It’s a hot town, this New York City. This time, in the literal sense. I guess it could be worse, it only reached 33 degrees. But at ground level, in the middle of a throng of people, you kinda start to feel it. I don’t know people cope that aren’t used to this kind of thing.
We didn’t have a real early start – but I think we’re finally recovered from the mostly sleepless bus trip. One thing about the city that never sleeps, is that it’s not too difficult to find somewhere to get brekky. Today it was Trattoria Daniela – http://www.danielarestaurant.com/home .
They had everything pretty well planned for tourist trade – all breakfasts $16 – and all the favourites covered, Eggs Benedict, French Toast, Pancakes, etc. All with Coffee/Tea, and Juice. French toast was great, with bacon, and maple syrup. And fried eggs, which was a bit of an odd combination but hey all good.
It gave us the energy we needed to sit down for two hours and do nothing 🙂 Naturally we just can’t get enough of buses now (lol), so we jumped on the Hop On Hop Off bus today, since we knew it’d be a bit less than 12 hours this time. I gotta say, there could be more people on street corners trying to sell Hop On tickets in New York, than there are people in Vegas trying to sell visits to titty-bars, or people in Thailand yelling out “massaaaaaage?!”. Anywhere near any of the bus stops there are two or three or more people along the one block trying to sell you tickets. I want to get a badge or a t-shirt that says “We already have Hop On Hop Off tickets thanks”. :). And so, we Hopped On and braved the full sun upstairs.
On days like these one great thing about all of New York’s tall buildings is that they afford a lot of shade. I was bit hesitant to go the top of the bus at first but it wasn’t often at all we were in the full sun, so it was OK, if still a bit hot and humid. Once we able to grab to seats right at the front, I took approximately too many photos, some of which are below. They were pretty much taken all while on the move, and the front window was really dirty, so don’t expect greatness 😀
It was interesting to see how, even just on Manhattan, the landscape is so changeable. It’s not just buildings buildings buildings – once you get toward the ‘bottom’ end, to the lower west side, it really opens up a bit along the river – a number of parks, lots of people jogging, it was kinda unexpected.
After doing a big loop (about 2 hours worth) we jumped off and popped in to Schnippers for a drink – a restaurant (ok, fast food chain) that we grew very fond of last time we were here, so it was nice to pop in again even if it was just for a (wonderfully cold, and infinitely refillable) drink.
Then we just kinda wandered. Over to Bryant Park, for a moment to sit in the shade, then over to the city-block-sized Macy’s on 34th street. A huge place, all of which was air-conditioned, so very good place to spend some time walking around looking at stuff.
As part of the bus tour we were informed that Manhattan has no WalMart. But it does have a K-Mart! I don’t think it’s at all related to the Australia one, but it has a similar kinda vibe – cheap clothes and other stuff. Not bad cheap clothes either, so we picked up some shirts. Before this trip is over we’re buying another bag, we’ve got a good luggage limit on the flight home so dang it, let’s make the most of it! 🙂
We took an early dinner at a bit of a US institution, if every second TV show is to be believed: Olive Garden. It all begin a little strangely – you’re greeted downstairs, given one of the food-pager things like a pub bistro, then sent upstairs to a small lobby to wait. Then once your buzzer buzzes, someone will lead you to a table. Even though we went for dinner at 5PM, the place was already lost completely full. Around Times Square there is no place that is lacking for people – so it’s understandable everyone tries to do things at weird times to avoid all the other tourists. So waiting 5 minutes was no biggie.
I didn’t have great expectations just coz it’s a massive chain restaurant – now I’m no gourmet restaurant reviewer but I was really really impressed with the food. Right after you sit down a basket of bread sticks appear, and, perplexingly, a huge bowl of salad. Can’t complain – it’s all tasty – and those bits come free! We skipped entree (sorry, ‘appetiser’), I had a delicious ‘entree’ (argh that’s so annoying how they call the main dish the entree) of ‘Chicken Piccata’ – chicken with lots of garlic and capers and peppers and lemon, and some sliced of crumbed zucchini. Really flavoursome!
Perry’s meal was a sight to behold – the ‘Tour of Italy’ – why serve you one Italian dish when they can serve you three at once? Chicken Parmy, Fettucine, and a Lasagne, all on the one plate. Genius! Perfect if every you’re feeling indecisive 🙂 So there you go – Olive Garden, pretty good!
And we even had time to scope out more souvenirs – this was amusing, no, neither of us bought one…
Also saw a nice old Corvette Stingray, so had to take a photo of course.
Tonight’s show – another old favourite – The Book of Mormon. We first saw it five years ago in this same theatre – the Eugene O’Neil. This is the 5th time we’ve seen the show, and of course, it’s still awesome. They had a great cast, but, to be nit-picky, this is the first time the show hadn’t been end-to-end perfect. Their sound people missed a few cues so microphones weren’t turned on in time, and half the band seemed to have issues for a moment during one of the big numbers. But like I said, nit picky. Still a great show, and I think a little different to when we saw it last – some of the songs seem to have been expanded a bit by a few bars here and there. Kinda of like the differences we noticed over the years with Kinky Boots, but on a smaller scale. It’s all good – thoroughly enjoyed it. But it makes me realise I am turning into a crank old “you damn kids get off my lawn” type of guy. There were quite a few people around who didn’t seem to realise that you do not talk while you’re at the theatre. You. Do. Not. Talk. Especially when you’re that close to the front. You’re not at home watching something on the telly, you’re in a theatre where you’re distracting the audience and maybe even the cast. Have some respect. Grr! A person in the front row was even playing games on their phone even after the second act started. Yes, #firstworldproblems and all that, its true. Anyway, many worse things happen in life – and the show did go on 🙂 I felt sorry for the cast at times – it was a bloody hot day and the theatre was also really really warm inside, they did a hell of a job wearing all those costumes, plus all the performing, in that heat. Hasa Diga Eebowai! (see the show, people!)
It was kind surprising to find, once the show finished, that outside was even hotter. Still around 30 degrees and close to 10pm. We fought our way through the crowd , and stopped at Starbucks for a lemonade
(… yep, Starbucks does great lemonade, if only they had nice coffee haha), then back to the joy that is a well air-conditioned room at the hotel. Phew! Ready for more adventures tomorrow. And, you’ll be shocked to learn, another show 🙂