Tuesday, October 18, 2011

NYC, Take 2

We're becoming quite the jet-setters here lately.  This past weekend we went to New York City again!

This time, it was for a friend's 40th birthday.  She and her husband had planned a trip to NYC to celebrate her birthday and he decided it would be fun to invite some of her friends and surprise her by all showing up there.

It worked.  We all met at a restaurant on Friday evening.  We were a little late, so our friend was already there and when we walked up, she asked us, with a bewildered expression, "Why are you here?!" To which I responded, "Because it's your birthday!!!"  She was really surprised.

First, though, the trip up there...  We flew into Newark, but there was bad weather in Newark on Friday morning, so our flight was delayed by about an hour and a half.  We finally made it to our hotel and got checked in at 4pm, but we still hadn't eaten lunch!  No worries, though, when we checked in, they told us that there would be free wine and cheese in their lounge from 5pm to 8pm that night.  It sounded like a good idea at the time.

We got to the wine and cheese room a little before 6pm, loaded up our plate with cheese and crackers, and accepted a couple of over-full glasses of red wine from the server.  After finding a table to sit down at, we overheard part of the conversation from the tables next to us.  The people were from Canada, in the mining industry, and talking about the Oil Sands.  This was right up our alley!

So, we struck up a conversation with them.  Eventually, a Swiss couple came into the room and sat down with us and then a British man came over to introduce himself.  With this mini-United Nations, we attempted to solve all the world's problems.  And after three more glasses of wine, we were certain we'd gotten everything back on track.

But it was time for us to head off to the surprise dinner by that point.  We were supposed to be meeting at 9pm at an Italian restaurant in the middle of Chinatown.  A likely location. (?)  The food was really good, but the husband and I kept waiting for them to bring out the main course.  They brought out several small plates of food and nobody else seemed to be eating.  Since we didn't want to seem gluttonous, we nibbled along with the rest of the group, and when midnight rolled around and the food was all taken away, we finally figured out these were tapas plates and there wasn't going to be a main course.  Oops.

Everyone chatted for a little while longer and at about 1:30am, the husband and I made our way out of the restaurant and to the subway station.  The others apparently went in search of pizza! (that would have been a good thought)  But after not sleeping much on Thursday night, I was really ready to head back to the hotel.  We got on the subway and I promptly fell asleep on the woman sitting next to me.  I woke up when my head apparently started drooping over onto her shoulder and she sort of pulled quickly away from me.  "You haven't really lived until you've fallen asleep on someone in the subway in New York City," I always say!  ;)

Saturday morning came early and we kinda missed it.  We grabbed some croissants and cantaloupe (the "gourmet" free breakfast at the hotel), showered, and met the group for lunch at Stage Deli, where we opted to split a rather benign grilled cheese and tomato sandwich.  After not eating most of the previous day and replacing that with drinking instead, neither the husband nor I could stomach much more.

Most of the rest of that group had gone for a run in Central Park that morning and needed to go shower before doing much else.  We decided to meet for drinks mid-afternoon before the husband and I needed to head off to meet my pen-pal for dinner between shows.

While they were getting cleaned up, we thought it would be fun to go down to Greenwich Village and wander around for a little while.  And it turned out to be a good decision because we got to see some of the protestors marching around.  I took pictures.  :)

Look! Real live protestors!
Such anger and violence! (not really)
It was sort of hard to figure out what they were protesting.
After our dose of anti-capitalism culture, we headed back uptown to get a dose of theater culture!  First, we stopped in to say good-bye to our newly 40-year-old friend and then we went to meet my pen-pal friend.  When we came over Labor Day Weekend, the two cast members who played the managers in the Phantom of the Opera were being replaced with new blood, so there's now a new picture of Carlotta out front.  Sorry for the glare, but I kind of liked the way her face ended up framed by it.

Carlotta with new managers
We thought it would be fun to see the performance again while we were there so we could catch more of the details of the show.  It didn't disappoint.  It's amazing that they put on this show day after day after day, but the performances continue to be so good every time.  My pen-pal said she learned a lot from working with George Lee Andrews about how to bring his best to every single performance during his 23 years there.

Each Saturday night after the show, one of the dressing rooms becomes an impromptu bar and the cast has a drink or two together since Sundays are their days off.  So, after having a few drinks with the cast (sounds so "fabulous", huh?! [it was pretty cool!!!]), we walked out of the theater only to find that there were still people hanging out waiting for autographs.  We quietly stood out of the way while Carlotta, Monsieur Andr√©, and Monsieur Firmin signed playbills for their adoring fans.  Afterwards, we whisked Carlotta away to find a quiet place to hang out and while walking down the street, we happened to see John Larroquette getting into his limousine.  (I heart New York!)

Our flight left early the next morning, but that didn't stop us from staying out late once again.  So, after 3 hours of sleep, we somehow managed to get up and out of the hotel the next morning, and made our way back to the heat of Houston.  The kids seemed to survive the weekend with Grammy and PaPa and I was asleep on the couch at 8pm that night.  Whew.  I'm getting too old for this.

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