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Trip report August: Sun, shows and strolls

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Trip report August: Sun, shows and strolls

I am excited to be back for my third trip to NYC a year earlier than planned. My first trip in 2015 was to see Jim Parsons in An Act of God (plus lots of other things) so when I heard that he was appearing on Broadway again this summer I was disappointed that I couldn’t fly through NYC on my way Spain and Portugal in May, my flights could not be changed. However, I found some flights on sale and read about those cheap hotel deals with Microtel and most importantly staffing issues at work had been sorted so I booked myself a 13 night stay in the summer heat.

I haven’t asked any recent questions but have read a lot and would like to thank everyone that takes the time to answer questions and post trip reports, it has given me lots of ideas and hopefully this will be helpful to someone.

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Auckland Central...
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1. Re: Trip report August: Sun, shows and strolls

August 7 Travel day problems

You get used to travelling long distances when you live in New Zealand, but I always try and arrive before midnight if I can. There are now more options about where you transit through so as I thought I was staying in LIC I booked my flight through Houston to La Guardia arriving around 7pm.

Schedule changes by Air NZ due to unscheduled maintenance on their new Dreamliner aircraft meant I was now arriving at Newark at 10.37pm. The flight started well when I got upgraded to business, love the lie flat seats and had a great sleep. We pulled away from the gate on time but them didn’t move. The captain announced a technical issue which turned out to be the connector from the truck, that moved us from the gate, to the plane got stuck and would not release. An hour later we were on the way with me slightly worried about the now 90 min connection time to get my next flight.

I thought well last time I went through Houston it didn’t take that long and maybe if I was lucky the connecting flight would be a little delayed (shouldn’t have thought that) So I rushed off the plane, immigration was quick, bags came off reasonably fast, dropped it at connecting flight, security line was around 10mins and I was through 10 mins before my boarding time. Phew, then I checked the board to find my gate to see those horrible words delayed. Thunder storms meant air traffic control was keeping the planes on the ground. In the end we took off three hours late, so my planned cheap train trip turned into an expensive taxi trip that got me to my hotel at 2.15am.

I am staying at the Beacon again. When I booked the Microtel, I knew it might not open, so I had backups at The Beacon, The Boro and Duane Street hotel but in the end went back to the Beacon due to all the shows I had booked. I have a nice large King studio but am on the 14th floor so no lovely view of central park that I had last time.

Auckland Central...
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2. Re: Trip report August: Sun, shows and strolls

August 8

I had great plans of where to have breakfast but in the end just had a cup of coffee in the hotel room as I was not hungry. I went down to the 72nd St subway station to buy my weekly metro card from the manned booth. I haven’t had great luck with the machines previously.

My first stop of the day was the New York Historical Society. I had been before on my last trip but was disappointed that due to renovations the Tiffany lamps were not on display. The new Gallery of Tiffany lamps was fantastic. I enjoyed the variety of lamps and the information given. The upper levels gave an interesting view of the lamps from above. Outside in the corridor there was a display of silverware from Tiffany & Co and I hadn’t really put the names together before, a relative?

The other exhibitions that I particularly enjoyed were Rockwell, Roosevelt and the Four Freedoms. I have seen some of the Rockwell illustrations before at his home in Vermont. Celebrating Bill Cunningham who I had read about on here but didn’t know much about, there was an interesting short film. Walk this Way: Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes was also interesting but was spoilt a bit by a tour that was going through with a very loud commentary.

I then took a slow stroll in the heat though part of central park to 66th street. Buying an expensive bottle of water from a cart and sitting in the shade in the park people watching. On the way to the subway station I came across a band playing in Lincoln Square and stopped to listen for a while, they were playing Beatle songs. Then it was onto my first show The Boys in the Band. I had a great seat and thought the play was excellent. Very well acted by all the cast, witty, sad and still relevant 50 years after it was written. This was the show that I had come to see, and I am going again on Saturday night for the last performance. I brought another ticket when my flights were changed just in case I was very jetlagged. I was glad that Jim Parsons foot had healed so that he was signing at the stage door but the lady beside me was sad that Matt Bomer did not come out. This was the first show that I had been to where they were making people throw away filled water bottles. Luckily I had just about finished mine but some had obviously just brought new ones on this hot day.

I had some time before my dinner reservation so took a stroll down 45th St as I thought it might be cooler by the water. I had a look at the Intrepid and found a bench in the shade where I enjoyed watching these young kids (and dads) getting wet running though one of those water fountains that pop up from the ground. I was a little tempted to join them.

