My friend Mark Keller once said that walking around New York City can make a person feel truly insignificant. He got that right.
My husband, Tim, and I took a trip there last month and invited Lindsay and Matt, our daughter and son-in-law, to join us. It was my first time in the Big Apple, and I understood what Mark meant. We were but four faces in a veritable ocean of people.
Upon our arrival, we grabbed a cab and headed to our hotel. I had been warned (correctly) about the recklessness of NYC cab drivers. I lost count of the times we almost sideswiped other vehicles and/or innocent pedestrians.
We had been advised to see as much of the city as we could, but not to try to do it all. Save some for next time, we were told. Here’s what we did do:
Our first evening, we walked to Central Park, went to mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and had dinner at Carmine’s in the theater district.
After dinner, we stepped outside and into a tremendous rainstorm. By the time we made it back to our room, we were under a tornado warning! The NBC affiliate, broadcasting two blocks from our hotel, urged us to go to our “safe place” immediately. There we were, on the 33rd floor of the Crowne Plaza in Times Square. Just where would that “safe place” be?
Using our Alabama weather-trained eye, we studied the storm’s movement on radar. That mess was heading south of us. We weren’t in any danger. Sheesh. Amateurs.
The next morning, Tim and Matt took off for the KGB museum to see spy gadgetry while Lindsay and I walked to ABC Studios with tickets to “The View” in hand. We had great seats and enjoyed the interaction between Whoopi Goldberg and her co-hosts, especially when they brought out their guest — David Letterman. The commercial break banter was just as much fun to watch as the on-air stuff.
Later that day we saw “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” a lengthy Broadway play shown in two parts — the first in the afternoon, the second at night. It was the most phenomenal production I’ve ever seen, and I’m not a big Harry Potter fan. For those of you who are, try to imagine actors drinking “polyjuice potion,” then transforming into completely different actors right before your eyes. The special effects were jaw-dropping. Between dementors tormenting the audience and actors traveling by “floo powder,” it was nothing short of amazing.
The next day, we turned into full-blown tourists, visiting the Museum of Modern Art to see works by Van Gogh, Matisse and Picasso. We walked the Brooklyn Bridge, roamed through Wall Street, gazed upon One World Trade Center and took in the sight of the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park.
We had lunch at Lombardi’s, the nation’s first pizza parlor, established in 1905. While there, Lindsay spotted an actor from the ABC comedy show “Superstore” and asked to get a picture with him. His companion politely stepped out of the way.
I did a double-take on the companion, recognizing him as Zeke from my all-time favorite TV show, “Survivor.” He was a castaway contestant for two different seasons, and even though I was pulling for him to win, he got voted out both times. While taking a picture with him, I had a chance to get the behind-the-scenes scoop, but I was so star-struck all I said was, “Hope you get another shot at it.”
We took a tour of NBC Studios, wandering the sets of Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers and “Saturday Night Live.” Afterward, we headed to McLaren’s Bar for “How I Met Your Mother” cocktails.
While wandering Times Square, Lindsay and I posed for pictures with the infamous “Naked Cowboy.” We invited Tim and Matt to join us. They responded with a big fat “no, thanks.”
The next day, before boarding the Amtrak for home, we bought a hot dog from a street vendor and stopped at Junior’s Restaurant for a slice of classic cheesecake. It has officially ruined me for all other cheesecakes.
Until next time, New York, thanks for the memories.
Donna Barton’s column appears every Sunday. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.