Wednesday, June 12, 2019

New York City Trip 2019

If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you know I love New York City and Broadway, and try to go once or twice a year if I can. I also try to go at the end of May so I can see a play or two before the Tony Awards. This year, I went with my friend, Donna, and we met up with my sister, Linda, who flew in from Columbus.

I usually fly from Nashville because there are a few non-stop flights from there. We arrived in New York just after 2 PM. I'm glad we had a conversation with our seat mate because we would have thought we were in the wrong airport. If you've flown into LaGuardia, and Southwest's terminal, before, I can only say Joe Biden was right when he said it was as if you were in a third world country. Bad, really bad. It doesn't look like that anymore. There's even an independent New York based bookstore in that terminal, McNally Jackson.

LaGuardia - Terminal B

Display at McNally Jackson

And, if you would like to read an article about it, here's one that talks about the enormous improvements. I don't usually rave about restrooms, but a difference!

We met my sister, Linda, at baggage claim, and took a car to our hotel. We always stay in the theater district to make it easy to walk to Broadway shows. A quick dinner at the West End Bar & Grill, and then off to see Phantom of the Opera. We've all seen it before, but Donna wanted to see it on Broadway. This production had the best "Masquerade" scene of any production I've seen, even the TV broadcasts.

On Wednesday, we decided to head out for Donna's other wish for our NYC trip, a visit to the Strand Bookstore. It was quite a hike from our hotel, but we enjoyed looking at the buildings in the Flatiron District.

And, the Union Square Greenmarket was fun to walk through.

Linda and Donna

None of us had been to the Strand before.

Lots of book-related socks for Donna to pick from.

We spent quite a bit of time there, but still managed to accidentally end up at Grace Church at the right time. On Wednesdays, there is a one-hour organ concert. This Wednesday, it was Bach. A very nice way to relax for an hour in a quiet spot in the city.

I didn't set out to capture Donna & Linda, just the church.

We stopped at Beecher's Handmade Cheese for lunch. Excellent cheese sandwiches. Lots of cheeses to choose from. Interesting that the other home for Beecher's is Pike Place Market.

And, I do have to show you the Harry Potter wall we passed.

On Wednesday afternoon, I found a cute little restaurant down 8th Avenue from our hotel. It's called Brasserie Athenee. We went for dinner on Wednesday, but felt rushed because we had tickets for 7 PM for a show. The restaurant is not Greek, but French. The food, ambiance, and the service were so good we made reservations for a leisurely dinner for Friday night.

Then, we went to see "Come From Away", the musical about the planes that landed in Gander, Newfoundland on 9/11. This was the third time I saw it, but I'd said I'd take anyone who went with me to New York and hadn't seen it yet. It still makes me laugh and cry, and feel good. Linda and Donna felt the same way. Only four members of the cast have changed since I originally saw the show several years ago.

Thursday, Linda picked our outing for the day. We walked through a little of Central Park and on Fifth Avenue on our way.

Just one set of doors at Temple Emanu-El

We were heading to the Frick Collection. Linda wanted to see it because it's in the house where Henry Clay Frick and his family lived on Fifth Avenue. It's one of the few remaining Gilded Age mansions. What a collection! Rembrandt, Vermeer, Goya, Whistler, Gainsborough. So much more. We took the short 10 minute tour with a guide, who gave us information about the house, but we spent quite a bit of time listening to the self-guided tour information about different rooms in the house. In a couple years, they hope to have the upstairs open, so it would be worth going back.

While Donna went to dinner with her niece on Thursday evening, Linda and I made it an Irish night in New York. I have a favorite restaurant around the corner from the hotel. It's Hurley's Saloon. I love the fish and chips. The fish is sole. Because it was so close, Linda and I had plenty of time on a rainy night in the city to enjoy dinner. We had a nice little booth with a window. Perfect.

And, then we went to see a play we really knew nothing about. It won the Tony Award for Best Play, and all I knew about Jez Butterworth's "The Ferryman" is that it takes place in Ireland, and is three hours long.

