18 June 2007

me+the big apple=happyness (spelled the will smith way)

Prepare yourself. this is long. also all of the photos for this blog can be found here... i'll mess around with that sometime when i have time. i just wanted to get something up and posted.


We arrived in Newark around 4ish eastern time. The flight from Salt Lake was a tad slow because we kept making gigantic loops (one outside of Chicago, and two after Chicago) due to inclimate weather in New Jersey/New York. The captain at one point even told us if the weather didn’t clear up soon we would be rerouted up to Rochester to refuel, and then sent to connecticut, blah blah blah. The weather cleared and we landed with the rainfall just ending and the sun coming out.

The sun didn’t stay long. The clouds took over again as we entered the city through the Holland tunnel. Our joke of a bus driver went some crazy direction and missed a turn or something because it took us until 8:30 to reach our hotel located on 53rd and 7th avenue. (Just above times square and really close to all our theatres!) Maybe it was his first day? I stepped off the bus, and took in a deep breath and just stared. FINALLY!

The evening was at our leisure. Bob (the tour director) gave us tickets to the Empire State Building, and so with nothing else to do, we hopped on the subway and took some awesome pictures at the top. At this point, everything was still a bit surreal to me. I’ve been in large cities; they all kind of smell the same, but as I stood on the observatory deck at the city I said to myself, “holy crap, you have only 7 days to see ALL of this.”

With the empire state building under our belt, we decided to head back uptown towards times square and take around the theatre district to kind of get a feeling for where our shows were. This area of town was SO much different than what I had pictured in my head, including how small some of the theatres are, but how detailed and gorgeous the buildings are. (Brandon, I think even you could find entertainment in seeing a broadway show because of the attention to detail some of these buildings have inside and out.) I’ll elaborate on the theatres specifically later.

The remainder of the evening included some pizza, some talking, some laughing, and some sleeping.


I got up fairly early on Wednesday to get an early start. I had a hard time sleeping because I’ll admit, I was a tad bit over excited. And with no real responsibility or time schedule (since I didn’t have a ticket for a wed matinee) I headed down the street to the subway. The itinerary for the trip called for a tour guided bus ride around the whole city…4 hrs long. I couldn’t do that! So I opted out (like everyone else in our group did) and began my self guided tour. Just a few days earlier I had watched the tony’s like I mentioned, and was really sad that I wasn’t seeing the best musical of the year: Spring Awakening. I had walked past the theatre it was playing in the previous night, and the itch to see the show kept growing. So I splurged, and got a ticket for that day’s matinee. Lucky me! There was still single seats available but not many! I was fairly close to the front of the line for tickets. So now with an extra show to see for the day, I had more of a time limit of where I could go. I winded up down 30 blocks around the Macy’s area and did some shopping at my new favorite store (not available in utah) called H&M. I bought a new blazer, and some other random cool things I thought were cool. I also found a Steve & Barry’s. I wasn’t planning on going into this store, but Stacey had visited one while she was in Oklahoma and said it was pretty cool, so I headed on in. Much to my excitement, I found Starburys! Starburys are a brand of shoe created by a famous basketball player trying to create good shoes for guys at really decent prices. the whole line is 15 dollars a pair, and they are really well made shoes.

It was time for my first show, Spring Awakening. The Eugene O’Neill theatre was gorgeous. It was relatively small, and a very intimate space. The show itself had a very simple set featuring only chairs and a part of the stage which was raised to be a swing. Spring Awakening was a perfect show for me to begin my week! It was very apparent to me after leaving the theatre why it won the tony for best musical. I am going to write a “thoughts, feelings, and summary of New York” after I finish my day to day. I feel like I was supposed to see this show, and to see it first. 12 cast members, rock concert-like feel and music, stripped set, and GREAT lighting to back up such superb acting. More on this show later.

