Sunday, July 24, 2016

Times Square, Broadway Play, and the Waldorf Astoria Hotel




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 Waldorf Astoria Hotel, located at 310 Park Avenue in midtown Manhattan, is an iconic New York City landmark with over 100 years of illustrious history.


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!


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53 comments:

Mersad said...

A trip to New York City could await me soon, so will keep your post in mind. Though I'm sure I wont get to stay in such a fancy hotel as you did. We are planing a New England road trip as well so the budget will be strapped.

Mersad said...

A trip to New York City could await me soon, so will keep your post in mind. Though I'm sure I wont get to stay in such a fancy hotel as you did. We are planing a New England road trip as well so the budget will be strapped.

Betsy Adams said...

Looks like an awesome trip to NYC and area... I have enjoyed following you on FB as much as I can... That last picture of the sun setting is really neat.... Of course, all of your pictures are GREAT....

Hugs,
Betsy

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

A happy belated birthday to you, Pat! What a great way to celebrate your special day! I was unaware the the Waldorf Astoria was no longer going to be a hotel. I'm glad you were able to stay there before its conversion. The photo of the sunset and the moon above the Empire State building is gorgeous!
I hope you have a wonderful week ahead. ♥

Sue said...

Hi Pat....always like learning about a good Italian restaurant in the city to go to next time we visit....and who doesn't love the Waldorf...they have the best room service...I can't believe they are going to close it down for 3 years...glad to hear you had a special birthday back in your old neighborhood!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

A magical day indeed! What a perfect birthday; Your sweet husband knows how to make life special!~

Lady Fi said...

Great shots of the sun setting in Times Square. Hope you enjoyed the play. The book was wonderful.

Handmade in Israel said...

Ooh, what a great trip, and what wonderful photos! Happy birthday! What a great day you had. I love the "Wheel of Life" mosaic. The food sounded pretty good too ;-)

Villrose said...

An exciting trip!
I love art deco!

The Furry Gnome said...

You obviously enjoy the big city!

Linda W. said...

I really enjoyed your tour of New York City. Having never visited there, your photos made me feel like I was there with you! What a wonderful surprise, to stay in the Waldorf Astoria hotel!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

What a fabulous way to celebrate your birthday. Waldorf Astoria? Go Vinny! I Trulli is one of my favorite NYC restaurants too, Pat!

Tamar SB said...

Great shots of the city!!

J said...

WOW! Excitement, celebrities, entertainment, perfect weather, excellent accommodations! I've never been to NYC but your post almost made me feel like I was right there with you. Great pictures that captured all the flavor of a super birthday celebration! I'm so happy for you!

Mary K.- The Boondocks Blog said...

Happy Birthday to you Pat! A great post on my favorite city. And I did not know all of this about the Waldorf Astoria. Why do they want to convert them to condos? Are they losing money on the hotel? It is still a beautiful building.

Betty said...

It must be fun being a tourist now! I always wanted to be in Times Square for New Years Eve. When I was in high school all my friends would go...except me! My mother wouldn't let me. Bummer. I enjoyed going along on your trip to NYC. Is it the Waldorf that the President of the United States will no longer stay because it's now owned by the Chinese? I think it's a security thing. If not the Waldorf it's another New York hotel I recently read about.

carol l mckenna said...

Well glad you are staying at the Waldorf ~ elegant and beautiful photos of NYC ~ hope you are staying cool ~ Have fun!

Wishing you a Happy Week ~ ^_^

Michelle said...

Beautiful scenes from NYC!

Gemma Wiseman said...

Glorious display of fascinating photos. I envy your seeing that play. I have taught the novel version to senior students over the years. Always successful with the students.

jeannettestgermain said...

Only mention two things (otherwise, I won't leave here, lol so much to see). Am starting with the 3rd, happy belated birthday! The plot of the 15-year autistic teen sounds very interesting.
Of course, my favorite is the stunning floor mosaic - I can't even guess how long that work must have been in process of being finished!
Many thanks for a more than interesting post you shared with SEASONS!
Looking at this I wonder if you get bored sometimes in CO?
Anyway - have a great week, Pat!

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

If I ever make it to NYC...I will be sure to come here before I go. You have so much good information...including 'where to buy last minute tickets'.

What a wonderful birthday trip you had!

Patrick weseman said...

Very nice. That is a great birthday trip. I really need to go to NYC.

Jim said...

Great shots

NC Sue said...

Great shots!
Thanks for joining the party at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/07/bottoms-up.html

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

I think that my favorite here is that amazing Wheel of Life mosaic...how beautiful.
Oh you asked about my grandson's cake....he wanted a character called "deadpool" / I miss Elmo and Thomas the Train ! :)

Fun60 said...

Now that's what I call a birthday to remember. New York is definitely the place to choose to spend a special day. It is sad that the hotel will be converting into apartments and suites for the super rich.

Rajesh said...

Wonderful shots of the place. That "Wheel of Life" is beautiful.

