My husband had to go to New York for work this week, so I decided to go up with him for a couple of days to take advantage of the free hotel room and use up some vacation time. We headed up to New York on Monday morning and get in around lunch time. Normally when I’m in New York I’m staying in Mid-town or the Upper West Side, but this time we were staying near my husband’s office in lower Manhattan. It’s an area of the city I’m not very familiar with and it made me feel all discombobulated. Having a GPS was only so useful as every time I came out of a subway I wasn’t sure which way to walk and I chose wrong literally every time. Also the my GPS kept losing signal with the tall close together buildings. Wayfinding when I’m not a grid is not my strong suit.
Since I don’t spend much time in that part of the city I had wanted to do something down there, but unfortunately most of the museums on that side of Manhattan are small and closed on Mondays. My husband thought he could get a me free ticket to the 9/11 Museum, but it turns out that is one thing he can get into free but only for him and not a guest. I decided if I had to pay I didn’t care that much to go. It’s not something I feel like I need to relive.
So I decided to head to one of the larger museums on the Upper East Side. I was debating between the Guggenheim and the Cooper Hewitt. I essentially settled on the Cooper Hewitt because it was cheaper. I think I chose wrong. I didn’t love it. It’s a design museum, which could have been cool but I just didn’t feel like there was much there there. It’s a small museum with only 3 small floors, but one of them was closed while they set up a new exhibition so it was even smaller for me. It didn’t kill nearly as much time as I was planning on, but it didn’t leave me enough time before dinner to do much else. I wound up just sitting in a coffee shop and reading for an hour and a half.
I was excited for dinner because I have literally been dreaming about onion straw type onion rings. I was thinking about getting them at restaurants as a kid and how I miss seeing them on restaurant menus, so I was excited to see they were a choice at this restaurant. Too bad it turns out the restaurant was only trolling me as when I asked if I could substitute them as a side for a burger they told me they didn’t carry them any more even though they were still on the menu. The food was good, but I’m still disappointed.
The real reason I went up was to see Once on This Island. It’s a show I had never heard of until recently. One of the podcasts I listen to always ends with the guest playing a game of MASH with more adult categories than the ones you used as a kid where you predicted how many kids you would have and what kind of car you would drive and stuff like that. In this particular episode one of the questions was about musicals the guest would want to star in and she said Once on This Island. Literally the same week they announced the revival that is currently happening at Circle in the Square. It seemed like such serendipity it made me want to see it. I would have seen it last time I was up in New York instead of SpongeBob SquarePants if the show was not dark on Thursdays instead of the more normal Mondays. That meant I got to see it this Monday though.
The story takes place on an unnamed island, though I think it’s supposed to be modeled after Haiti, where a peasant girl saves the life of a grande hommes and falls in love with him and prays to the gods to save his life and allow their love. I have some quibbles with the plot which I assume is how the show was originally written, but I have nothing bad to say about the staging or the music. The songs were beautiful and joyous. The acting was fantastic. The production was fantastic, creative, and clever. It’s one of those shows that if it tours it’s not going to be the same. It is a really great show and something I would recommend seeing if you’re in New York during its run.
After the show we headed back to our hotel room where we discovered that the thermostat in our room was not working and it was much warmer than we would have wanted to sleep in. They couldn’t fix it, so we asked to move rooms. They were booked up for the night in the part of the hotel we were in, but the managed to switch us over into the adjoining suites part of the hotel. It didn’t matter much to me since I was only there for a night, but it will be a nice bonus for my husband for the rest of his stay in the city.
Tuesday morning I went on walkabout to find a good New York City bagel. I think New York style pizza is garbage and I don’t know who hurt all these people that think that reheated piles of grease are the be all and end all of pizza, but I will agree that there is nothing like a New York City bagel. After that I headed over to Brooklyn to the New York Transit Museum. It was my first time in Brooklyn. I’m slowly leaving Manhattan and getting to all 5 boroughs. Now I just need to hit up Staten Island and the Bronx.
I really enjoyed the Transit museum. It really is astounding how they built the subway system. It’s a marvel and something we just take for granted now. There was a cool exhibit about talked about how the transit system and transit workers dealt with disasters such as 9/11, the 2003 blackout, blizzards, and hurricanes. The lower level of the museum, which is built in a decommissioned subway station is nothing but old subway cars lined up on the tracks. It was really cool to see how they changed over the years. If you’re looking for something to do in the New York area, I would definitely recommend this museum.
And that was all for this particular trip to New York. I have two more coming up in the next month so there will be more to share soon.