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Monday, April 4, 2016

CLASSIC TRIP - New York, New York 2000 - Part 2

In Part One of this trip, we were upgraded to the Presidential Suite, had two rude breakfasts, went to the Bronx Zoo, Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, and rode several miles of subway.  Today, we find that in this very expensive city, it is possible to eat well and very cheap.

After dinner we walked over to the New York Comedy Club where we were met at the door by manager and comedian Steve Aarons. At showtime, we were led into a hallway where we thought we were on the way to the showroom. At least that’s what we thought, the hallway turned out to BE the showroom. In what has to be the most cramped space I’ve ever seen in a comedy club, we watched several very funny comedians and a few mediocre ones. When the show was reaching the 3 hour point - with no end in sight - and the raunchiness of the comedians reaching new highs, we decided it was time to call it a night before our 13 year old’s mind was filled with even more clinical descriptions of human sexual behavior.

With the last comedian calling out “Tim! Don’t leave...Tim’s dad, bring him back, we still got more” we excused ourselves. Mr. Aarons was nice to us as we left, bidding us a fond goodnight and we made it back to the hotel at about 2 in the morning - again via the #6 bus.

Day Four, Monday. Monday dawned crystal clear - just the weather we’d been waiting for. Breakfast today was at the A & H store ½ a block from the hotel. They have a wonderful breakfast made and served by some truly nice people - what a change from Lindy’s and Sbarro’s - for less that $3. I really wish we’d had found this place a couple of days ago.
The Empire State Building is spectacular at sunset
With this clear weather, we walked the two blocks to the Empire State Building and drank up the views on top - both at the 86th floor outdoor observatory and the 102nd story indoor one. The outdoor observatory has either wall cutouts or a raised platform that wheelers can use to enjoy the views. The upper indoor observatory is very small and has a wall blocking the view. The staff here provides a periscope so that wheelers can look over the wall. The periscope is then given to the visitor as a souvenir of their visit and it’s a nifty one too. This was the second time we’d visited here and it’s well worth the trip. The view on a clear day is truly one of this country’s best.

Next was a subway ride on the Q line from Herald Square to the Lexington Avenue station where it was a quick walk over to the Roosevelt Island tramway. The tram was only running once an hour, so we red-lined that off of the itinerary and caught the 57 bus over to 5th Avenue so the ladies in our group could gawk over the jewels in Tiffany’s.

Several dozen dollars lighter after buying more souvenirs at Tiffany’s, we take the #3 bus up to 72nd Street, and then take the #72 bus over to Broadway to another New York landmark...Gray’s Papaya.

Fortunately for us, the owners of Gray’s don’t know the recession is over yet. Their recession special gets you 2 deliciously snappy all beef hot dogs and a glass of the juice of your choice for only $1.95. After dining on these delicious, cheap dogs, we head back to the hotel for an afternoon rest-up.
The dog walkers at Central Park
Dinner time and we head back up to Central Park West for dinner at Tavern on the Green. This landmark restaurant built in an old sheep barn is a New York tradition that does not disappoint. In opulent surroundings under 500,000 sparkling blue lights, we dine on rib eye, prime rib, fettuccine, topped off with delicious New York cheesecake. After dinner we walk through the park, coming out at the Dakota Apartments at 72nd Street where John Lennon was murdered on the sidewalk.
Hundreds of thousands of lights adorn Tavern on the Green
A rather well intoxicated bongo playing resident pushing a baby stroller loaded with bongos, boom box, and a couple of cases of beer starts up a jam session with Tim. He introduces himself to us as "Dangerous Dan, the Bongo Man."  After 3 songs and several encores, we are finally able to continue on and return to the hotel where the group celebrated by getting pretty lubricated ourselves before retiring the final time in our huge midtown suite.

Day Five, Tuesday. Ah, if it’s Tuesday, it must be time to go home. After a quick breakfast of donuts and coffee, we check out and take the train back up Long Island to Islip airport. We do have a 2 ½ hour layover in Boston so we take the T (their subway) over to the State Street station for a quick look a Fanieul Hall and a beer in Quincy Market before boarding the 6 hour flight home.

Copyright 2000 - Darryl Musick

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