Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Last Day to Take in Some Sights

Today was our last day in NYC, but we had until mid-afternoon to take in more sights. We went to the Empire State Building where we learned we would have a "restricted view" on the 86th floor since it was a cloudy day. We didn't care - up we went!
As we left the Empire State Building, I took a photo of this rather wonderful cop car; we saw them a lot throughout the city and pictured them giving chase to criminals who no doubt own 2011 super-charged SUVs. Will the good guy catch the bad guy!!!

Bob and I then split up (again, not permanently!) and later found out we had each walked dozens and dozens and dozens of blocks. I headed to the Public Library where I was in awe of the interior. The exterior was mainly shrouded for some work they were doing on the building.

Who could argue with this sign?

And imagine entering a library through these doors. WOW! Katie Bell, those doors to the good old W.C.S. library just don't compare.

Later Bob and I met at Grand Central Station ... at the clock naturally. Unfortunately it was the wrong time of day for me to get the sun filtering through the windows as is seen in so many famous photos of the building.

The Chrysler Building is very near to GCS.

We must have been crazy to drive to NYC last time. Look at this price!

And so ended a great week in New York. Eight Broadway Shows, the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Show, the Big Apple Circus, miles of travel on foot and by subway, lots of tourist sights, lots of people watching - happiness.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Crack Pie and Compost Cookies!

We started the day with a walk on the Brooklyn Bridge. All of a sudden I looked up and saw that Bob was the only person in sight. Incredible! Later on the bridge a man passed us and then started yelling - apparently at us. At first we were mystified until we realized he was shouting "Go, Riders!"

We took the subway and then walked for awhile and found the Momofuku that was open so that we could buy our $5.50 piece of crack pie. For those of you who tried mine, let me say that it tasted exactly like Momofuku's ... not my favorite. For those of you who didn't get to try mine or Momofuku's, think thick butter tart filling in an oatmeal crust ... butter, cream, sugar (healthy! healthy! healthy!)

I also bought some of their famous compost cookies to bring home. Tea ladies, are you up for some next Sunday?

Vanessa, you brat, I knew you had been to NYC, but I didn't know you defaced this building.

Bob eats his share of our crack pie.

Tea ladies, if you don't want to meet at my house next Sunday for tea and compost cookies, perhaps we could meet here.

After Momofuku's we went on a tour at the Tenement Museum. Thanks, Glenda, for recommending it; it was well worth the trip over to the Lower East Side.

We went to a matinee of "In the Heights" and there is a photo of the set below. It was the most disappointing Broadway show we've been to. Perhaps it's that Jordan Sparks can't act.

Tonight we're going to see "Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson." Below is one of the signs hanging outside its theater.

Tomorrow we head home but not before we get to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The People You Meet in Hoboken!

I lied in my title to get your attention. We actually arranged to meet Joanne and Kaylin Jensen at Times Square and the four of us went to Hoboken, NJ to see Carlo's Bakery from the reality show "Cake Boss." Joanne had ordered a cake ahead of time so we were able to skip the line outside and go right in. Joanne was served by Maddalena, Buddy's sister, who was the only one in the bakery this morning who was recognizable from the show. Bob talked to the young man who was acting doorman and found out that the bakery employs 130 people and baking goes on 24 hours a day. They are planning to expand to an on-line ordering business which would have products made at a different location. Buddy, apparently, is in Canada right now.

When we got back to NYC, we split up and Bob and I headed to the Union Square Greenmarket. If I lived in the city, I would be shopping here ... if I could afford it. Heritage vegetables seemed to be the biggest market.

Bob then left me ... not permanently, you understand ... and I went off to find a store called Tender Buttons. Yes, that's right, a store that sells nothing but buttons, some 50 cents per button and some hundreds of dollars per button. I bought a single button which wasn't the most expensive, nor was it the cheapest. The shop was like a museum ... wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!

On the way back to meet the rest, I passed Barneys which had the best ever window displays. Here are two of them:

I should mention that while I was doing this, Bob was in another part of Manhattan, a spot where they were filming either a television show or a movie. There was an overturned car and actors dressed as FBI, etc and ordinary people were in the background. However, Bob was told to "move on as you don't blend into the background." He had his Saskatchewan Games jacket on and it must have been too noticeable amidst the New Yorkers who always seem to wear signature black. Earlier this week we had been in the same area and there were many trailers and power generators around. The trailers had computer printed sheets taped to them with "stunt double", etc. on them and one had Brian Glaser on it. I'll have to check the internet to see what project he is doing in New York right now. Then I'll have to boycott it when it comes out as poor Bob won't be in it!
Times Square has been crazy-busy today ... almost human gridlock. If I lived in the city, I would be buying everything on-line.

