Travel – The Big Apple: A 5 Day Bite


One World Trade Center AKA The Freedom Tower from in front of the south tower Memorial Pool.

Admittedly, there was some apprehension about this trip to New York City. We planned to stay midtown just 2 blocks off Times Square. News stories of violence in the subway, crime on the streets and pandemic related business closures made us uncertain what to expect during our 5 day, 6 night stay in the Big Apple.

In reality, the areas of NYC that we visited were quite safe, the locals were friendly and helpful, and almost all businesses were up and running and busy. Streets were easy to maneuver through as well. We walked most places, took the bus half days on Tuesday and Friday, and used Lyft when time was a factor.

We traveled with friends from our local theater with a heavy emphasis on seeing several Broadway shows in the Times Square theater district. Mission accomplished. One Broadway show each day on Tuesday (Moulin Rouge), Wednesday (A Beautiful Noise) and Thursday (Music Man).

The beautiful Al Hirschfeld Theater’s production of Moulin Rouge Tuesday evening. R Dub’s first ever Broadway show.

One bit of information that we all learned while riding one of the many tour buses in NYC is how shows in the theater district are defined. The location of the theater is not the defining characteristic of a Broadway show. It is the size of the theater that defines a show. Theaters that seat 500 or more is a Broadway show. Theaters that seat 100 to 499 are called Off Broadway shows. Theaters that seat 1 to 99 patrons are called Off Off Broadway shows.

The Times Square theater district was not our only locale for entertainment during the week. Monday was a dark night for Broadway, but the Rockettes perform their Christmas Spectacular seven days per week and multiple times per day at the Radio City Music Hall. We expected dancing and a live orchestra, but what we didn’t expect were some pretty cool special effects. More on that when we focus on the events of day one in NYC.

Scott, Keri, Beth and R Dub take time for a quick photo outside of the Radio City Music Hall prior to seeing the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular.

Rounding out ‘show’ experiences was the stand up comedy of Mike Birbiglia at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater Friday evening. Wednesday evening we were part of the live studio audience for the taping of Gutfeld. Then there were the almost ready for prime time singing wait staffs at the Stardust Diner and Don’t Tell Momma piano bar.

The stage is set for Mike Birbiglia’s presentation of The Old Man And The Pool
Two members of the wait staff at Stardust sing a duet as we enjoy sweet treats and potent potables in a corner booth.

Sights, NYC’s got em. We took in as many as our legs and our bus passes would allow on ‘off’ days. Monday morning Beth and R Dub walked to the Empire State building and in the afternoon we visited Beth’s second cousin once removed D. Frederick (Beth’s mom Helen calls him Denny) at his co-op in the upper west side.

D. Fredrick has many wonderful pieces of art and collectibles plus an absolutely gorgeous view of the Hudson River from his 5th floor abode. Went spent about 3 hours talking to him about growing up with Beth’s mom Helen in Sheboygan, his awesome collection of art, his career in advertising with BBDO. This agency is famous for, among others, for winning the cola wars and gain Coca-cola’s business for the 1995 Super Bowl.

The Hudson river from Denny’s living room window. Spectacular!

Tuesday morning we took the downtown bus to the World Trade Center. The WTC Museum was not open Tuesday, that would need to wait until Thursday. From the WTC we walked to Wall Street and touched the bull’s nose for financial luck. From Wall Street to Battery Park for ferry tickets to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Beth and R Dub below Lady Liberty. Green suits her.

Wednesday was a rain day and the least amount of steps we walked all week. Most days were 17,000 steps, Wednesday was just over 10,000. Two shows that day, but not much sight seeing. The crowds for the lighting of the tree were unreal, so we skipped the lighting and headed back to the theater district for a late dinner at Jamine’s. Jasmine’s is a Jamaican restaurant near Don’t Tell Momma Piano Bar. Jerk chicken at Jasmine’s was easily the best meal we had all week.

Thursday late morning to afternoon was a food tour in China Town and Little Italy. Six stops and food from eight different venues on a 3 hour guided walking tour with roughly a dozen people. Our favorite, Little Italy for Gnocchi with marinara sauce and Eggplant Parmigiana.

The four of us during the walking food tour in Little Italy.

Back on the bus Friday morning. This time the Uptown. We got off a the Met for some art appreciation in the morning, a street vendor lunch, then a stroll through Central Park in the afternoon before walking back to the hotel near Time Square.

R Dub with Scott in the background on the front steps of The Met.
The view from Central Park’s Belvedere Castle overlooking the Turtle Pond and NYC skyline.

Overall thoughts? We enjoyed the Big Apple greatly. The shows were outstanding, the sights were awesome, the people were friendly and helpful, the crowds were not intimidating at all.

Any disappointments? The food. Flavors were greatly understated at most restaurants. The bagels were good at all locations, the Italian food in Little Italy was good. The Jerk Chicken at Jasmine’s, however was outstanding. The food trucks were..meh and the diners were bland. We will ask around before our next trip to NYC for local favorites.

Food in Chicago is much better, and Seattle and San Fransisco…and Milwaukee for that matter.

All in all. We will return. There is much more to see and do. This is the first of several posts on our NYC adventure.

Published by R Dub's Rub

Conversational BLOG writer and contributing writer for LocaLeben magazine. My BLOG entries represent observations that intrigue, amuse, inspire or stimulate my appetite.

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