New York Day 2: Food and Shows

New York Day 2: Food and Shows

Our days in New York were settling into a pattern: eat, shop, show, repeat. I wasn’t mad about it. 🙂

One of our favorite quick spots in NYC is a place called Europa. Before, they’ve had locations all around the city and were great at any time of day. For breakfast, they had quick service stuff like oatmeal (with a delish toppings bar), omelettes, crepes, and sandwiches….and at lunch a WONDERFUL salad bar.

The one we remembered closest to our hotel was closed, so we trekked up to Central Park South for the one there. However, this one was less quick-service and was now a sit-down restaurant. But the menu was basically the same. So win-win.

Mom ordered her fave: lox and bagels and I ordered challah bread french toast with carmelized bananas. OMG. So good.  We also always LOVED their oatmeal so we decided to share a bowl.

Well, when the food came out, we had to get a bigger table. The bowls and plates were HUGE.

But we polished off most of breakfast, so it was worth it. 🙂

After breakfast, we walked down toward Radio City and did some shopping at the NBC store. Mom loved The Voice chair.

We did a behind the scenes tour of Radio City- which was GREAT. Our group was smaller and more intimate (we saw groups later with like 30+ people…ours had like 12).   

It was a great colder day activity. We bought our tickets online (which I found out was much cheaper than in person) and REALLY enjoyed the tour.

We heard history, interesting facts, and went all over the theater….including ON STAGE.

Thinking about the people who have performed up there was incredible.

Another favorite spot was up in the projection room where the spotlights and projectors are. It was the highest point in the theater. Really neat. We also met a Rockette, toured backstage, under the stage, and all over the theater.

After the tour, we did some shopping and then met my friend Sunny for lunch at Carmine’s. We had never been there before…but it was SO good. Family style Italian where they bring out portions big enough for 3-4 people (easy).

We got a salad (which was their special of the day) and lasagna. Easily the best lasagna I’ve ever eaten.

After lunch, we headed to the Nederlander Theater for Disaster! It’s a new musical that’s currently in previews, and WE LOVED IT. Mom loved it because it was full of 70s music she loves. I loved getting to see Adam Pascal, the original Roger from Rent. We both loved seeing Seth Rudetsky, an XM radio host we love. It was the funniest musical we’ve ever seen. Just died laughing through the whole thing.

After the show, we hit up Schmackary’s for some cookies. I had seem them all over Twitter from Broadway stars..and they cookies lived up to the hype.

I got a ginger cookie and a s’mores cookie and mom got chocolate chip and red velvet. All were amazing. We ate them in the hotel while we got ready for dinner. ha!

No pictures from dinner (it was dimly lit and I didn’t want to use flash), but we had a GREAT meal at Nizza. It’s one of our favorite spots in the city. Awesome Italian food. Be sure to make a reservation- they fill up and don’t have much room for people to wait!

After Nizza, we did some shopping around and then made our way to the Circle in the Square for Fun Home.

While it’s not a story we personally identified with, it was a beautifully done show. The theater was unique- in the round with the stage at the bottom. Very intimate. LOVED the way they did the production and the performers were awesome.

We ended the night back at the room to get some rest before our last day!


New York Day 1: The View and HAMILTON

New York Day 1: The View and HAMILTON

Mom and I got to NYC around midnight Thursday. It was a late night, but we felt pretty good. We flew into JFK airport. It was our first time there. To be honest, we liked coming in there better than we had Newark and La Guardia. It seemed like most people flying in were taking transit, so getting a cab wasn’t a hassle. And in like 30 minutes (of mostly highway driving) we were at our hotel.

We were up pretty early to grab breakfast at the hotel and head to The View. We had tickets to be in the studio audience- and it was a GREAT day. The cast of Fuller House was going to be there!

We were asked to dress nicely- so we got all cute. 🙂
It was an interesting experience. We did some waiting outside (in the FREEEEZING cold), then we waited inside in a cafe area. Then we got ushered into the studio. There was a “warm up” comedian that kept the crowd pumped up.

We were placed on the last row of the studio, but still great seats.

There is LOTS of activity during commercial breaks. Makeup, set changes, photo ops. Probably the most interesting thing was the hosts and guests were mic-ed for the camera, but not for us. It was tough to hear when they were talking over each other or the crowd was clapping.

Back at home, my friend Julie caught us on screen! So fun!

After the show, we met up with my friend Liz for lunch at Urbanspace, a food court area.

Mom and I both had some DELICIOUS ramen.

After lunch, the wind had died down some, so we walked to Macy’s. We did a couple hours of shopping inside.

We made our way back to the hotel (thanks to a private car. It was COLD again and also rush hour, so no cabs were stopping. Even though it was a bit more, we were thankful when the car stopped).

We dropped our bags, freshened up and went to Times Square area for dinner. We stood outside in the cold for about 5-10 minutes for Shake Shack- which was SO worth it. They must sprinkle fairy dust on their burgers. SO good.

After dinner, we made our way to the Richard Rogers theater for HAMILTON. I was freaking out. I knew that even though we bought our tickets resale, they were legit. I bought them straight from Ticketmaster. But I had fears. Fears the tickets wouldn’t work and we wouldn’t get in. Fears that Lin-Manuel Miranda (the star) would be out for the night. Fears our seats would be bad.

When we got scanned into the theater, I sort of had a moment where I was hyperventilating and crying. ha! It was just amazing to think we were THERE.

Our seats, Row Q, were great. The seats in this theater were raked, so we had a great view.

I had dreams before about the curtain rising at this show, but to my surprise, there was no curtain. The stage was open before the show.

