Day 28 – Manhattan

After our exertions of yesterday we slept a bit later than usual but were moving well before 8:00 am. The hotel tarriff did not include breakfast so, rather than bother with a big breakfast in the restaurant, we had cereal we had been carrying with some milk (actually half and half) we had bought on the way home last night. There was no coffee facility in the room so we planned to get that when we went out.

Before going anywhere else we spent some time in the lobby with the WiFi to post and catch up on news. Once that was done we were ready to head out.

Majella had acquired a subway map from the hotel desk and worked out that our train would take us to a station near the site of the 9/11 memorial. She had plans to see that and to pick up cheap tickets for a Broadway show in the same general area.

First stop once we surfaced from the subway was at Starbucks for cappuccino and americano. While I was getting those Majella found out from other coffee drinkers that the 9/11 memorial required passes that could be obtained from the preview centre. The passes are timed as a way of managing crowds during construction. She also found the location of the ticket outlet and we used the WiFi in Starbucks to plot a route on her phone map for that.

From Starbucks we went to the 9/11 preview site where we were lucky enough to get passes for 12:30 pm today. We headed off to find the ticket place on the river at the end of John Street, arriving soon after they had opened at 11:00 am to find a long queue already. We joined it and got to the front where we bought tickets to see Mary Poppins tonight.

There was still time before we needed to head back for our slot at the 9/11 memorial so we walked to the nearby waterfront where Majella found some bargains at the market. From there we walked down to Wall Street and followed it back up to the area near the 9/11 memorial.

Security for access to the 9/11 memorial was similar to airport security. We had to remove belts, but not shoes, and items from pockets and pass them with cameras and other gear through X-ray machines. Passes were checked 3 times on the way in.

The memorial is surrounded by active building sites where the new towers are going up but it is still a place of quiet and reflection. The two huge square wells ringed by panels bearing the names of those who died are set in an area with grey paving, lawn, and many trees. Water flows constantly from all 4 sides of each of the wells and each of them has a smaller and deeper square in the middle into which some of the water falls. Other than the metal edges into which the names are cut the wells are made of black stone which lends solemnity. It took us a bit mor than 30 minutes to pass through security and look at the memorial.

Next on Majella’s list was Chinatown, followed by Little Italy. We headed in that direction but paused to buy lunch from a street vendor. Majella had egg and cheese roll. I had chicken gyro. We shared a strawberry and pineapple smoothy to wash those down before walking on through the edge of Chinatown and into the Italian area where we enjoyed a couple of small cannoli.

We had not decided this morning whether we would stay in town for the show or go back to the hotel to rest and change. By 2:00 pm Majella had decided that a rest would be good so we elected to go back to the hotel. We were already walking up the lower part of Broadway by that time so we found the nearest station and took the subway back to Queens.

Rested and changed we set out again around 6:00 pm, walked to the station, and caught a ride to Times Square station. We knew that our theatre, the New Amsterdam, was on 42nd Street but not where so we were pleased when we stepped out onto 42nd Street to see it just across the road.

With the theatre located our thoughts turned to dinner. It was almost 7:00 pm so we needed something close and fast if we were to get to the theatre in good time for the 8:00 pm start. The Heartland Brewery and Chophouse on 43rd Street filled the bill. Majella had stirfry chicken with ginger and mushrooms. I had buffalo spring rolls – crisp tempura cones with grilled chicken and buffalo and blue cheese sauces. I had beer but Majella stuck with water. Service was quick and we were back to the theatre soon after 7:30 pm.

New Amsterdam theatre was a spectacular setting with very elaborate decoration on the walls and ceiling. The production and performance was even more spectacular. In addition to the anticipated singing and dancing at the high standard expected for Broadway the sets were elaborate, with the house interior moving to front or rear of stage as required, the attic or rooftop dropping down, and the basement rising up. Add to that a variety of conjuring tricks to make objects appear from Mary’s carpet bag and some spectacular aerial stunts with Mary flying out over the audience and Bert dancing up and down the stage walls and across the ceiling. It really was an entertaining evening.

When that was done we walked back across the street and caught the subway back to Queens and our hotel. We covered about 40 km today. That was mostly by subway but my pedometer recorded 15000 steps so we walked a good deal of it.

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