Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The City so Nice They Named it Twice

Ok - so I've been a bit behind on a blog posting. I also missed a Friday Five (for the 3rd time). The reason is this past weekend Karin and I were in New York City (Manhattan mainly) to celebrate July 4th. I didn't open my laptop the entire time we were there (except to charge my iPhone), which meant no blog posting.

Why didn't I get a posting up the past couple of days? Well.... ummm..... ok - I don't have a good excuse there.

As for the trip - it was an absolute blast. I was in Houston last week, so we actually met on the plane from Houston to La Guardia on Wednesday night. We got there late enough to basically check in and find a nightcap.

IMG_2661 The room we wound up in (always be polite and ask for what you want) was on the 49th floor of the hotel which was a half block off of Times Square. On the corner of the 49th floor. So we had two windows facing different directions with great views of Times Square and out through Hell's Kitchen and to the Hudson River. It was just unreal.

Because we had been to NY a couple of times before we decided to just treat this like a vacation. While we did quite a bit, we also took it easy not stressing out trying to fill in every waking moment with stuff. Our goal was just to do touristy things, see fireworks, and toss in a couple of shows.

IMG_2464 On Thursday, our first full day, we finally got moving at about noon. Alas, this simply left us time to grab some breakfast and then roam IMG_2470through Times Square before dinner and our show.  Again, we were out to do touristy things, so we did M&M world, and Karin was molested by the Naked Cowboy.

Dinner was at Havana Central with my Aunt. Good food, mediocre service (and that's being generous.) Show that night was Spamalot. Very good, very funny,  but you have to be a fan of IMG_2472Monty Python to really enjoy it. If you don't know who the Knights Who Say Ni are, probably best to skip it. The male lead (King Arthur) Stephen Collins of Seventh Heaven fame. This of course pleased Karin, but I wasn't overly impressed. The show was great, but I could have done without him.

Friday was an early morning as we wanted to beat most of the "damn tourists" (my Aunt's words, not mine) for a morning IMG_2548 boat tour of Manhattan with my Aunt and Uncle. It was a 3 hour tour (yeah, there's really no way to think that without singing the song) around the island. As it turned out, Olafur Eliasson had just set up "Waterfalls", his new art piece that consisted of 4 mechanical waterfalls. This once again proves that I don't grok art. They were kinda cool, but beyond that, meh. Anyway, the tour was rather enjoyable. After the tour it was time for a quick lunch at Connolly's (an Irish bar - no really, an Irish bar in New York) and then a nap.

IMG_2609 That night Karin and I did dinner at Lombardi's. Anyone who knows me knows my love for Lombardi's. It's the first pizzeria in America and still the best. It's also one of the last remaining ones that can use a coal oven (who needs an environment anyway?). We were planning on watching the fireworks (which were being set off on the East River) from the Manhattan side. After talking with one of IMG_2628 the hosts, we decided to go over to the Brooklyn side and watch the fireworks. We made the right decision (and thanks to Lombardi's guy). We got to watch the fireworks with Manhattan as a backdrop. Karin and I have seen the fireworks in DC for July 4th, and while those are certainly more special, these were pretty neat. Nightcap at St. Andrew's (a Scottish bar) and off to bed.

We finally got moving on Saturday at about noon. Karin confirmed for me that she's the greatest wife in the world when she asked if I wanted to go to the ESPNZone for breakfast. We had IMG_2641 decided we were going to see a show but we weren't sure what. We thought about doing TKTS but the line stretched back to Hoboken and we just didn't want to wait. While we were walking through, one of the many, many people who are handing out flyers was passing out flyers for [title of show]. As it turned out it was the first preview show that night. We didn't know much about it beyond the basic plot - a story of 2 guys writing a musical about 2 guys writing a musical - but I had seen a couple of reviews from when it played off-Broadway. We figured what the heck - if it took off we could say we saw it on it's very first night.

IMG_2642 IMG_2644 We decided to head over to the New York City Police Museum. It was rather small, but still very well done. They had a very plain room with all the badges of all officers killed in the line of duty. Very touching. The 9/11 tribute room was also very moving.

Dinner was back at St. Andrews, which we found out has a 4 page scotch menu.

Now a little back-story on the show. It's basically a quasi-autobiographical story about the 2 guys and their struggles to get a show on Broadway. Over the course of their experience they had developed a fan base both because of their show and their web site.

There's no orchestra - just a guy playing a keyboard. He walks out on stage and the audience just goes bezerk. After settling down, the two male leads walk out and the crowd again goes bezerk. They start singing, and during the song the two female leads walk out. Once again - the crowd goes bezerk. I've never seen anything like this. Granted, I'm not a huge theatre person, but still. As the show goes on, those of us who are not in the know begin to finally figure out that what we're really watching is their real story - their real struggles, emotions and story. By the end you're just hooked. The show has a false ending, and when it came the audience went beyond bezerk. The only thing that caused everyone (including Karin and I) to settle down was because we were just tired from cheering. Lather, rinse, repeat for the actual ending of the show. (If you want to read one of the performer's view of it all, you can see it here - caution, adult language.)

IMG_2638We finished the night by heading back to St. Andrews and hooking up with one of Karin's coworkers and her bf and kids. A nice way to close out the weekend.

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