October 5th, 2005

NYC Vacation - Day 2

We started our day with breakfast on the patio garden, where Charlie, the resident feline, breezed by my leg. This is what he looks like:

I enjoyed my bagel and coffee, while catching up with the morning news online, checking in on AIM, and checking my e-mail.

Just after noon, we took the subway up to 42nd Street to see if we could get tickets for the 2:00 matinée of The Lion King.

While walking through Times Square, we passed by two people trying to give tickets away to attend today's taping of Late Night with David Letterman starting at 5:30 PM.

We considered it until hearing that you couldn't attend a matinée and make the taping, and decided it was more important to us to see The Lion King, so we moved on.

We arrived at the New Amsterdam Theater, and got in a very short line at the box office.

There turned out to be only single seats left in the orchestra section, and we had to decide between sitting separately in that section or taking two seats together in the balcony.

We decided on sitting separately in the orchestra section. Since there is some "activity in the aisles" during this show, we wanted to be on the ground floor.

We got one seat in row V in the center section, the other in row G, but almost all the way stage right. Since I'd already seen the show, I wanted Steve to have the better seat, so we asked the ticket agent for advice on that. "Definitely give him the center section seat, even though it's further back."

I had the third seat in, from the wall, in my row. To the left of me sat a French couple, whose daughter sat in the very end seat on the row in front of them. They yammered throughout the entire show, and several times I started to "Shush!" them, but didn't. If I hadn't already seen this show, I would have.

To my right sat an Asian woman, who appeared to be with the two people sitting on the other side of her. After some time, I looked down to see the ends of her feet where you would expect her thighs to be. They just seemed to stick right out of her torso.

My first thought (not at all politically correct) was, "Why, she looks like a collapsed umbrella." One of those kinds that you push the handle way up into the umbrella when it's closed. She sat on a "booster seat cushion" like they give to little kids.

At the end of the show, she stood on that cushion for the standing ovation, and the top of her head just about reached my shoulders. She couldn't see who she was clapping for, for sure.

And a standing ovation this show deserved. Once again, I found myself totally mesmerized by the costumes, characters, and imagery in this play. Quintessential Broadway.

After the show, we walked over to the Gershwin Theater on West 51st, to enter the lottery for Wicked. I won the lottery last year, and we thought, even though we'd already purchased tickets for tonight's performance, "Why not?"

At a little after 5:00, we got in the line to sign up. Steve went for a stroll, and while he was gone, the girl in front of me asked me if I would save her place in line while she ran to an ATM machine. You have to buy your tickets with cash if you win.

When she came back, she asked me if I was there alone.

"No, I'm with a friend," I replied.

"Oh, okay. I was going to try and double my chances," she said.

This is exactly what I went through last year when I was there alone.

I said to her, "Well, if we win, we already have orchestra seats for tonight, that we're going to try and sell."

"How much?" she asked?

Though we'd paid $100 for them, I said, "I'm willing to sell mine for $70.00."

"I want it," she said quickly. "I want to see this show."

After more talking it came out that she only wanted to buy one of them, which didn't really appeal to me as I thought it might be easier to sell two rather than one. We were getting ahead of ourselves, though, so I just left it alone.

Steve returned just before 5:30 as the line was moving up to the table where you put your name and how many tickets you will buy if you win -- a maximum of two -- on a 3x5 index card. We did that and waited until the drawing at 6:00.

The first name was called, and a girl squealed from the back. At about the 10th name (of 14), we heard, "Steven A. Moore," my friend!

We were thrilled, and I was absolutely stunned that I was going to, yet again, see Wicked on the front row for $25.00.

Then the drama of selling our other tickets started.

While Steve was waiting in the "winner's line" to have his name verified, and to purchase his two tickets for $25.00 a piece, I went to the box office to see what we could do with our tickets.

We wanted to sell them "legally," as they'd made a big announcement outside while we were waiting for the lottery about problems they've been having with counterfeit tickets lately.

I explained to the sales agent, that I had two orchestra seat tickets for tonight's performance, but that we'd won the lottery so would like to sell them. "We can try and sell them for you, but we already have a couple ahead of yours to sell."

"That's okay. It's sold out, right?"

"Yes," he replied.

