For my granddaughter's thirteenth birthday, my daughter and I took her to her very first Broadway Play.
We left home very early Wednesday morning and arrived in New York around noon. We took a share-van ride into the city. During our van ride we met a very nice couple from South Africa who were visiting the US on holiday. It was interesting meeting them and hearing how it had been -2 degrees when they'd left home. In South Africa it is the middle of winter, so they were enjoying our warm weather.
We arrived at our hotel, unloaded our bags and immediately set out to find the office where we were to pick up ticket for the Wednesday night play. The nice man on the phone had assured me they were located right on Times Square and would be only a five minute walk from out hotel. We walked up and down Broadway for nearly an hour without spotting the office.
While we were out, a storm came up. A big storm, lots of lightning, deafening thunder, gully washer rain and hail. We ducked into the Marriott Marquis, to get out of the storm. The last time I was in New York, which was during RWA's National Conference last summer, I stayed at the Marriott. So I was familiar with the Marriott. So were a couple hundred other tourist who gathered under their spacious drives. We saw reports on the news later about how bad the storm had been, but we were safe thanks to Marriott. Once we realized we were not going to find the ticket office by walking and looking for it, we returned to our hotel a couple blocks away from the Marriott and I looked through my computer until I found an email with a phone number for the ticket company. I called, got the address and we were ready to venture out again to pick up our tickets.
We were staying at the Millennium Broadway Hotel and I wish I could give them a glowing recommendation. The room was nice. It was clean and the bed was comfortable. The desk clerk at check in was super, the bellman who stored our bags was wonderful. The problem came when we went to the Concierge to ask for directions to the address to pick up the tickets. They man rattled off the directions, and became annoyed when I asked him to repeat them. He wouldn't write them down, when I asked him for a map, he said he didn't have one. Strike one against an otherwise nice hotel. I managed to find a map from the hop on hop off bus and used it to find the location of the ticket office. We walked there picked up our tickets and returned to the hotel.
My granddaughter's favorite movie is "THE WIZARD OF OZ," so she selected WICKED for her first Broadway play. I have to say that I was skeptical when she chose it, but I must admit I really enjoyed the play. It was a novel twist on the traditional story. The play was a pleasant surprise. My GD really enjoyed the play. She smiled and grinned and applauded. We left the theatre and walked over to Junior's for dinner. Another great choice. Our waiter was a delight and added the perfect little twist to an engaging evening.
Thursday morning we were up early and ready to pick up our tickets for the Hop-on/Hop-off bus tours. Again we went down to the Concierge to ask directions. This time the man was even less helpful than the night before. I fumed for a few moments, then went back over to the desk. This time there was a woman there. I asked her for a map, I could see the pad of maps sitting on the desk behind the counter. She first said she didn't have one. I gave her the look and cut my eyes over toward the pad of maps on the desk. She said, this is all I have. I told her fine, I'll take one of those. And again, when I asked for directions, instead of marking it on the map, she rattled off the directions, go to the corner, turn right go down to .. turn left and then turn right... You get the idea. Now maybe it's my southern ears, or my age or my IQ, but rattling off directions like that just doesn't work well for me. After all, I only graduation magna cum, so I guess I could be a bit slow.
No thanks to the Concierge, we found the office and picked up our tickets for the tour bus. Our first stop was to tour the Wax Museum. Granddaughter had a ball. I enjoyed it and my daughter tolerated it fairly well. If I could get the blog to allow me to post pictures I'd share some great shots from the museum. Will have to work on that.
Next we took the bus down to the ferry stop and picked up tickets of the cruise around Manhattan. It was a three hour tour and completely circled the island. We had great view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The cruise was fun, the GD enjoyed it. We ate hot dogs and chips with cheese. Best of all, we could sit and watch the scenery pass. I highly recommend the cruise around Manhattan.
Daughter had arranged to have dinner with a friend who lives in NYC on Thursday night, so that left me and GD to fend for ourselves. We did the city lights bus tour and enjoyed the view of the skyline from across the river. The tour guide was very informative and we enjoyed the tour. One of the most interesting fact I learned from her was that Walt Disney was responsible for turning Times Square into the tourist destination it is today. He came there and saw the area was filled with X-rated movie theatres and very run down. Disney's vision for Times Square is easily recognized once you know his hand was behind the revitalization and restoration.
We had dinner after the tour at a small restaurant across from the hotel. The place was a pub and the food wasn't good. We were less than impressed.
Daughter arrived from her dinner date and reported the "Concierge" had struck again. When her friend arrived to pick her up, they stopped by the Concierge desk to ask for directions, her friend expressly asked the concierge to write down directions to the address because he wasn't familiar with the area they were going. The concierge ignored the request and instead rattled off the same sort of go to ... turn... go .... turn.... cross .... turn...Daughter's friend was as astounded as we were with this behavior.
Friday morning we got up, put our bags in storage and struck out with the Hop-on/Hop -off map to find the restaurant we'd had recommended the year before by the wonderfully helpful Concierge at the Marriott Marquis. Jing is on 9th at 46th. It has the best Asian in the city. GD loves California rolls and we'd planned to take her there for lunch. Jing's is officially my favorite Asian restaurant in NYC.
Next we walked down 8th to the stop for the uptown tour. It started to rain. And rain, and rain! The wind whipped our umbrella around like a daisy in the wind.We were soaked in minutes. When we arrived in NYC the temps were in the very high 90's. Now it was cooler, around high 70's and we were wet. Finally we reached the bus stop. The bus driver gave up yellow caps to wear. The bus are double- deckers with seats only on top deck. No lower deck available. There is no cover on the bus. The seat were wet, but hey, so were we. We took seats and the bus took off. The rain whipped down, the umbrellas buckled, the wind blew like raging bulls. The poor tour guide tried, but there wasn't much he could do. "On the left is .... if you could see it through the rain. Over there is.... but it's raining too hard to see. You get the idea.
We had decided to take the bus to the Museum of Natural History. That was the next thing on the GD's list. She wanted to see where Night at the Museum was filmed. Apparently everyone else who'd gotten caught in Central Park in the rain had decided to take shelter in the museum as well. It was a mad house. Once we got our tickets, we proceeded into the exhibit hall, I sat with the elephants in the main hall and sent the DD and GD off to see the exhibits.
We decided to skip the tour bus and take a taxi back to the hotel. Nope, didn't happen. Apparently, taxi drivers in NYC don't have to work for a living. Every time one pulled up in front of the museum, they asked where they customer was going and then drove off without the customer. We saw this happen at least ten times. I personally approached one to have him drive off when I told him we wanted to go to the Millennium Hotel. The city definitely has a problem with taxi drivers. We wound up walking all the way from the museum back to the hotel. We were all worn out, wet and disgruntled when we finally made it back to the hotel. I'm still plotting ways to get even with those drivers who turned us down! Maybe a blog about them gone viral? An email to the mayor? Letter to the NY Times? Dream on.
We arrived back at the hotel, collected our bags caught our shared-van and headed back to the airport. There were several flight delays because of the weather and we were more than an hour late leaving, but we made it home safe and sound. As Dorothy's says, "There's no place like home."