I had a lovely dinner at The Marshall. Gazpacho, great bread and Molasses and Bourbon BBQ Pork Ribs served with slaw. A white mule (Vodka, Ginger Liqueur and a splash of ginger beer) was very refreshing and the waiter recommend an excellent glass of red.

My second show of the day was Carousel. I didn’t know much about it before I booked it was one of those names you know, and I think I saw the movie. I recognised some of the names of the actors so booked tickets before it opened. I enjoyed the show: the singers and dancers were great, but the second act seemed a bit disjointed and I read after that they had cut some songs. The audience however was very enthusiastic. I found out when I arrived back to the hotel that they have announced they are closing next month.

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3. Re: Trip report August: Sun, shows and strolls

Cool report, looking forward to more thanks for sharing

Auckland Central...
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4. Re: Trip report August: Sun, shows and strolls

August 9

Tips for the day: always have first aid for blisters with you because they can happen even when wearing worn in sandals especially in the heat. Also make sure you check opening times for planned activities as they might change.

I was glad I did both as I had planned to be at the Downton Abbey exhibit at 10am but when I went to check if tickets were available I discovered they were opening on this Thursday at 11.30am. So, this meant a sleep in and a relaxed start, yay. I got the 1 train down to 59th St after a breakfast of coffee in my room. If you are new to using the subway it helps if you know what exit to take, e.g. 8th and 58th to save backtracking when you get to the surface, it saves you walking distance.

There was a short queue when I arrived at 11.20am with most people having tickets and a few like me who were buying them on the spot. They let people with VIP tickets in first and the rest in groups, so the first rooms are not crowded. I really enjoyed the exhibit and found it easy to move around and see/read/watch everything. There was a nice mix of history and information about the show, various videos, lots of sets and beautiful costumes. I had watched the show so was very familiar with the cast and story. I spent about 90 mins here.

It was then a slow stroll on the shady side of the street to New World Stages on 50th Street. I was early for my matinee but there was a lovely shady plaza next door that had a jazz band playing so I spent and enjoyable 45 mins people watching and listening.

My show was Desperate Measures which I highly recommend. I became aware of this from the trip report of clanwilson back in January, at that time it had closed but there was a rumour that it may be moving. I agree with all her comments, this was such a fun show with great actors with terrific voices. The theatre was maybe 75% full, it was on discount so if you want a great fun show at a reasonable price go.

Another slow stroll up to Tacuba on 9th Avenue. This was my second visit and I realised I ordered the same thing as last time apart from having a beer instead of a margarita. But the guacamole with the roasted tomato salsa and the Carnitas (yummy habanero-tamarind salsa) were delicious.

The restaurant was close to the August Wilson theatre where I saw Mean Girls. I haven’t been to a show for a long time with so many teenagers (all well behaved). I enjoyed the show but didn’t love it. Jonalyn Saxer was in as Regina and was excellent as was the whole cast. I liked the set design and projections and there were lots of fun witty lines, but I thought the songs were not that memorable. If you love Mean Girls the movies go, all the teens in the audience seemed to love it. On the way to the theatre I noticed a bus stop at the corner, so I caught the bus home. It was full lots of people boarded at the Lincoln Centre.

Edited: 11 August 2018, 12:21
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5. Re: Trip report August: Sun, shows and strolls

August 10

I had an earlier start today as I was on my way down to Chelsea to join an around Manhattan cruise. I got a 1 train down to 18th St and 7th Ave which wasn’t as full as I thought it would be at that hour of the morning. I had a nice stroll to Cookshop on 10th Ave. It wasn’t too hot yet, so I sat outside so I could people watch, admire all the dogs that were being walked and enjoy my Huevos Rancheros.

My cruise was the Around Manhattan Architecture cruise with Classic Harbor Line. I had booked 5 days previously as the advance weather forecast picked this as the best day of those I had free, which turned out to be correct. The booth is easy to find on Chelsea piers at 23rd street. You must show ID and your credit card and get a boarding pass. The booth opened at 9.30am for my 10am cruise and we boarded at 9.55am. This cruise went South first and by the SOL before going up the East river. Most people stayed inside in the air conditioning, but I joined a few others on the front deck to be able to see things on the Manhattan and NJ sides and take lots of photos. It was a bit hazy but wasn’t too hot with a breeze and I was well protected with sunscreen. They give you one free drink and after about an hour serve light snacks. It was a great trip with excellent commentary from the architect on board and it was really interesting seeing the buildings from different angles as you rounded the bottom of the island and picking out buildings you knew. We docked right on schedule at 12.45pm.

