Saturday, August 16, 2014

Back in Gotham City (from Imelda Marcos to Bacon, baby!)

Day 4 (Wednesday)
Happy 161st Birthday, Central Park
It’s now Wednesday, and we’re now at the halfway point, this trip has gone pretty fast. Well as always we’ve got an exciting day ahead.

The Subway Train Life
 I’ll share a little bit about my adventures while I spend my day at work. I have to go to Brooklyn during the day, so I take the Q train from 34th Street Herald Square.  I like starting my day early at work (around 7:30am), so from my hotel on W. 30th St, I walk a couple of blocks to Herald Square to catch the Q Express train. It’s a quick 15-20 min ride (with just 3 stops from Herald Square and bam, I'm at work! I love it! Why? Well, most Californians could relate to this. In California, where I’m from, we have to drive to just about everywhere.  So driving a car is the perfect mode of transportation. This is why whenever I visit the city, I embrace public transportation. Just give me a Metro card and I’m off exploring NY.
where. 
 Lottery Adventure...again

Kinky Boots lottery winner
Whilst at work, and with it being a day of Broadway matinee shows, Nancy wanted to try her luck with joining a lottery on her own. She went towards W. 45th St. and signed up for the Kinky Boots lottery. I recommended the show to her. I saw the show early this year (I tried the lottery, and got picked), and this time, the lucky streak continued and she got picked as well…YES!!! Billy Porter won the Best Actor award for his role as Lola.  Long story short, Nancy was so glad to have gotten tickets, and to watch Billy Porter in the role. This is definitely one of those flashy shows with a bunch of show stopping numbers. 
The Smoke Joint in Brooklyn 
Hacked and Stacked Pulled Pork Sandwich
Around lunch time, I asked my co-workers to please give me a name of a nearby restaurant that’s NOT McDonald’s hahahaha. They had me walking 4 blocks down and I made it to The Smoke Joint. It’s basically a BBQ place. Never really thought of NY as a BBQ kind of a place. But since it was recommended, I went ahead and tried it. I was so glad I did so….I ordered the Hacked and Stacked Pulled Pork Sandwich with Cole Slaw and Pickles. The pork was so juicy and tender, and BBQ sauce had a perfect blend of sweet, sour, tangy taste….it was perfect for lunch.

An Off-Broadway Show
Most of you know that we’re big theatre fans. Each time we visit the city, we have a list of shows we must see. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t remember the last time I lined up at TKTS. It must have been over 10 years ago. Rush and lotteries have changed the landscape of getting discounted tickets and we’ve been very fortunate in getting them.
For this trip, our Broadway show wish list included, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (#1 on our list), Hedwig, A Gentleman’s Guide, and an Off-Broadway Show called Here Lies Love. Nancy and I made plans to rush for this show last Monday. I’ve been following theatre newsgroups regarding how to score rush tickets to this show. They typically sell rush tickets 1 hour before the 8pm performance, and to increase your chance of getting tickets, people typically line up 1-2 hours prior to this. Well, last Monday, Nancy texted me, her college friend, Ommar, got us tickets to Here Lies Love (Wednesday 8pm). Thank you, Ommar and Jonathan!!! Yay!!!
Pre-show dinner

Dinner at The Library with Ommar and Jonathan
From Brooklyn, I took a train towards the East Village. We all had dinner reservations at The Library which was located inside The Public Theatre where Here Lies Love was playing. All I remember was the walk from the train station to the theatre. I was wearing my work clothes, and I just remember being drenched in sweat. It was hot and humid. I was relieved when I finally made it to the air-conditioned theatre. That's where I met up with Nancy. Jonathan and Ommar arrived around 7pm, and we all had just enough time to have a quick dinner before the show.

A show about a First Lady (and not about her shoes)

Here Lies Love is a musical about the rise and fall of Imelda Marcos, the former First Lady of the Philippines. It’s such a big hit in New York, and I’ve been putting off watching it, trying to find the chance for Nancy to join me. And this was it…the chance to watch this show together. Why this show? The show allowed me to look at how this piece in Philippine history unfolded. It was hard not to look at Imelda Marcos,  and think of Evita (Eva Peron). There were many similarities, a girl with big dreams who went from rags to riches.