The show was everything I had hoped for. It was so great. Maybe my favorite ever. Just revolutionary (no pun intended, it’s about the founding fathers). The cast was talented, the story was beautiful, the atmosphere was buzzing. It was just perfection.

After the show, we grabbed some pizza and headed back to the hotel for some rest. A GREAT day.

NYC Day 4

NYC Day 4

First off, thanks for birthday wishes today on Twitter, IG, and FB! I’ll recap all the birthday celebrations tomorrow! 🙂  Don’t forget, I’d love to donate my birthday this year!  If you enjoy reading this blog, if you like me enough to wish me a Happy Birthday…I’d love for you to channel that energy into giving.  My friend Rachael is currently serving in Cambodia…and she is trying to raise $,1,100 to fly home.  She hasn’t seen her family in 2 years, and needs to come home to visit and also raise more funds so she can go back.  It would BLESS MY HEART and make my birthday if you would give here.  Just select “Allen, Rachael”.  ANY donation helps, but I suggest $27, since I’m turning 27. 
Our last day in New York was Memorial Day.  We started our day heading to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
I posted a couple years ago about the memorial (and my reflections on being there), but this time, we got to go into the newly opened museum.
The Freedom Tower was also now completed, so we got to see it while down there as well.
I know there is lots of controversy surrounding the museum.  Is it too soon?  Should these items be on display?  Should it be a “tourist attraction”?  There are remains there (there is a depository on site…which I’ll talk about in a minute), so it technically is a gravesite.  I think it was very tastefully done (except I disagreed with a section on the terrorists.  It was a small display, but they did not deserve to be highlighted in the displays).
The main issue will be disrespectful people visiting the museum.  This is NOT the place for smiling family photos in front of artifacts (which we saw a couple times).  This is a place for reflection, honor, and memory. There are also areas where they ask you not to take any photos, and people should be respectful of that.
We saw some amazing things- from shoes that people wore when walking home that day, since the subways weren’t running (and the shoes were worn thin from them having to walk miles and miles home), to this, the last beam taken down from the rubble….which all of the emergency crews had signed and left mementos on.
Overall, it was such a moving experience.  We spent about 1.5 hours at the museum (which was starting to wear on us emotionally.  We started out reading each plaque, but towards the end were just viewing and walking….it was emotionally heavy content)….but you could easily spend an entire day there reading, learning, and viewing the items.
After the museum, we hit the subway for a LOOOONG (hour long!) ride on the subway to Coney Island.  It was PACKED down there as Memorial Day is the opening for Coney Island.  LOTS of locals.
We waited over an hour for a hot dog at the original Nathan’s.  While the hot dog was WONDERFUL, they were incredibly slow at serving them.
The beach was PACKED with people. but we made our way to the waterfront and put our toes in the Atlantic ocean.  It was COLD (we later learned it was like 58 degrees!).
We walked along the boardwalk and decided to ride the iconic Cyclone.  While it’s pricey ($9/ride!!), it was SO fun.  We got a great view of the boardwalk and rides from the top.
We were going to go to the aquarium, but the lines were just too long, so we decided to get an Italian ice and head back.
We went to the Highline Park when we got back to Manhattan.  I LOVE this space. It’s a park they built on an old abandoned elevated railway. It’s beautiful, quiet, green, and such a neat view of the city from off the street level.
While up on the Highline, we caught our first glimpse of Lady Liberty!  You can see her in the right/middle of this pic.
We snagged some garlic knots from our favorite place, Gotham Pizza on 8th and 51st (they are the best in town!) and ate dinner in the room while we chilled.


We got all snazzed up for our last show, the Phantom of the Opera.  I can hardly believe we have never seen it…but I’m glad we waited to see it on Broadway.  It was great, and Norm Lewis made a WONDERFUL Phantom…not to mention Sierra Boggess as Christine.  So good. 

After the show, we got a snack at Famous Famiglia’s pizza (one of our favorite pizza places in town), and hit the hay.  The trip was SO great!

NYC Day 3

NYC Day 3

Sunday was another great New York day.  We started with breakfast right across from our hotel at the Cosmic Diner.  My friend Jonathan just graduated from NYU’s theater writing program…and we got to have breakfast with him (and his mom…who was in town for his graduation!).  I was so caught up in visiting with them that we didn’t take any pictures.  But breakfast was great, and so was getting to see my friend.

After breakfast, we went to Grand Central Terminal for a tour.  The Municipal Art Society gives tours there, and we LOVED our tour.  Lots of interesting areas and info about this area. It’s bustling and beautiful.
After the tour, we hit up Matilda!  The show was fun, funny, and the cast (of mostly kids) was SO talented.
We didn’t have much time in between, but we walked down a side street (where I may have purchased a knock off Michael Kors purse from a lady who had them beautiful spread out on an old sheet) to the Belasco Theater for Hedwig and the Angry Inch with Neil Patrick Harris.

We were SO excited.  And the show lived up to the hype.  Not just NPH.  Lena Hall was also AMAZING in it. The subject matter may not mesh with everyone (a botched sex change of a transgender German rock star married to a cross-dressing back up singer! ha!)…but it was a fun, moving, emotional, beautiful show.  And bonus, the set up of this particular staging of the show is that Hurt Locker the Musical was so bad that it closed at intermission (therefore allowing Hedwig to put on her show in the theater).  I snagged one of the fake playbills they had scattered around (well, Mom snagged it.  I spotted it and she ran to grab it! ha!)

After the show, we took the obligatory night time Times Square picture…
And we got Shake Shack for dinner.  We had to wait about 15 minutes, but it was worth it!  So good!
Day three was SUPER fun in New York!