Princess Lisa and I just finished a run on my lunch break (yay!), and I’m back at the office with a few minutes to spare, so it’s finally time to write about the first leg of our NYC/DC vacation!
I’ll skip the travel part by saying it was uneventful overall. Thank you, Air Canada, for doing your job.
The hotel: We took the train from Newark to Manhattan, and the fighting and confusion set in when we couldn’t find the hotel… “Well, the GPS says it is here!” — “Well, clearly it is not! Way to go!” — “Well look: here is a picture of the hotel with the big marquee lights in front of it. That looks the same as this, right?” Turns out that we were standing right in front of the “right” place and didn’t even know it. We stayed at The Milford NYC – recently renamed to simply Row NYC – on 8th Ave & 48th St, just a block off of Times Square, and it was pretty awesome. I would definitely recommend it (at the right price, of course) to anyone visiting NYC who wants to stay in the touristy part of town. The room was small but clean, and I found the bed comfy. One negative was that they weren’t able to provide synthetic pillows for Other Half, who is allergic to down. The lobby was nice and had a very trendy feel. Bonus: right across the street from Shake Shack! 🙂 I booked on Orbitz with a discount code, and I think we paid an average of $160/night.
Chinatown/Lower East Side: We went specifically to check out this little hole in the wall video game store that had one of EVERYTHING! Other Half walked out with 2 retro gaming systems in pristine condition and a handful of games, all for way less than he would have paid trying to collect them off of eBay. We also did a tour at the Tenement Museum, which was great. Other Half & I typically don’t partake in the guided tour thing, but it’s something that we should probably do more often. I think I get a lot more information hearing it from someone who is excited about it than just reading it off the museum placards.
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder: on Broadway. It was a good show – one of the cast members plays 7 different characters, both men and women, and he was hilarious – but not the best Broadway show I’ve seen. The humor was good and the costumes were beautiful, and the price was right at $45 a seat in the mezzanine (a Playbill.com sale, I believe), but I like to leave a musical singing the songs, and the soundtrack to this was less than memorable. And it didn’t have any dancing. 😦
Running: I went for a run in Central Park with my brother-in-law, who was gearing up for the NYC 1/2 Marathon the following weekend. At least, I started a run with him. I hadn’t run in so long though and the Central Park route was moderately difficult, so I bailed at around 7km and took the subway back to the hotel. It was a beautiful day though, and I’m a little sorry that I couldn’t take full advantage of it.
Brooklyn: We went over to Brooklyn to get some BBQ and check out the Brooklyn Night Market. Unfortunately, that day turned out to be a bit of a bust. The BBQ joint, Fette Sau, was lined up like crazy. We stuck it out over an hour to get some food. It was alright…but nothing to write home about. We did find a gem of a cupcake place though – Brooklyn Cupcake – that offered fun varieties like French Toast and Peanut Butter and Jelly. By the time we walked over to the Night Market, there was also a line way out the door. Considering that we had already sacrificed a lot of time in lines that day, plus we had a baby to put to bed, we bailed on that idea and just went back to Manhattan for the evening. I wanted to head out and do some shopping to salvage the rest of the day…but Other Half was feeling sick, so I headed out to Times Square alone and left him at the hotel, clutching his stomach. Turns out both he and brother-in-law got food poisoning from the BBQ…it’s a wonder that dear nephew didn’t get sick too.
Sleep No More: off Broadway “play”…a bit difficult to assess and explain, overall. So, they call the “theatre”/building the McKittrick Hotel. Staged throughout the hotel are different rooms/sets and actors/actresses/dancers who silently act out an adapted story of MacBeth. “Guests”/audience members wear masks during the performance and are basically voyeurs without rules, pretty much. There is no set walking path or map; you just wander through the rooms, looking at or touching and investigating whatever you like, and viewing as many or as few rooms or scenes as you want as the play just continuously takes place around you. When we arrived at our show time, they kept emphasizing that guests should experience this alone and then compare notes after, and that everyone should have their own unique time there. Well, I wasn’t interested in that. As far as I was concerned, the two of us were going to go through it together, as it appeared everyone else was doing too. So when the elevator stopped to drop us off at the entrance, I was pretty shocked when the creepy masked elevator attendant shoved me out, whacked Other Half in the arm, and shut the elevator door between us. I was abandoned. We had no plan to meet up at a certain place or time, no phones, no talking was allowed inside, no map of where we were or where anything else was… I was PISSED OFF. But I thought to myself “Well, we paid $100 each for these tickets, so I can sit down and pout and quit, or I can suck it up and walk through this haunted house by myself.” So, I did. About two hours later we randomly found each other inside, thank goodness. And at the end of the night, we both left a bit confused about what we had seen…what we hadn’t seen…and how we felt about it all. By the next day, we decided that we enjoyed it…but I can totally see why lots of people attend the show more than once. Your first time, you are totally disoriented. By the second time you would have a bit more strategy as to what you had or had not seen before, and how you wanted move through the spaces. Overall: Weird. Creepy. Definitely outside the box. A bit uncomfortable, but you get used to it. And cool. Very very cool. As an added bonus, there was some great dancing inside. The environment and the concept are both so overwhelming that I don’t think people even notice the choreography…but I did, and I liked it.
Being on TV: LIVE with Kelly and Michael was a bit of a gong show. We showed up to the studio at 7:15am and barely made the cut-off to get into the audience. Maybe 25 people were let in from behind us. And you just stood there and waited and waited and waited in a horrible, crowded hallway. We waited, on our feet the whole time and outside for a good part of it, for just over 2 hours before we were taken to our seats. Also, the earlier you get there, the better the seat you get. I was pleasantly surprised by the hosts though. I love them on TV, but I loved them just as much in person. They were funny and had such good chemistry, and comedically were just on ALL the time.
Our trip to see Late Night with Seth Meyers was a little different…a little better, I would say. You take your reservation confirmation to the NBC store at 30 Rock in the afternoon and wait in line for maybe 30-60 minutes, depending on how early you choose to show up. Unlike LIVE, showing up super early is not a requirement, and it won’t score you a better seat. They check your reservation and photo ID, and then issue you a ticket with a number or letter on it and a wristband, and tell you to come back later. You have about an hour to buzz off and grab dinner or do some shopping before your return time. When you get back they put you in groups and lines, move you through security, and then to studio 8G for the taping. At Kelly & Michael the early bird gets the worm in terms of prime seating – the earlier you are, the better the seat. At NBC, this isn’t the case. They tell you that the number/letter on your ticket has no meaning – that it’s just an arbitrary grouping – but I call BS. I looked around at the groupings that other people were getting put into and I KNEW with 99% certainty that we were going to get awesome seats. Our group was ethnically diverse, moderately attractive, and fit the target demographic to a tee. White male, grey hair, over the age of 50? Sorry, buddy, but you get to sit way in the back. Other Half was convinced that my assessment was just a conspiracy theory…until we walked into the studio and they yelled “we’ve got a blue wristband here!” and we were placed about 4th row up, dead center, right in camera shot. So…I guess my advice on that one is that if you want to have a great view of the show and be on TV…don’t go with your elderly parents…they’re just bringing you down 🙂
Midtown Comics:As people new to comic book-ing (…is that a thing? It is now…), we didn’t really know what we were “supposed to be” doing at Midtown Comics just off Times Square, but I can tell you that it was a good store, I’m pretty sure. The employees were helpful, they had tons of well-organized back issues as well as current issues, and lots of books, figurines, and other nerd culture stuff as well.
After all that, we hopped on the Amtrak train headed to Washington, D.C. …and that’s all a story for another day! 😉