When Bob, Joanne, Kaylin and I met up again, we headed to Ellen's Stardust Diner for a funfilled lunch. The one singer kept gravitating to our table. He should have been enamored by Kaylin, but paid more attention to Joanne.

Later I went to Macy's something I had neglected to do on our three previous trips to NYC. The minute I was in, I was wanting to yell "get me out of here" as it was clogged with people. I did take a few shots of their interior Christmas decorations before I left. Unfortunately their Christmas window displays won't be revealed until the 18th.

I got many beautiful shots of the Empire State Building from near Macy's - oh, and what's that in the photo? - that same blue sky that we have seen every day since arriving.

Bob and I saw the musical "Million Dollar Quartet" this afternoon and will be heading to the musical "Memphis" shortly. Last night, when we arrived back at the hotel from "A Little Night Music" the lobby was deserted so I got a couple of shots of it. If only the bathroom in our room had been refurbished like the lobby has been. Our bathroom is definitely circa 1970s although the room itself is very modern.

Wouldn't it be great if two lonely parents in NYC heard from their kids back home?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Perfect Blue Skies

I was channeling Vanessa today when I found the Rockefeller Christmas tree being unloaded from the flatbed. I went back later to see if the job was done and found the tree looking a little shaggy. No doubt the five miles of lights that are added will fill in the empty spots.
No women took up my offer to be their personal shoe shopper so now I am making the same offer to men. Marlin, can I interest you in the pink shoes???

I love this photo that I took at Rockefeller Center. It may look a little unbalanced but I love that I got the Zamboni driver and the tree. I wonder if Mr. Zamboni Man is Canadian.

Cartiers' is decorated for Christmas ... very pretty.

However, these statues at St. Thomas' on 5th Avenue look very upset by the spending that goes on. Perhaps some of that wealth could be shared with the poor, they seem to be thinking.

I saw this dog walker with his 10 dogs crossing the to get them to Central Park. I can't see all ten dogs in the photo, but there were definitely ten.

Bob and I went to the "Top of the Rock" this morning and it was wonderful but I still want to go up the Empire State Building. We were there early enough that there were only about two dozen of us at the top.

We went to the Rockettes' Christmas Show at Radio City Music Hall and it was spectacular. It had a lot of Santa Clausy-y content, but actually ended with the Nativity with camels, sheep, and a mule. The routines of the Rockettes were cleverly choreographed as you can see in the next photo. As well, the addition of graphics and even a part where we all put on 3D glasses combined live performance and digital effects effortlessly.

We also went on the stage door tour of Radio City Music Hall. It was a great way to find out more of the history of the place and to see a few parts of the place you normally wouldn't see. At one point a Rockette in her lovely costume joined the group to answer questions and tell a bit from a performers point of view.
We went to Katz's Deli too. It's been in operation for 122 years and its slogan during the war was "send a salami to your boy in the army." Those of you who have watched the old movie When Harry Met Sally might remember the very famous scene shot in this deli. Bob and I sat one table away from the table. We were probably at the one where the older lady said, "I'll have what she's having."

Tonight we are going to A Little NIght Music. I don't think it can top last night's Billy Elliot. I've
never heard a longer ovation than when Billy danced the dance explaining how he felt when he danced.

We couldn't be luckier with the weather. Each day has been cloudless and in the sixties fahrenheit. I bought a lovely wool coat to wear on this trip and it has stayed in the hotel closet. I would be sweating in it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembrance Day: November 11th

Bob and I both had the opportunity to commemorate Remembrance Day when we each saw different Veterans' Day parades.
Isn't this a great sculpture? I'm not sure of its official name, but I affectionately referred to it as "Brenda & Bob after Walking Too Much"!
We went out to Coney Island this morning. There aren't too many people there this time of year and all the crappy shops on the boardwalk are closed. I'm so happy that I got to walk along the Atlantic and to check out the fishermen's catches on the pier.

After Coney Island we split up and I headed to the only quilt store in Manhattan. I love that the store is locked and that you have to be buzzed in. It's not on a scary street so I'm not sure what that's all about.

Later in the day I went to the other location of the American Museum of Folk Art. It's right by MOMA but not nearly as busy. The building is tall and narrow but two floors were filled with quilts; I loved them. Yes, I even loved them more than the folk art made of CHICKEN BONES which was featured on another floor. Picture a little rocking chair made of chicken bones. Picture a tower made of chicken bones. Aren't artists imaginative???

