(I've gleaned sections of this from my trip report posted at Tripadvisor.com, or TA for short.)
"Strangers When We Meet" Trip Report, June 7-11, 2011
Day One, June 7th...
After catching a very early flight, I arrived at LGA about 10:30 am. Because I'm thrifty, sounds kinder than "cheap," I relied on MoreFFMiles's (a poster at TA) excellent directions on using the Q33/subway transportation to get to the Eastgate Tower Hotel. No problems there, but it took me a while to get my bearings at Grand Central. HUGE!! Murray Hill was new territory for me as well, so I looked at it as a grand adventure. Would I make it to the Eastgate without bugging people for directions a hundred times? No, so thank you, helpful New Yorkers.
Oh, what joy when I finally saw the Eastgate. I made it up to our floor and knocked. No answer. Had I already been voted off? I ended up calling my future roomies from the hallway outside the suite. Entry was finally mine. It was great seeing Patti/NYCForMe again and finally meeting Helen. Patti's sister was there as well, and I got to spend several hours with her before she headed home that evening.
First things first: food, glorious food. Off to Lombardi's for delicious pizza and sit-down time to get to know each other better.
Blisters, Bunions, and Cankles--
No, not a future Stephen King novel, but the status of our poor feet at various stages through our visit. I get it. Too much info for you. I'll move on...
After Lombardi's we hit Economy Candy, had to get some goodies for my girls, and The Donut Plant--small place with big flavors. I'll have a cinnamon bun, please.
We'd covered a lot of territory, and it was time to head back to the hotel so Tara could get to the airport. I'm so glad that I got to meet her...very sweet lady. Our remaining trio all had separate plans for that night: How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying for me.
How to Succeed:
I'm a huge Harry Potter fan, so I was pulling for Daniel Radcliffe. He succeeded just fine with me. I enjoyed his tenor voice, and he's a pretty good hoofer, too. It was a fun show. Sure, it's outdated and the bosses chase their secretaries around and around and around. Just keep humming, "I am woman; hear me roar!" Dignity is a wonderful thing. :-)
Day Two, June 8th...
We took it easy this morning before heading to Grand Central to buy our tickets for Tarrytown for our day trip to Kykuit the next day. Grand Central has many dining options, so we decided to eat there. We finally chose Junior's, but get this: None of us had room for dessert. No cheesecake. Sacrilege!! We also stopped at the food market there. So many cheeses, so little time. Sigh.
Off to a matinee of Sister Act. Ponder this. What's worse than being surrounded by school children of all ages at a Broadway show? How about school children who have absolutely no theater manners? AHHHHHH!!!!! They were everywhere. To the front of us, to the back of us, and in the section to the right of us. It was war, people. In our section, we had one skirmish: an Ipod that kept going off; other than that, very good manners, but in the section to our right...oy vey. They wouldn't shut up. To the moon, Alice!! Beyond that, Sister Act is a delightful show. Patina Miller is excellent, and I could listen to Victoria Clark sing all day long. (Loved her in The Light in the Piazza.) The nuns are hilarious, the music is fresh (none from the movie), and the time flew by. A very fun show.
Then it was off to see the Pompeii exhibit at Times Square. The three of us really enjoyed this. It was great not feeling rushed as we took our time reading the information and absorbing the many items on display. I liked stepping back in time and imagining myself on that fateful day. It's good to be alive. Fascinating exhibit...
Back to Grand Central to grab some take out. (Need I mention that our feet were killing us?) Zocalo's smelled the most tempting to me, so a chicken burrito platter had my name on it. Delicious. We'd also promised ourselves earlier that day that we'd get some gelato at Ciao Bella Gelateria as a well-deserved treat. Malted milk ball, here I come!! That night started our routine of gelato and conversation after a long day of site-seeing. A perfect way to end the day...
Day Three, June 9th...