Photo(Geo)grapher said...

Great post!

Lauren Bishop said...

I had no idea that The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night had become a play. I would love to see it as I felt the book was really well done. I'm so glad you liked it and that the story captivated your attention.

Lisa Kerner said...

I would love to live in NYC for just one year, so that I could experience it in its entirety. The culture is what I feel like I might miss out on, on a short visit, like the parade. Lovely, lovely shots, the last on is my favorite.

Lisa At Life Thru the Lens

Pamela S said...

Oh wow! What a trip. Everything is so beautiful in your pictures. That hotel!!! Amazing.

Ruth Rieckehoff said...

Every time I visit New York, this is the first place I go to. Like you mentioned, it feels so exciting to walk around the famous crossroad with people from all over the world. I think I am going to go back next year (first time for my husband). Fingers crossed!

Bonnie said...

Great post, Pat. You are always a great tour guide. So glad you got to go back and visit your old home town. Staying at the Waldorf was special. My inlaws went there for their honeymoon in 1945 and celebrated several anniversaries there over the years.
No, I didn't know they invented red velvet cake, and eggs benedict. Think I did know about Waldorf salad.
Glad you had a good time. I enjoyed your pictures and commentary.

Sharon said...

How fun to stay at the Waldorf Astoria. And that brunch -- how elegant. You've made me want to visit New York City again! Today!

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I love these photos so very much! My wife was in New York for a conference recently and she loved it!

Mandy 'n' Justin said...

Were you in NYC around July 11th? for the Manhattanhenge?

I stayed at the WA around Christmas time this past year and wasn't nearly as impressed (nor did I know as much about the history) as you were. Then again, the csrs were a bit rude to myself and my husband checking in on Christmas night, and I can kind of understand why. Who would want to work on a holiday?

It looks like you had a lovely birthday celebration in NYC. And that sunset was definitely the perfect way to end a perfect day! :)

Stacey said...

Hey Pat! I just popped by to let you know that I had to draw again for the Ramsign winner and you won!! I feel bad for the first person but I never heard back from her. Email me your address information and I will forward it to Ramsign. :)

stacey@poofingthepillows.com

Iremonger Lindsay JacoBus Quinlan Pickens said...

excellent.

Pondside said...

A belated Happy Birthday to you, Pat!
Once again, your photos and descriptions of NYC do not disappoint. How I'd love to stay at the Waldorf. Many years ago I went into the lobby, and that's as far as I ever got. What a birthday treat that must have been. Your birthday dinner must have been wonderful, too. It's so nice to go someplace you know will provide just what you want.

Van B. said...

I wanted to read that book for ages but maybe I should rather go and see the musical?! ;)

perspectivesquilt said...

Lovely to read about your special birthday celebration in Manhattan, staying at the Waldorf and catching a Broadway play. Glad you had a great time! #WanderfulWednesday

diane b said...

Wow you were spoilt for your birthday. What a wonderful husband you have. The evening would be hard to top. We loved Times Square and seeing a show there. Our neighbours are going there for New Year's Eve.

Art and Sand said...

New York is always such a fun place to visit.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

A belated happy birthday, it looks like you celebrated in true New York style. Wishing you many more happy days ahead.

Spare Parts and Pics said...

What a great way to celebrate a birthday! Sounds (and looks) like the evening was perfect, and great photos.

Karren Haller said...

What an amazing trip that you have shared.
I have pinned for future trip ideas.
Thank you for sharing with the readers of #OMHGFF this week.

Have a wonderful safe weekend!

Karren
Oh My Heartsie Girl

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I know I commented before but came back to read more carefully; did you enjoy the play? ? I read that book quite a while ago -- and remember it (which isn't always the case about my reading) and apparently the play must be as good.

Summer said...

Looks like such a lovely trip ♥ Nice photos ♥

summerdaisy.net

indah nuria Savitri said...

NYC and all its perks! Always love to see this city written by so many of you.. Great photos as well 😘😘

Lauren on Location said...

Sounds like an awesome trip! I have to say this post really made me miss home, and all of it's hectic craziness. You're right, there aren't many places more exciting that New York. And so fun that you got to celebrate your birthday at the Waldorf Astoria! That's amazing! Thanks for sharing and linking up for #wanderfulwednesday :D

Katrin@kreativk.net said...

That must have been a dream visit to NYC! It sure is one of my biggest dreams to go there one day, can you believe I have never been! Lovely tips and the hotel looks amazing! Wow!

Marcella WhatAWonderfulWorld said...

You managed to really capture everything that makes me think of New York, what a great trip! #wanderfulwednesday

Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad said...

The WA looks great, how sad that it's going to be turned mostly into luxury condos. At least you got to stay in it before that point! And you know what, I must have been visiting NYC at exactly the same time as you because I was there during the Puerto Rico day parade! Turns out that's a great time to go up to the Top of the Rock because everyone else is at the parade. No queues at all!