Monday, January 16, 2012

Cold Hands from New York

This past week we took ourselves to New York City for one of our Broadway musical/shopping/museum/urban vibe trips. We had been in the city last September 11 to be part of a chorus that sang Rene Clausen's Memorial at the Lincoln Center. We had rehearsals and the performance but managed to squeeze in some B/S/M/UV time. This time it was all about that.

We had a good discount on a nice hotel and so off we went last Thursday with Becky driving (as usual--I'm the navigator) to Somerville, New Jersey where we left the car and caught the New Jersey Transit into the city. We've found this to be a fast and relatively inexpensive way to get to Manhattan. We arrived at the hotel about 6, checked in using a spiffy electronic kiosk and set off for the TKTS booth at Times Square, which sells half-price same-day tickets to Broadway shows. Ducats (don't you love the outdated show biz vocabulary?) for Mama Mia were available, so we snapped some up and made our way to Bubba Gump's Shrimp Factory restaurant at Times Square, the largest of that chain. We like to eat there--the service is fast and friendly and the food is good. By the time we ate it was time to make it to the Winter Garden Theater (where Becky saw her first Broadway musical) and Mama Mia!

To tell the truth, although we had heard good things about this musical, I thought it was going to be extremely lame. I had seen the movie version and it was an embarrassment to watch a fine actress like Meryl Streep in such a horrid production. I wasn't expecting much, but it was a case of "Wrong again, Lt. Dan!" I think it was a critic who called the play "dance at your seat exuberant" but that was exactly right. I am not a dance-at-your-seat kind of guy normally, but i made an exception for this. I did keep some of my best moves back for the series of disco nights I will be attending in the near future. As if.

 The next morning we had planned to go stand in the crowd outside The Today Show a few blocks from our hotel but sub-freezing temperatures and winds of 40+ mph had us watching the proceedings from the hotel room. Then we were off to the Metropolitan Museum where the incredible number of priceless artifacts blew me away as always. After lunch we went back to room and rested, then saw Wicked that evening, a wonderfully nuanced show that I recommend highly.

Saturday, we got some tickets for a Mary Poppins matinee that afternoon and went to the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the Discovery Museum at Times Square. If you have a chance to see it, please go. The antiquities are on loan from the state of Israel and gave me a case of goose bumps the whole time we were in the display.
After lunch we were off to Mary Poppins, which proved to be an unfortunate experience for me. Our seats in the nose bleed section were so cramped that my legs from the mid-calf down to my toes went numb by intermission. Not wanting to entertain a clot from DVT, I bailed out of the show (which I found annoying...sorry, Julie Andrews fans) and sat in a coffee shop and made notes for this post. Becky soldiered on inside and I met her after the show.

We went out to dinner and then back to the hotel for a quiet evening of TV and catching up on emails and Facebook.

The next morning we got underway and had an exceptionally smooth trip under clear if cold skies.

We'll be back after an interval to recover. This sort of journey suits us well and it is expensive but we believe it to be well worth the price. The title is from a Gordon Lightfoot (who else?) song from the 60's in which he sings about what a cold and lonely place the city is. In the 60's when I visited it in college, I found it to be dirty, dangerous, expensive and filled with nasty people. All that has changed. The city still has its problems, but there's no other place like it. It is clean, safe and filled with nice people, but still expensive. New York might have cold hands, but it now also has a warm heart.

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