So, first to Washington DC for business and then to New York for fun :)
DC was a different kind of fun.... Relais & Chateaux's parties are needlees to say, world-class events. The highlight of the trip was being in the same room with Colin Powell. He recommended those push-cart hotdogs, sometimes called 'dirty-water dog', laid in a really thin bun, mustard and a red relish that one can only find in New York.
And as many are aware by now, Broadway truly regrets that there is no show ever since the strike against the League of American Theatres & Producers on November 10. For those who aren't aware (duh..), in a nutshell, theater owners and producers were demanding a 38% cut in production and performers' jobs and wages whilst record-breaking revenues were pouring into their pockets. A middle class life for working people was all the strike was trying to hold on to, that said, maintaining their small slice of the Broadway pie.
So there I was, arrived thinking what luck! Not be able to see any shows? It has to happen of course on my very 1st trip right? Shit.... After all these years of hearing about Broadway, Chorus Line, Phantom of the Opera, La Miserables and recently Chicago, Hairspray etc... you know what, I ended up watching all of them! Yes, beginner's luck I guess HAH!
I saw in the news Broadway's strike was finally over and shows opened the very next day! wow. So many had been disappointed having traveled this far from all over the world yet not see shows during this time. This is really fate la. I even went to Cirque Du Soleil which was happening at the most famous arena in the world - Madison Square Garden.
S.U.P.E.R! Another great start with New York.
Now what's really really SUPER was the amount of money I managed to save from show tickets. I tell you, you're truly privileged because you're reading my blog. I'm gonna tell you the WHAT-WHERE-HOW to get it ok because drama queens like us deserve it ;)
So if you're heading out to New York City anytime soon, plan ahead by googling :
DOWNLOAD a pdf file called DISCOUNT ENERTAINMENT GUIDE and PRINT it.
take the page that shows the musical you want to see to the BOX OFFICE at the theatre playing the show then exchange it for your discount at the counter when purchasing your ticket! This piece of paper is like a discount voucher and can save you up to 50%.
So, go for the best seats dude.
The good thing is, you can print as many sheets of the same page as you like. Well, you definitely have to if the 2 or 3 shows you want to watch appear on the same page.
If you're staying in Broadway, your hotel might have access to these plumbenefits.
Really, the city doesn't sleep! That sort of energy I've not quite experienced in other countries...
Midnight traffic looks just like it's 3pm. People were Christmas shopping everywhere, night and day... and the window displays at Macy's and Sach's are world-class amazing. Evidently a city not only fun for adults but kids too definitely.
Design for 'shop-till-you-drop' shopholics, NYC is really a fantastic shopping city. You can't possibly get lost because all streets are so clearly marked you gotta be really blur la to be sesat ok. I mean you can walk endlessly from 42nd to 100th St. right through and it's hard to imagine anyone getting stifled as shops and boutiques line all the way and in every direction! So much to do, to see and to buy hehehehe.... really fun. But of course, who can claim having been to New York without hailing a Yellow Cab! So grab one if you're ever lost. Noticed drivers were mainly Indians.
New York City is really everything you've seen on TV - the colorful neon lights, smoking man-holes, police sirens, yellow cabs, the infamous & filthy NY subway, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, Sex and the City. It's everything you've imagined but nothing quite like what you've ever experienced. Very unique.
It just got colder and colder by the day... but it was sunny most of the days. Nice. Then on the 3rd day in New York, it snowed. Temperature plunged to -6 Celsius but that would've been tolerable if it hadn't been windy. Gosh, the winds! Ah...this is the time when nothing's more comforting than the hot Starbuck's latte in your hands which heats up your insides while you beat the cold through the streets on a freeeeeezing day like this....
SHOPPING in NEW YORK
Ouh. Ouh. OUH! 3 places I spent most time at are Macy's (the big one on Broadway Avenue CANNOT be missed for shopholics alike) and Victoria's Secret (I've grazed all 3 outlets, spending hours in each) and of course H&M (there're so many outlets in the city I've lost count).
Let me now break it down for you :
MACY'S - don't know where to find all the celebrity fashion labels? Well, this place is heaven! They're all here; Beyonce's House of Dereon, Kimora Lee's Baby Phat, JLO's Just Sweet, Paris Hilton's line, Fergie's bags, Jessica Simpson's shoes. (Average shopping time spent : 4 hours)
H&M - there're so many outlets dotted around the city, some with more stuffs than others like lingerie. Mmmm....sweet. Nice corsets too. Clothes and accessories from $1 up. (Average shopping time spent : 5 hours) Of course, the first thing I asked for was Madonna's range but sold out on day one already. Am I surprised? So was Roberto Cavalli's. So no luck, what to do, gotta hit his boutique instead then!
JUST CAVALLI - between 52nd and 54th St. Learnt from Tyra Bank's morning show it had just opened. This place is pure indulgence. My favorite designer, really. Almost everything was 40% off! How could anyone not get snared?? Oooh....I got some nice nice nice stuffs :) (Average shopping time spent : 3 hours)
VICTORIA'S SECRET - Now which female on earth wouldn't agree Victoria's Secret is like every woman's candy house? God! This place is every female's (and male's) dream come true. Undies were going at 3 for $25, 5 for $30, corsets, perfumes like SuperModel, Dream Angels, Pink, Very Sexy, lotions, bath gels, cosmetics, Vic Secret trinkets, Ipod covers, passport covers, luggage tags and the list goes on....the things, the packaging that tempt you so bad you just wanna take everything home! It's not funny... women can step out of there feeling like she's robbed and raped you know. Aiyoh....you folks who know me well can visualize me going nuts in there no?! (Average shopping time spent : 3 hours a few trips a day)
APPLE STORE - on Fifth Avenue, you won't miss this glass house on the roadside. iPhones were going at only USD$399 (so i bought one) and iPOD Classic 80Gb only USD$199 (i bought one too).
EATING in NEW YORK
Oh. Before we even got there, we already knew where to feed ourselves. Being in the business, it's highly unlikely of us that we don't go check out some of these successful, exquisite, world-famous restaurants. For god's sake it's New York!
Nobu (Mr.Robert De Niro's place) - Japanese Cuisine - EXCELLENT
Buddakan - Chinese & French Cuisine - EXCELLENT
Spice Market - Modern Asian Cuisine - SUPER EXCELLENT
TAO - Oriental/Chinese Cuisine - DISAPPOINTING
BRAVO Pizza - a little shop on Broadway Ave between 36th & 37th, their pizza by the slice is the BEST.
I couldn't have asked for more. In the first place, I didn't expect to walk into any Hollywood superstar let alone Johnny Depp. How often do you hear people just stumble upon a Hollywood movie premiere?! Yup, coincidental as it is ridiculous, I did just that without even trying! Yup, it IS beginner's luck. And so, my destiny to meet Johnny Depp manifested on Monday Dec2, 2007. It so happened Broadway shows take break on Mondays, that was why we ended up shopping (AGAIN) on Fifth.
Sweeny Todd it was... the red carpet and stretched limos, just like you see on E! You know, I was only trying to get to the legendary Zeigfeld Theatre on Fifth Avenue but ended up touching Johnny Depp's hand (er..without gloves on ya excuse me...), looked right into his eyes and screamed his name. Aiyoh... he smelled so good.
Also saw Mega Director Tim Burton and veteran actor who plays judge, Alan Rickman.
Now isn't that just the coolest way to end my week-long vacation in New York.
Lastly, here are HOTELS recommended for DRAMA QUEENS :
Broadway Inn (where I stayed - USD$250@night - incredibly convenient, musicals playing in theatres right outside my window!)
W New York-Times Square