It would be hard to find a more exciting place than Times Square in New York City. There, the bright lights of Broadway have always been a beacon to travelers in the city, drawing them to its entertainment areas. Over 330,000 people pass through Times Square daily, many of them tourists. This area is known as the "Crossroads of the World" and has become the New Years Eve capital of the USA since 1907, as millions gather to watch the ball drop down the pole high above on the top of One Times Square building seen in the middle of the photo above.
(All photos in this post will enlarge if clicked on)
I wrote once before--click here-- about the pedestrian area that was developed in 2009 in Times Square on Broadway, from 42nd Street to 47th Street, that is closed to traffic. There were still some table and chair areas but quite a bit less than you'll see in that blog post. There is also quite a bit more security, as most of Times Square is monitored by the police by video cameras, which is comforting to know. It is in this area, at 1564 Broadway, where the famous flagship TKTS Discount Booths are located. This is where you can buy same day tickets to see a Broadway or Off Broadway musical, play or dance production which are up to half price off! Don't be discouraged by the long lines--they move quickly, but it does pay to get there early for the best seat selection.
My husband and I decided we wanted to see a play on this visit to our old hometown, as we often took advantage of the half price tickets opportunity when we lived in New York. There was a wonderful selection of both musicals and plays, but since we recently saw a musical production of the Lion King with our grandchildren, we decided to try a play this time around.
We chose a matinee production of the 5 Tony Award winning play 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," which is based on the 2003 mystery novel with the same title by the British writer, Mark Haddon. As you can see in the photo collage above, the staging and lighting for this play was very unusual. Props and characters were creatively presented throughout the play, through doors and openings in the grid. It really made the audience feel as if they were experiencing the sights, sounds and feelings of the 15 year old main character, who was a mathematical genius on the autism spectrum, as he tried to solve a mystery. The story gets quite dramatic and was very enthralling. We really enjoyed seeing this production and had wonderful half price seats, as you can see in the photo above!
Since we were also celebrating my birthday, my husband surprised me with reservations at a special hotel for that evening--the Waldorf Astoria Hotel!
Earlier that day, as we approached 5th Ave on our way to check into the Waldorf Astoria, we had to stop for awhile, as the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade was in progress. New York City hosts many parades down 5th Avenue and the Puerto Rican Day parade is among one of the longest, and attracts 2 million spectators! It has been held in Manhattan since 1958.
It was really an exciting parade with many floats, bands, music and marchers. There were fireman, police officers, teachers, etc of Puerto Rican heritage marching with their respective groups. We also saw the New York Knicks Basketball player Carmelo Anthony pass by in a red car. After about 15 minutes the parade was stopped to allow pedestrians to cross 5th Avenue, and we were on our way to the hotel again, after we had dropped off our rental car.
The hotel combines art deco elegance with luxury..
...and convenient location in the heart of Manhattan, as you can see by the two cross streets in the photo above.
A view of the beautiful art deco Park Avenue entrance....
...and the magnificent "Wheel of Life" mosaic floor, designed by French artist Louis Rigal.
It is composed of 148,000 hand cut marble tiles! You can read more about this artwork and see a short video about it on this link.
The nine foot high "World's Fair Clock" in the lobby of the Waldorf Astoria was created in 1893 for the Chicago World's Fair and designed to commemorate Columbus' discovery of America. It was acquired by the hotel in 1931. You can read about the bronze bas-reliefs that ring its pedestal on the plaque at its base, as seen in the photo collage above.
When we checked into the hotel we were greeted by the divine aroma of the Waldorf's Peacock Alley Sunday Brunch. If you want to see a video describing the brunch click here. Did you know that Eggs Benedict, Red Velvet Cake and the Waldorf salad were all invented by the hotel? I snapped a few photos with my cell phone as I walked by.
Our room was quiet and comfortable and I was surprised by its two enormous walk in closets! I was happy to have had the opportunity to stay overnight at the Waldorf Astoria especially since there are plans by the hotel's new owner to close down the hotel in the spring of 2017 for three years to renovate the hotel for over one billion dollars to convert as many as three quarters of its 1400 rooms into private condominium apartments, while upgrading the 300 to 500 hotel rooms to extreme luxury standards. You can read more about the temporary closing and renovation of the Waldorf Astoria on this Wall Street Journal link.
We had dinner that evening at one of our favorite Italian restaurants in Manhattan--I Trulli Enoteca e Ristorante located at 122 East 27th Street in Manhattan. Their Puglian style home made pastas and entrees and extensive Italian wine list has never disappointed us. It was truly a happy birthday celebration for me with a wonderful hotel stay, play and dinner!
It was such a beautiful June evening that we decided to walk back to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel after dinner. As we walked on Park Avenue we saw the Empire State Building on East 34th Street. An impressive sight in itself but do you notice the golden glow in the lower right corner?
A few more steps and we saw that the glow came from the bright setting sun going down in the west, and high above the moon shining in the sky. It stopped us in our tracks and we took this cell phone photo. It was the end of the perfect New York City day!
I'm linking this post to the following blog events:
Seasons, Amaze Me Monday, Blue Monday, Monday of Many Blessings, Through My Lens Monday, Mosaic Monday, Life Through the Lens Monday, Mellow Yellow Monday, Inspiration Monday, Good Random Fun, Nature Notes, Grand Social, Our World Tuesday, Ruby Tuesday, You're Gonna Love It Tuesday,Wanderful Wednesday,Wordless Wednesday, Oh My Heartsie Girl's Wonderful Wednesday, Outdoor Wednesday, Share Your Cup Thursday, Thoughts of Home on Thursday, Travel Photo Thursday, Friday Photo Journal, Skywatch Friday, Sweet Inspiration, Friday Features, Share It One More Time, Pink Saturday
Thank you to all the blog hosts!