|Mom's first visit to NYC. We planned the trip well over 6 months ago as a high school graduation/pre-birthday celebration trip for Mom, Ang, Kay, Audrey and myself. Although I'm not allowed to say the number, let's just say this is a BIG year for momma. When I heard Bette Midler was going to be in Hello Dolly, I knew we had to take mom to see her first broadway musical.
Audrey had other plans though, so she ditched the family girls trip for a music fest with friends. Oh well. Not sure Hello Dolly would have been her "thang" anyway.
But, NYC was glorious, as always. We experienced highs and lows in weather (from 95 to 62 degrees in 4 days); walked many miles; caught the subway; survived the many cabbies and Uber's in traffic; reveled in the behind the scenes visit to Good Morning America; took a night tour of the Empire State Building; caught a 3 hour tour on a Double Decker bus; touched the Wall Street Bull inappropriately; somberly viewed ground zero and the 911 memorial; tipped our toe in Central Park; negotiated and purchased items on Canal Street in Chinatown; and enjoyed Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce (Niles Frazier) in Hello Dolly on Broadway.
Whew! Oh yeah, we ate some fantastic food...Little Italy topped the list, as well as the Perfect Pint bar, Junior's breakfast, and, of course, 99 cent pizza (which always ends up being at least $2). And did I mention drinks? You know we had our fair share as we had two of the best "bar sniffers" (they can sniff out a bar anywhere) with us in Ang and Kay. We each had our role on the trip...I handled the Starbucks, Kay and Ang orchestrated the bars, and mom...well, mom thoroughly enjoyed the many wine tastings.
Yes, NYC has it all, but boy is it expensive. I'm still trying to get over the $97 bill at the Park Hotel for 4 drinks. Yes, 4 drinks. Now, it was truly a great Lemon Drop Martini, but seriously, I'll forgo next time and keep the $100!
Our "apartment" was perfect for the 4 of us. I rented a place through HomeAway and it was similar to a hotel (a timeshare), but had 2 bedrooms and 2 baths with a great view across 45th and 3rd streets. We had to put up with a few days of salespeople trying to buy our breakfast for a sales presentation, but overall, the place was the ideal spot for us.
The one thing we didn't do?? See the Statue of Liberty. I know...go figure!! I tried to show it to mom as we were flying into Newark, but we were on the wing and she couldn't see it well. Then, we tried to get a glimpse on our Double Decker bus tour, but the trees blocked her view. So, we did the next best thing...we took a picture of her with it (see the attached pic).
The highlight of the trip was no doubt the visit to Good Morning America. Ang's friend, Teapot, reached out to a friend that works at GMA and she got us VIP tickets to sit in the audience during our trip. The friend took us inside around 6:50 am and we watched Robin Roberts make promos while George Stephanopoulos chewed gum and worked on his iPad. During a break, Robin came back to the media room and took a quick pic with us. Then, Michael Strahan entered and what a personality! As the others were more serious, he joked, smiled and waved to us as we sat on the side watching the first 30 minutes of the show. A few others came in...Amy Roboch, Dan Abrams, and Ginger Zee. All did their part, then exited quickly.
Around 7:30 am, we were taken upstairs to be part of the 8:00 hour audience. Although not visible to the tv audience, we had great seats right in front of the desk where the anchors sat. During breaks, Michael strolled the audience taking selfies and chatting. George and Robin went into the audience some, but Lara Spencer (who is so fun on tv) did not interact with the audience at all. She came in only do to her spots, then would exit quickly. Elizabeth Vargas came in and immediately started chatting with Michael Strahan. Lastly, Jesse Palmer joined the crew and was very personable with the crowd. It was fascinating to watch the interaction of the cast (or lack thereof in several cases), and their personalities with the audience. Michael is a STUD!! He was blown away with how great mom looked (I whispered her upcoming birthday so he would take a pic with us).
The sights, the food, the drinks, the traffic, the noise, and the apartment were all contributors to a truly great time with the family. But, I would be remiss if I concluded this blog without the appropriate comment on Bette Midler in Hello Dolly. It was the absolute perfect venue for her. There isn't much to the story, and someone other than Bette could not pull it off (ok, maybe Barbra). Bette was brilliant! At 71 years old, she was amazing. Her voice was fantastic, her wit intact, and she moved flawlessly as Dolly Levi. The audience adored her and she ate it up with her antics. David Hyde Pierce did a very good job as Dolly's love interest, but the show was truly all about Bette Midler. And, when Bette came out after the show, she was classic Bette...gloves on (so as not to touch when shaking hands) and hair in a wrap, she made the rounds waving, laughing and talking to the huge crowd waiting outside for her. She did not stop and take selfies or autographs, but made a huge entrance and exit in an awaiting vehicle. I'm a fan. Always have been, always will be. I don't believe there is a better entertainer in the world!
A trip to remember with mommy and the sissies.
Til next time New York!