We had such a good time in New York City last year at this time we decided to do it again. We typically plan our travel around my company holidays to make the most of my time off, so Martin Luther King weekend is good time to do it. And, we learned after we made these plans, that this will be the last time we have access to this great apartment. We stayed here last year and Ash again in August when he was here for a week. But the guy who sublets it to us is giving it up so we’ll have to find another great place for future stays. So we were looking forward to one last stay here.

We left Thursday night on a red-eye direct flight from Sacramento to Newark.

This is Zeus’s second flight with us. The first one was Denver for Labor Day weekend, a pretty short test run of a 2-hour flight in which he did great, especially for just 13 weeks old at the time. He’s now 7.5 months. This is a 5-hour flight but we’re not anticipating any problems. He’s grown up a lot; but still fits fine under the seat in front of us, as shown above. These were actually bulkhead seats but they had spots he could crawl under.

Since Paul was registered as a service dog, it’s much easier to get a replacement registered. So all of Zeus’s paperwork was filed with the airline and they didn’t even blink about him getting on. And he’s fitting nicely into Paul’s old vest.

We landed around 6:30am. With deplaning, luggage, and not-too-horrible rush hour traffic, we made it to the apartment around 8:30am, which is on 58th St just off 6th Ave. We literally dropped our luggage and went out again, stopping at the Starbuck’s across 6th Ave from us for coffee and a bite to eat.

It seemed appropriate that the first official photo of the trip is Zeus in front of this big apple art – which seems new, I don’t recall this from last year. This is on the backside of Rockefeller Center.

We are of course seeing shows while we are here, but we thought it would be more fun, and certainly more cost-effective, to only see shows that we could get through lottery or rush tickets. We were in a hurry to get out again because we wanted to stand in line early for our first tickets.

Photo of front of the show poster featuring Audra's face.

We had plans to have dinner with friends that evening who already had tickets to see this: Ohio State Murders with Audra McDonald. We had never heard of it, and the story seemed intriguing enough but in truth who cares what it’s about: we were excited about the possibility of seeing Audra. Even if you’re not a Broadway person, you probably know who she is from TV. What you might not know is she holds the record for Tony Awards at 6 wins and is also an opera singer.

Digital marquee with a review stating "Audra McDonald is nothing short of magnificent."

It was at the James Earl Jones theater on 48th St between 6th and 7th Aves.

There was already a line of about 10 people when we got there around 9:35am for a 10am box office opening. But we scored. Granted, we are 3rd row from the last but still, for $39 and what promised to be a good show we were excited. We sent this photo to our friends to let them know we’d be joining them for the show after dinner.

We stopped at Morton Williams, a very nice grocery store with lots of prepared food options (for Sac folks think Nugget) just a couple of blocks from the apartment. We got enough for lunch and dinner with friends plus of course staples like coffee, milk, juice. We dropped everything off at the apartment and went out again to Central Park, just a block away. The above is at 5th Ave and 60th St, with The Plaza Hotel behind us.

We walked through Central Park to 72nd, then came out and went over to Madison Ave, then back over to 5th where this was taken around 63rd. One of my favorite things about Central Park is seeing all the skyscrapers along the edges of it.

Zeus has made himself at home in the apartment, as seen above cozy under the dining room table – just like at home.

Our friend Meher joined us for a late lunch around 1:30pm. She works not far from here and we had a lovely visit. This is the 4th time I’ve been able to spend a little time with her in NYC, and we all got together for a surprise visit in San Francisco in July when she was there for a conference. Her and I met around 2013 when I hired her at Nationwide Insurance, and we’ve been friends ever since.

We went back out to Central Park again for a bit so Zeus could get tired out and sleep while we were gone. This was taken on our way back, where the park meets Columbus Circle. Ash being goofy against the backdrop of skyscrapers.

Our friends Jonathan and DeWayne joined us for dinner a little after 5pm. Jonathan and I met here in 2019 at the Gay & Sober Men’s conference and we’ve kept in touch. The four of us got together last year as well and couldn’t believe how fast this last year has gone. We ate and gabbed until it was time to leave for the theatre, heading out about 7;20pm.

The nice thing about Broadway theaters is most of them aren’t that big, so even 3rd row from the top isn’t horrible.

