Tom, Greg and Ken in NYC


April 14, 2014: 

Dear friends and relatives,

I/We are on the move again.  This time, a trip to New York City to see the show and sights.  I (Tom) is travelling with Greg (from Palm Springs) and Ken (from Pleasant Hill).

Our 8AM Virgin America departure from SFO left at 10AM!!!  Runway construction (in Newark) and weather (SFO) were blamed.  Otherwise the ride was comfortable.  We had paid a little extra to sit in the emergency rows and it really paid off.  Early boarding and scads of leg room.  The seats don't recline, though.

We took a taxi from Newark so we could get checked into our 3 bedroom apartment at Lexington and East 26th Avenue.  It was a gypsy cab (because we didn't want to wait in the taxi queue) but only charged $5 more than the regular cabs.  It was not cheap when you add tolls for the bridges and tunnel.  We got to our hotel in about 30 to 40 minutes.

Our apartment is on the 4th floor and is very fresh and modern and spare.  We each have a bedroom and share 2 bathrooms.  When we got settled in we walked to an Indian restaurant on the corner where these phots were taken.


April 15, 2014: 

This morning we got up relatively early. Big day ahead of us. We walked back and forth across Mid-town in our quest for Broadway Show Tickets. This is what we have:

TUE Eve - Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill ---->  Circle in the Square 1633 Broadway

WED Mat - Violet ---->  American Airlines Theatre  227 W 42nd St

Wed Eve - All the Way ---->  Neil Simon Theatre 250 W 52nd St

THU Eve - Mothers and Sons ---->  John Golden Theatre 252 W 45th St

FRI Eve - The Realistic Joneses ---->  Lyceum Theatre  149 W 45th St

SAT Mat - Aladdin ----> New Ansterdan Theatre

SAT Eve - A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder ---->  Walter Kerr Theatre  219 W 48th St

SUN Mat - Cabaret ---->  Studio 54  254 W 54th St

A weather front is coming in and with it came wind and rain.

April 16, 2014: 

This morning we awoke to a dusting of snow on the cars outside of our apartment!!! The sky was crystal clear, warm in the sun and COLD in the shade.

After "Lady Day", our first show (See below), we made our way over to restaurant Becco, which is owned by Lidia Bastianich (from PBS). We had the special which was a Caesar Salad followed by bottomless pastas and gnocchi servings.


We were joined by Jen who is Mary's daughter. Recently, she moved to the east coast and works for NBC Sports, located in Stamford, CT. She went with us to our next show: All The Way.


Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.
Staged as a night club with tables in a semi “theater in the round” which Audra mingled (staggered) around the night club audience. Above this area was stadium style seating where we watched the night club action from the front row. We were quite close to most of the activity. From the moment that she appeared, she was “Lady Day”. The voice that you know as being Audra McDonald was not there. She had the sound and mannerisms of Billie Holiday. It was a series of drug induced ramblings, except when she was singing. The performance was superb, but quite sad.

Sutton Foster, playing a badly scarred farm girl.  (She was struck in the head when an axe flew off of the handle as her father was chopping wood.  Growing up with the idea that she was ugly, she goes in search of a Faith Healer to cure her. The music was great with a “blue grass” style band. Voices were very strong and performances were uplifting.

All the Way
Very strong on historical detail involving the passing of President Johnson’s “Civil Rights” bill. Brian Cranston plays LBJ with all of his crassness. Large cast of characters playing all the important politicians of the time. Cranston was hardly recognizable as himself. In the cast were character actors that you see in movies and TV (like Michael McKean).

April 17, 2014: 

We go a very late start to this day. When we finally got outside, we did a little bit of shopping at the at D'Agostine grocery store. We also decided to grab an early supper at ate at a Szechuan restaurant not far from our apartment.

We have a 7-day Metrocard for using the buses and subways and we're getting pretty good at it. From our apartment, we can take the Broadway line or the Lexington line (needing a transfer on the cross-town shuttle) to get to Time Square.

We met Tom (from Seal Beach) and his NY friend Margaret (from Brooklyn) at the theater for the performace of Mothers and Sons.

Mothers and Sons

This is Terrence McNalley’s most recent work. After 20 years, a mother pays a surprise visit to the lover of her late son Andre. Her son died of AIDs at the peak of the epidemic. Apparently the former lover has moved on, married, and had a son with another younger man. The mother has not been able to move on, and now finds herself a widow, alone and resentful of anyone’s happiness.  A complex story of blame, self-pity and love for all of the wrong reasons.

Very powerful performance by Tyne Daly, for whom Terrence McNally wrote the part. She is a joy to watch, and can refine her expressions to the bare minimum, and the result is a powerful punch felt all over the theater. (--- Greg)

After the play, we walked a block or so to a Wine bar and restaurant and got caught up.

Margaret, Greg and TomS

TomD and Ken

April 18, 2014: 

This morning, Margaret invited us to come to her home in Brooklyn for lunch. She lives in a house built in the early 1800s. The house has been added on to since then and is quite roomy. Tom from So. Cal is staying with her and helped her feed us way too much delicious food!

TomS in front of our Hors d’oeuvres and roll-top desk.

TomD, Ken, TomS, Greg

Greg, Ken, TomS

Margaret and TomD. Dr. Margaret is a professor of Anthropology at a Staten Island university.

Walking back towards our apartment we passed Gregory's Coffee ("See coffee differently")

In front of our apartment on E 26th Street at Lexington Avenue.

