Wednesday, April 30, 2014
After a very full first day in NYC, we headed out on Wednesday for day two with a full itinerary (courtesy of Brook's phone) to follow.
Our first stop was H&H Bagels (recommended by our personal travel agent, Ron Davis =) and it was really good. They had just about every type of bagel and spread imaginable, and it was a nice place to start the morning. (Travel observation: New York City, while magical, is decidedly unconcerned about its visitors' need to go to the restroom. I feel like half the "exploring" we did was searching for places with public restrooms. Starbucks? Hit or miss. Crate & Barrel? Surprisingly, yes!)
I couldn't resist taking this picture... it felt like a "Captain Planet" moment on the subway. I'm also sad we didn't get a group picture that morning since we were all wearing stripes. =)
Herb and Garlic Spread- yummo!
Then we headed down to Central Park, where I could have easily spent the entire day. It is so pretty and there's so much to see (I didn't even put a dent in my list of statues/monuments) but we were in a bit of a hurry since we had to go back to the hotel that afternoon.
We had planned to rent bikes to ride around Central Park from a place called CitiBike. But the first location we tried wouldn't accept our credit cards so the process took a little longer than we anticipated. Also unanticipated? The SUPER creepy guy who was offering us his "own" bike rental service and absolutely would not take no for an answer. (How many ways can you say, "No, thank you"? I'm pretty sure we exhausted the possibilities!) Like, literally, he stood right behind us for a good five minutes and then continued to follow us down the street! Creeper! That part of the day was a little disconcerting, to say the least. I'm pretty sure I was looking back over my shoulder all the way across the park. (Yes, I'm paranoid... and once I saw an episode of Diagnosis Murder where a group of criminals were killing people for their vital organs. Um, no thank you. I need my liver.)
Anyway, Jonathan and I ended up riding around for about thirty minutes and along the way, stumbled upon William Shakespeare's statue (it was his birthday... irony!) and happened upon a sweet jazz quartet that I could have listened to all day. They stopped a few times to sing some old (jazzed-up) gospel songs and it was delightful.
Finally on our bikes and headed into Central Park (and those poor people behind us were getting harassed by more bike-peddlers.... no pun intended.)
These guys were the bomb!
After our bike ride we set off on foot and walked down Author's Row (or the Literary Walk.) Jonathan downloaded an audio tour given by Jerry Seinfeld (ha!) who entertained us as we walked past Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, and other famous writers.
Yes, I sang "That's How You Know" from Enchanted. =)
We only had a little time left before it would be time to head back to get ready for dinner and our show (NEWSIES!!!) but we still needed to eat so we headed back towards Times Square.
Our first time in Times Square for the week!
Only my favorite place in the world... oh, man. Just walking in and smelling it put me RIGHT back in Santa Clara. I love Jamba!
Happy with my Aloha Pineapple! =)
We REALLY wanted to see Aladdin but it's sold out through, like, forever, so taking a picture had to suffice. (Did you know it's up for a Tony Award for best musical?)
So, after getting our first look around Times Square and full of delicious smoothies, we headed back to our hotel (alllll the way back down the subway... seriously, Times Square and Flushing were the first and last stops on the 7 train) and cleaned up for our night out. We knew we wanted one good (aka expensive =) meal in NYC and we decided on Bobby Flay's Bar Americain. I was skeptical because I am cheapskate and I'd much rather skimp on food that anything but it was very, very good.
My handsome date =)
Our very concerned and eerily calm waiter was happy to take our picture. =) (For real, he seemed like the type of guy who could face gunpoint without blinking.)
Jonathan got lobster (which I didn't care for, but then I'm not really a lobster fan), I had possibly the best fried chicken I've ever had in my life, Blake had lamb (I'll take his word for it that it was good) and Brook had shrimp and grits which she said were good. We all raved about the fries, though, because they came with some kind of Bobby Flay signature mayonnaise that had other spices mixed in. It was heavenly, and I'm not a big mayo eater. Overall, it was fun to eat somewhere fancy and have a waiter that seemed genuinely happy to be serving us (unlike, well... almost every other restaurant ever.)
We got done eating before we thought we would (they asked if we were seeing a show and then made it a point to get us out fairly quickly, which was nice) so we killed about twenty minutes at Starbucks. And then, it was time. Time to head over to 41st Street to the Nederlander Theatre, time to stand in line, time to anxiously await the curtain to go up. Little did I know what I was about to experience.
There's really no way to explain just how much I loved this production without sounding like a crazy person, so I guess I shouldn't try. (Here I go, trying.) This is a phenomenal, mind-blowingly awesome show whether you're familiar with the story or not, but since I grew up watching the movie, it was extra-special to me. I promise, from the moment the curtain went up to the end of the first act, I was leaned forward in my seat with my eyes bugged out and I'm pretty sure I didn't take a full breath until the intermission. (I also teared up multiple times... tears of pure joy.)
I just recently bought Newsies on DVD and had introduced Blake and Brook to it (just for the show, of course) and even purchased the soundtrack so it's been in my head lately... but nothing could have prepared me for how much I loved this show. The acting, singing, dancing, sets... MAN, it was just so good, and as always when I see a Broadway production, I get super dissatisfied with my life and want nothing more than to be on the stage. (Then I remember how I have to hold a microphone with two hands to keep it from shaking and come crashing back, but still.) Also, Corey Cott, who plays the lead Jack Kelly, is a Christian and it was super cool to see a believer (a devout one, not just someone who thanks God in the playbill =) as a star on Broadway who has a pretty huge platform to share his faith. (Can you tell I'm a big fan?)
Right before the magic began...I love these people!
It really was one of the best nights of my life... I know that sounds dramatic, but I don't even care. It really was that good, and you better believe I'll be seeing in whatever nearby city I can when the tour begins this fall. I've been singing and playing the songs constantly since then (because I have a problem in that I become consumed by new shows and movies and music I love... remember?) I do feel justified with Newsies, though, because it was truly so fantastic that I feel that every bit of love in my heart is deserved. (After the show I could.not.stop. smiling. I told Jonathan, "I may never come down from this," and it really did take a few days. Wait, am I over it yet? Nope.)
I could go on (and on and on and on) but I won't. We walked to Serendipity (yes, like the movie) for dessert... and what a dessert!
I have to admit that even a cereal-bowl-sized frozen hot chocolate and humongous hot fudge sundae were a bit of a step down from what we had just experienced, which should indicate just how great the show was.
So, that second day was a totally amazing experience... ending with a magical night that I'll never, ever forget (and that I wish I could relive... oh, once a week or so. Although I might have to cut back on the sundaes.)
Stay tuned for the rest of the trip! I'm loving the chance to share it with you guys and relive all these glorious-and not so glorious, Mr. Bike Harasser- memories! =)