Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Last minute Dash to meet the Phantom

It's Wednesday afternoon and we're lazily laying about our hotel room catching up on the blog and postcards. Yesterday was a busy and exhausting day for us as we walked and walked and began learning the subway system. We started by having breakfast at the Broadway diner down the street from the Waldorf Astoria... Let me go back a step and recount our travel from Maine into NYC.
I've done a lot of traveling in the last 4 years or so, but driving NYC does make me more tense than driving around Washington, so I was on edge for the last half hour or so while we made our way to La Guardia airport to drop off our Lincoln Town Car. It was funny driving around in this pimp mobile for a week, but it was comfortable. We took a cab from La Guardia to the Waldorf and as we deposited our bags on the sidewalk the doorman, gave us a ticket for our bags and said that he would take care of it for us. It was weird leaving our bags on the curb, worrying that we would never see them again. We are traveling with 4 bags and 2 backpacks and it's kind of a hassle. Blame me for that one. I always overpack. Tara has a better excuse because part of her clothes are the ones that she is bringing back to Virginia.
We walked in and were impressed by the opulence all around us. It's quite spectacular here. We'll try to get some pictures of the main lobby so that you can see what we see here. It's like Grand Central Station in the middle of the day. We got our room keys and found our way up to the 38th floor.
The hotel has elevators to different wings of the hotel and we found ourselves in a short hallway looking for room 38M2. As we walked around we couldn't find our room. We walked the hallway, not once but twice making sure that we hadn't missed it. We were beginning to think that maybe our room was behind some strange cabinet in a secret passageway and we began to try our key in every key pad in the hallway. We finally had a green light at an unmarked doorway. We're in a secret room! I'm happy that they know where the room is, since it's unmarked, but everyday our bed has been made, so someone knows we're here. It's an art-deco style room quite befitting our tastes and the way that Tara looks right now with her Audrey Hepburn hairstyle.

We ventured outside for dinner and I managed to pick a really expensive restaurant for dinner. I think it was called John O'Neills. Although our dinner was delicious, we resolved to eat more cheaply on Tuesday.

After breakfast we got on the subway toward downtown on our way to Greenwich Village. Our goal was to do some record shopping. We weren't disappointed by the number of record stores in the region. We probably visited over a half dozen of them. I didn't find much U2 to add to my collection but we did find some cheap used CDs to add to our collection. After having lunch at a cafe, I wanted to show Tara Washington Square Park, and as soon as we entered it, she recognized the chess boards from the movie "Searching For Bobby Fisher" and we saw men playing games with one another just like in the movie. For those who haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. It's one of the few films that I can watch over and over again. It's that good.

The heat was getting to us, but I wanted to check out the Guggenheim in Soho before returning to the hotel for a couple hours of rest before going to Broadway. Well, I couldn't find the museum and the energy was draining out of both of us, and Tara was getting sunburned so we walked all the way back to the subway station in the village and returned to the hotel.

We rested for a time and she asked me when the show started. I told her that I thought that it started at 7:30 PM but that she should probably check to make sure... It started at 7:00 PM and we had less than an hour before we had to be there. I knew that we would be taking a taxi getting there, but didn't realize that we weren't the only ones who would be hailing a taxi at 6:30 PM on a Tuesday night. As we streamed out onto Park Avenue we jumped on the Taxi stand line in front of the Waldorf Astoria and I began checking the time on my cell phone. We needed to be there at 6:55 PM to claim our tickets, and we were stuck in line. As I fidgeted in the line, I established eye contact with a guy in a non-descrepit black car who was offering us a ride ahead of the rest of the people on line, so I grabbed Tara's hand opened the door and asked him how much to get us to the Majestic Theatre? His reply wasn't encouraging, but it confirmed what I suspected. He said to pay him what I thought it was worth, and so we got into his car, and told him the exact address of where we needed to go. Traffic was crazy and backed up, and he drove through it like a pro NYC cabbie. As we were headed toward the theatre, Tara said, "Wow, I can't believe we got a cab before everyone else!" I bit my tongue for a moment , waiting until we departed the car to explain what I had already figured out. We got within 5 blocks of the theatre and we weren't making much progress in traffic, and I only had 5 minutes to get to the theatre. I told the cabbie that we were going to leg it the rest of the way, shoved a $20 into his hand and began knifing our way through the crowds trying to walk speedily to the Majestic Theatre. We were both praying that we would make it on time, as we squeezed through people on a crazy looping path through NYC. It's a miracle that we didn't get lost on our way there. It wasn't a straight shot to the theatre and we were given the vaguest directions from the cabbie, (who wasn't a cabbie). During the flight to the theatre, I told Tara that the guy who picked us up was running a Pirate cab. He wasn't authorized to charge fares, but we were desperate and we didn't have much choice.
We arrived at the box office at about 2 minutes before 7, and we had no problems picking up our tickets. As we walked towards our a seats, a woman looking like a scarier version of Carol Kane, particularly as she looked in The Princess Bride. She walked us down to our seats and thrust 2 playbills into our hands as we were seated. We were 2 rows from the Orchestra pit! We were in center section and had a great view of everything. It was very entertaining and some of the things that they did with the sets were really very cool! I'll let Tara talk more about the show since she could add much more description than I'm capable of. I can say that I was very impressed with The Phantom of the Opera and would definitely see another show on Broadway if I get a chance. Maybe we'll go again for our anniversary.

After the show we wandered around Times Square. It's quite cool to see all the lights, billboards and the people! It was very hot though, and we had a hard time finding a cab to return us to the hotel, so we found a subway station that would drop us off closer to our hotel. We had to walk 8 blocks back to our hotel, since I still haven't mastered the system yet.

Well, Tara is napping on the bed, so I'm going to cuddle with her for a bit before we finally venture out for our trip to Central Park this evening. Sadly we haven't really taken any pictures yet, but that will change tonight. Later! - Tim


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