Kapoors Year 6: Iceland To S. Africa & Namibia travel blog

We Took The Ferry Into Manhattan Because Of A 'Credible Threat Of...

While One Young Woman Admired The View, Her Friend Couldn't Take Her...

Times Square Was Teeming With People, Though Many Of The Streets Nearby...

'Give My Regards To Broadway', A Tribute To George M Cohen

Like Some Many Statues Around The World, They Make A Great Perch...

Here's The Ball We Watch Drop At 12 Midnight On New Year's...

To Celebrate Anil's 64th Birthday, We Booked A Table At Sardi's, A...

The Walls Are Covered With Over 1,000 Portraits Of Broadway Cast Members,...

More Washroom Signs To Add To My Collection, Couldn't Be More Appropriate...

What Are Guys, Without Their Dolls?

We Were Teased By Friends For Taking In A 'Child's' Show, But...



Sardi’s opened at its current location on 234 West 44th Street in 1927. The owner, Vincent Sardi was inspired by a Parisian restaurant and jazz club that was filled with movie-star caricatures, and hired a Russian immigrant to draw Broadway celebrities. The first drawing was of Ted Healy, of the Three Stooges. Alex Gard’s contract stated that he would get one meal a day at the restaurant in exchange for the portraits. He continued his work till his death in 1948.

Other artists have picked up where he left off and today there are over 1,300 drawings on display. The idea for the Tony Awards for excellence on Broadway was thought up over lunch at Sardi’s. Today, Sardi’s is considered a New York institution.

The Lion King is a musical based on the Disney movie, with music by Elton John and Tice Rice. The director is Julie Taymor and features actors in animal costumes in addition to others in hollow puppets. It debuted on Broadway on October 15, 1997 and to date has had more that 5,350 performances. It is the 7th-longest-running show in Broadways’ history.


We celebrated Anil’s birthday last year in New York as well, keeping it pretty low key, sharing a cake and ice cream with Puneet, Komal and Anya. We had just had a big birthday for Anya’s 1st birthday and weren’t in the mood for anything more. Anil really doesn’t like a fuss made, but will accept that certain milestone birthdays are special.

We wanted to see another Broadway play before leaving; we had enjoyed ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’, our first Broadway production so much. We went into Manhattan and bought the tickets for The Lion King at the theatre’s box office to avoid the $25 per ticket on-line surcharge. When I told the agent at the counter that we wanted good seats for either Thursday or Friday nights, he was surprised to see that some terrific seats were available in row ‘N’ on the main floor for Friday.

It seemed to be our luck, though this wasn’t a milestone birthday, I felt it was a great way to celebrate. I suggested we make a night of it and have dinner at Sardi’s, a New York institution, before hand. We were able to get a reservation for 6:00pm; everything was falling into place. When I posted a photo of the tickets on Facebook, several people gave us a hard time, one even asked Anil what musical he wants to see when he ‘grows up’.

I hadn’t been too keen on The Lion King myself, because I had never liked the movie, but Komal and my good friend Cathy Moreau raved about the costumes and the puppetry, and I trust their judgment. I know we’ll be back in New York again soon, they’re be plenty of time to see other great shows in the future. Besides, nothing could be more adult than ‘Priscilla’!

We were sitting around with Puneet and Komal thinking about the fact that Anil was turning sixty-four, when all of a sudden Puneet starting singing, ‘When I’m Sixty Four’, buy the Beatles. I was surprised to find that he knew almost all the words and we started laughing about how many of the lyrics seemed to reflect some of the things that were going on in Anil’s life just now. Please bear with me as I share some of the words of the song with you, with my own little add-ons:

When I’m 64! Click Here!
Yellow Submarine

When I get older, losing my hair,

Many years from now, (You’re losing your hair already, Anil!)

Will you still be sending me a valentine?

Birthday greetings, bottle of wine? (Only one, Merlot or Malbec?)

If I'd been out till quarter to three (Like you can stay up that late at your age)

Would you lock the door? (Don’t lose the front door key again, Anil)

Will you still need me, will you still feed me,

When I'm sixty-four?

Oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oooo

You'll be older too, (But I’ll always be your ‘much younger wife’)

And if you say the word,

I could stay with you. (And where would you go, without your navigator?)

