Showing posts with label New York. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New York. Show all posts

Friday, July 14, 2017

Miss Saigon on Broadway

I really want to blog about this while everything is still fresh in my memory. So, here I am at midnight, on the last few days of my summer holiday here in France, jet-lagged and all, but I find enough energy to write about this experience. I have just been to see the musical for the first time ever last Monday, 10th July. I have always been a big fan of Miss Saigon for obvious reasons -- because Lea Salonga was in it, and also being in my pre-teen years the first time it came out, I had a predisposition to crave sappy, romantic love songs.

I almost saw this musical back when they were doing it in Manila. It was in the early 2000's. My best friend from the university invited me to see it with him for free! Unfortunately, it was at the same time I had to go to a very important job interview. Had I known I would not have passed for that job, I would've just seen Miss Saigon. It would've been sooo nice to see it with Lea Salonga (I think it was her) playing Kim.

Anyway, fortunately enough, Miss Saigon is again on broadway at the same time as hubby and I were in New York. I booked well-ahead in advance a very nice seat, third row from the front on the left side facing the stage and right next to the aisle so nobody would bother me. It was such a fantastic seat! There were only six seats in our row. From there, I could see everything -- the pores, the sweat, the tiny microphones, and even the tiny spittle of saliva from the actors' mouths.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

New York, New York ( Part III )

Our last day in New York was spent in museums. There are too many museums in New York. We wanted to visit them all, but we decided to be reasonable and settled for The American Museum of Natural History because hubby wanted to see the dinosaurs. And The Guggenheim for me, because I want to visit all the Guggenheim museums in the world, except maybe the one in Abu Dhabi (which is still under construction) because there's nothing else of interest for me to see there aside from the museum.

Hubby wanted to see the dinosaurs. so, together with all the kids, we headed off and queued in the surprisingly long line of visitors. There were buses of kids on field trips and parents with lots of kids in tow. It was a nightmare.

You can say what you want to say but i don't really believe in dinosaurs. i think they're an invention of an overactive imagination. That, and I am always a NON-believer of anything that will make the annoyingly faithful believer get annoyed... including my husband. :) I have quite a long list of things I don't believe in and it gets longer every year.

qu'est-ce-que c'est que ca? :D

It was quite fun being surrounded by these ancient bones. But as I was not so interested in them, I didn't bother to check if they were REAL bones or just plaster casts.

What I loved best about the museum was the science stuff. We went inside a spherical auditorium suspended in the middle of one of the museum's wings to watch and listen to Liam Neeson narrate the Big Bang Theory... yeah, I don't believe in the big bang theory either. LOL. But Liam Neeson's voice is so nakakakilig. lalang...

To go The Guggenheim, we had to cross Central Park. It looked so gloomy in there as our last day in New York was a bit snowy and rainy. Before heading straight off to The Guggenheim, we decided to grab some lunch at a fastfood called The Shake Shack, which apparently has the best milkshake in all of NY. I'm not so fond of creamy shakes. I prefer them fruity, not milky.

Victoria's Secret at Upper East Side

Right across was a Victoria's Secret boutique. We went in and we were glad to find that they have some items on sale. So I did some more shopping.

The Guggenheim Museum

Inside the Guggenheim was an exhibit of Japanese art called Gutai. The building was not as impressive as the Guggenheim in Bilbao, but I found the temporary exhibit and the permanent collection a lot better.

I'd love to make holes and run through walls of thin papers too, and call it art

I love these plastic tubes filled with colored liquid in the middle that hung criss-crossing at the center of the building.

these tubes with colorful liquid give a festive feel all over the museum

I'm not a big fan of contemporary art, but I found the Gutai collection quite tolerable (translation: not too annoying). And there were also some permanent exhibits of Picasso, Van Gogh, and some famous french artists' impressionistic paintings, which I love.

I love the feel of this museum a lot

It was not so tiring to walk around the Guggenheim despite being five storeys high. It's not really that huge and it's quite fun to walk down/up in a spiral as opposed to climbing up/down stair cases. Unlike the other museums like the Met or MoMa, we wouldn't have had enough time to see all the exhibits in half a day.

I had fun with this card-dispensing box. my husband got a lame card which says, Thank you for being a friend, and i got the cool one with the doodles.

our Gutai cards from the random dispenser

There was a wall by the entrance where you're free to doodle. fun!

ay, ang bata...

it was also surprising to find some exhibit from Asia, and even one from the Philippines. there was a painting from Norberto Roldan of Roxas City. unfortunately, taking pictures was not allowed in this portion of the building.

