|Manhattan - WOW!|
We went on a theatre tour with Jan's folks. We met up at the Newark airport early on Tuesday evening. It was like a small town airport compared to the chaos of DFW. It was really laid back.
We stayed a half a block off of Times square in a hotel called 'The Edison' (http://www.edisonhotelnyc.com/). It was built in 1931 (so it was older and not as modern). That was the same year that Radio City Music Hall was built and they were both built in the art deco style. We had breakfast every morning in one of the hotel restraint's that had plaster walls and ceilings that were painted in a Wedgwood style design (3D). The waiters were really cool and funny (in that restaurant).
We had a bus tour of Manhattan on Wednesday morning. It went from Park Ave to Battery Park with everything in between (Central Park, Chelsea district, Harlem & the Apollo theatre, the garment district, Macy's, Museum mile, Jackie O's, Saint John the Divine Cathedral, etc). Then we went to the Empire State Building on Tuesday afternoon. That is where the building pictures were taken. The triangle building at the bottom of the picture is the Flatiron bldg and at one time was the tallest structure in NYC! In the harbor at the top right is the Statue of Liberty and just down from that is Ellis Island. The tall buildings at the end of the island is downtown. The WTC used to be in the right of that clump of buildings. Wednesday evening we headed down to Carmine's Restaurant. This is supposed to be a pretty good place and it was. Of course we had to get reservations months in advance and I can see why. Then we hurried off to the theatre hardly a block away from the hotel to see the play 'The Producers'.
I should say that we couldn't stop on a street corner and look at a map without someone coming up and asking if they could help us find something. It was unexpectedly friendly! What a pleasant surprise.
Thursday morning we had a group tour of Radio City Music Hall. We weren't terribly excited about going initially, but it turned out to be really interesting and we were glad we didn't miss it!! The building/theatre was incredible with it's art deco opulence! We went into the theatre where they were setting up for the broadcast of the Daytime Emmy's. Then we went under the stage to see all of the stage lifts and things. We went behind, under, around and over the stage. They took us up to where the Rockets hung out and rehearsed and we met one of the Rockets there in costume. Then down to the lobby below the stage where the rich and famous used to mingle with regular people. Thursday afternoon we ended up going to Rockefeller Plaza and had lunch at the Sea Grill where a salad, sandwich and glass of wine was $100 for two. However, Jan is still raving about the best sandwich she ever had (personally I think it had something to do with the dwarf that served it...)! We wandered around the shopping district until it was time to head back to the hotel. Then on to supper on Restaurant row on the other side of our hotel. We found a great little French restaurant. Instead of the normal appetizers they had a basket of bread, a rack of pepperoni and sausages and a basket of melons and vegetables on each table to munch on. The main course was pretty good too. Back to the hotel where one of the actors (female - I guess they are no longer called actresses) from the play 'The Producers' came by and talked to our group about what it was like, living and working in Manhattan and the play of course. She was a riot! Thursday evening we caught the play 'Gypsy' with Bernadette Peters.
Friday we grabbed the subway and spent the morning at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We couldn't get into the Statue of Liberty because of security but I wouldn't have missed being able to walk around her. Ellis Island was an amazing story all by itself. Listening to the stories and seeing the exhibits were real eye openers. Friday lunch was spent with a hot dog stand in the middle of Battery Park, watching the people walk by, the street vendors cry for their wares and the street musicians play their tunes. We had the usual opportunities to buy Rolex watches for $5.00 - I passed it up 8-) . Then we walked up to Wall Street and saw the outside of the NY Stock exchange, but again because of security we couldn't get in. Soon it was time to hop back on the subway and head back to Times Square and our hotel. Friday evening the group got on a bus and went to the restaurant 'Tavern on the Green'. It's in Central Park and truly an amazing place to see. Friday night in Manhattan was unbelievable. Traffic is sheer chaos anyway but the weekends can't be imagined. Driving a big bus through all of this with only inches to spare was amazing. Added to the weekend crowds and chaos, the detours created by the arrivals of the stars for the day time Emmy's and the various streets that were blocked off because of it and we all had our mouths hanging open (Dorothy we're not in Kansas no more). The bus dropped us off for the play 'The Lion King'. WOW!!! The music, the costumes, it was all a dream. After the play our group hung out in front of the stage and the actors and stage manager came out to talk to us. REALLY COOL!
Saturday morning we headed off on the subway to ground zero. The cold damp gray overcast seemed fitting for our outing. Late Saturday afternoon it was uptown to the American Museum of Natural History where we took in an exhibit on Einstein. We also caught a couple of films on space inside of the planetarium. They were done in a 3D effect with surround sound. It blew away anything I had ever seen before. Back to the hotel in warm sunshine. Early Saturday evening it was back down to restaurant row at the little French restaurant and then on to the play. This time we caught 'Man of La Mancha'. By far it was the BEST play that we saw. The acting was superb and the stage setup was great!
Sunday morning had us all packing on the bus for a little ride through 'The Holland Tunnel' and on to Newark. It ended all to soon. There were 100's memorable moments and fun things happening. We can't wait to go back. Three afternoons we had enough time between events to sneak down to one of the bars at the hotel and grab a window seat. Literally watching the world walk by and people reacting to it was a blast.
Well I'm sure I've confused some of the events but this was one of our most favorite vacations and we wouldn't hesitate to go back.