I went over one street to the 56th Street market. There was lots to see and lots of wonderful smells from the food booths. I had really gone over there to find Momofuku to try their crack pie or their compost cookies. That location must have closed as it was nowhere to be found. I'll have to hunt down the other location later on our trip.

If you hunt the internet, you'll find suggestions of foods you MUST try while in NYC.
Canolli: check
Hot dog from street vendor: check
NY-style pizza: check
Bagel: check
NY-style cheesecake: not likely as I dislike cheesecake
NY-style pretzel: still looking forward to this
Bob and I realized we have been grazing on food since we got here rather than eating real meals. Tonight we went out for our first "real" meal.

Ladies, do any of you need me to pick up shoes for you? These are in the window of Saks Fifth Avenue. They have a floor of shoes! Quit drooling ... please!

I hadn't planned to go inside St Patrick's Cathedral. However, everyone was using it as a pathway since the sidewalk in front was inaccessible because of the Veteran's Day Parade. I'm so glad I had to take the shortcut as the interior is magnificent. Some people were clumping from one side door to the other, but most of us could not resist a moment or two of reverence in such a wonderful, worship-full place.
Tonight we are seeing Billy Elliot. Last night we saw Driving Miss Daisy with James Earl Jones. Vanessa Redgrave was supposed to be the other lead, but the understudy took the role. Elizabeth has told me that understudies often are better to watch because they bring richer enthusiasm to the roles. I don't know how Vanessa would have been, but the understudy was fabulous.
So far the shows we have seen have been in very old theaters. Bob just wanted me to know that if a fire started, we would be dead. There's no way anyone would get out. As well, washroom requirements in the olden days must have been quite different than they are now. Last night's show had one washroom in the basement (no wheelchair accessibility) and after looking at the lineup of 35 women, I decided I could live without a bathroom break.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

If I have ever said anything good about tour-guide-Bob, I irrevocably take it back today. Today he decided we should tour on foot so we walked and walked from 8 this morning until now with only one foot-relieving subway ride.

I thought I should start with the most interesting thing (photo above) and then gradually move to drivel so that you can quit reading whenever you want. Why is the photo above the most interesting. The lady is giving her puppy a ride in a stroller and it's not a baby stroller, it's a dog stroller. There is a paw on the front. But that wasn't the best part; the lady let the dog out of its stroller and it peed. What did the lady do? She got out tissue paper and wiped its bum! The look on Bob's face: priceless! How can you beat seeing such a sight?
Then it's highly unlikely that Bob and I would go anywhere and pass up a circus. We went to this lovely one-ring circus that was set up at Lincoln Center. Acrobats, horses, dogs, clowns ... so much fun!

Near the end of our walk (remember that this blog entry isn't chronological, it's random) we went to Zabar's grocery store. Barb H., I really wanted to take a photo of the checkout "cash only" just for you, but I thought it would be a little tacky. Besides, the cashier's name tag did not say "Rose." The store is a treasure trove of olives, cheese, deli meats, and their house brand coffee. You can buy your complete Thanksgiving dinner for ten from them for $195.00! We were more interested in buying a loaf of bread.

We visited the American Folk Art Museum and saw this quilt of remembrance for 9/11. Unfortunately you could step only five feet back from it, so you couldn't get a total visual; you had to scan parts of it. Even then, it is breathtaking.
The people working at this museum were incredibly personable and chatty ... my kind of people.

This morning we got our Remembrance Day service a day early. Our hotel is 30 seconds off Times Square ( we can see a bit of it from our window). This morning at 7 we were awoken by a 500 piece band practising on Times Square. The band was composed of kids from all over New York and it was directed by a professor from Michigan State named John Madden. Tanya, do you know him; he's supposed to be quite renowned. He was on this tall ladder directing. This morning's practice was the only one they had together and they performed at 8. A large flag related to the World Trade Center was unfurled and the whole ceremony was touching.

What else did we do today? We walked a lot in Central Park where a lot of leaves are still in fall color; in the park we visited Belvedere Castle which has beautiful views of the park. I visited the Metropolitan Museum concentrating on the American Wing. It was uncanny how often I was the only person in a room even though the museum was teeming with people. What a way to enjoy a museum - privately. I loved the furniture storage area!

How's this for a stereotypical NYC building?

Sunny skies on 5th Avenue.

Bob crunching leaves in Central Park.

Still beautiful fall colors in Central Park.

Ahhhh, city life!
Driving Miss Daisy later tonight.