What a great weekend that was! Four days and three nights in New York City with all the noises, sights, sounds, and smells (some rather pungent) thrown in, and it was amazing. I think it might have been one of the best trips I've ever taken to the Big Apple, largely because the schedule was so loose. We would wake up, eat breakfast, and decide where it was we wanted to go that day. I only wish there had been even more time....but then I probably would have gone broke.
The first day I got there around noon and I was the only one from our group who was there that early so I arranged to see an old friend of mine and then stood in line at the TKTS booth to get tickets to a show that evening. I lucked out at the booth and got four orchestra level tickets for "Mary Poppins" at half-price. We were maybe 5 or 6 rows back from the stage for only $61.50 each...a steal considering how orchestra seats go for over 100 or 150 most nights. Before the show I saw my friend, The Dancer, and we had a great time catching up and talking about everything. It was probably the most at ease I ever felt around him. I met him when I was 16 and working at our local summer theater in West Virginia. He was a 24 or 25 year old dancer at that point so I was still a kid to him. But oh did I ever have a crush on him. You know, one of those dopey teenage crushes where everything is live or die based on how he reacted to me on a given day. God I was an emotional and hormonal rollercoaster and wrote the most inane chatter in my journal about him (you should read it, you'd laugh at how melodramatic it is). Well, Thursday we were both on equal footing. Both adults, both professionals, and both...shall we say.....'experienced' in the ways of gay romance. We chatted about all aspects of life and it was nice and comfortable. I finally admitted to him how infatuated I was with him back then and we both laughed. I said it wouldn't have surprised me if he knew and then I went one step forward to see, if we were both in the position, if we might share at least physical romance. His answer was encouraging to say the least...however, he is seeing someone very special now and he's making the most of that while it lasts. I congratulated him and we went our separate ways. The show was amazing and full of tremendous magic tricks and special effects. I would highly recommend it if you get the chance and you aren't put off by the 'sweetness' of the original film.
The second day was a bit of an adventure. We had nothing planned until "Billy Elliot: The Musical" that evening and few sights we hadn't seen...so Mom and I took a spirited jaunt down to Central Park. We walked through the bottom portion (trying to find a bus to take us up the avenue) and came out on the west side right in front of the apartment building that was used as the location for Dana Barret's building in Ghostbusters...you can tell because of the church right next door. We hopped on a bus with the plan to ride up to where we could walk across the park to the Metropolitan Museum of art...but we happened to look out the window at a stop light and saw the American Museum of Natural History (from Night at the Museum). We realized that neither of us had ever been to it, so we jumped off the bus and spent the next several hours wandering its massive halls and gaping at the artistry of its dioramas and artifacts. It was easily one of my favorite museums from the city and I recommend it to everyone. Following that, we took a break at the hotel and then walked to the Lunt-Fontaine Theater to buy next-day matinee tickets for "The Addams Family", after which we ate dinner at the Times Square Olive Garden where we got to look down on the streets and billboards. Following that was "Billy Elliot", which was easily the best show we saw this weekend as far as story and performances are concerned. It was funny, sweet, touching, and uplifting while also being somber and serious in its depiction of the 1984 miner's strike in Great Britain. I was very impressed with the boy who played Billy, who wasn't just a good actor but was also a tremendous dancer. Its no surprise why this won Best Musical of 2009. After the show I received the additional thrill of a British Celebrity sighting. The theater next door was featuring Joanna Lumley (Patsy from "Absolutely Fabulous") and she was out signing autographs. I managed to snap a quick, blurry picture and then went on my way.
Saturday was our last full day in the city and we started it at our favorite place for breakfast, the Edison Cafe. After that, we walked up the street to the Museum of Modern Art (which I was rather underwhelmed by) and spent a few hours walking its hallowed halls. We didn't have as much free early time that day because we had to be at "The Addams Family" at 2pm. We saw some very nice work from recognized artists (like The Starry Night by Van Gogh) and a great deal of fun sculpture and found art installations. The show was a lot of fun, but not the best I've seen. However, it was a thrill to see Nathan Lane and Bebe Newurth live on the stage. They have always cracked me up in television and film and I felt just as honored to have seen them as I felt when I saw Sean Hayes and Kristen Chennoweth in "Promises, Promises". After that we met up with Jon, my ex and good friend, for dinner at Bill's Bar and Burger in Rockefeller Center and then we ended our evening at Radio City Music Hall watching "The Radio City Christmas Spectacular." Wow, what a show. It was a lot of fun to see the Rockettes and the living nativity and I could defiantly see why its a Christmas tradition for a lot of people.
Sunday stank. I left the hotel on a shuttle to the airport around 8:40 and I didn't get home until a little after 7 (largely due to a 3-4 hour layover in Baltimore) so I was pretty tired. I even considered calling in sick to work, but then decided it would be less trouble than writing sub plans. It turned out to be a fine day today and I felt rested even though I spent all 4 days off running from here to there. It was worth it. I can't wait until the next time I get to go to that city and do more things I've never done before. Now stay tuned because tomorrow I'll be back with a review of something...its been much too long.