A Different Sort of Adventure…

To be honest I wasn’t too enthused about going to New York City. Big cities typically aren’t my scene but when Jenna told us that she would rather go to New York for a couple of days and see a Broadway show instead of having a Sweet 16 party for her 16th birthday I knew I was going to be heading north, like it or not. Fortunately, I tend to be the type of person that can find a way to make the best of most any situation.

The girls’ fall break schedules overlapped for a change so we could go up for a Friday and Saturday and still be able to have Sunday home to rest a bit before heading back to work and school on Monday. We were up and out early Friday morning flying north…

Flight

Once in New York we stashed our bags at our hotel and headed out. There was shopping to be done and 5th Avenue was the place to be…

5th Ave

We discovered that shops on 5th Ave got a little swankier as one went north. Once we made it to E. 57th Street, the girls decided it was time to stop and shop…

Tiffany

I couldn’t find anything that really interested me in Tiffany’s so I walked back south a couple of blocks then over a block to Madison Avenue to a shop that interested me a bit more…

Davidoff

The Davidoff shop was about as swanky as Tiffany’s so once I retrieved the girls from Tiffany’s we found other places to shop a bit further south on 5th Ave. Again, the girls wanted to shop for clothes and I had other things in mind…

Midtown

Somewhere along the way we ended up here…

Godiva

The girls got their little blue bags and I got a little green bag…

Little Blue Bags

Little Green Bag

By late afternoon we were all pretty beat so we went back to the hotel to chill a bit before heading out to supper and the show. Jenna wanted to see The Lion King so ConnieLou got tickets and surprised Jenna with the tickets and a stuffed Simba on her birthday.

SimbaTix

The theater was easy walking distance from the hotel and just on the other side of Times Square. Most folks have seen Time Square on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve shows (sorry Seacrest, New Year’s Eve just isn’t the same without the World’s Oldest Teenager) but it’s a place that has to be experienced rather than just been seen on TV. To describe the scene as ‘sensory overload’ is an understatement. Just the lights at night are enough to throw one off kilter but add in street artists, street performers, restaurants and throngs of people…it’s a bit overwhelming…

Times Square

I’m really not cultured enough to know what to expect from a Broadway show but The Lion King exceeded any expectation I might have had.

Lion King

I can sum up my impressions of The Lion King with one word…Wow! No…more like WOW!! What an incredible production! The talent of the performers, the imagination and magic of the stage, lighting and costume designers…just WOW! I never imagined that that I’d enjoy a Broadway show as much as I did.

ConnieLou set an alarm so we could get up and out fairly early Saturday morning to play tourist for a little longer before it was time to head home. I guess we wore ourselves out on Friday since we shut off the alarm and promptly fell back to sleep for another hour and a half. Oh well, sometimes sleeping in is a good thing.

We decided to head south to see the Empire State Building…

Empire State

Then headed over to Herald Square and Macy’s for, you guessed it, more shopping…

Macys

Finally it was time to head back to the hotel, grab our luggage and grab a cab to the airport for the flight home. Fortunately the cab thing didn’t quite pan out and we ended up riding back to the airport in a black Lincoln limo instead of a yellow minivan.

So far I haven’t said too much about the food. In the past, on my former Popper Blog, I usually included a restaurant review of sorts if I wrote about a trip or vacation and I intend to carry that forward here, so here goes…

Being completely new to Manhattan we didn’t have a clue where to go to eat. But since the hotel had a concierge desk, we decided that would be a good place to start. How can you go to New York and not try some real New York style pizza? The lady at the concierge desk suggested we try Uncle Paul’s Pizza, located on the same block at the hotel so we gave it a try. Good call. We ordered a couple of slices each. We also noticed that they were open 24 hours and had fresh cheesecake made in-house (that’s foreshadowing for you literary types). What can I say, New York style pizza in New York City is simply a heck of a lot better than any New York style pizza in or near Atlanta. I could get spoiled on that stuff! The review panel gave Uncle Paul’s 8 Thumbs-Up.

We tried a different tactic to find a restaurant for supper. Modern technology, smart phones and iPads add a new twist to the search for a restaurant . Connie did a Google search and I used GoogleMaps to plot a course to the theater and then zoomed in to see what restaurants were identified along the way. Our paths crossed at a barbeque joint named Virgil’s. Naturally, we were a bit skeptical finding any real barbeque in New York City but the reviews were pretty good so we decided to take a chance. As it turns out, the folks that run Virgil’s took a fairly extensive tour of barbeque joints throughout the southeast trying different things and learning how real barbeque is done. Apparently they took good notes and made good grades on their homework because their pig was pretty darn good. Connie and I had pulled pork sammiches and Ashley and Jenna split a plate of barbequed chicken nachos and pretty well destroyed it. The review panel gave Virgil’s, like Uncle Paul’s, 8 Thumbs-Up. Well whattya know, there actually IS good barbeque in New York City.

After The Lion King and a little more time wandering around Times Square, we were ready for some dessert. Like pizza, a trip to New York just wouldn’t be complete without a slice of New York style cheesecake. Back to Uncle Paul’s we went where we each enjoyed a slice. So what was the verdict? Let’s just say that Uncle Paul’s didn’t let us down and earned themselves another 8 Thumbs-Up from the review panel. I wonder if they would deliver to Newnan? Yeah, it was that good.

Breakfast Saturday morning was coffee and a bagel or muffin at a nearby Starbucks…but I don’t particularly care to review big chains. Sorry Starbucks, no review for you.

For lunch we tried yet another method of finding a restaurant…the old “Hey, that place over there looks like it might be good, wanna give it a try?” Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. The Oxford Café is a little place we saw down on 5th Avenue near the Empire State Building where you can get fresh sammiches, panini’s, soups and salads. I wouldn’t say we scored big but we definitely weren’t disappointed either. The review panel gave the Oxford Café 7 Thumbs-Up.

Finally, after all the shopping and eating and sightseeing, it was time to head back home and we were treated to a spectacular sunset on the way…

Sunset

OK, Ashley and Jenna were treated to a spectacular sunset as they were a little farther forward in the plane than ConnieLou and myself. We had a spectacular view of the engine cowling…

The big questions when we got home were “Daddy, did you like New York City? Did you have fun? Would you go back someday?” In a word…yes.  I had a great time and there’s so much left to see and do that I’d love to go back someday. Heck, I’d be willing to go back just for more pizza and cheesecake.  Would I ever want to live there? Not a chance.

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