I don’t like cities, but I like New York.
…actually, I really do like cities, European cities in particular. But I like New York too!
And I know this is a bit of a long post, but bear with: the Hamilton anecdote is worth the wait…
On to the penultimate day of the trip and following the lost in translation moment the day before, we ventured out of the hotel for breakfast. I’d had a look the day before and seen a cute brasserie style place just down our street. Although when you say ‘down our street’ that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s close with New York!
But this was and so we went to Cafe Un, Deux, Trois.
Yes, my Hamilton alarm was ringing!
The service was great here: super friendly and they did a great fry up!
We then made a plan for the day, doing the very touristy thing again of getting the map out on the table. And the street. And in shops. Seriously, this was me half the time:
We decided to fit in some more wandering/shopping time in the morning, so we went to Grand Central, Macy’s and wandered round midtown Manhattan. In my opinion, Grand Central is massively overrated; just get one picture and go. It was hot. And busy. It’s like trying to take a picture at Victoria! Macy’s was mind blowing though: it’s so big! I only had time for two floors, because it took me 20 minutes to find the loos!
I say ‘only had time’ because I had an appointment to keep: Ham4Ham, aka the Hamilton Day Lottery. This is before it went digital, so I queued up with hundreds of others for those precious seats. The atmosphere was insane and it wasn’t even the one where Lin Manuel Miranda et al came out! I’ve queued a fair few times for day seats before, but there were so many people there! And though I didn’t win, somebody who’s 96th odd time going did. Yay Hamlet!
We then headed south to Staten Island and did the ferry. Two observations: 1) how is it free?! That’s amazing?! I literally hopped on, got to go across the river, see the Statue of Liberty and back on! All for free! And in like an hour! 2) The Statue of Liberty is much smaller than I expected. My dad made fun of me, reminding me of Father Ted’s words of wisdom:
After that, we grabbed lunch at a nearby TGIF and then went across to Ground Zero. You have to do it. It’s incredibly moving.
After that, my Dad was a little worse for wear so he headed back to the hotel. I realised I still had to get my tickets for the evening performance of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, so headed off to get those. I also realised I had been in New York for three days and had not bought any Hamilton merchandise. So I headed back via the Richard Rodgers Theatre just to see if they had any stuff at the box office for sale.
And this is where possibly the best 10 minutes of the trip starts.
So I start queueing at the box office, to see if they had any posters back there. The queue is a few people long, so the security guard comes to ask if I had any questions etc. I go: ‘It’s my last day in NY, and I’m from London and I love the musical and I couldn’t get tickets so was wondering if they had any merchandise?’ Very politely, but rather excitedly! He then looks round and says to me: ‘You’ve got five minutes, go straight to the merch stand’. And let’s me in the theatre. I thanked him profusely, went in and I could hear they’re playing the Hamilton CD and I’m like ‘oh that’s clever advertising!’ I get to the desk and the assistants are whispering as I talk to them. Then I realise: it’s a matinee day. It’s 4.00. The show is still on. To my left. Literally to my left. That’s where the stage is. That’s not the CD. I am listening to the Original Broadway Cast singing. Live. And it’s my favourite song: ‘It’s Quiet Uptown’. And then Lin’s part starts. And I am listening to the creator of Hamilton, singing as Hamilton, singing my favourite song from Hamilton. LIVE.
I WAS LITERALLY IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENED!
It took all my strength not to burst into tears there and then. Half tears of joy from everything, mingled with tears of sadness because IT’S QUIET UPTOWN!
So I grab some merch, a t-shirt and poster, listen for two minutes while I make my decision and then scoot off. And thanked the security guard even more. Seriously, I wanted to give him a hug. A massive thank you to him and the Richard Rogers Theatre team. I think that was a bit of theatre karma right there for all the times I’ve let someone coming at 5.00 into the Globe! So thank you, kind security man!
I then headed across, elated to the Walter Kerr Theatre. As I’m waiting in the queue, I look across the road to and see George Takei! And then I realise the person in front of me in the queue is also looking and is the lead actress in the show I’m seeing!
Best. 10 minutes. Ever!
Back to the hotel to rave to Dad who couldn’t believe he had missed it, well, George Takei. Then we had dinner at Sardi’s which was amazing. The food was great, service top, although a couple of the other guests were very rude!
A short walk up Broadway on our final night and we ended up at A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. Again, again, review coming next week, but I really hope it gets a transfer.
Our final day in New York started with breakfast at Un, Deux, Trois again. Seriously good fry up! And pancakes! The morning was allocated for general wandering and shopping for souvenirs. While dad headed off to by Christmas presents, I went off to photograph ALL the theatres on Broadway. Did I succeed? Tune in next week and see! Seriously though, there are so many! And all so close together?!
After a bit more shopping we met up at 30 Rock and headed to Bloomingdales for lunch. Because if you can’t do Breakfast at Tiffanys, this is the next best thing! We ate at Le Train Bleu, which was bizarre: an old strain carriage style restaurant quite high up. The views were amazing and food was pretty good too with the fixed menu.
Then we made our way back to the hotel to wait for the cab. I stopped off at a Christmas shop just round the corner, to grab an ornament and personalise it. Which would have been fine. Had the lady in front of my not brought 42 things she wanted personalising. Seriously.
Just in time for the cab but 5 minutes late in dad’s book, we grabbed it and headed back to the airport, back to life and back to reality.
It was an amazing trip and I’m so glad I went with my Dad for the first time! If I go again, I’d probably stay in the same area but visit more of downtown Manhattan.
Top 5 moments:
2) Getting to walk round Central Park
3) Seeing A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
4) Staten Island
5) And getting to do it all with my dad!