I have seen so many important works of art in my travels. I am never disappointed.
After some sufficient wandering and shopping, we decided we all needed a little kip before dinner at etcetera etcetera and Matilda. The staff at the restaurant was just delightful and glad to have us as guests. They were thrilled to know that we really appreciated them and were making the return visit after discovering them on our last visit to the city. They were so accommodating in getting us a table on such short notice as well (a request after drinks the previous evening). Thank you, Daniel and company!
Matilda was in previews and we felt so honoured to be a part of something before it officially opened. Let me say that this show did not disappoint us in the least! It was dark, funny, smart and really captured the original text that was written by Roald Dahl. I hope this show has a good run on Broadway because it really deserves it. The audience seemed to connect with the performances and the show in general.
We closed the day by meeting up with our friends, Jeremy and Nicole, over at Kashkaval, a Middle Eastern deli that specialised in cheeses and wines. Nicole is still busy trying to get that big Broadway break and I just feel she is getting closer and closer to it. Perhaps this year!
Saturday, 6 April 2013
All right, this is where the fun begins… I opted out of the harbour tour and took myself down to a Duane Reade pharmacy walk-in clinic. I just wanted to make sure that I was not going to contract pneumonia or anything. The doctor told me that I was breathing clearly, so I could continue taking over the counter meds and sent me on my way.
I got back in time to take a short nap before joining Lou, Bonnie and Sam for the adventure known as Accomplice. Basically, it’s an interactive scavenger hunt that gives you clues at each stop (along with some dialogue from some colourful characters) as you deliver airline tickets to four mobsters who are making their way out of the city. We had four stupid girls as a part of our group of ten and they were completely useless. I don’t even know why they bothered to pay for this experience! Anyhow, thankfully, we had the four of us and another couple on the case and we had a blast. I cannot wait for us to do the version they host in Greenwich Village the next time!
Lou and Bonnie’s cousin and his wife were in town for an awards ceremony. They met for dinner. I opted out again since we were going to be seeing Sleep No More with our friend, Eddie, that evening and I wanted to be fresh for that. I was sad to have missed Dave and Hilary, but I think I did myself a huge favour by getting that rest. Sleep No More is an interactive take on the story of Macbeth, but set in the 1930s. The group producing the show took over an old, abandoned hotel and built environments into it (some rooms, forests, graveyards, city streets lined with shops). The story could be viewed in a non-linear fashion and you could follow whatever characters you fancied. The show cycled three times during the time we were there, but there were still bits that each of us missed.
My personal highlight was that I was standing at the bar of the speakeasy when the swarthy, boozy bartender starts flirting with me. He shows me a card trick, pours me a shot (a real one!) and then proceeds to dance with me before whispering “Blood will have blood” into my ear, which I saw earlier on in the evening when he pulled out a slip of paper from a desk in another part of “town”. Absolutely intense and naughtily erotic!
Sleep No More might be one of the most incredible things I have ever done in my life! Truly.
From there, Lou, Eddie and I went to GastroMarket for dinner. Sam and Bonnie had departed an hour earlier and went back to the hotel. It was great visiting with Eddie and I always wish that we lived closer to each other. He is truly one of my dearest friends… practically family as far as I’m concerned.
Sunday, 7 April 2013
I really shouldn’t say that I was glad the trip was over, because I really wasn’t. Still, there was a part of me that was so grateful to get home and hopefully get over this chest cold. We got underway around 11am and it was a pretty easy walk from the Milford to the Port Authority car park and then on the road. We rolled back into town around 7pm, after numerous stops and hours of recounting the highlights of our visit to NYC.
Back to reality again…