I managed to sleep until 6am, so like 6.5 hours I guess, but it wasn’t a fit sleep. I was planning on just having breakfast in the hotel restaurant but it didn’t open until 7am, and this was not a good hanging out room so I went for a walk.
The hotel is on the corner of Jane St and West St, which runs along the Hudson River. Manhattan Waterfront Greenway runs from 59th Street to Battery Park at the end of the island; I was in a section called Hudson River Park.
I was feeling tired and achy and didn’t actually feel like walking much – shock, right? – so sat on a park bench and watched the joggers go by for a little. I was thinking about how I was going to spend the next 2 days in NYC and realized that I was probably going to be using my room more than I had anywhere else on this trip. The room I was in was just too small to do anything other than sleep in – nowhere to work from my laptop comfortably even – so when I went back I asked if they had any bigger rooms available, and they did. I checked one out and decided to do it. I was too tired at this stage of the trip to be uncomfortable and to have to foray through 2 hallways and 4 doors just to use the bathroom.
And of course the entrance is covered in scaffolding. You can check this out if you don’t know why scaffolding is rampant in NYC.
I switched before breakfast.
And most importantly, it has its own bathroom.
And a view!
It was big but barely more than a cafe, with only continental breakfast options. (I’ve always thought that was a fancy way of saying “don’t expect much.”)
I just had some sourdough toast and coffee, and wrote the blog for Wednesday pretty quickly since it was just a travel day.
i took the subway up to Art’s hotel. Because their stay is based on seeing shows, they’re staying in the theater district at 54th & Broadway.
We walked over to our first stop a few blocks away, a Downton Abbey Exhibit that’s on tour and closes this weekend so nice timing! I had stumbled across this from a Facebook ad of all things and we were excited that we would be able to catch it, both being big fans.
In case you don’t know what it is or just haven’t seen it: Downtown Abbey is a Masterpiece Theater production of the story of an English manor at the start of World War 1. Over 6 seasons it spanned 1912-1926 and focuses on the lives of both the family and the staff just as the age of the aristocracy in England is beginning to crumble. I’ve watched the whole thing twice and am just in awe of its elegant story-telling, with great characters, writing, performances, and music. It portrays a time that I somehow feel I miss even though I was never part of it; I wish people still treated each other the way they do on this show, with tremendous class and respect even when they disagree. We could all learn something from that I think.
The exhibit put together sets of the major rooms from the show, with costumes of who would normally be in them. Intertwined were video presentations from the characters – most often Carson the Butler. There was also text that provided more detail about what you were looking at, and a really nice job of explaining what certain things were like in real life based on whatever you were looking at. For example, in one section that talked about Marigold (trying to manage a spoiler here!), there was a side piece about the struggles of unwed mothers in those days, and that there weren’t any adoption laws in England until 1926.
Bells would ring over labels of the room they were in so staff would know where they were needed.
The was the most stunning display of the exhibit.
This was a trip. I was watching this scene between Lady Mary and Lady Edith being played and didn’t realize it was on a mirror until the film stopped.
Neither Art or I am big on costumes but we did notice they were very rich, the fabric used was exceptionally high quality, you could tell just from looking at it.
They are having a sweepstakes where if you post a photo from the exhibit with the proper hashtag on social media you are entered into a drawing for a cruise. Art and I agreed if either of us won we would split it! This was my entry, shown with Lady Mary Crawley. It’s hard to pick a single favorite character but she was high on my list. She was played by Michelle Dockery who earned 3 consecutive Leading Actress Emmy nominations for this role.
Art with another favorite character, Violet, the Dowager Countess, played superbly by Maggie Smith. There was this whole display that focused just on her one-liners, of which there were many great ones.
We were there over an hour, leaving about 11:15. We had plenty of time to make it to our Noon lunch date with a stroll down Broadway, from 57th Street to 35th.
You can’t really pass through Times Square without taking at least one photo. It really is obnoxious though 🙂
And this is where we were headed, the Empire State Building at 5th Ave and 35th Street. I’ve had the same LinkedIn rep for 3 years, and when we were on a video call one day I let him know I would be in town and perhaps we could meet for lunch. I had no idea where in NYC he worked when I suggested that. He invited me and Art to lunch and to take us up to the observation deck. The lunch and the elevator ride up is free to employees, and they can bring guests. Neither of us had ever been and were pretty excited about it.
We met Cory on the 3rd floor offices of LinkedIn first – they occupy 7 floors of this building – and ate lunch in their cafeteria which had all kinds of amazing food. From there we went on up to the observation deck.
Although Cory had just been here last Thursday. this was all different – they’d completely changed the entrance path so for those using an executive pass so this was all new to him. It was nice to skip the lines, I will admit that, although honestly they weren’t horrible.
Construction of the Empire State Building started in 1930. It was the tallest building the world for 40 years until the first World Trade Center was finished in 1970.
The first stop was the main observation deck on the 86th floor. I took a lot of but will practice restraint and just post a few.
A traveler overheard us talking about a triple selfie, and offered to take our photo in exchange for taking one of his family. I was happy to oblige. He did a nice job!
That first stop was outside, but there is another enclosed deck on 102, so we went on up.
The lighting made it difficult to get a good image but I was happy with this one (relative to the others..,)
This was a great treat and we had a terrific time. Thanks, Cory!
We all parted ways after this, Cory back to work and Art back to his hotel; it was 2pm. This is my 4th time in Manhattan and I realized I’d never been on this portion of 5th Ave before so while not exactly on the way back to my hotel I figured it was worth a walk and see what I could see.
The Flatiron Building is 21 stories. Built in 1902, it was a groundbreaking skyscraper at the time.
So I learned that 5th Ave starts at Washington Square. I’d been here before in 2011 but had approached it from the opposite site.
This is another very familiar NYC location, especially if you’re a Law & Order SVU fan.
From there I remapped back to my hotel and it took me by something else I’d seen in 2011.
Hadn’t planned on coming this way today, but here we are. I thought it was odd there were 2 tour buses parked across the street.
I got back to my room about 3pm, showered (the weather here is GROSS right now – reminds me of Texas) and just relaxed until it was time to meet Art again. I left a little before 4:30.
This was right across the street from his hotel so we just went with it.
Art had a trio of sliders: I had a pot of meatballs which was really good, and some garlic parsley fries.
We were going to see Mean Girls in the August Wilson theater a couple of blocks away.
Based on the movie, it receive 12 Tony nominations last season although was shut out and didn’t win any. Tina Fey wrote the book and was nominated. It also received 3 nominations in acting categories, two of them were in tonight’s show. (The other an understudy.) It was a fun show but what Art called “theater light”. No need to see it again 🙂
We sought out dessert and stopped at a place in Times Square called Majestic something. Art had a brownie, I had the above cheesecake.
We parted around 10:30 I guess; I took the subway home but had a bit of a wait for it, getting back around 11. It was a great day in New York City. Today is my last day of the trip and some of it is unplanned, so we’ll find out what I end up doing tomorrow 🙂
Tags: Downton Abbey Exhibit, Empire State Building, New York City, Steve Haas, Travel blog