November 10, 2010

New York – Day 4

Filed under: travel — Frederick Noble @ 4:21 pm Share RSS

pastryUp at a reasonable hour, we walk a block or two in search of pastry for breakfast, finding a tiny little place (one of countless bakeries in the neighborhood) that serves up some delicious, flaky, buttery fare, in addition to some interesting creations such as the rosewater cheesecake.

A couple of pastries and coffees later, we hop on the subway northbound, landing at The Guggenheim Museum. The spiral design is lovely but, unlike The Met, they strictly forbid photography. (It’s also a fairly small museum so if you have limited time or funds, pick The Met over The Guggenheim.)

GuggenheimGuggenheim

In the basement, I snap a photo of a poster when nobody is looking, a Nazi anti-Bolshevik propaganda poster I particularly like.

Afterward, we walk up the block into an Episcopal church, a rather austere Gothic structure with pretty stained glass, then across the street for a short jaunt through Central Park. It’s too cold to really enjoy, however.

Episcopal Church

Central Park

Central ParkYou have to be quick to catch degenerate JJ on camera!

Central ParkWe exit the park into a protest, a group of people chanting and yelling at the embassy of Myanmar. (When we get back to Atlanta there is all sorts of news about their first election in years.)

Myanmar Protest

bricksOne of the many things I like about New York is the architecture. Yes, the skyscrapers are lovely, but it’s the rows of brick buildings as far as the eye can see that I really enjoy.

We return to the East Village for lunch at Mamoun’s Falafel, a few doors down from our hotel. JJ gets a marvelous shawarma. (At only a few bucks for the sandwich, it’s a steal.) I opt for a decent falafel. Their hot sauce is supposedly famous. It is definitely hot – only a few dabs and I am on fire, even though I can take a bit of heat.

Mamoun's Falafel

dressedAfter a nap, we get dressed for the evening. Due to the recent changes in checked luggage, I’m limited in my options so I hadn’t purchased anything new and exciting, as I couldn’t have fit it in my carry-on. I go with a burgundy tux, velvet bowtie and ruffled shirt. It’s Broadway – one should get dressed up!

Another mass transit snafu forces us into a cab, which results in a cab ride snafu whereupon the cabbie wants to drive us through Times Square at the peak of the Theater District rush. We get him to stop and walk, moving at approximately ten times the speed of vehicular traffic to find the Stephen Sondheim Theatre with just enough tiime to spare to grab a drink and some fries at a bar across the street.

Times Square

Then it’s into the theatre for the Pee-Wee Herman Show, the Broadway version of the production he’s done elsewhere. The theatre is a good size for the show, the seats I’d gotten in advance (before sales even went on, thanks to Pee-Wee’s secret word given out via his Twitter feed) were excellent, and I’d prepped my date in advance for the event with a few episodes of the Playhouse on DVD, as she hadn’t grown up with the show.

Pee-Wee appeared to loud applause, thanked us for coming and the curtains parted to reveal a set not quite as visually overloaded as the TV version but with plenty of familiar touches, from the vinyl-quilted, jagged door to the talking window and flowers. The plot was the same as the previous show (and TV special) but it hardly mattered. Everyone was there for the characters. Pee-Wee, as well as the original Mailman Mike, Miss Yvonne and Jambi, may have aged a little but it took decades off my own. I was back in college, hungover with the rest of the guys, struggling to get out of bed in time for the show. Even with the headaches, we’d all scream along to the secret word and the end credits would almost bring me to tears. Live, the experience is a little different. There is less mania without the jump cuts and goofy camera zooms, but you feel closer to the characters on stage. It wasn’t cheap, but it was worth it, bragging rights aside.Pee-Wee

curryJJ wasn’t feeling well so she dozed while I go out for a midnight snack, finding a bowl of Japanese curry at an udon noodle place across from the hotel – perfect food for a cold night. The streets are packed with partiers but I’m pooped. I climb back to the penthouse suite and into bed.

BeanIn the morning we pack up and get another round of pastries at Bean, a coffee shop that must be near a dog park, based on the number of beasts brought through the cafe and lurking out front. A quick stop at a deli for some sandwiches for the road and we’re off on another mass transit misadventure.

subwayThe subway line we need is out of order, so we get an alternate route only to find the New York Marathon has screwed up the busses as well. We barely make it to the airport on time – a fitting end to the trip.

salami sandwich

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