It’s easy to tell the tourists in NY. We’re the ones walking around, neck craned so we’re staring straight up, gawking at the sea of iconic skyscrapers and neon lights.
It’s easy to tell the New Yorkers, too. They’re the ones walking, usually about Mach 3, grumpily brushing past the gawkers. I’d always assumed this was because they were rude and in a rush to see which steroid-infused free-agent ballplayer the Yankees had newly signed.
But after spending two absolutely frigid days in this magnificent city I noticed that anytime I was forced outside my pace quickened considerably, so desperate was I to reach someplace less suitable for penguins.
Perhaps New Yorkers aren’t rude at all. Maybe they’re just freezing.
My quick trip to The City this week is packed with work, leaving little time for wandering through Times Square crying icicles in the wind, but I did manage to enjoy one of Manhattan’s finest restaurants and a terrific Broadway show.
I was also able to enjoy the cozy Manhattan Hotel, with “enjoy” in this instance describing something slightly less painful than waxing your genitals.
I knew the Manhattan Hotel and I were going to have problems when, upon checking in, the front desk clerk asked me – twice – if I were spelling my name correctly. I recognize that my hyphenated last name can be a wee bit confusing sometimes, but if I tell you three times that Jones really is the first part of my surname and suggest you look under “J”, go out on a limb and give it try.
My room on the 21st floor was larger than my foyer closet at home, and I could even lay down without my feet touching the facing wall. Such was not the case with the bathroom, which presented a challenge as Soo and I had things like toothpaste and deodorant we wanted to take in with us, and there just wasn’t room. We finally figured out that if one of us stood on the toilet and the other of us stood in the shower, without either of us raising our arms, we could occupy the space at the same time.
We just needed to remember to put the toilet seat down first.
Other than the fact that on our second day the hotel mistakenly gave another guest a key to our room and the heater in our little room believed that 80 degrees was just the right temperature, the hotel was fine, and I suppose reasonably priced for Manhattan, which means it was roughly five times the cost of a luxury hotel in Asia.
It was, however, ideally located, blocks from Broadway and the Gershwin Theatre, which by happy coincidence was featuring Wicked, a musical Soo was dying to see.
Wicked is the prequel and back story to the Wizard of Oz, and it was sensational. The leading lady, Mandy Gonzalez, has a magnificent voice, and the entire performance was first rate. We were delighted.
After the nearly two-hour show ended we were hungry, and met a friend at Del Frisco’s, an award-winning eatery originally launched 20-years ago in Dallas and renowned as one of the best steakhouses in New York.
The food was extraordinary, as, frustratingly, was the wait for a table, but oh-so-worth it. If I had a higher limit on my credit card we likely would have gone back the next night.
The one must-do on our list this trip was a visit to Rockefeller Center to see the famous huge Christmas tree and ice-skating rink. Soo and I discussed skating ourselves, checked the location of the nearest hospital, and headed out. We planned to spend most of the evening there enjoying the romance of the Christmas season in New York.
We spent 5 minutes. That was enough time in the brutal cold for us to decide we’d seen plenty, and we made for our hotel as fast as our legs would carry us. In local New York fashion we speed-walked the 8 blocks back, ignoring stop lights and whistling cops and bumping into startled tourists.
When one grumped at me for my rude behavior I simply glared at him without slowing and barked “Go Yankees.”
And I barely even glanced at the buildings.