Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Visiting New York City

I spent 10 days in NYC, and saw 5 ballgames, which means I had 5 other days to tour the city. The weather was perfect every day, and with a copy of Time Out New York and a subway pass, the city was ours for the taking.

I don't want to get into the details here, but we spent time touring art galleries in Chelsea (there's a reason some of these artists are struggling) , seeing James Gandolfini in "God of Carnage", watching Independence Day fireworks on the Hudson River, finding various eateries around Manhattan (including a great Vietnamese meal at Cong Ly), and enjoying plenty of beers in Dalton's Bar and Grill on 9th Avenue, which shows as many live baseball games as it can. It was a great trip, highlighted by seeing a Broadway musical from the front row!

I didn't know this, but for each performance of West Side Story, the front row seats are distributed via lottery. You simply show up 2.5 hours before showtime and fill out a card, then wait for 30 minutes for winners (drawn randomly) to be announced. Those selected can buy the front-row seats for $26.50 each, an incredible bargain given that row 2 seats are $120. With nothing to lose, I entered the lottery and waited around for the results. Only 18 tickets are available, which means 9 pairs. With about 200 people entering, chances were not good, but amazingly, my name was chosen as the last winner. It was a nice change of luck after last week's adventures, and I gladly bought the tickets.

The show was really sensory overload - singing, dancing, acting, colour - all just a few feet away. A truly unforgettable experience.

But the evening was not over yet. We already had tickets for the premiere of the movie Bruno, at 12:01 am in nearby Times Square. We entered the theater around 11:30 and were surprised to find a DJ playing loud music, people dancing, and lots of security. Hmmm, would Bruno be making an appearance? After a few minutes of waiting, the DJ asked the dancers to return to their seats as somebody special would be showing up. Sure enough, just after midnight, Bruno sashayed into the theater to screams from all around. He shook hands while running up and down the aisles before giving a little speech. He called us the sexiest audience he had ever seen, and that's about all I can print here. You can see a video of the event on YouTube if you wish.

Return to New York?

Anyway, enough entertainment news.New York is really the best city to visit - there is simply no shortage of things to do. So I'm sure I'll return here. But with the new stadiums being so expensive and so much else to do there, I think that it may no longer be a baseball-first destination. Sure there are two major league and two NYPL teams, but I'd rather go to a local pub or restaurant, tour a museum, or see a show. Believe it or not, there's more to life than sports, although often it takes a city like New York to make me remember that.



Bryant Park and the Public Library

Columbus Circle

Sunset along 42nd Street

Avenue Q performs in Broadway in Bryant Park

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