* Disclaimer: The Wizard of Oz is used here merely as a metaphorical reference. I am not a Judy Garland fan nor do I own any ruby slippers nor did I stroll the streets of New York as described below with a pastel sweater knotted around my neck. Not that there is anything wrong with that....
After abandoning my plans to visit NYC Thursday night and staying in Newark all day Friday plus Saturday morning, I was ready to finally set out for New York. Its a piece of cake to catch a train from Newark's Penn Station to New York's Penn Station. Once you poke your head above ground on the NYC side, you'll realize you've just popped out from under the famed Madison Square Garden. From there, its either a few blocks walk or a cab ride to Times Square. We opted for the cab - an experience I've repeated yet never quite gotten used to. Nothing tightens the ol' bum quite like the "thrill" of cabbies dodging in and out of traffic like a NASCAR driver or Gene Hackman in the French Connection.
After purchasing tickets for a Broadway show at the TKTS booth, we roamed around a bit and casually made our way toward W. 55th Street and 7th Avenue where we gorged ourselves at the famed Carnegie Deli.
A big ol' pastrami sammich, onion rings, and a couple of Amstels? Oh yeah, just what the doctor ordered. Wait...I think the doctor's orders will eventually be something else resulting from this meal. But dadgum, this was some good eating!
Following dinner, I took my sweet time to stroll down Broadway towards Times Square and soak in as much of the midtown experience as I could. A few of the sites along the way included:
- The Ed Sullivan Theater, home of Dave Letterman - The show obviously wasn't being taped on a Saturday night. But I was pretty sure I saw a room lit above the sign and wondered if Dave might be doing some "show prep" with any of the staff.
- Times Square - My bucket list overflows with all sorts of random stuff I'd eventually like to try. The pail, however, does not include celebrating New Year's Eve in Times Square. Every time I visit, it truly is a surreal experience to be at the site where the ball drops and seeing thousands of photo-snapping, fast-moving locals and tourists. Its like watching a bunch of ants scurrying about. Yet I experience only a fraction of the number who shoehorn their way into that confining area each December 31. I can't even begin to imagine...
- St. James Theatre on West 44th Street - We chose to see Finian's Rainbow. This is only the 5th Broadway show I've ever seen. Interestingly (to me at least), our group ended up this year at the same theatre as we did a year ago where we saw Gypsy.
After 72 hours or so of Newark and New York, I was ready to head for home. As we made our final approach into Nashville's airport, we suddenly and sharply ascended. The pilot finally spoke once we leveled off and banked to come around for a 2nd attempt. He said flight control radioed about a large flock of birds on the runway and suggested another attempt be made. While it was a bit unnerving when we rapidly went up when we were supposed to be landing, I was glad he took the tower's advice.
But almost as quickly, I chuckled under my breath at the drink I learned about during dinner at the Deli. After the USAirways flight landed safely in the Hudson River earlier this year, some New York bars created a new drink called The Sully in honor of the praised pilot. The drink is 2 shots of Grey Goose with a splash of water. The story sure sounded funnier and the drink idea sound tastier once we were at the gate.