After the Guggenheim, we went to Union Square area to buy some books at Strand Book Store. I read about this book store on the internet. It's quite famous for selling special edition books. I got Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, one of my childhood books, to read to my baby. It was a special 50th Anniversary Edition. And also a book of short stories by Haruki Murakami. I'm reading this in preparation for the heavy volumes of 1Q84.

Strand Book Store, the building is being renovated, unfortunately

Then we had some coffee at a café called, Pret-à-manger (again in french?) right across. I had a really nice spot by the window where I can enjoy my coffee and snack while people watching.

My Strand books loot -- Where the Wild Things Are for my baby, and a Collection of short stories by Murakami

On the way back to the hotel, we passed by these:

the flat iron building

some building with french architecture, with the Empire State in the background

And that about concludes my NYC trip. thanks for reading, shiny happy people! keep glowing! :)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

New York, New York ( Part II )

My tour guide (hubby), despite having been to New York twice already before this trip, has never had the opportunity to climb up to the viewing deck of the Empire State Building. When I was much younger and cheesier, it had been my lifelong dream to climb up there. But now, I wouldn't mind still doing it, but I have come to dislike queuing on long lines. Fortunately, my husband booked a ticket online and when we got there at 9:30AM, there was no queue at all. And it took us all but 15 minutes maybe, to climb to the viewing deck.

An escalator and two elevators later, we made it to the 86th floor, the viewing deck. And the view did not disappoint.

View of the Chrysler Building from the Empire State observation deck

You can see all the way out to the Statue of Liberty and beyond

Brooklyn Bridge

You can still go higher up, but we didn't bother. Instead we headed off to Fifth Avenue for some shopping.

Hubby was looking for this men's clothes shop called Brooks Brothers because he's really finicky when it comes to office wear. It was suggested by one of his friends here in Toulouse because apparently it's of really good quality. And you can get some shirts that require no ironing. How convenient.

Image from thefrugalprepster

Just last night, I found out this Brooks Brothers is a famous and old American brand when I was reading in bed A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. The author mentioned that it was worn by F. Scott Fitzgerald when he first met him at a bar in Paris. I told my husband about this brand being worn by famous people, and concluded it's probably why the Lola saleslady back at Fifth Avenue was so snooty.

On the way to lunch, we passed by Times Square. I know it's better to have your pictures there taken in the evening, when all the bright lights are aglow, but we just couldn't resist. Later during the night, I came back to take this picture:

 We had a hearty lunch of good old American burger at a place called HB Burger, just a few meters from Times Square. I super loved the ambience, and the food, and the service. I wasn't able to finish everything because it was too much for my small tummy.

browsing the Empire State Building pics while having a beer and waiting for my burger

Back to Fifth Avenue to continue with the shopping, we passed by Tiffany's. and the famous Apple Store.

too bad i already bought some apple stuff in SoHo, didn't bother going inside here

and these:

the skating rink at Rockefeller Center

the Philippine Embassy along Fifth Avenue, would you believe? bonggah!

Later in the afternoon, we went back to Times Square, corner of Broadway to purchase some tickets on show.

i was at first repelled about the queuing. but these ticket booths are selling discounted Broadway tickets. i was just glad we came really early so we didn't queue for a long time.

this is where we bought our discounted tickets. we got 40% off of our tickets to Mamma Mia!

I wanted to watch either The Book of Mormons (that funny South Park episode) or that thing with Matthew Broderick, but they were unavailable. my husband wanted to see Rock of the Ages, but we settled for Mamma Mia instead.

We headed back to the hotel with some Starbucks coffee in hand and had a bit of nap before going back to Broadway again for the show.

