My second trip to Broadway this year was an adventure in the making, one with some more firsts along the way. Starting out, it was a day of nice weather and blue skies. As our bus drew closer to New York City, it began to rain in torrents. The rain water on the road looked like waves as a van in the next lane was pushing through.
Since our tour group was going to Broadway to see “The Addams Family” musical, starring Brooke Shields, we watched “The Addams Family Values” to pass the time. That seemed to get everyone even more in the spirit of the 8 p.m. show we’d be seeing.
In the meantime, I discovered a technical issue with my smart phone after we were given an emergency contact number to call. When I tried to add the contact number, all I got was the error, “not enough memory.” So I tried deleting a few contacts, at least on the phone’s end, to make room. With no luck there, I just wrote the number down and made sure not to lose it in case I’d need to call it. And if I did have to use it, it would then be in my call log. As it turned out, I would need that emergency number later. But I’ll get to that.
After the heavy rain let up, I noticed an old, abandoned multi-story brown building just to the right of the N.J. Turnpike. It had worn, gold-toned gates over tall, arch-topped windows and some graffiti in some spots near the roof. It was one of those buildings that I couldn’t help but wonder what its history was. I didn’t have my camera out, so I missed getting a shot of it. Well, it’s a little mystery for the trip. The building wasn’t too far from the city, with the first sign of directions for the Meadowlands following shortly after.
Soon we were passing the Weehawken Library and curving around to make our way into the Lincoln Tunnel. I remembered from the last Broadway trip that when we exit on the other side of the tunnel, we’d see signs for the Theatre District, telling our driver to go to the left. Only moments after entering New York City, we were dropped off not far from the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. That’s where we’d be going for the musical after some exploring, shopping and dining.
I joined a random couple of people from our bus tour to walk around the general Times Square area. We looked around in Toys ‘R’ Us, which had a Ferris wheel and someone dressed head-to-toe as Spider-man. Next up, we strolled through the very trendy and sophisticated Forever 21. This store was sparkling!
At some point, we were exploring the Times Square Visitor Center and some drizzling rain began to fall off and on. I found a New York City hat and an item I could use as a gift for someone in my family.
American Eagle was the next cool store we walked around in, where workers were wearing Google t-shirts. This was to promote a Google Wallet sale event going on, starting that day. Customers could take park by signing up on tablet computers near a cash register. One sales associate asked me if I’d like to sign up, for free, so I did. After a few moments, I got a discount card and was finding deals on various items via smart phone technology. My only purchase was a New York City themed t-shirt, since I wanted to save my money for more souvenirs throughout the day.
Something else cool about this store was the light-up staircase, lighting up when stepped on! I just thought, “The awesome things to see in this city, and not just the tourist sites!”
Before leaving American Eagle, I lost track of the two people I was walking around with. I asked a sales associate at the store how close I was to the Lunt-Fontanne and luckily, it was right next door! We hadn’t passed it before, coming from the bus upon first wandering the streets. So, I didn’t worry in terms of being lost and on my own for the first time ever in New York City. Standing on the noisy street corner outside the store, I put my phone to one ear and shielded my other ear from the city background noise, shopping bags hanging from that arm. I really felt like a city person at that moment; I pictured Anne Hathaway’s character in “The Devil Wears Prada,” out in the city on her phone as she went about her busy day. It was a cool image of the city life. Anyway, I called the emergency number just to let someone know I got separated but that I was right next door to the theatre. Also, that I’d be sticking around that general area.
The communication was phone-tagging at first, but eventually reached the emergency contact person before long. At that point, I was sitting and relaxing outside under a theatre porch while more drizzling rain came down. I told the contact person that I didn’t have any contact info of the two people I was walking with. A text message to me was attempted, including the cell phone numbers of one person I was walking with beforehand; Lack of memory caused my phone to reject incoming text messages.
I passed some time shopping in a store called Broadway Baby and mostly hung out by the theatres just across the street from the Lunt-Fontanne. I tried to take photos from under one theatre porch while it was still raining. One was the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
On my phone, I Facebook commented back and forth with one of my cousins who found out Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler would be in NYC that day. Just as I was responding to her, a limo passed me by where I sat. I thought, just out of amusement, “What were the odds it was him?”
I continued taking photos, aiming for a few moments at an interesting parking system across the street. A guy in his 50s or 60s, sitting a few feet away and smoking a cigarette, asked me if I was taking photos of the parking area. I said yes and it led to a short conversation about city parking. He asked if I was from NYC, to which I said no and he asked where I was from. Of course, no specifics, but I just said the Philly area. He asked what the parking was like there in comparison and I said, “It’s difficult, but I never see anything like that parking system across the street, in Philly.” A friend of his showed up a few moments later and they walked off together.
The drizzling rain let up, so I began walking around to do some more exploring. I was on my own, going at my own pace and felt like braving the city until the show. This seemed a step out of my comfort zone, so to speak; just me by myself for a few hours in New York City and as it headed into nightfall. I ventured through the breezeway at the Marriott, which was across from Lunt-Fontanne and headed to the next street down. I found a Starbucks, policemen and their horses and another street down was the Discovery Times Square Museum. I didn’t go that far, wanting to save time. To my right while facing that museum, were three theatres across the street: Booth, Schoenfeld and Bernard B. Jacobs. On the same side of the street I was on and to the right, was the Music Box Theatre. Check out the history of these theatres and read about who had theatre performances early on in their careers, including classic Hollywood film legends.
Also, here is a map of the Theatre District.
Before I made my way back toward the Lunt-Fontanne, another NYC visitor and I gave one police horse a pet on its nose. I continued into Times Square, remembering that I spotted a statue earlier I didn’t get a chance to snap a photo of. It was the Father Duffy Memorial. So I took a few photos of that and Times Square. Drizzling started up again, preventing me from an attempt to get video as well.
I spotted a guy I recognized from our campus cafe while we waited for our bus to arrive and take us to Broadway. So I went over to talk to him for a few moments, then decided to check out the Roxy Delicatessen. I got a Diet Coke and side of potato salad to go, again feeling a part of the city life in a way. Multiple shopping bags on my arm, a quick on-the-go bite to eat and heading off to a musical. Plus, I had begun to get my bearings down in the city. At least the Theatre District and Times Square, anyway. I felt comfortable, almost fitting in. Although I made one more stop in another store after the deli. This time it was a store called Grand Slam. That and Broadway Baby will have to be on my list of stops next time in New York City; they both had some great merchandise!
Then it was time to head back to the Lunt-Fontanne, just around the corner. The show was hilarious, right from the opening and the audience participated in “The Addams Family” finger-snapping theme song. Uncle Fester and the grandma had the audience laughing hysterically! Between this show and “How to Succeed,” I felt like I caught a bug for Broadway, like they say people catch the acting bug. Although it was more about catching the bug of being a Broadway fan, not necessarily the idea of acting myself. Although I could see how fun it must be to perform on stage, playing a character. It makes me wish I had acting talent, just to try it once in a school or community play. I never did that back high school, because of the stage fright factor.
As for the theatre itself, the interior had amazing details that reminded me of images I’ve seen in books or on TV, of the great halls in Europe.
I didn’t take as many photos this time around as I did back in March. My camera has been having some off and on shutter problems, but I managed to get some photos at least. The photos from Friday, Oct. 14 in NYC are on my Flickr page.
We boarded the bus a few streets away around 10:30 p.m. and arrived back at campus at 1 a.m on Oct. 15. It was a long, but interesting day. Even though it was just over a week ago, I already can’t wait until my next visit to NYC. I love it there!