After spending my January birthday weekend in New York last year, I became a convert and proselytizer for winter travel in the Big Apple. When my friends discussed returning to the city this year, I was on board immediately. Once again, we had a riotous time making the city our own, with endless walks and far fewer tourists than any other time of the year.
With our travel day marginally impacted by a surprise storm, we arrived in NYC to find sunny skies and melting snow.
Alan Cumming Sang Us Sappy Songs
The highlight of the trip, and the reason for going in the first place, was to see singing-dancing-acting-bon vivant Alan Cumming sing a set of sappy songs for our enjoyment.
This show was a delight for a couple of reasons.
1) Alan Cumming. Full stop. He is a born showman and kept us laughing and singing along from beginning to end.
2) Carnegie Hall. It was my first time there and couldn’t stop laughing at this riff on the famed hall’s reputation in the form of a wifi password.
Hamilton: Lottery dreams
When we got to the city, the first order of business was finding ways to entertain ourselves. Before leaving Canada, we entered the #Ham4Ham digital lottery for impossible-to-obtain-otherwise $10 tickets to Hamilton. The schedule for the lottery varies depending on the performance schedule for the day.
Entering the lottery was really easy. Go to the site, enter your info, validate your email address when you receive the confirmation email, wait for a computer to draw your entry. This ease of use probably means the odds of winning are quite terrible.
Probably the best thing about the Hamilton lottery is that your fate is delivered swiftly. All four of us entered the lottery, and started receiving our email notifications of results shortly after 4pm. Sadly, our efforts were an utter failure. A repeat attempt a couple of days later was equally fruitless, but it was fun to imagine winning, if only for a minute. Seeing Hamilton is now a top priority in my life. I’m all signed up to buy tickets in the next block release, I WILL GET THERE.
Something Rotten on Broadway
Hamilton disappointment set aside, I knew I was going to see something fun since I already had tickets for a new favourite show, Something Rotten. A spectacle which weaves together Shakespeare, prognostication, and tap dancing, what more do you need?
The original Broadway cast is starting to move on to other things, so I thought I should see another performance before Brian d’Arcy James or Christian Borle head to sunnier pastures. The show remains riotously entertaining, with catchy songs and lots of dancing, my sweet spot for peak entertainment. There is also a $35 ticket lottery, which I just learned about. You bet I’ll be trying that next time.
Book of Mormon on Broadway
My group fared much better at the Book of Mormon $32 ticket lottery. On Friday night, one of my friends won tickets and on Tuesday, another one won tickets, so it was a solid success all around. The BoM lottery is the same as when I won it a couple of years ago, except now you don’t get a button when you win.
High Line in Winter
You don’t need to ask me twice to go for a walk on the High Line. It was much warmer on this February morning than when I did the walk on my birthday last year. After a terrific brunch at Friedmans in Chelsea Market, I took a Bloody Mary-fuelled stroll in my favourite park in the world.
Saturday in Chinatown
Chinatown is always good for a wander, especially when you find delights like this old school sign for Chung’s Candy & Soda Stand.
On this day, we were on a mission. We were looking for sheet masks, and Korean beauty chain The Face Shop was our destination (Elizabeth St, between Canal and Bayard in Chinatown). Man alive, did we go to town in that place. In the haze of the buy-10-get-2-free promotion, I found myself buying things I would normally pass by without a second glance. Now, I am the proud owner of beauty products made by snails, who are probably unaware of their stake in maintaining my youthful appearance.
Sunday Brunch in Brooklyn
I stayed in Brooklyn last year and fell hard for the bar around the corner, Midwood Flats (Flatbush Ave at Midwood St in Prospect Park-Lefferts Gardens). Getting there was no easy feat, after running into the usual weekend train diversions, with the added twist of having our stop bypassed entirely for unstated reasons. Transit!
Their thick-cut bacon is otherworldly. I don’t know what kind of wizardry they perform on it, but I thought about it from September until I had it again in February, and continue to think about it since I had it a couple of weeks ago.
Laughing Man’s perfect Flat White
I’m a habitual coffee drinker and have longed for a proper flat white since I learned of its existence. When I discovered Hugh Jackman owned a coffee shop in New York City called Laughing Man in support of his Laughing Man Foundation, the plan was set.
Laughing Man sells coffee and goods from a small storefront in Tribeca, while it’s easy to find, it’s not easy to stay. Seating is limited to two chairs outside and a bit of space in the window. Not ideal in February, which is okay because Tribeca is great for walking around and having a look while drinking your coffee.
It was all worth it: Hugh Jackman’s flat white was perfect.
Bonus Night: Late Night with Seth Meyers
Weather threw a minor wrench into our travel plans on our last day. This is the upside to winter travel – bonus day in New York! We started working the internet to figure out fun ways to pass the time. I was similarly weather delayed last year and got standby tickets to Late Night with Seth Meyers. Seeing that John Oliver was going to be the guest that night, we headed over to NBC with our photo ID to line up for same-day standby tickets.
There is one standby line for Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers, so we got in line behind 30 or so people and awaited further instruction. An audience coordinator appeared shortly after 9am and asked everyone waiting for Seth Meyers tickets to step aside. My friend and I were the only ones to do so, netting us standby tickets #1 and #2. Mission accomplished – we got in and had a great time at the show!
As usual, I had a great time in New York. So much so, I have a separate post coming about all of the great craft beer I found while I was there. Stay tuned!
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