photo of the day (mom and clare take manhattan)

I have been wanting to take Clare to the theater in New York for a very long time. I don’t know why we haven’t gone before. We have been to many local theater productions and the New York ballet several times. But we have never made it to a Broadway show. One day while surfing the web,  I discovered the Kids’ Night on Broadway event and decided it was time. I ordered us a couple of tickets to see Billy Elliot. Ok, Wicked would have been our first choice but they were sold out quickly for this promotion. I loved the movie version of Billy Elliot and had high hopes for the play.

We haven’t been to the city in quite a while. With the weather we have been having, we haven’t been out of the house much. I was really looking forward to getting on the train to Manhattan.

The one thing I hate about traveling around the city in the winter is having to bundle up for the cold. Between the coat, the hat, gloves, scarf, and all the rest of the gear I was carrying around, I felt like a parade float. I was definitely over dressed. If I had listened to the husband, I would have gone in like Nanook of the North. As it was, I ended up walking around the city dressed somewhat like an Eskimo.  Carrying around a heavy coat, a purse, a heavy camera, an extra lens, a bag with assorted sundries and whatever purchases we’ve made along the way made going in and out of stores challenging to say the least. By the time we left the store, I was sweating like a pig and that made the cold temperatures outside preferable to the heat. And seriously, it wasn’t even all that cold in New York.

We had a few hours to kill before the play and Clare had discovered that there was a Nintendo store in Manhattan so after a quick bowl of soup in Grand Central Station, we walked over to Rockefeller Center. Did anyone else know there is a Lego Store there too? I really like this plaque. It’s made of Legos. Cool, huh? We made it over to the Nintendo store and I was completely underwhelmed. Clare bought a few Pokémon figurines but really, there was not much to look at. At least for me. We wandered through the shopping concourse at 30 Rock for a bit and then back downtown to the theater.

Billy Elliot was wonderful. Funny, sad, tragic, happy, triumphant, exhilarating. Clare and I loved it. Just so you know, even though the story is about kids, it’s not really a kid’s show. The language is a bit, well, raw and the story is tough in spots. Definitely, PG-13. Of course, the family with the toddler and the 2 bratty little girls sitting behind us didn’t seem to know that. Why is it that anyone would bring a 3 year old into a theater, expect him to sit quietly for almost 3 hours and then not take him into the lobby he starts to whine and cry in the middle of a play? Tourists!

It was just about 5 pm when the play let out. Clare and I weren’t quite ready to head home just yet so we wandered around Times Square a bit. It was much less crowded than it had been in the heat of the summer when we visited last.

Times Square is always a mecca for the strange and unusual. Anyone have a clue who this guy is? A Russian priest directing traffic?

I looked up for a moment and saw this scene in one of the buildings overlooking Broadway. Notice anything odd?

As we were walking down Broadway (or was it 7th Avenue?) Clare asked if we could stop in the Toys R Us. We have never been inside the Toys R Us in Times Square. The main reason is that I am an FAO Schwarz girl at heart. If you aren’t from the New York area that might not mean much to you. But when I was a little girl and we still got dressed up each time we ventured in to the city from the ‘burbs, FAO Schwarz was a very big deal. They had life size Steiff stuffed animals. They had a slide to get from one floor to another. They had amazing hand made wooden marionettes. Their toys were imported from countries other than China. When Toys R Us appeared on the scene, they were where you went to get the cheap stuff. The toys you were going to play with and then break instead of care for and maybe pass on to your kids. I have heard that Toys R Us has once again purchased FAO Schwarz. The first time they did, they turned FAO Schwarz from a truly special toy store into a mini version all their other junky toy stores. I was so disappointed that I didn’t go back until I heard they had been sold again to a private company that wanted return FAO Schwarz to the unique store it once was. So you get it. I am prejudiced against Toys R Us.

But this time I decided, what the heck? We went inside. If nothing else, we’d get to see the Ferris Wheel that stretches 3 or 4 floors as you enter the building. I have to admit. This Toys R Us is pretty cool. There are amazing Lego creations that are even better than the ones in the Lego store. There’s a huge animatronic  dinosaur. The Toys R Us in Times Square is not like any Toys R Us I’ve ever been in.

The highlight of the visit for Clare was finding a “furry” friend wandering around the store. He seemed a nice enough person and offered to pose for this picture before the store security asked him to take off his mask. I didn’t stay for the whole conversation but apparently it’s store policy that you can’t wander around in costume in a Toys R Us unless they have hired you to do so. Oh well.

It was late by then and Clare and I were getting pretty tired. After a quick bite to eat, we caught a train back home. Clare and I are planning another visit to the city, hopefully next week. We haven’t been to any museums in a very long time. A trip to the MOMA, perhaps? Stay tuned!

~ by photobella on 9 February, 2011.

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