I then headed to the highline to stroll south down to the Whitney. I had visited the highline on my first trip in 2015. Trees were noticeably taller and there was a lot of summer flowers and crowds of people. As others have mentioned lots of buildings going up next to/around the highline which meant some of the times you were walking in areas that had protective netting around plus scaffolding with protective covering overhead and in fact there seems to be an awful lot of building, refurbishment digging up streets in that area. The highline is still a fun place to visit. I stopped off at Chelsea market as I had not been there before. I was not hungry so just had a quick look as I moved through.

This was my first time at the Whitney and I started at the top and worked my way down. I liked the outside terraces that gave views of the surrounding areas. Mary Corse: A Survey in Light was not really my thing, but I did like the ones where she had incorporated glass microspheres that changed colour as you moved in front of them and viewed the picture from a different angle. Where We Are: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1900-1960 had more paintings that I actually liked especially the Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe and others. I particularly liked The White Factory by Katherine Schmidt and the Jacob Lawrence War Series. An Incomplete History of Protest was interesting as was the David Wojnarowicz exhibit even though I didn’t like most of his works. It was an interesting place to visit and I am sorry that I will not be here to see the Warhol exhibit in Nov. I strolled along to the 14th St and 7th Ave subway station to get the 1 train back to the hotel to rest via a visit to Citarella to pick up some raspberries and cherries to snack on.

After some rest I walked down to the Lincoln Centre to see My Fair Lady. The area was busy with what looked like a free concert outside and the inside of all the buildings were lit up which I can not remember from my last visit bit I could see the lovely Chandelier and murals. I really enjoyed My Fair Lady, I though the acting, singing, costumes and the set were great. I was initially disappointed when I found out that Harry Hadden-Paton (Henry Higgins) was on holiday this week but his understudy Tony Roach was excellent. I would not have known he was not the normal actor if not for the slip in the playbill. The theatre was not full which was a surprise. It was a nice stroll back to the hotel as the temperature had dropped a little.

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6. Re: Trip report August: Sun, shows and strolls

Loving your report kiwihands! Lucky you to be on such a nice long trip.

Glad you liked the cruise. I haven't done that particular one, but have done a couple of others with Classic Harbor Lines and liked them very much.

You've done loads already - keep us posted! I'll be following along!

Edited: 12 August 2018, 05:04
New York City, New...
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7. Re: Trip report August: Sun, shows and strolls

Great report! Really enjoying following along your trip.

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8. Re: Trip report August: Sun, shows and strolls

Lucky you being upgraded to Business! That never happens to me.

Great report, despite the later arrival....you've done lots of good things.

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9. Re: Trip report August: Sun, shows and strolls

What a wonderful read.

Great that you saw Boys from the Band (and seeing it a second time!! Ha!) and the architecture tour with Classic Harbor Line...it's fantastic isn't it!

Lucky you to see the Hoppers', O’Keeffe's and the Jacob Lawrence War Series at The Whitney. I used to love the Whitney when it was on the Upper East Side. I was lucky to visit NYC more than once in the couple of years before the Whitney was moving. So the Museum had a huge exhibition of their collection on display, including Hoppers', Johns', O'Keefe's, Calder's etc. Heaven.

When I returned to NYC after the Whitney had moved. I was really surprised at least some of these works weren't on display. The works from the permanent collection the two times I visited had NONE of these seminal artist's works. They had most of the floors dedicated to enormous installation pieces. No probs, I know it's why they moved. They didn't have space in their UES building for these. But I wondered why they hadn't added another floor or two to their new site to ALSO include the decades of work from their collection from the time they started. So sad it's in storage so often.

Looking forward to reading more.

Auckland Central...
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10. Re: Trip report August: Sun, shows and strolls

Thanks for all your comments I know it is a bit wordy.

@aynat62 I have gold status with AirNZ and you get two recognition upgrades a year. You don't find out until you check in or ocassionaly when you board the plane if your request has been successful but it is worth it.

@JennyR261 I agree about the Whitney it seems a waste not to have more of their art on permanent display. Hopefully they have had a change of focus..It seems a missed opportunity not to build in more space when they had the chance.

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