Trip to New York City
Trip to see Hairspray Feb 27- Mar 1 2003
We got tickets to see Hairspray in the heat and drought of August. At the end of February, the weather was very foreboding; DC had experienced more snow than Great Falls, Montana during the abysmal winter of 2002-2003. Fortunately, we had taken advantage of Amtrak's two-for-one special fare offer. Snow was forecast so I laid out 3 separate plans for getting to the train station - if all was clear, we'd call a cab. If it was really snowing, we'd take the bus/subway; anything in between, I'd drive. I just love New York, so I got up at 5:00 am to decide on transport. The road was white, but my instinct said "drive" because cabs are very unreliable when the weather is bad, especially if your destination is Union Station (we have a "zone" system, not meters, and the station is only a $6 ride from my house, a long distance, but only one zone...) So, I drove. Fortunately, no one was on the road and we got there without incident. The new Acela trains are very nice and on time
I was really cold in the city --- in the 20s. Our hotel, in the 50s, was very nice, and very close to Times Square and a 7th Avenue subway stop. (The room was a bit small) Our first stop was sort of "business" -- Karyn is with the Maybelline corporation, which is a division of L'Oreal USA. They have a big building at 475 Fifth Avenue. We spent some very high class time there.
Next, we stopped at The Brill Building, located at 1619 Broadway in the heart of New York's music district, is a name synonymous with an approach to songwriting that changed the course of music. The Brill Building sound came out from the stretch along Broadway between 49th and 53rd streets. The Brill Building (named after the Brill Brothers whose clothing store was first located in the street level corner and would later buy it), was at 1619 Broadway. After its completion in 1931, the owners were forced by a deepening Depression to rent space to music publishers, since there were few other takers. The first three, Southern Music, Mills Music and Famous-Music were soon joined by others. By 1962 the Brill Building contained 165 music businesses. The Brill Building in the early '60s was a classic model of vertical integration. There you could write a song or make the rounds of publishers until someone bought it. Then you could go to another floor and get a quick arrangement and lead sheet for $10' get some copies made at the duplication office; book an hour at a demo studio; hire some of the musicians and singers that hung around; and finally cut a demo of the song. Then you could take it around the building to the record companies, publishers, artist's managers or even the artists themselves. If you made a deal there were radio promoters available to sell the record.
The Brill Building
Most of our favorite Swing songs were written there
Next, we hit Rockefeller Center, art deco marvel consisting of 19 commercial buildings that covers 11 acres in midtown Manhattan from 49th to 52nd Streets, Fifth to Seventh Avenues. Named after the multi-millionaire, John D. Rockefeller, who leased the space from Columbia University in 1928. Originally occupied by tenements and theaters, Rockefeller planned to revitalize the area with 3 huge office buildings and a new Metropolitan Opera House. The stock market crash of 1929 helped scrap the original plans but Rockefeller still wanted a commercial district. Hiring 3 architecture firms and a consulting firm, ground was broken on the Rockefeller Center we see today in late 1929. 30 Rockefeller Plaza was the largest and first built. It is the centerpiece and probably best known building and the 70-story building still towers over its modern competitors. Completed in 1934, 30 Rockefeller Plaza became the RCA headquarters. General Electric's initials now brighten the rooftop of the home of NBC.
At Rockefeller Center
Prometheus stole Fire from the gods and gave it to Man
Outside the Music hall
The famous Rainbow Room is atop 30 Rockefeller Center
After the Taping
This used to be CBS Studio 50 where the Ed Sullivan Show originated
At the Carnegie Deli
The food is enormous...
From there, we headed to our favorite spots in the Midtown area. While we were walking along a lady came up to us and waved a paper in front of me. I didn't quite hear her and moved along, because the streets are full of solicitors. Finally, her message sunk in -- she had said "Do you want to go to the Late Show?" I did a double take and went back and apologized -- she really was rounding up folks for the Late Show audience. It seems that Letterman is out with an eye infection, and management had decided to put on a show with a replacement host rather than do re-runs. All we had to do was be at the Ed Sullivan theater by 4:00. The surprise guest host of the Late Show was John McEnroe was and Tom Arnold was the principal guest.
We began Friday at my favorite deli, a place called Berger's in the middle of the Diamond District. Completely authentic and no tourist stuff. From there, we went to the Fabric district (w. 39th) and got some fantastic buys -- we are having a couple of performance outfits made, and we found some wonderful woolens at $1.99 a yard; we bough enough to make several outfits. We found little stores that specialize in everything that is hard to find here: A "trimmings" store, a Button Store, and a place that has every little supporting gadget for the needle trades.
We went to the Fashion Institute Museum and had a wonderful time looking at an exhibition of womens and mens wear from Italy. The exhibit was organized by decade and we spent a whole lot of time going over the materials from the 1930s and 1940s. If I ever win the lottery, all my clothes are going to come from Brioni! There was also an exhibit of student projects, one of which was to design packaging for a line of retro-themed goods. I was amazed at the ingenuity shown by the students. (I wish that I had any of them designing for me!!)
After that, it was over tolook at the Empire State Building and then a short walk to Grand Central to catch the train for my favorite free ocean voyage -- a trip on the Staten Island Ferry with great views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the Battery. It's a half hour out, and a half hour back. Best value in the city.
Bergers is in the heart of the Diamond District
The Daily News headline was perfect for this photo...
When you eat prole food, you read the prole paper...
Looking in on American Morning at CNN
It was really cold...
Art Deco Relief in the Garment District
Machinery, wheat, medicine are symbolized...
Grotesque in the Garment District
I don't know what this symbolizes...
Track 29 at Grand Central Terminal
The 20th Century Limited used to leave from Track 29
So did the Chattanooga Choo Choo in the song...
Polychrome Tile Medallion
At the South Ferry Subway Station
Statue of Liberty
No mater how many times you see it...
On the Staten Island Ferry
The outgoing Ferry is in the foreground
The Hotel Pennsylvania
Yes, the phone number is PA-6-5000
While we were enjoying our cruise, the cell phone rang and Sue, Gary, Catherine and David told us they had arrived at Penn Station. We had dinner at a place called the Stardust Diner where the waiters and waitresses entertain by singing show songs. (The diner is owned by the lady who sings the National Anthem for the Yankees) It was definitely a lot of fun! It turns out that David had never been to NYC. Thus, it was imperative to show him Times Square in full splendor. We did all the kitschy, camp things -- we even rode the ferris wheel in the big Toys-R-Us extravaganza. That night Swing 46 had Ron Palumbo and the Flipped Fedoras, another band that has come to DC. That was a whole lot of fun, and I was really sad to leave at 1:30..
At the Stardust Diner
The entertainment is continuous and the food is great
Riding the Ferris Wheel at Toys'R'Us
Sue whoops it up on Times Square
At Swing 46
Posing with New York's Finest
Giving our Regards to Broadway...
At Rockefeller Center (again..)
At the Neil Simon Theater
At the Manhattan Chili Company
More photos to come
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