Plus had a great view of the beautiful ceiling! First time in this theater.

Requisite theater selfie.

I zoomed a shot of the ovation. Despite there being 5 people on the stage, this was essentially a one-woman show as Audra did probably 95% of it by herself. In fact, we discussed on our way back it might have been even better if it was just her; these others didn’t add much to it. That said, it was a great story about a black woman going to Ohio State University in 1949 and subsequent murders that occurred, all told in flashbacks through Audra. Her performance was amazing as anticipated and we were thrilled to have seen it. I’d also pondered throughout the show how this felt like a very classic play and so different from what we usually see: not a single set or costume change, no music. Just Audra. It was great.

Our friends DeWayne and Jonathan, with a little shot of Audra in the poster behind them. It was about 38 degrees, and we were definitely feeling it. Still warmer than last year where it was 15-25 most of the time.

Just me and Jonathan. I don’t know what the show is, Jonathan just liked the poster :) It was just next to the one in the prior photo.

DeWayne and Jonathan had left some things at the apartment, so we all walked back. As they were leaving, they passed these guys in the hall: my niece Michelle, with her husband Rick and their daughters Anaka and Indira. We spent Labor Day at their home in Denver and had talked about this trip, and they decided to come at the same time. So fun! They brought cheesecake from Junior’s – without even knowing that’s one of our favorite things while were here – and we got caught up and made some other plans for the weekend.

They didn’t stay too long. Ash was in bed by 11pm or so, I stayed to get started on the blog, doing the initial setup and getting the day’s photos uploaded.

It was a very full day, but we had so much fun visiting with everyone. NYC always feels like home to us, and this day was a good example of that. Today we have tickets for a matinee and are trying to score rush tickets for an evening show. Will see what happens!



  1. Deanna J Leitch January 16, 2023 at 10:38 am - Reply

    Thanks so much for connecting us with you all on your trips, it feels like I can actually meet these people and feel the cold weather. Also so great to see the Zuester taking life as it comes . Hugs, Deanna

  2. Steve Ward January 14, 2023 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    I am glad to hear that you are having a good time…and seeing Ms McDonald before this show closes. What an opportunity!!
    Please continue to have a grand time.

    • Steve Haas January 14, 2023 at 8:09 pm - Reply

      Thanks! And yes – tomorrow is the last day so just in time.

  3. Karen Keene January 14, 2023 at 10:43 am - Reply

    What a wonderful day! Hope you have a great trip! Safe travels – Karen

  4. Patty Haas January 14, 2023 at 10:08 am - Reply

    So happy Michelle and family were able to join you and Ash! Looking forward to the remainder of your blog. Looks like Zues is stepping right into Paul’s shoes nicely!

  5. Jennifer Bell January 14, 2023 at 9:37 am - Reply

    I absolutely love these post!! And by the way Audra McDonald is my distant cousin – found that out watching Finding my Roots on PBS – and it is a story about OSU so to say I am jealous is an understatement 😊

    • Steve Haas January 14, 2023 at 9:38 am - Reply

      Wow, cool! (And lovely to hear from you!)

  6. cheymarkbryant January 14, 2023 at 7:09 am - Reply

    Looks like your off to a good start! Enjoy every minute of that great city. ❤️

    • Steve Haas January 14, 2023 at 7:42 am - Reply

      We are! Thanks 🙏 we should all do this trip together sometime.

  7. Koleen Biegacki January 14, 2023 at 5:58 am - Reply

    Wait, hold up. Did I miss something – where’s Paul?!

    • Steve Haas January 14, 2023 at 6:01 am - Reply

      We had to put him down in July. He was 11. We had known since March that it was coming. We were thrilled he was able to go to France with us in May since we knew that would be his last trip.

  8. Mel January 14, 2023 at 5:52 am - Reply

    Love the whole fast paced day! Did you learn anything about THE Ohio State? Love you got to see Meher too! I too love skyscraper views!!

    • Steve Haas January 14, 2023 at 5:56 am - Reply

      Not really. But several references to High St which I appreciated.

  9. Ash January 14, 2023 at 5:03 am - Reply

    Not to be missed… I stayed up until 11 pm. I tried my best to stay up this late for New Year’s Eve and didn’t make it.

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