“Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today.
I want to be a part of it, New York, New York.”
Well it finally happened! My trip to New York last week was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had. Sure, my toes have wiggled in white sandy Florida beaches. My eyes have scanned majestic snow capped Washington mountain tops. I’ve smelled the foamy waves of the Pacific Ocean, and I’ve walked the icy crags of coastal Maine. I’ve been to all 4 corners of this great land and everywhere in between – but these eyes have never seen anything more beautiful, spellbinding, addicting than New York City.
Wednesday, March 2
I met Jen and Shelley at Laguardia.. we arrived about the same time, about 7pm or so. We shared a car service to our hotel near Times Square. But this wasn’t just a normal car ride, this was my first trip ever into NY. Once we got close enough to Manhattan to see the ginormous nighttime skyline, I was in awe. I couldn’t believe a city could look so big and powerful. Within a flash we were in a tunnel, and within a few minutes we popped back up and were in the middle of this monstrocity that is Manhattan. The game was on!
We got to our hotel, checked in, I did a dialyisis treatment – then we were itching to see Times Square and get a bite to eat. We walked the two blocks to that “glow” down the street. Times Square must be that way, haha! Once we entered Times Square, I was in awe. Doing 360 degree turns, I saw giant buildings and lights in every direction. And people.. people everywhere. It was 9pm on a Wednesday night, but it may as well have been a Saturday night. This place never shuts down. Here’s the first picture I posed for in New York, in all of Times Square glory:
(Note: If you are reading this on a smart phone, the images may appear sideways, upside down, inside out, I have no idea why… they look fine on a normal computer screen.)
After walking in a few circles and gawking at all the lights, we decided it was time to grab something to eat. Now I had some big plans on cool places to eat in New York, but at this point we just needed ANYTHING to eat – so we walked down a side street and found about a million Irish Pubs… so we popped into one. I can’t remember the name of it but I’m glad we chose it, as our server was the most helpful guy ever. He recommended a bunch of places for us to eat and drink around Times Square since we had a Broadway show nearby to see the next night – places he as a local would recommend. Very cool guy, glad we met him.
After dinner we wanted some wine – so we walked what seemed like forever to Park Avenue, where we found a very swanky wine bar called “Lea NYC”. It wasn’t a super pricy bar, but it was very nice. Dark and red on the inside, very high ceiling, with a Gotham City sized wall of liquor behind the bar:
After a bottle of wine to share, we decided to call it a night. We walked back to our hotel (about 5 blocks or so), I did my last treatment of the day and crashed.
Thursday, March 3
The first item of business today was to get the tickets to our Broadway show “Kinky Boots”, starring actor/comedian/game show host Wayne Brady. You probably know him best from “Who’s Line Is It Anyway”, or “Let’s Make A Deal”. I didn’t really care which show we saw. The girls picked this one out so I was happy to oblige. I’d bought us tickets in advance but I’d forgotten to pick them up in Indy… So our mission this morning was to find a Ticketmaster Retail location in Manhattan. We found this as a perfect opportunity to ride the NYC subway for the first time! We mapped out a record store in Greenwich Village where we could get our tickets, so off we went. We walked a few blocks to the nearest subway tunnel, figured out how to buy our week-long subway pass, and before you know it we were in a train and rumbling south. One thing I learned very fast is that Google Maps is your BEST FRIEND in New York when traversing the subways. Another thing I learned very fast is to find out which stop you need to get off on BEFORE you go underground, haha.. Phones don’t work down there 🙂
We found our stop, and made our back back up into the daylight. What a beautiful area Greenwich Village is. It’s an old historical part of town. The buildings aren’t as tall here, it’s more of a “village”, hence the name. Some very famous musicians used to grace these streets, including Bob Dylan. We walked around for awhile trying to find the record store, in the process we walked through New York University – such a gorgeous campus next to a really pretty park (Washington Square). Here are Jenn and Shelley posing in this neighborhood:
We got the tickets and decided we needed lunch. I knew just the place – the Little Italy neighborhood was nearby. We got back on the subway for a short trip there, and popped up in this pretty little village full of Italian heritage. We found the pizza place we wanted – Lombardi’s. It was recommended by my friend Riz, who is a New Yorker. Little did I know how blown away I was going to be by New York pizza, specifically Lombardi’s. It was the best pizza I’d ever had in my life. It’s hard to explain. The crust, the sauce, the fresh mozzarella, the coal oven taste, the meats, it was simply heavenly. Here are a few shots at Lombardi’s and the streets of Little Italy:
After eating, we did some more sightseeing in Little Italy, then decided we had to get back to our hotel to get ready for our Broadway show. So back in the subway we went, heading north this time. Within 10 minutes we were back in Times Square… man those things are fast!
Ok – now it’s time for a funny side story. Originally there were supposed to be 4 of us on the trip. Jenn invited two of her friends (Shelley and Andrea). So we bought 4 tickets to the Broadway show. Unfortunately, Andrea was very very sick the week of the trip, so she had to cancel. She offered to pay me for the ticket, which was the original plan. However, something about being in New York makes you feel adventurous. Makes you feel like doing something you wouldn’t normally do. So – of course I got on the “Tinder” dating app, haha. Now, the intent here wasn’t to find a date – I was there with friends, I was happy with that. The intent was to give away a ticket to Kinky Boots. I offered it to a really nice girl named Rachel, who lives in Brooklyn. I told her that it wasn’t really going to be a “date”, that she’d be with me and 2 other girls, and that we just had an extra ticket to give away. I told her nothing weird was going on, and it is what it is. She replied with “I’m in… plus I’m from Israel, it takes a lot to weird me out” haha. Soooo…. I met Rachel in Times Square just before the show. We walked to the theatre together, met the other girls there, had a blast at the show, the 4 of us had a fun dinner after. Rachel went back home to Brooklyn around midnight, and we never saw her again the rest of the trip. So yes, a random Brooklyn girl got a free $150 ticket to a Broadway show. So THAT was a fun little side story.
Ok – so now I have to talk about the show itself. I’m not a huge play/musical person, but I do appreciate the arts and enjoy them when I get a chance. I had only seen one Broadway type show before (in Indianapolis many many years ago), I do remember enjoying it. So I was excited to experience this directly on Broadway. We arrived at the theatre, and I was instantly charmed by it. These Broadway theatres are very old… like over 100 years old easily. You walk in, the moldings are old, the seating, the facades, the stage, everything. It’s so authentic, you feel like you just walked about 100 years into the past. But when you add in the modern lighting and sound systems, and theatre props, it’s a truly mesmerizing experience!
The show was outstanding. Full of music, dancing, funny dialogue, and top notch audience appreciation. There’s truly nothing like it in the world. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but I did get a few shots outside after. Here are the 4 of us having fun by a marquee outside, and then one of me and Wayne Brady himself, who came out to meet fans 🙂
After the show we found this great little restaurant around the corner from the theatre. We wined and dined in this little dive with GREAT food. Hung out laughing, trading stories till after midnight, when our Brooklyn friend had to go home. She left, we left, and called it a night. What a first full day in New York! We had experienced so much already, and we still had Friday and Saturday to go!
Part 2 (Friday and Saturday) will be my next entry – maybe later this week. Stay tuned!
To see ALL of my pictures from the trip, click here to go to my GOOGLE DRIVE.
Terry (March 8, 2016)