The second show for the evening was Mary Poppins in the New Amsterdam theatre. Again, this theatre has some amazing attention to detail, but at the same time having it’s own unique characteristics. This was the only show that our whole group saw together. Props to Bert who tapdanced upside down on the proscenium during step-in-time. Disney really knows how to dump money into a show. Nothing was left for the imagination. Mary Poppins even flies out into the house as she departs at the end of the show. So far I Was batting 1000 for shows I’d seen (granted, the number was only two.) We concluded the evening with some cheesecake from Juniors—something which became a nightly meeting spot for post-show hang outs.


Joining the large group all traveling with us to new york, we headed down to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. This day really started out as a drag for me. The statue has a cool history, blah blah blah. The sun was not out, and being on the ferry did not help. It was cold! We got in and got, basically. With that tourist trap under my belt, we hit up a cool lunch spot in soho and headed up to Washington park. At this point, I had had enough of the group, and split. On the way up to lunch, we stopped on Canal street and did some tourist shopping. Everyone wanted to go back down, I never want to go there again, and told them all to have fun and I headed up to the village. I found some cool shops including Urban Outfitters and also took a stroll through the area housing NYU. Such a GORGEOUS part of Manhattan. The building weren’t as large, and less tourists were up in this area. From there I headed to the Flat Iron Buliding, where I ran into my first “trouble spot.” Some guy thought I was taking a picture of him (which I didn’t even have the camera pointed at me.) he just kept walking next to me yelling at me. I stopped acknowledging him, and finally he stopped following me. He was with a group of guys, and it seemed as though as soon as he reached a certain distance from them, heckling some guy with a camera was no longer needed and he returned to his posse. I hopped on the subway and headed back up to times square to meet for dinner and headed to my evening show of 110 in the shade starring Audra McDonald. This show was in studio 54, theatre in the round. I love Audra McDonald. She was amazing. Her ability to connect with the character she’s playing is fascinating to watch. It was a little silly at moments since she’s a classically trained singer playing the part of a twangy girl in texas. I loved the show. Not my favorite for the week, but definitely glad I saw it. Still batting 1000 for shows.


Friday was the day for The Metropolitan Museum of Art. A definite highlight for me to see original work of Picasso, matisse, legiere, and van gogh. I spent the morning in Met and walked through the park for a while until I met Neal for lunch. His wife heard about a line just released by Jessica parker at steven and barrys and told him to find one. Lucky for me, I was there just a few days ago, so we headed back down to that area of town for some shopping. I then returned to the park to just take in the ambiance. I found the apple store on 5th avenue and purchase a new ipod nano since my video bit the dust a few days before I left. A VERY sad story, but my new nano is a good size and will be plenty for me since I never really used the video part of my video ipod.

Tonight’s show was the Drowsy Chaperone. I went into the Marquee theatre with no knowledge of the show’s plot of music. It ended up being a very funny, entertaining show. The marquee is the Marriot’s theatre, and it’s not very pretty. Just big. After this show I would say I was batting .900. The remainder of the evening I spent with Becca and Neal just hanging out. We ate some more juniors and chatted about the different shows seen thus far, making fun of Fantasia starring in the color purple. Non of us saw it, but we saw her face a lot because our hotel was right next to the broadway theatre where the color purple was located. Ahhh fantasia…such an easy target.


The beginning of the day started with us at a “backstage” look at Wicked. We met some actors from the show, talked about how it’s done everynight, blah, blah, blah. Kind of lame. Haha.