I could be handy mending a fuse

When your lights have gone. (The threatened power outage from Hurricane Irene never materialized…)

You can knit a sweater by the fireside

Sunday mornings go for a ride. (Brunch in Hoboken or Manhattan?)

Doing the garden, digging the weeds, (Puneet and Komal live in a condo, so you’re off the hook)

Who could ask for more?

Will you still need me, will you still feed me,

When I'm sixty-four?

Every summer we can rent a cottage

In the Isle of Wight, if it's not too dear (I think you’d prefer the Isle of Vancouver)

We shall scrimp and save (No more of that now, we did that all our lives so we can travel comfortably now…)

Grandchildren on your knee

Vera, Chuck, and Dave (I doubt Raj and Vy would pick any of these names…)

Send me a postcard, drop me a line, (How about an email, a text message or a Facebook post?)

Stating point of view.

Indicate precisely what you mean to say (I always do, I’m a woman of few words!)

Yours sincerely, Wasting Away.

Give me your answer, fill in a form

Mine for evermore (That’s right, your stuck with me dear…)

Will you still need me, will you still feed me,

When I'm sixty-four? (I’ll still need you, and feed you, when you’re 84!)

After listening to President Barack Obama’s speech regarding job creation to the Joint Session of Congress, we learned that a ‘credible threat of a terrorist attack’ had been established and that New York City was put on alert in the days leading up to the 10th anniversary of Sept 11, 2001. I wasn’t particularly nervous about the fact that we would be flying out of JFK airport on 9/11, but I was somewhat anxious about the possibility of something happening in the next couple of days.

Although there is a small ferry that takes passengers from West New York where Puneet and Komal live, across the Hudson River to Manhattan, we usually take the NJ Transit bus to the Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) because it’s convenient and inexpensive. The bus goes through the Lincoln Tunnel under the river and the trip usually takes no more than 15 minutes. However, I felt that the Lincoln Tunnel might be a target, so I suggested to Anil (and to Puneet) that we use the ferry on Friday, just to be safe.

I have to say, it did make the day seem more special, to take the ferry on a beautiful, sunny, fall afternoon, with the magnificent buildings facing us. I was surprised to see a couple of young women on the upper deck with us, one admiring the view and the other totally engrossed with her mobile phone. Whatever could be so important that she couldn’t tear herself away from that tiny screen for just a few minutes?

When we disembarked and took the shuttle bus from the ferry into Manhattan, we learned that the route for the bus had to be changed because so many of the streets were closed to cross-town traffic because of the security threat. The shuttle actually took us closer to Times Square so we were better off. We mingled with the crowds on the Square while we waited, and I mentioned to Anil that Times Square probably wasn’t the best place to be hanging out considering the fact that it was the scene of a bomb scare on May 1, 2010.

We were some of the first customers to be seated for dinner at Sardi’s, but the restaurant filled up quickly with diners planning to take in an evening Broadway show. We had a great meal and chatted with our waiter while he scurried back and forth to serve guests. It turned out that he had arrived in New York only one week earlier, keen to try his hand as an actor in the Big Apple.

He told us his name, Bryce St. John, and said we should watch out for him when he becomes famous. Another waiter told us that even if he didn’t work at Sardi’s, the food was so good that he would eat all his meals there if he could afford to. We would have to agree; the service was great too, Bryce even arranged to have the broccoli rabe replaced with glazed carrots for Anil.

We joined the crowds leaving the restaurant in time for their shows and settled into our seats at the Minskoff Theatre. We were thrilled with our seats, in the middle of the main floor, at perfect distance from the stage. While we waited for the curtain to go up, I suddenly realized that it was almost exactly 40 years since I left for Africa to teach school in Nigeria with the Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO).

After we were married, we travelled to East Africa together in 1977. Now, here we were, ready to embark on the next leg of our travels that would take us to Africa once again. The Lion King seemed even more fitting than ever.

The orchestra started playing, lights went down and we were enchanted with the costumes and the incredible puppetry during the entire performance. I still don’t care for the story particularly, but the spectacle of it all more than made up for that. The haunting music, the vocals with African melodies in abundance, and the sight of the magnificent animal puppets made me excited to be heading to take another safari, not the Serengeti in Kenya and Tanzania this time round, but hopefully, in Kruger National Park, South Africa.


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