Wednesday, January 23, 2008

NYC: Day 2

After our rather late night on Friday, we opted to not begin Saturday at the crack of dawn. We all got a good night's sleep and were ready to tackle the new day. Our hotel was on the New Jersey side so we headed to the train to take us into the city. After a change to the subway for a short ride, we emerged from the train in the midst of Times Square. Watching the expression on Gerald's face was like watching that of a small child on Christmas morning. Even at 11 in the morning, the city is bustling. We had decided to go to TKTS to get matinee tickets. At the suggestion of a friend, our first choice was Spelling Bee. Without a long wait in line, we were able to get six tickets together for the afternoon performance. Though we were all well caffeinated having visited Starbuck's, the consensus was that a real meal was a must before we headed to the theater. I firmly believe that a hot dog from a street vendor is a "must do" in the city; however, the vegan amongst us nixed this as a lunch idea. Instead we opted for a small cafe that had a nice selection for both carnivores and herbivores. Carnegie Deli had been an option we entertained, but the lined stretched out the door and down the street. None of us wanted salami that badly!

After finishing lunch, we took a leisurely walk to the theater. We knew that for the performance of Spelling Bee, they chose four members of the audience to participate on stage. Erin was determined to be one of the four. She got in line and answered the few questions that were part of the screening process. One of the questions was, "Are you a good speller?" She answered, "Yes." As it turned out, that was the wrong answer. She was not chosen to appear on stage. After seeing the show, it became clear that tenuous spelling made for a better resume. Nonetheless, the show was amazing. This was a great first Broadway experience for Liz and Gerald. At one point during the performance, a member of the cast asked the members of the audience who we planned to vote for in the upcoming presidential election. Our row was the only vocal row in the theater. Nobody booed us or threatened to beat us up so I guess our choice was acceptable.

After the show, we walked and walked and walked around the city. Brooke and Mike visited a comic book store and the rest of us went to the Drama Book Shop, a shop that is wall to wall scripts. Very cool! We had agreed to meet on a corner by the street vendor selling those awesome pretzels; you know the ones. Of course we indulged! After our snack it was on to 5th Avenue for some shopping.

Erin was on a quest to find a very specific style of boots that had eluded her in Dallas. She looked in what seemed like twenty shoe stores (I'm sure this is a slight exaggeration) with no success. Her shopping experience left her empty handed but her wallet was still full. As we made our way back to Broadway for a planned dinner at Ellen's Stardust Diner, Gerald and Erin took a few minutes to ride the Merry-Go-Round along the way.

I was happy to see them smiling. Brooke and Mike were party poopers. They parked themselves on a bench and muttered about how ridiculous it was that these two were acting so juvenile. To me, letting go and doing something a little silly is a sign that one is able to find joy in life. What do I know?

The diner where we ate dinner is one in which all of the wait staff are aspiring actors and actresses. In addition to waiting tables, they also perform live, singing a mix of pop, country, and show tunes. Gerald spent the entire meal flirting with our waiter. Somewhere there is a picture of Gerald and poor Justin the waiter, but it does not seem to be on my camera. I guess it is on Gerald's camera. He may have already taken it to Kinkos to have it blown up to poster-size! Thank goodness Justin was a really good sport!

After dinner, which ended with a little disappointment for Erin because they had no more strawberry shortcake (I think Erin only wanted dessert so that we could stay longer and she too could flirt with the waiter. Someone here definitely was going to be disappointed!), we made our way to the subway to begin our trip back to the hotel.

As we stood on the platform waiting for the train, I noticed Erin staring at a group of people standing slightly behind us. Her fixed look also caught Gerald's attention. Erin said that the girl in the group looked like Logan, one of the characters in Spelling Bee. At that point we all turned to look. Standing there with us were indeed three members of the cast that we had seen perform earlier in the day. Not being shy, we asked for pictures and autographs. They were all friendly and willing to oblige us. While waiting for the train we talked with them about the outrageous price of Broadway show tickets. They told us that their friends could not afford to buy tickets to come see their performances. They also said that life on the Broadway stage was no where near as glamorous as we might think. As our train approached and we all prepared to go our separate ways, they asked us, "So, which candidate do you support?" We allowed as to how we were the ones who responded loudly during the performance. We went our separate ways in solidarity.

We had a great day - great show, good food, a little shopping, and one of a kind friends.

Here is a look at the city at night.