Welcome to Hades. Man, was it hot. I just kept chanting, "It will be cooler in Tarrytown. It will be cooler in Tarrytown." We got an early start for Grand Central to catch the train for our day trip to Kykuit, the Rockefeller mansion. At Grand Central, it was Betty Fan Club Day. Betty, formerly known as Bettina at TA to some of you, arranged the Kykuit trip so old and new friends of hers, some TA members, could spend the day together. (Hey, she's popular for a good reason. She's nice!) I highly recommend a visit to Kykuit if you're looking for a day out of the city. What a beautiful estate. Our wonderful tour guide was Muriel who took us on a two hour tour which included the grounds, the first floor, the basement with some of Nelson's art collection, and the coach house--cars and carriages.
We then had lunch at the Tarry Tavern. Everyone seemed very happy with their food, and it gave us another chance to get to know one another. I think we also did a swell job of sharing Betty. Not one shout of "She's mine, all mine!!"
Back to Grand Central for hugs and goodbyes to Betty and new friends, and then home to the Eastgate. This time, Helen was off to a play, and Patti and I were headed to a ballet, Bright Stream, at the Met. It even rains in Hades, evidently, because it started pouring down. Patti graciously shared her umbrella. I didn't even have to beg or look pitifully at her. What a gal. The rain still got us though. I was dripping on my left side from head to toe. I think Patti got it on her right. I looked like half a drowned rat which is only slightly better than a WHOLE drowned rat. Trust me.
Dry land: Lincoln Center!! We both had a lovely time, but who could have a bad time at the Met? Bright Stream is a wonderful combination of farce, romance, and gorgeous dancing. A perfect ending to a special day...
Friday, my last full day, June 10th...
No plans this morning, so I rested until it was time to meet Jenny and her toddler, Eli, for lunch. (Yes, OUR Jenny from right here at Jane Eyre: The Musical forum.) Whenever I'm in New York, we get together. She'd packed picnic items for us to eat in Bryant Park great banana muffins, Jenny!), so Eli could run around while we caught up. She's a theater nut like me, so it's always great visiting with her. She was due with her second baby the following week. What a trooper! I loved seeing you, Jenny. :-)
Hugs goodbye, and I headed over to the library for its exhibit on "100 Years at the N.Y. Public Library." I really enjoyed this. What a wide variety of items! Too many to name, but some that come to mind are Charlotte Bronte's travel writing desk, Dickens' letter opener with his beloved cat's paw attatched at one end, I'm not kidding, Virginia Woolf's journal and walking stick, a Gutenberg Bible, and on and on. I think the exhibit is there through December. Go. :-)
I had time to rest before that evening's musical, Death Takes a Holiday, opening on its first night of previews. I had such high hopes for this one, and it didn't disappoint. I absolutely fell in love with the lush and romantic score, the excellent cast, costuming, etc. (I can't stop thinking about it to the point that I'm returning in August to see it again. It's a limited run until September 4th.) Julien Ovenden plays Death/Prince Nikolai and does an excellent job of conveying all the emotions that Death experiences as he dives into the world of humans. His chemistry and vocalizations with Jill Paice are perfect. If I could change one thing, I would make him a bit taller. (I picture Death looking down on those around him.) It's not doom and gloom though because there are comic elements that blend seamlessly with the drama. It captured my heart--a lovely musical.
Back to the Eastgate for one last gelato date with Helen and Patti and then home the next day. As I neared Grand Central on Saturday morning, I noticed that location filming was going on. At first I thought it was "Mad Men" because of the costumes. No luck. One of the actors sure looked like Topher Grace as he walked by in a suit and fedora. No offense, but I really wanted Jon Hamm!! Regardless, check out Men in Black III coming soon to a theater near you...once it's through filming in New York that is. :-)
Goodbye, New York, and hello, Kentucky...
Other than the hideous heat, it was a terrific visit with new and old friends along the way. Could there be more gelato with my name on it? One can only hope... :-)
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