After a nice, greasy breakfast (which for me includes pancakes … mmm!), C, P and I trek west, then north towards Times Square.
We stop briefly at Bryant Park, which has already set up a small skating rink. Because of the rain, a couple of maintenance staffers are pushing the water off with a broom while someone else gets ready to go over it with a Zamboni. Looking out over the rink, it immediately seems brighter. It’s probably the ice, reflecting what little natural light there is at this point in the day.
We continue on along until we hit what is Times Square – which to me looks like a series of long narrow, concrete strips, going north for a number of blocks before “ending” at this plot of land with fibreglass risers, known as Father Duffy Square. This is also where we’ll go to the TKTS booth to try and score some seats for a Broadway show.
Times Square is crazy. All the neon signs, ads, crazy billboards – combined with all the vehicular AND pedestrian traffic – is a bit overwhelming. And this is during the day.
We talk to a security guard at the TKTS booth, who explains to us how the “ticket-getting” works.
We leave Times Square and continue northward until we hit Columbus Circle (where C and P stop for coffees) and then … BAM! There it is. Central Park.
We don’t walk the whole thing – I’d say we manage to do about half of it. We start at the playground, sitting on nearby Umpire Rock for several minutes. We then peek in at the carousel, walk down the Mall, under Bethesda Terrace and past the fountain, where we see the last of the waterlilies, right before they pull them out.
We get as far as the Alice in Wonderland sculpture then double back, ending our visit at Strawberry Fields. We take a break on the park benches around the “Imagine” mosaic, taking in the loud conversations of characters we assume are “regulars” to the area.
We exit at W 72nd Street, crossing the intersection to get a brief look at the Dakota, where Yoko Ono is said to still live. There’s a doorman and a dimly-lit alcove just beyond the big wrought-iron gates behind him.
After, we grab a taxi back down to Times Square to look into tickets for a Broadway show. We’d all forgotten the security guard’s advice about getting there before the box offices opened at 3 p.m. It’s about 4:30 when we get back there and – understandably – the lines are jammed full of people. I admit that I’m secretly pessimistic about our chances.
C and P come up with a good plan to have a bunch of choices available in case our first choice isn’t available. In the end, we do get tickets for a play – the Tony and Pulitzer-prize-winning August: Osage County. We don’t know anything about it, other than the blurb we read about prior to getting in line, but we take a chance. Anything involving a dysfunctional family is bound to be interesting, right?
We rush back to the apartment, freshen up, then hot-foot it back out to Broadway. We stop at Junior’s for a snack before the play.
We sit outside on the chilly patio and wait for someone to serve us. Our waiter is – what’s the word? Oh, right. Meh. He’s minimal with the helpfulness when it comes to ordering.
Head’s up if you go to New York: If you eat like a bird, Junior’s is NOT for you.
Everything is big. EVERYTHING.
I remember us turning to look at the plates of the closest patrons to us sitting inside the restaurant, and saw this old lady trying to tackle a salad meant for a family of four. If the table was any lower, she’d probably fall in.
After settling the bill, we waddle across the street to the theatre and find our seats just before show time. The production is almost three hours with two intermissions. And it’s fantastic. If you don’t mind a dysfunctional family plot with cussin’, this play could be your cup of tea. A number of the actors were just dynamite in their roles. Forget Katie Holmes and “All My Sons” (which, incidentally, was playing across the street)!
Having just about recovered from Junior’s and his Everest-sized cakes, we pass back through Times Square, its neon signs and lit billboards ten times more bedazzling at night than it is during the day.
Yonge-Dundas Square doesn’t even hold a candle to this. It shouldn’t even try.
We keep going and eventually find this Cuban restaurant near Times Square for dinner. It was awesome. I get this grilled mango-glazed salmon that just melts in my mouth. And the mojitos, I have to say, are even better than the ones I’ve had in Cuba, sugar cane and all.
The walk home tonight is one I don’t mind making. I’m happy and content.
Tomorrow: our big night out. But where?