Posted by: Budger | December 1, 2007

New York, New York

I love Musical Theater.  I don’t know why; maybe it’s because I have no talent, but I like to imagine myself on stage with talent.  All I know is that ever since my Mom took me to see "The King and I" with Yul Brynner when I was a little girl, I’ve been hooked.  So a trip to New York and Broadway has always been my dream.  I’d never been.  For our 15th Wedding Anniversary, Eric gave me my dream trip.  So for the last 8 weeks I diligently planned and patiently waited.

Now Eric is not a big fan of Musicals.  There are some that he has really enjoyed, but for the most part he tolerates them for my enjoyment.  So in picking our shows, I was trying to be conscientious of what I call the "Eric Torture Quotient" and pick shows that were low on that scale.  The only one that was outside of the realm was "Les Miserables".  It is my favorite, and I’ve seen it numerous times, but I always wanted to see it on Broadway.  Eric doesn’t hate it, but he always says "Why do we need to see that again?  They all die in the end."

Alas, as with everything in life, good planning does not always work out.  On November 10th, the local Stagehands union struck the Producers, and all Broadway shows except those covered by separate contracts went dark.   I figured it wouldn’t last.  It would be over before we got there.  We weren’t leaving until November 17, and our first show that was affected wasn’t until November 19.  I was wrong. 

We got there on Saturday, and I cannot tell you the excitement as we were walking tNov 17 - 061hrough the airport and I saw the New York skyline.  We made it into the city, and got settled in our hotel room which was in the heart of Theater District and Times Square.  That first night we decided to do a night bus tour of the city.  It was beautiful, but it was cold, and by the time we got back to the hotel we were frozen.

On Sunday we got uNov 18 - 075p and did the Downtown Bus Tour.  Again we froze, but we were trying to get an overview of the sights to determine what we wanted to come back to.  When we got to Battery Park Nov 18 - 111we got off the bus and visited Ground Zero.  I cannot describe the horror and sadness that came back to me upon seeing it.

When we got back Nov 18 - 514to our hotel, we talked to my friend Laura Ware.  We went to high school together, and she finished her 2nd year playing Rosie on the National Tour of "Mamma Mia" earlier this year, and is now living in New York.  The strikers were in negotiations on Sunday, and if they settled the shows would be back on Monday.  Sunday night we went to see the Rockettes in the Christmas Spectacular.  It was not affected by the strike and spectacular it was, and I couldn’t believe I was sitting in Radio City Music Hall.  It was amazing.

Monday we wNov 19 - 549ent to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  That was very interesting.  As a descendant of Danish and Swedish immigrants, I had registered them on the Immigrants Wall of Honor at Ellis Island.  They did not come through Ellis Island as they immigrated before Ellis Island was in operation, but I had registered them anyway.  It was very interesting to be there, and I got to search the Ellis Island database of manifests.  Nov 19 - 553And I learned where to go to search the records for immigrations prior to Ellis Island.   

Tuesday was off to Rockefeller Center for the NBC Studio Tour and Rockefeller Center tour.  Both were very interesting as we toured the sets of the Conan O’Brien Show and Saturday Night Live, and all of the artwork of Rockefeller Center.  We also got to go to the Top of the Rock.  Tuesday night we had tickets to "Young Frankenstein", also not affected.  It was hilarious and we had a great time.  Nov 21 - 054On Wednesday we met up with Laura for lunch, and then went with her to see "Altar Boyz".  This was playing off Broadway, and was also a lot of fun.  Laura was giving us lots of tips on shows to see that were not affected.  Thank you Laura!  It was great seeing Laura again, and it was not until I got home that I realized we spent parts of 2 days with her, and I never got a picture.  After the show, we decided to go to the Empire State Building.  That would have worked better if we hadn’t gotten lost on the subway.  But we did finally manage to make it.  We also went by Grand Central Station and the Chrysler Building as well.  

On Thursday we met up with Laura again at Nov 22 - 026the Thanksgiving Day parade.  That was a lot of fun.  I had never watched the parade in whole before.  And it was amazing to see the balloons in person.  It was fun when they got to close to the buildings as the crowd would make sound effects.   After the parade we wandered around Times Square and watched the sights.  We saw the Naked Cowboy and a few people walking around with Snakes.  People watching was part of the fun.  The half price tickets booth was in the lobby of our hotel.  And we had started going down there every Nov 22 - 507morning to see what was available off Broadway.  When Eric went down on Thursday, somebody recommended a play called "Perfect Crime", and Eric got tickets.  When we got back to our hotel after the parade, we looked it up on the Internet, and learned that it was the longest running play in New York City, and that the leading lady had only missed 4 performances out of almost 9000.  We figured it must be good.  Well, let me just say that if anyone goes to see "Perfect Crime" and figures out the ending, please let us know as we still haven’t figured it out.  And I know it wasn’t just us, as somebody else admitted that they didn’t understand it on the elevator leaving the theater. 

Friday, Eric had gotten us tickets to Xanadu and the Grinch.  I was resistant to see Nov 23 - 029 Xanadu as I could not get the image of Olivia Newton-John on roller skates out of my head.  But Laura assured us it was a hoot, and SHE WAS RIGHT!  It was by far my favorite of the week, and if it wasn’t for the strike, we would not have seen it, which goes to prove that things always work out.  Eric had actually tried to talk me into it during the planning, but again I couldn’t get over the movie’s reputation.  We both really enjoyed it and the Grinch.  And they capped off what had been a great week.  On Friday we did a tour of Radio City, where Eric got his picture with a Rockette, and also made it to Central Park, and did a carriage ride before going to our shows.  It was a perfect week, and I already want to go back.Nov 23 - 062   If you want to see all our pictures they are posted in our photo album on this site.

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