02.24.2012 - 02.24.2012
We got an early start on this adventure, flying out of MSP at 8 o'clock for New York. We debated on how many times we've visited New York City and decided it has to be 10 or 12 times now. It doesn't really matter, though, because there is always something new to see or do.
We checked in to our hotel around one, the Crowne Plaza in Times Square (where we stayed during the 9-11 tragedy). It didn't take long to check in and get settled and then we were on our way to lunch.
Susie had planned over day in advance (she is the ultimate travel planner!) so we headed straight to the Pig and Whistle, an Irish pub that has escaped our attention on previous trips. The lunch special was breaded cod on a French roll –expected at an Irish place on a Friday during Lent. We abstained from meat, but John did have a Guinness and Susie tasted a cider. All together it was enough to keep us going for the afternoon.. Then it was off to the NBC studios for a tour.
Susie had pre-booked us for a three o'clock tour. It took us down hallways that many folks we've come to know through the years, from Huntley and Brinkley to the ever-changing cast of Saturday Night Live. Have walked and worked. The SNL studio is much smaller than we imagined it would be, but we were told that all of the studios at 30 Rock were built as radio studios, before the days of television.
We also peeked into the NBC central operations room, where broadcasts from all of the studios are monitored continuously for NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, and all of the other related broadcast and cable stations owned by the conglomerate of Universal/NBC/Comcast.
Just outside the studios we found the Playwright Tavern, another Irish pub. It was a nice stop for a happy hour.
Then it was back to our hotel to freshen up for dinner and a show.
Our search for the old reliable Ray's Pizza shop was fruitless; you can only find it when you aren't looking for it. So we stepped into La Famiglia Family Pizza shop for a slice. We finished up just in time to step up the block to the Wintergarden Theater for the long-playing Broadway show Mama Mia! We had fourth row seats (thanks to Susie) and the show was fantastic. Something else fantastic was the concession prices. We stopped and bought one soda, one cocktail (both in "collector glasses") and a box of candy...yes, candy...for the fantastic price of $29. Wow! But we definitely enjoyed the show and the cast treated us to three encores.
After the show, we passed our hotel and continued down to Times Square—there's nothing like Times Square at night with all the lighted screens and billboards and the hundreds of people passing by.
One familiar neon sign ahead beckoned us to the Roxy Deli. We've walked past this little landmark place for years and never stepped in. But what better way to top off a great day in the Big Apple than to treat ourselves to a late night cup of decaf and a cannoli (rich Italian pastry with a rolled, crunchy shell stuffed with Mascarpone cheese and chocolate chips).