I really, really love NYC with one tiny exception – Times Square. I know this is contrary to everything that NYC is about but I consider it a necessary evil that I have to walk through in order to see shows on Broadway. So, this is the tourist post from my recent trip. Last week I covered all things yarn related. This week I will talk about the touristy things I did this time, which will include Times Square.
I arrived on Thursday afternoon and had a reservation at the Fitzpatrick Hotel which was located across the street from Grand Central Station. I found it on Booking.com and it was amazing! Super reasonable rates, close to the subway and I had a really nice room. The only downside was that it was summer so in order to get anywhere on the west side I had to transfer subways at Time Square and that station was a toaster oven. As I was riding the escalator out of the depths I felt like a bagel that was fully toasted by the time I got to the top. Otherwise, I will definitely keep this hotel in mind for future trips.
I do not consider myself a food person but when I got to NYC most of my plans involve food. This trip – Shake Shack and Big Gay Ice Cream were tops on the list. Shake Shack is totally worth the hype and I’m willing to open one here in Cleveland. There was an Asian tv station filming some sort of tv episode while I was eating which was kind of fun. From there I headed to the TKTS booth. For my pre-show dinner I stopped at Big Gay Ice Cream. I went to the West Village shop and it was my first time walking around the West Village. The shop was easy to find and the staff was really friendly. I ordered the American Globs which was a huge cone of soft serve vanilla mixed with pretzels and sea salt and then dipped in chocolate. It was amazing!
It was an absolutely sweltering day in the city. It was close to 90 degrees and I heard later that the humidity, at one point, had been as high as 85% plus all that concrete. I can only imagine the person who came up with the term sweltering was in NYC on a similar day. I was so happy the show started at 7:00 in highly air conditioned theater so I could sit and cool off for two hours. It was a great show and I can’t wait to see it again. I thought it was everything a musical should be – a bit campy, had a big musical number, great costumes and really smart writing.
My plan for Friday was to take the Metro North up to Connecticut to visit a former colleague (now friend) of mine. It was great to escape the heat and the train ride was fun. We spent the afternoon at the beach on the Long Island Sound. It was the day of the blue moon so the when the tide started going out, it really went out. The water was very clear so I could see all these minnows swimming around and it seemed that every shell had a hermit crab inside which really amused my friend’s children. As the tide went out a bunch of the kids found a real crab, I think it was a spider crab and it was quite the attraction.
Saturday morning was the last free time I had before I had to head out to the church in Bayside, Queens where I was speaking that weekend. I decided to head over to Roosevelt Island and what a great decision that was. It only cost a subway fare. There is a tram that runs from E.60th and 2nd over to the island and then it is about a 10 minute walk to the memorial to FDR. On the way there is a deserted (and crumbling) old hospital that has been marked as a historical building and beautiful views of the NY skyline, some of the best views I’ve seen and all for the price of a subway ride! The memorial park is free so it’s a very reasonable day out in NYC. There was a food truck parked and where I grabbed a quick lunch before heading back. It was very peaceful and not very crowded – a little hidden gem!
I had no idea what to expect in Bayside. It turned out to be very “suburban” and not nearly as easy to get around without a car as the city. The church I was speaking at was in an area with a large population of Korean-Americans and so one of the masses was entirely in Korean which was really interesting to see their different customs. I lucked out again and the priest at this parish was very supportive of our work in El Salvador.
One last note – I bash United Airlines, a lot since they took over Continental. But these two weekends of travel for COAR I had six total legs – 4 in and out of O’Hare and 2 out of LaGuardia and every flight left on time and landed on time or early so maybe it was just good karma because I was doing good work, either way it was really, really nice.