, , , , , , ,

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of unexpected events for me, that eventually climaxed in a quick trip to New York.

How do you experience the Big Apple and Times Square in a mere span of 72 hours? Nay, it’s not possible. My already challenging situation was even made more impossible by the fact that I am trying to combine work and play within the bounds of this limited timeframe.

True, I have been to New York in the past, purely for leisure purposes but experiencing this city is always untrodden for me so the excitement really didn’t wane even the second time around.

So what to do during these very restricted 31/2 days? You’ll be astonished at what one can accomplish if there is willingness to forego normal sleep hours. Upon late night arrival in Times Square, we went straight to a couple of souvenir stores (after a hearty meal of course). And trust me, there is no shortage of these said stores in that area even during ungodly hours. There, I found what I dubbed as “Audrey Hepburn went to Hawaii” mug amongst a sea of “I love NY” merchandises. I almost bought it, only I remember I do not drink coffee and it definitely won’t pass as a manly gift. Instead, I purchased n number of “I love NY” kitsch including my second pair of jammies.

I also had to give in to the strong urge to complete my NY “street art” collections, that is, “arts” bought from myriads of souvenir carts that line the streets of Manhattan and Times Square.

Now that the “cheesy” part of the NY tourist mantra is over, I have three other items on my “must do” list: dining NY style, quick dash to SOHO and of course, experience the cultural edification that is Broadway! For me it is sacrilegious to visit NY without going to a Broadway show. It’s tantamount to a trip to Israel sans Jerusalem pilgrimage or going to San Francisco sans visiting Golden Gate Bridge. Ok you get the picture.

So what did I do to satisfy my epicurean curiosity? Well, there were 2 trips to the steak house, including Sardi’s and then there was this delightfully serendipitous discovery of a great Mediterranean restaurant. I must admit, the chicken shawarma I had was even better that the ones I had in Istanbul. Maybe I just didn’t know where to eat in Turkey, maybe not. I wanted to see for myself what makes the Shake Shack restaurant famous but there was a long line and we were pressed for time.

Now on to SOHO… What I found most disappointing about this district is the fact that most of the brands they have there are also present in San Francisco. The exceptions are the quintessential NY shopping experience that is the vintage stores. The traffic to SOHO was maddening and I thought for a moment that I lost my mind but I know that I am completely sane because of my unwillingness to pay $5,00 for a vintage Chanel. I’ve already been ripped off by hiring a car service, which is the direct result of my epic failure to flag down a cab in NY during rush hour, and there is no way on earth that I will indulge in the ludicrousness of purchasing something that pricey.

At last we came to the coda of this whole trip: Broadway! So what did I pick as the one show I need to see while there? Wicked.

Wow. What a captivating show! Everything about it is mesmerizing.  The brilliant storyline – a back story, a prequel of some sort to the beloved characters of the Wizard of Oz; the ingenious musical score, the delightful comedy, the exquisite sartorial production. What’s not to love? Definitely the highlight of the journey! Do not leave New York without seeing this 🙂