Sunday, October 30, 2011

Window . . .

Did you know that over 750,000 people travel through Grand Central Terminal every day?   That is the equivalent to the entire population of the City of San Francisco.   This was just one of the facts I learned while on the audio tour of Grand Central Terminal in New York.

As you can see in these pictures Grand Central is a sea of people constantly moving in all directions.  If you look closely at the 60 foot tall glass windows at the end of the concourse you may notice that there are people walking through the middle of the window.   That is because the windows are actually double paned and are a passage way between the two office towers on each side of Grand Central Terminal.

So let's recap.  750K people a day in the terminal.  But you only see two people in the window passage.  Those two facts are key to the rest of this story.

For some reason I got it in my brain that I should be able to walk through the window passage.  Mind you it did seem a little odd that no one else was trying to find the stairwell to the giant window walkway.

Eventually I found an elevator and I got in with two other people.  We rode it several floors up and then  they got  out.   I took the elevator one more floor before getting off myself.  The elevator doors opened up on a nondescript hallway with two doors.

This should have been clue number one I was not supposed to be here.

I opened the door closest to where I assumed the window wall passage would be.  Hmmm.  This isn't the window wall passage.  Maybe it's this door over here?  I stepped into another nondescript hallway.  The door to the elevator bank closed behind me.  I then realized it had locked and for better of worse I was now trapped in an interior stair well in Grand Central Terminal.

I checked every door around me and they were all locked.

I could hear construction and workers several floors below me so I put on my innocent dumb tourist face and slowly walked down two flights of stairs until I was standing on one side of a gated yellow taped construction area deep in the interior of Grand Central.

I was able to get the attention of a rather large construction worker on the next floor landing.

"Um hi, do you know how I get out of here?" I asked coyly.

"Well how did you even get in here?" the big burly construction worker asked.

"So I was in the elevator and then I came through the door and then the door locked behind me," I said.

"Well you need to go back the way you came," he said.

"Right, I get that, but I can't because like I said the door closed behind me, is there like another way out?"

After a momentary pause and a roll of his eyes he said, "Go through that gate and come here."

I followed his instructions and he took me into an elevator lobby that was all yellow taped off.  It kind of looked like a scene from a movie where if I had stepped through the tape I would have fallen into an empty elevator shaft.

In what seemed like the longest three minutes of my life I stood silently without making eye contact with the construction worker as he tried to call the elevator to the floor we were on.  He told me he wasn't even sure the elevator was stopping on this floor because of the construction.

I said nothing.

Eventually the elevator doors opened up.  In an ironic twist the two people who had been in the elevator on my way up were now on their way back down.  They looked really surprised to see me, but I knew I was now home free.

Not deterred by my slight detour I was still determined to get into the window wall.  So I walked over to the audio tour ticket window.  For sure the people who pay for the audio tour get to go in the window wall right?

As the cashier was getting me the map and headset I asked, "Will this tour take me into the windows?"

She looked at me like I was crazy and said, "No!  That is a special tour that only happens once a month and you have to get approval from the Port Authority or something."

"Oh, cause I was kind of already up there I just couldn't get into the actual windows," I said.

"You SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN UP THERE," she said sternly.

"Sorry?!?" I said.  (A wise manager once told me - "It's easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission.") 

The "Real" tour was quite informative with lots of trivia about Grand Central Terminal.

The Terminal even has a market which reminded me of a smaller version of Pike Place Market in Seattle.

So the lesson for the day Loyal Readers is to stick to the tour and don't try to go off the map when visiting Grand Central Terminal.  You will learn a lot but you won't get to go into the window wall.

The Song Of The Day - Window by Fiona Apple 

Spooky Mormon Hell Dream . . .

The hottest show on Broadway right now is The Book Of Mormon which was written by the co-creators of South Park Trey Parker and Matt Stone with Robert Lopez.

How hot is this show?

Well, for starters it won nine Tony Awards and is sold out till February 2012!

If you are willing to pay the price, authorized second hand tickets sellers like StubHub offer tickets ranging from $150 to $700.

The demand is so high for tickets that they even sell "Standing Room Aisle" seats.

I was fortunate enough to get a ticket to this show while in New York.

This show is wickedly funny, inappropriate at times, cringe worthy and offensive.  In other words; exactly what I would hope for in a musical from the creators of South Park.  In addition to all those words, I would also say that this show has heart.

The premise of the show is two young Mormon Boys who are paired together and sent on their Mission to Africa.  The boys could not be more opposite in personality and the show deals with how they cope with the harsh reality of the real world and the challenges it puts on their faith.

I am not Mormon and I do not claim to know a lot about the Mormon religion, so I could understand how people of that faith might find this musical beyond offensive.

Out of the packed theatre I only heard one elderly woman complain on the way out that she did not like the show because she was offended.  Everyone else I heard thought it was brilliant.

A very funny moment was after the show had come to a close.  The actors stayed on stage to speak to the audience about a fundraiser they were participating in.   They asked patrons to make donations on the way out of the theatre.  They also offered signed cast posters of the show for $250.  When the lead in the show mentioned the price there was a mild rumble from the audience which could have been interpreted as disapproval for the high price for the poster.

Not missing a beat the lead said, "Don't you awwwwwe me!   We know some of you paid $750 just to get in tonight.  What's another $250 to you, if you can throw that kind of money around.  Why not make it an even grand for your night out!"

He made a lot of sense and once again the crowd laughed and applauded his logic.

If you like South Park - go see this musical!

The Song Of The Day - Spooky Mormon Hell Dream

Friday, October 28, 2011

Starstruck . . .

OK, Loyal Readers I have time for one quick post while waiting for my flight at JFK's Terminal 5.

As you probably already know from reading this blog, I enjoy entertainment and pop culture so of course I had to make some stops while in New York at some semi-D List celebrity spots.

First up was a sandwich made by Rupert Jee who runs the Hello Deli and is a regular feature on The Late Show with David Letterman.  I have to thank Rupert for having the one reasonably priced meal I ate while in New York.

Oh wait, is that Biff Henderson standing on the street outside The Late Show?

Yes it is!

Next up was a trip to the Mecca of all fabric stores; Mood!

Mood has been featured on all seasons of Project Runway.

This fabric store was several stories tall and packed with everything someone who knows how to use a sewing machine would die to explore.

I was clearly out of my element, but that didn't stop me from picking up a couple yards of fabric and a "Thanks Mood!" T-shirt.

The Song Of The Day - Starstruck by Lady Gaga

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Johnny . . .


So here is what I know to be true.   If you see a large group of people gathered in one spot all looking in the same direction; you should either join them or RUN!

I tend to be a joiner.

Yesterday I thought I was joining a crowd waiting outside the Late Show With David Letterman's stage door to see Justin Timberlake emerge.

Alas, I found out that Dave had tapped two shows on Wednesday and I had missed Justin Timberlake by about three hours.

So if the crowd is not waiting for Justin Timberlake, then why are all these people and paparazzi camped out on the sidewalk?

I asked the lady next to me who said, "Johnny Depp is coming to tape the second show!"

OOOOOOH.    That IS worth waiting around for.

So I perched myself across the street leaning against a garbage bin for 45 minutes (yes, I said a garbage bin) and waited for Edward Scissorhands.

Then he arrived.  Posed for the paparazzi.  Generously turned to face his fans (including a topless lady) and waved.

Hello, to you as well Johnny!

The Song Of The Day - Johnny by Melanie Fiona

Central Park . . .

Shall we go for a stroll through Central Park?  Grab your morning cup of coffee like I did and let's go for a walk in the park!

The Song Of The Day - The Lady Is A Tramp by Rosemary Clooney