"And how much would we get for them?" I asked.

"Face value," he said.

I went back to tell the girl who was in front of me in line that they'd give us $100 for them inside, and I'm sorry to take back my offer of $70.00."

"Well, I can't pay $100 for it," she said, "but that's okay."

I asked her, "Are you from around here that you can try the lottery another day?"

"I'm from South Beach," she said.

After almost being thrown off the property and having the cops called on me by this guy working the lobby that definitely had one those "loving the power," "our show is on top and we can do whatever we want" attitude, and after I tired to do the right thing with the box office, I was fit to be tied.

I ended up selling that girl my ticket for $70.00, and we left Steve's ticket with the box office for them to sell for $100.00. "Just leave it here, and check back right before the show starts and we'll let you know if we've sold it." They were so cocky, and just plain rude.

During the hour-and-a-half we had before Wicked started, we walked over to the Winter Garden Theater to try and get Mama Mia tickets for Friday night. Because the entry for that play on the discount sheet crossed over two pages, and we didn't have the 2nd page with discount code on it, we were not able to buy tickets.

We walked over to the Neil Simon Theater, where luck was with us for Hairspray tickets -- 4th row center -- for tomorrow night.

We walked over to Rockefeller Center, where we checked on tickets for the NBC Studio Tour.

We had only enough time to grab a quick bite before Wicked, so we stopped at the TGIF close to the theater. I ordered the $15.95 Club Sandwich and Steve had the $15.95 Philly Cheese Steak sandwich, which was made with American cheese. The fries were not even fresh. What a racket. Talk about location, location, location. Rip off, rip off, rip off.

Back at the theater, we encountered more drama with Steve's ticket.

On our way to be seated, at about 7:40 for the 8:00 show, Steve stopped at the box office to check on the ticket.

"We won't even talk to you until one minute before the show starts. Come back then." Just plain cocky and rude.

We took our front row seats, and as I opened my Playbill, the piece of paper announcing this performance's understudies fell to the floor. Our biggest fear: "The role of Madame Morrible will be played by Jan Neuberger." This was the Rue McClanahan role.

At about 7:50, Steve headed back to the lobby. More drama ensued there, where they told him they were going to try and get $30 for the ticket, but the fact that he was "in the area" and it was "before one minute until the show," they weren't going to sell it. We were both so livid. What pompous asses.

When it was all said and done, we calculated that, in essence, we'd paid $90 a piece instead of $100, and we had front row seats. Good enough.

The conductor for this show was such a beautiful man. He was so young, and totally into his work. He was a pleasure to watch.

In spite of all the drama, we enjoyed the show. The understudy for Rue did a decent job, but Steve was still very disappointed to miss out on the chance to "meet" Rue.

Back at the room, Steve showered and I changed clothes, and we walked to a bar close by called The Rawhide.

Rawhide 212 8th Avenue, Phone: 212-242-9332 Website: [bad link]
Leather, Levi Bar right in the heart of Chelsea. Small but friendly. A great place to start a New York visit, where you can meet friendly down-to-earth locals who will let you in on what is going on that week in the Big Apple. Pool table. Very cruisy.

I'll accept the fact that this bar is "very cruisy" on other nights, but it wasn't tonight. To begin with it's a small bar, and there weren't that many patrons in it.

We started off with two shots and a bourbon and Diet Coke each. We wanted shots of Goldschlager, but they were all out of it. We settled for Peppermint Schnapps.

The total was $21.00, but with our change we each received a red ticket good for another bourbon and Diet Coke free.

Steve spoke for a while with a guy who had bad breath. He got the scoop on a couple of other bars in the area called "The View Bar" and "Baracuda."

Later, while Steve was sitting up on this ledge along the wall, this totally geeky, freaky guy hopped up next to him. Steve called me over to stand between his legs like we were "together."

Grossness did not take the hint and rubbed Steve's leg anyway. This must be the very cruisy part of the bar.

I finished Steve's drink, and we walked over to Baracuda, a couple of blocks away. Beside it was a video store called The Unicorn.

We saw a couple of drag queens come out of Baracuda, and I decided not to go in when Steve said he wanted to check out The Unicorn.

We said goodnight, and I walked home.