Thursday, June 21, 2012

I LOVE New York (City, That Is)!!

I just returned from a very short trip to one of my very favorite cities! My friend Debi had landed an audition for Who Wants to be a Millionaire and had to go to New York for testing and an interview on Tuesday.  As her husband hates the city, she invited me to come down with her and I jumped at the chance as I haven't been down there in a couple of years.  

We found a great hotel to stay in by the George Washington Bridge but on the the NJ side -- the Best Western in Ft. Lee.  I mention this as it was cheap and excellent with a large but mostly Continental breakfast in the morning.  Debi had rented a car so we used that to get in and out of the city  which was easy.

We arrived in mid- afternoon on Monday and headed immediately into the city to see where the interview was the following day and to find parking nearby so we wouldn't have to guess on Tuesday.  It was easy (but expensive).  We parked the car and got subway tickets to head to Time Square (pictured) to find the Majestic Theatre where we were going to see Phantom of the Opera later.  I had seen it in London but Debi hadn't seen the play before.
You can see the absolutely gorgeous weather we had as we head across the George Washington Bridge to the City.  It was in the low 70s and breezy.

Debi decided she couldn't live with her phone any longer and went to store to buy a new one!  I headed further uptown to the heart of Times Square.  They have closed off part of the road so there is lots of space to walk from about 41st street up to 46th where the TKTS booth is (half price tickets for the shows).  I checked this all out and there was a huge screen on one of the building which was projecting the crowd that was standing there.  If you look just next to the bottle, there is a woman with a very flowered shirt (must be a tourist) taking a picture of the screen -- that's me!!  What a hoot except for the bottle kept moving and covering me up!

After a lovely stop for some pizza for dinner, we headed to the theater.  Here we are inside in our box seats waiting for the show to begin.  Can't imagine why I am not smiling as I was having a very good time.

Before the performance began, there was a lot of picture taking so I took the opportunity to take a broad picture of the audience and stage.  I was amazed that by the time the performance began, there was hardly an empty seat anywhere even on a Monday night.  The performance, the staging and the costuming were superb!!!  I was surprised how much better it was than the performance I saw in London!!  The singing was wonderful with the lead Phantom  being mesmerizing in both his singing and his acting!!  Debi and I really enjoyed it.  Back to the subway and our car parked at Lincoln Center and across the bridge to Jersey (all very easy).

We didn't have a whole day to do much on Tuesday as Debi had to be at the ABC Studios at 5:30 and needed to get ready.  We had another beautiful day with temps in the 70s and decided to visit the Bronx Zoo.  I hadn't been there in almost 50 years and Debi had never been there.  Google and GPS said it was about 6 miles from our hotel.  It would have taken less time if we hadn't gotten lost a bit in the Bronx but our GPS got us back on track in no time.  We decided to take the monorail first to get a feel for the zoo.  Their shuttle system is a little confusing but they were very obliging in giving us directions and recommending taking the monorail early in the day before the crowds.  This is a view of the Bronx River which you pass over on the tram.

After the monorail which passes through their Asia exhibits, we headed to Tiger Mountain.  I took these just for Priscilla of course.  There were two tigers in the exhibit (there had been at least one additional tiger over in the Asia exhibit).  Both the tigers woke up while we were watching and one did all sorts of cute kitty rolling on his back things!  I think this first tiger thought I would make a tasty lunch.

The tropical rain forest exhibit was spectacular.  This is a Painted Stork and there were several of these.  The exhibits themselves are works of art as they are so naturalized, even inside.  I would not have recognized it as the same zoo I saw in the 60s.  There was vegetation giving the animals lots of space everywhere and the indoor exhibits just had all these wonderful backgrounds.  I love the directions that zoos have gone in since the 60s.  There were animals in the Asia exhibit that are extinct in the wild.

There were peacocks galore int he Asia exhibit but this one was in with the giraffes and the ostriches.  Many of the peacocks were around strutting their brilliant tails (looking for a lady I suspect).

There were a lot of giraffes of all different sizes in the exhibit.

They have a camel ride but I just watched as I love the facial expressions on these large docile animals!!  Unfortunately, we had to leave after only a few hours and head back to New Jersey.  I definitely want to go again!!

The polar bear (being the New Yorker that he is) was entertaining us the whole time we watched!!  This has to be the liveliest polar bear I have ever seen!!  There was a large ball in the pool that he kept diving after and then he discovered this rope with these three balls.  Well like a toddler, he was obsessed with having these three balls and the large brown ball and kept diving and trying to group them all together.  I guess he thinks he has to earn his keep in this high priced real estate!!

Last, but certainly not least, Debi and I were taken out to dinner by my nephew John (John's website -- he's a well known numismatist ).  After Debi left us for her test and interview, John and I sat and talked for a couple of hours at the tables on the road divide at Lincoln Center.  I snapped this picture for my sister and right after John had been anointed by one of the local bird life. John is soon moving down the Charlotte area and I look forward to seeing more of him when I am in North Carolina!!  

As Debi was called back for a second test and an interview, it was too late to go to another Broadway show and we had to get up early in the morning to get back anyway.  It was perfect timing as the temps were forecast to be in the mid-90s the day we left and are supposed to reach 99 today!!  So we are keeping our fingers crossed that she makes it into the contestant pool and is called so that we can make another NY trip!!


Gail Baker said...

Fabulous pictures! Looks like you had a GREAT time! Love the pic of JK - thanks!

Bibby and Pa said...

As a quilter from Downunder I love visiting your blog - I have not visited since early May as have been away - love the birds you photograph and flowers as well as the quilts

Beth Brandkamp said...

Thanks for the nice comment about my blog!! It is always good to hear from people who enjoy it. Australia and New Zealand are on my "bucket" list. My daughter lived in NZ for awhile and of course did the grand tour of Australia while she was there.