The show was inventive. It’s not your typical show ...it's an in your face kind of a show....the songs were quite moving. The tickets we got as gifts were located on the main floor...it's a standing room only ticket.....there were NO theatrical-style seats on the main floor. You, as an audience member, move with the show, you move with the stage. The show was so inventive, the feel inside the theatre was electrifying, the crowd got to be a part of the show….it was just amazing to be immersed in the process. There were many highlights for me, but I don’t want to give away the story. Heheheheheehe
So that’s about it for Day 4….those were the highlights.
Day 5 (Thursday)

It's now Thursday, this day is the actual last full day for Nancy in the city. So far, we have been fortunate to have a great trip. As with all of the other days, I had to work today, while Nancy got to explore the city. I forgot to mention that on Tuesday, she had  lunch at Ippudo for more ramen goodness. She texted me this picture and I drooled. hahahaaha How I envied her at the time!!!!

Early morning rush attempts
Since it was our last  full day, you better believe that we're going to try our best to find discounted tickets via lottery or rush. I was at work, so it was all up to Nancy to try her luck with getting rush tickets for us. Nancy first tried to go West 44th St. to scope out the Hedwig line. By the time when she got there around 7:30 am, she was already 20th in line - this was the line for a chance to score Standing Room Only tickets to the show The trouble with this line, you have to stay in line until 7pm - that's when they pass out the SRO tickets. She didn't feel like doing that so she left.
She then went to West 50th St for a chance to get rush tickets to Lady Day...(with Audra McDonald). When she got there, she saw a sign that no rush tickets will be sold that day...so she left again. It was already a little after 830 am at this time, and she decided that instead of trying to rush for other shows, she suggested we take our chances and do the Hedwig lottery at 6pm, and if we don't win there, we'd head over to the If/Then lottery at 6:30 as a Plan B (remember to always have a Plan B).

Meeting up with her fellow Paulinians
with Rowena, Mary Rose, and Grace


With Rowena at Herald Square
This trip allowed Nancy to have her "me" time which included a chance to reconnect with her college friends, Mary Rose and Rowena (from New Jersey), and Grace (from Houston). Right before lunch, she and Rowena strolled around Macy's. When the rest of her friends arrived, they went to Turntable Mad for Chicken near W. 34th Street. 

Evening Lotteries
After work, I met Nancy at the Theatre District right before 6pm.The crowd started to build up for the Hedwig lottery. Without joking, there must've been 300-400 people who entered their names in the lottery and only 20 tickets (or something like that) were being given out. We weren't so lucky with Hedwig....our names weren't picked...but, no prob, we had a Plan B, we always had a Plan B or C.  :-)
Plan B - If/Then
"If" we don't win at Hedwig, "then" we'll rush at If/Then. Again, 20 tickets were given out....and guess whose name was called 2nd to the last ticket winner???? Nancy's name!!! Yes!!! We got 2 orchestra seats for $25 each....5th row!!! No complaints!!! Mission accomplished. We got to watch If/Then that evening. I have to admit, it's not my favorite show, but to see Idina Menzel and watch her sing for a couple hours, that was enough to make us enjoy the evening. She was larger than life!
One last New York meal
Warm Bread Pudding at BarBacon
After If/Then, we decided to walk over to Totto Ramen in Hell's Kitchen, but when we got there, we were told it was going to be a 1/2 hour wait. We weren't that interested in waiting, so we opted to go 2 blocks up to BarBacon recommended by my friend, Fletcher......where everything you order from food, drinks, desserts - all of them have a hint of bacon. Instead of buffalo wings, we ordered Pig Wings, it's pork shank covered in Sriracha BBQ sauce and sitting on a bed of sauerkraut. It was just like eating short ribs....juicy/tender!!! We also ordered Oysters rockefeller with spinach and bacon. But I gotta tell you, the star of the show was the dessert....warm bread pudding with chopped bacon peanut brittle. It stole the show!!!! It was amazing. This was soooo good! I will come back for this.
Till next time
That's about it......5 days with 5 shows, and lots of yumminess in between. I can't wait to go back, I don't know when yet, hopefully before the end of the year.
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