July 02, 2010

NYC 6 - Laundry / NBC Tour

Slept in a bit today. We're doing laundry today at the coin laundry about 50yds from Mark's apt. In the meantime, I took the kids to Starbucks for our morning ritual. Two vanilla beans and a Strawberries and cream later (payment for carrying my backpack around over the previous days), we set off through Flushing's busiest district looking for something "different"

We found a Chinese candy store that had barrels of unusual candies. Some looked like sushi, some had sesame seeds on it, still others were hidden behind non-discript wrappers. I filled up a couple bags with a handful of each and proceeded to checkout. To my amazement, my bill was only $2. Wow, this same stuff in Disney would cost me $40 or so. In fact, every time I buy something at these Chinese food stores I'm just shocked at how cheap things are.

After laundry, we pack it up and take the show to the Marquee in Times Sqaure....our new home for the next few days. Nana & Papa Joe will meet us there as this is their first trip to NYC.

Once settled, we head for 30 Rock. The walk is fun because Nana & Joe are like kids in a candy store....every little thing just lights them up and they stop to take pictures. We decide to do the NBC tour w/ top of the rock. Now NYC is a big town, but I ran into some friends from Orlando while waiting in line for our tour to start. In fact, they were on our same tour (queue the Twilight Zone music).

Touring a place your familiar with on TV is exciting. My dad used to study his daily shows to recreate a mental model of the sets in relation to other places. As an avid viewer of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallen", I totally get this concept. Every time Jimmy has a guest, I try to figure out how big the stage is, what angle is the desk from the audience, where does Higgins stand, How big is the backstage? From time to time you get shots were they walk through the studio to the street or race a guest around the backstage areas....so I felt like I had a pretty good mental map of the studio.

After touring Dr. Ozz's set, we finally went to Fallen's set......It's sooo little. Totally awesome though. We also got to go backstage since they aren't filming this week (holiday weekend) and I got to see almost it all: The greenroom, backstage area, kiosk desk, Jimmy's elevator, the stage door ect. Woot.

The SNL set was also cool. The last time I took the tour we shuffled past quickly and looked at the set from behind a pane of glass. This time, we got to go in and sit in the stadium seats while they explained the show mechanics.....woot again.

The top of the Rock was great. There was a local weather crew on top doing the local weather report (we were in the background during their segment). From the Rock, we also saw a huge plume of smoke with 20 story flames coming up from someplace in Brooklyn. Found out later it was a 3 alarm blaze in a furniture/cabinet warehouse.

We ate under the rock at the mall. It's funny how many of us started out at the expensive cafe, but quickly abandon it for good ol' Subway ($5 footlongs ftw). Also noticed a homeless guy stealing food from both locations as the staff tried to catch him.

It's time to get a MetroCard for Joe/Bev. Again, this is their first subway ride, so there was lots of pomp and photos. I even gave them a quick lesson on how to hold their cards as they go through the turnstiles so they don't bottleneck the system.

Subway took us to Herald Square. We spent an hour or so in Macys, then walked up Broadway back to our rooms in Times Square.

Looking forward to tomorrow.......


July 01, 2010

NYC 5 - Times Square / West Side Story

Saints be praised.....the temperature has dropped about 20 degrees and it's soooo nice out. We put a fan in Mark's window and had a great night's sleep.

My foursquare rights have finally been restored and I'm starting to get some badge action. I still on the lookout for great restaurants, fashion stores, bakeries, pizza places, etc....

We started in Times Square and jumped in the TKTS line. We were looking at Billy Elliot / West Side Story / Memphis / Lend Me a Tenor. The winner with 6 seats available next each other......West Side Story.

(this was what I wrote on a piece of confetti that will be dropped during the New Years celebration)

With tickets in hand we had 45 mins to eat lunch so we ducked into the Times Square Sabarro for some pizza. Now this Sabarro looks like a little hole in the wall with 5 or 6 tables. There's barley enough room to stand in line to order a pizza, yet there are 4 guys yelling at the line to move move move: "Thank you next order", "Salads & Sides over here", "Step around to line 1", etc.....

Now where to sit? CJ and I head down the stairs to see what the seating situation was below. AMAZING! There was a huge seating area down there will plenty of space/seats. Just goes to show again how NYC surprises me with it's use of space.

West Side Story was a little different than the movie (which we watched only 2 weeks ago). The songs were a little out of order which was a little weird. Even stranger was an added scene where a 11/12 yr boy comes out and sings with Tony/Maria as if he's their future child (at least I "think" thats what he was supposed to be). The show also was bilingual which means that some of dialogue was entirely in Spanish. On this point I have mixed feelings: On one hand, I like the artsy aspect and know the story so it wasn't a big deal to have no idea what they were saying. On the other hand....there were no subtitles and it really would have been annoying had I NOT known the story. My opinion: it should have been in English.

Ate dinner at the OliveGarden in Times Square. The food was amazing (capellini pomodoro) and S picked a wine to mark the occasion. Finally, CJ's non-stop lobby for Olive Garden has finally been put to rest.

After dinner we toured around Times Square a bit. We got some free kisses at Hershey after M turned a crank that made the chocolate bucket overflow onto the floor....woot. Talked to some mounted cops on the street and took their pics for our photo scavenger hunt. The kids are getting so many experiences that most don't get to ever do. On the other hand, they also get to watch the street vendor sell Obama Condoms and some sort of "performance art" where some mostly naked dudes danced around a topless lady to paint her clothes on. Comes with the territory I guess.