In nearby Madison Park, we saw an art installation ... 3 silo shaped structures. We walked under them and looked up. Inside were neon light and mirrors that made the cylinder look Infinitely tall.

Greg in Time Square. Sooooooo many people. This is before tonights play: The Realistic Joneses.

The Realistic Joneses

An exercise in words, language, and thoughts--not completed. Strong cast: Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, Marisa Tomei and Tracy Letts. Two couples named Jones who come together and share non-sequitors. The Brooklyn-born author, Will Eno, expresses his ideas by using well known expressions but twisting them into slightly off kilter interpretations. The audience laughs, but as the play proceeds, the laughter dwindles to confusion. There is a bit of a plot, but not enough room here, to get into all of the thoughts.  Much room for interpretation.

“There’s so much crap in the world. Stupid crap and pain,” Bob says. “Now where was I going with that?”


Toni Collette and Michael C. Hall

Michael C. Hall and Marisa Tomei

Marisa Tomei

This is what we saw when we came up out of the subway station at 23rd Street last night.

April 19, 2014: 

We met Dorene, Greg's NYC friend at the New Amsterdam Theater for the matinee of Aladdin. She is the same friend we saw last year.

Disney’s “Aladdin”

For those of you who have seen the animated movie “Aladdin”, the magic is all there. The play is cast to perfection with Disney’s squeaky clean characters in brilliant costumes and voices to match. The full orchestra brings back the “Big Broadway” sound to theater, with the added bonus of the new technology available to amaze. The famous ride on the “Magic Carpet” (I Will Show yYu the World) was brilliant—haven’t a clue of how they did it.

There is one character who stands out. It appears like this genie is attempting to live up to the “Genie” character created by Robin Williams in the movie version—a task which is daunting to say the least. Well, he steals the show. James Monroe Iglehart, from Hayward, California accomplishes that task. “Never Had a Friend Like Me” with choreography, and choreography, and even more CHOREOGRAPHY runs the chorus dancers through 4 changes of costumes before he is whisked off to a ventilator until his next number. Quite a show! (--- Greg)

Libations at Bryant Park in the sun with Tom, Greg, Ken, and Dorene

Dinner after Aladdin at Butter Midtown, a restaurant run by Alex Guarnaschelli (pix below) of Chopped, the TV cooking competition show.

Alex Guarnaschelli of Butter Midtown.

My bruschetta appetizers with hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, ricotta, grilled brussel sprout leaves.

Ken's butter lettuce tower of salad topped with a watermelon raddish slice.

A Gentleman’s Guide to love and Murder

Take  a charming, handsome proper British young man (Bryce Pinkham) who is desperate to win the heart of a beautiful social climber (in pink),  throw in the recent news that he is the 9th in line to inherit the fortune and the family estate of the famous “D’Ysquith’s” [die skwiths], and you know that MURDER will ensue. But you needn’t shield the children—just stay away from the first 2 rows in the theatre.

All 8 of the D’Ysquith successions are played by the same actor (Jefferson Mayes) in break neck changes of costumes, as they meet their demise(s).

A great deal of laughter, and a shot gun pace keep this show extremely amusing.

Jefferson Mays and Bryce Pinkham


This is really a 3 foot high painted egg. There were many dozens of these at Rockefeller Center. I'm having trouble rotating photos (in Windows 8).

Saying "good-bye" to Dorene at Grand Central Station.

April 20, 2014: 

A couple of days ago we made reservations to see the ground zero site. This made it easy to get in line and into memorial space. The 9/11 museum will open in a month or so. The outline of the twin towers are now square, depressed water features. Very dramatic.

A rose is put in the name of a person lost on 9/11

We walked thewhole of Highline Park. It has not been expanded from last year's length, but will soon include a section turning Westward towards the Hudson River.

Pretzel break!


A landmark production of the 2004 revival of Cabaret is revisited here with an even more of a 2014 interpretation of Berlin in 1929—if you know what I mean. The theater (Studio 54, THE Studio 54!) was turned into the “KIT KAT CLUB” with shirtless bartenders, dancing girls wearing underthings and a remarkably beautiful orchestra wearing the bare minimum of clothing. Even the set was wearing the bare minimum.  This production starred Alan Cumming who was reprising his role from 1993. Michelle Williams played Sally Bowles. The cast included a few other Tony Award winners.

This production ends with the unfortunate inevitablity of what happened in the 1930s and later in Berlin. The audience files out with the shared need to cleanse themselves of that ugly period. (---Greg)

Citi-Bikes for hire can be seen in racks in different areas of Manhattan.

Tonight we ate at Riverpark, Tom Colicchio's 3-year old restaurant at 29th street at the East River. There were tables outside, but it was too cold when we were there.

Tom Colicchio

April 21, 2014: 

Today was our last day in NYC. We booked a Semi-Circle cruise around the bottom end of Manhattan. It was clear buy cold - especially in the breezes off of the Hudson River and the East River.

Tomorrow the three of us fly back to SFO, leaving NYC at 10:30 AM and hopefully getting into SFO at 2:00 PM.

The tall building is the Freedom Tower where we visited on Sunday.

Empire State Building. The rectangular building to the left is where Tom Colicchio's restaurant is located.

The headquarters of the Jehovah Witnesses and Watchtower on the Brooklyn side of the East River.

Early dinner today was macaroni and cheese dishes at Sarita's Macaroni & Cheese restaurant. It's abbreviated "SMAC". We were joking about asking people if they knew if smack were nearby. That might end up adding some nights to our visit here.

These were on telephone booths. Darren Criss is from Glee on TV.