I was trying to figure out if I should see a Saturday Matinee. I decided instead to head up to the Bronx for a subway series game at Yankees Stadium. Seemed like a great idea! How much fun! I got all the way up there, and the tickets were ridiculously priced. So I started back down. The sun was out, and I thought I would go take a nap in the park. I got on a different train, and decided I would take the chance to visit Harlem, which is just north of the park. Well I got off the subway a little too early. Looking at my map, I had a decent walk ahead of me to make it to the park. I was down. Nothing else to do. So instead of getting back on the subway, I started to walk. Harlem is a very different part of the city. I was one of very few white people, and the only one carrying a camera. I took a turn on 127th street to get over from one major road to another major road which would take me right to the park. Bad idea. I’ve never felt the way I did walking down this long stretch of road. Suffice it to say, I walked fast, not making eye contact with anyone, b-lining it as fast as I could. Come to find out later from one of the guys I was in my room who had a sister living in harlem that she never goes past 117th or something because of the danger. I’m glad I knew that! I wasn’t really worried about me so much as I was about my camera…haha.

I spent the rest of the afternoon in the park laying down in the great lawn and taking a nap. I met up with the group on 110th and Broadway for pizza at a place which had slices twice as big as a Costco slice for three bucks. We also visited the Lincoln center and the temple (which I didn’t realize is just across the street). This is the other part of town I thought was really pretty and wouldn’t mind living. I returned to the hotel and prepared for my evening show Chicago at the Ambassador. A very cool theatre, inside and out. Very small. The run had Joey Lawerence as their headliner. Best part is that he wasn’t very good. Not the greatest, actor, singer, or dancer. Whatever. The rest of the show was GREAT. I was still batting around .850 for shows after this one. Joey is what dragged it down.

I was in the Virgin Record store earlier reading different new york guides to the nightlife. A few different books/sources suggested a dance club down in the village/Chelsea area. So I spent the remainder of the evening dancing the night away. It was so much fun! Something not really available in provo. The subway line I took down closes from 1-5 or something like that. Figures. So I taxied back up to the hotel. 6 bucks. Not bad at all.


I couldn’t get enough of Central Park! I got up and spent my morning/afternoon in central park just relaxing and watching people. I could have spent a portion of each day in the park. It’s just amazing how big it is, and how long it takes to go from the top to the bottom! (I actually did it…once. I was tired)

My afternoon show was Wicked in the Gershwin theatre. I finally saw wicked. And I really liked it! I was worried just because I feel like it’s a bit exhausted, but I thought it was amazing, and the production values of the show were amazing. Not much more to say about that. Wicked—been there, done that, DIDN’T buy the t-shirt.

I opted out of a Sunday evening show. At this point I was feeling a little showed out. haha. Instead I went and watched the sun set a top Rockefeller plaza a their observatory called top of the rock. What an AWESOME place to be the final evening I was in New York. I started the trip out with a look from the Empire state building, and ended with a view from Rockefeller. I walked up 5th avenue looking at all the ritzy stores, hopped on the subway, and met up with the group for our final dinner together. The remainder of the evening, Neal and I walked around Times Square and the Theatre District taking pictures of all the theatres and their marquees. It took so long! By the time 1:45 rolled around we couldn’t stand it anymore and finished up the following morning. Good times though. I enjoyed the time me, him, and becca spent together laughing and making fun of each other. “and I’m…hhheeeerrree!” (us making fun of fantasia)


Neal and I headed back to 5th ave to visit the Disney store and had lunch. Not a lot of time to do much of anything else. We packed all our luggage onto the busses, and headed back to Newark where I am now writing all of this as we fly home. (I’m making good time…as I write, we are flying over Colorado an hour and twenty minutes away from salt lake.

Tomorrow, reality will come crashing down. Back to the grind of work and preparing for two shows. I needed a vacation though. New York will now be a yearly engagement (atleast once a year!)


Walt & Jean said...

I'm exhausted just reading about the amount of walking you did!! Glad you're home safely with such great memories!!

Brandon or Michelle. said...

sounds fanTAStic. way to not be a tourist after only like 12 minutes of being in the city. You are the bomb.

Ofcourse I'm sure there are parts you left out. (including trip to suburbia?) hope you were safe and happy during those parts too.

also glad you're back. want to hear about the trip some more when you are right in front of your pack of pictures (LOVE the one of your back on ellis island looking towards the city!) describing it all.