At first, I didn't like that I was seated right in front of the stage. I mean, the stage is practically right on my nose. And I was sitting right next to the music director. I could also see the rest of the orchestra below me, underneath the stage.

view of the orchestra instruments below the stage from where i was sitting... you can see all their clutter -- the books, the empty cans of soda and bottled water, some small stuffed animals, etc. it was quite messy

In the end it was such a cool experience, because I was able to see all the details in the stage, all the actors'/actresses' pores, the miniature microphones that they hide in their hair, under the fringe or behind the ear, etc. LOL.

lots of keyboards and that inside the sound-proof booth (left) was the drums set... i took all these pictures with flash, before the orchestra members started to arrive

 And the music director, Wendy Bobbitt Cavett who was sitting an arm's length away from me, was so into it. She even said thanks to me after the show. It was so cool and I felt a bit starstruck. I would've asked for a pic with her, but taking pics inside the theater was supposedly forbidden. :)

this is where the music director was sitting, right to my left. and directly in front of us is the stage floor... that computer there sitting behind the keyboards is a mac.

 After the show, we took some more pictures around Times Square. and had some hot dogs in one of them hot dog stands. we chose the one right in the middle of Times Square. it was awful. but the evening was great.

more next time!

Friday, March 29, 2013

New York, New York ( Part I )

As a kid, whenever New York comes to mind, that cheesy 80s song called Arthur's Theme would start playing in my head. Now, at thirty-six, I'm glad this is not the case anymore.

New York has always been at the top of my list for places to visit. I was just so ecstatic to find out that hubby and I could visit this famous city at 50% off on flight (via KLM) and accommodation (at the heart of Manhattan) with breakfast and airport-hotel transfers included, courtesy of hubby's company. And how convenient it is to just have to cross the Atlantic than to come from the Far East (where I used to live) to go there.

Later we found out it could be such a hassle to go on a trip with a large group of people. So much time wasted waiting for everybody else to finish this and that. So we swore never to go on group travel again. Fortunately, we only got to be part of this group on the way to, and out of NYC.

Upon arrival at the JFK International Airport, there was the longest immigration queue I have ever seen in my entire traveling life! We arrived at 8:30 PM but made it to the hotel at midnight, and so wasted a lot of precious hours on our trip. We were too tired to do anything but sleep.

First impression of the locals at the airport: they all seem to dress and look like the homeless people here in France. No offense, just stating an impression. Fortunately, the rest of NYC did not dress and look like this. I guess because we were in the touristy part of the city.

Breakfast at our hotel (Doubletree by Hilton Chelsea) was the usual American stuff -- bacon, eggs, coffee, bagels, fruits. I loved having this big hearty breakfast!

crispy bacon! what a dream! :)

The next day, hubby and I took a boat ride to Staten Island for a better view of the Statue of Liberty.

Bright sunny day on the way to Staten Island from South of Manhattan

It was a cold day, but thankfully sunny.

La statue de la libérté, le cadeau de France aux Etats-Unis
And then we headed off to Soho (South of Houston Street, according to Wikipedia) for some shopping.

Lots of shops have comfy couches like this for weary shoppers to rest... how thoughtful!

At a Vans shop, my hubby's favorite shoe brand

I suddenly realized how the Philippines has copied some of the US places' names like Trinoma - which sounds a lot like Tribeca, which we passed by on the way to the Staten Island ferry.

Typical smoky NY street scene

Federal Hall façade along Wall Street

Lunch was at Le Pain Quotodien... ah, the name has to be in french in order to sound classy. ;)

Bread and charcuterie at Le Pain Quotidien

We had some Mediterranean food. like we were really missing it. LOL. Found out this chain is of Belgian origin actually. I think they also have it here in France. Haven't really been to one of the branches here, though. And like in the Philippines, all the Starbucks branches are fully-packed. We decided to have a coffee break while still in Soho.

Having a coffee break at some Starbucks branch in SoHo

I super loved the friendly service in all the establishments and restaurants. Shopping at Soho and Fifth Avenue was a lot, lot more enjoyable than anywhere else I have been to for shopping because the salespeople were so nice and helpful.

After the shopping, we headed off to the hotel for some quick nap. We took the High Line on the way there. This is an overhead walking area that was previously a railroad.

Interesting architecture high above the High Line

These brownish red bricks remind me a bit of Toulouse.

that famous WW2 kissing scene all colored up

We ended the evening meeting with an old childhood neighbor / high school classmate who made it big in New York.  He treated us to Japanese Barbecue at Gyu Kaku after meeting at SNAP Sports Bar for a pint of beer.

I super loved all the stuff that were served before us. But my favorite was the green tea crêpes. Unfortunately, i was too tired to take a picture of it. We would've gone somewhere else after dinner, but hubby and I were dead tired from walking all day, so we decided to call it a night.

More of New York next time...