Oh, my gosh! It takes place in Northern Ireland in 1981. Here's the short note from the program. "Time/Place: The action takes place in the home of the Carney family, rural county Armagh, Northern Ireland, late Summer 1981. The prologue takes place in Derry, one or two days earlier." It's the time of the hunger strikes. Wow! Just, wow! It's a powerful, moving play, with an unexpected ending. Neither of us expected a happy ending, but, even so, the ending comes as a shock. In fact, it was so moving that we admitted we couldn't just go back and go to bed, so we went back to the hotel and sat in the lounge and looked up the background of the play and the story. An hour's research gave us plenty to talk about, and we were eventually ready for bed.

The cast has changed since "The Ferryman" debuted on Broadway. But, Brian d'Arcy James was magnificent as Quinn Carney, the head of the family. In fact, everyone was terrific in this unforgettable show.

We had decent weather during the days of our trip, but it rained every evening except Friday. However, Friday's weather was glorious during the day, in the low 80s and sunny. Too nice a day to be inside, so we went to Battery Park for several hours.

It's a beautiful place to walk, watch people, have lunch, enjoy being by the water.

The Battery Park East Coast Memorial honors the 4,601 missing American servicemen who lost their lives in the Atlantic Ocean while engaged in combat in World War II

The American Merchant Marines Memorial - At high tide, the man in the water is covered.

And, for Donna and Linda to ride the SeaGlass Carousel.There used to be an aquarium in Battery Park, so the SeaGlass Carousel is reminiscent of that.



Here's me having lunch on that beautiful day in Battery Park.

Our final meal in New York City was a leisurely dinner at Brasserie Athenee. Scallops, mashed potatoes, asparagus and drinks for everyone.

And, our last show was "Kiss Me, Kate" with Kelli O'Hara in the lead and Corbin Bleu as Bill Calhoun, a wonderful dancing part.

I couldn't have asked for a better trip or better traveling companions. I love New York City, Linda, and Donna.


Jeff Meyerson said...

Sounds like a great trip! RE your aquarium comments, if you check out THE PENGUIN POOL MURDER (1932), Edna May Oliver's first appearance as Miss Hildegarde Withers, the murder takes place at the Aquarium in Battery Park, if I remember correctly.

You went to a lot of our favorite areas that most tourists who spend all their time in Midtown never see - the Flatiron District, Union Square Greenmarket, Strand Books, etc. Next time, come to Brooklyn!

I agree on COME FROM AWAY, one of our favorite shows of recent years. I wouldn't at all mind seeing it again.

Kay said...

Thanks for sharing with us, Lesa! Looks like you had a wonderful trip. You all three look so happy in the pictures. :-)

Lesa said...

Thank you, Jeff! Yes, I've only been to Brooklyn on the lights tour in December. I need to do that. And, we walked to all of those places except Battery Park!

Oh, that's interesting about the aquarium. I'll have to look for that book.

I just love COME FROM AWAY. That was my third time seeing it.

Lesa said...

Kay, It was a great trip! And, all three of us had a fun time.

CindyD said...

There's a Beechers at the Seattle airport. Have to say I wasn't impresssed. They lost my order and rushed it the second time so the cheese wasn't melted.
One of my book groups discussed the book COME FROM AWAY is based on and I'd love to see the play!

Lesa said...

You should see the play, Cindy, if you ever get the chance.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

What a great trip!! I always love reading about your trips to NYC - thanks for taking us all along.

Glen Davis said...

Sounds like a great trip!

Lesa said...

Kaye & Glen, Thank you. It was a fun trip, and I think all three of us needed it, and enjoyed it.

Sam Sattler said...

Looks like great fun, Lesa. Thanks for sharing your pictures and reactions to everything you saw. One of these of these day I'm going to make it there.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Sam. I hope you do get there, one of these days.

Gram said...

I always enjoy your trips. I can go without the hassle of packing and unpacking. Thanks.

Alibek Issaev said...

Looks like I'm coming back to NY because theres still some things I need to check out, thanks for this!

Experience Invest said...

Even though I have been in NYC for a couple of years, I still get excited about exploring this city. Love your post btw!

PureGusto said...

Coming to NYC this week! Thanks for this!

Erdal Koyuncu said...

I‘m just planning my Trip to NYC and this Guide is so helpful! Thank you very much!