NYC - April 7 to 11, 2006
I was looking with envy at all of the great photos shared on Facebook recently of the Carrick-on-Suir Musical Society’s run of The Phantom of the Opera. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it down to experience it in person. Knowing the amazing musical talent that exists in my little hometown, I wasn’t at all surprised to hear the rave reviews and that there were standing ovations every night. I would expect nothing less knowing the wonderful people involved. “Phantom” is one of my favourite shows ever. I was lucky enough to see the Broadway production in April 2006 at the Majestic Theatre on West 44th Street in New York. It was truly spectacular. That whole trip with Charlie, being his first time in New York and my second, was so memorable. In this week’s blog post I share a little of what we did and saw. Enjoy!
We flew on a Friday (7 April 2006) 5:20 pm flight with Aer Lingus from Dublin to JFK Terminal 4. I was seated in seat 29H on an Airbus A330. In economy, I always like to sit mid-plane or at the back. My thinking is, you never hear of a plane reversing into a mountain! 😂 Anyway, lucky we didn’t have to worry about anything like that as we relaxed on the seven-and-a-half-hour journey.
We grabbed a taxi from JFK to the Fitzpatrick Manhattan Hotel; that amazing home-away-from-home on Lexington Avenue. Check-in was swift and friendly and soon we were settling in to our one-bedroom suite; our home for the next four nights.
Above: Enjoying our rooms at Fitzpatrick Manhattan Hotel (7-11 April 2006
The following morning (Saturday 8 April 2006) we had intended to take a hop-on hop off bus tour with Grayline Bus Tour around the city and go out to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Unfortunately, it was bucketing rain and although we were given plastic ponchos to wear, we decided that visibility on the tour bus was so bad that we would hop off after an hour so we did and took the subway down to the former World Trade Centre. This was 5 years after the 9/11 attacks and Ground Zero was just finished being cleared. Work had just started on the reflecting pools the month before we arrived in 2006. Work had yet to start on the construction of One World Trade. We just stood a while in silence and thought about that terrible day.
Because it was Saturday, the traditional shopping day at home, we then did some shopping in the nearby Forever 21 Store. We then took the subway back up town to browse around more shops. The credit cards took a battering that day!!
We had tickets for The Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic Theatre that night. It had become Broadway's longest-running show on Jan. 9 of the year we visited, and hit the 7,500-performance mark at the Jan. 21 matinee. The Harold Prince production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical about a lovesick, scarred genius living in the bowels of the Paris Opera House also turned 18 years old on Jan. 26 of that year. But even after 18 years, The Cameron Mackintosh/Really Useful Group, Inc. production of Phantom of the Opera continued to play to near-capacity audiences in New York and was consistently among Broadway's highest-grossing shows.
Above: My original programme from The Phantom of the Opera - 8 April 2006
When we were there the current company included Howard McGillin as the title character but we had Stephen R. Buntrock on the night we were there. And I can truly say that his acting and singing were wonderful.
Based the classic novel "Le Fantôme de L’Opéra" by Gaston Leroux, the musical "tells the story of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, exercising a reign of terror over all who inhabit it. He falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine, and devotes himself to creating a new star by nurturing her extraordinary talents and by employing all of the devious methods at his command.
It was an amazing experience, the Majestic IS Majestic, I loved the staging, singing, acting. I have always been a fan of the Phantom, and this was all I expected and more.
We walked back through Times Square and ate in Planet Hollywood and the energy was electric:
The following morning, (Sunday 9 April 2006) we had breakfast in a nearby diner with Charlie dying for a decent cup of tea – very hard to find in the US.
We then headed for the Liberty Helicopter heliport on 12th Ave & Wet 30th Street. As it was Sunday morning it all seemed deserted until we entered the modern facility which was teeming with people. We checked in to the “New York, New York” package and after the safety instruction we were soon onboard. I got to sit in the front with the pilot who gave us a wonderful tour through our headphones.
We lifted off into clear blue skies and headed south, down the Hudson River toward the harbour, passing Ellis Island, catching a birds-eye-view of the Statue of Liberty.
We got a spectacular view of Governors Island, The Verrazano Bridge that joins Brooklyn and Staten Island. We then turned back up the Hudson, past the US Aircraft Carrier – USS Intrepid with the BA Concorde visible there. Along the Hudson River we could see from the air where the World Trade Centre Buildings had once stood….. It was really sobering to see the big gap where the Twin Towers once stood.
We were soon over MidTown and its famous skyscrapers: Empire State Building, Chrysler and Met Life Buildings. The we were along by Central Park heading over Yankee Stadium – home of the New York Yankees.
The pilot also pointed out St. John The Divine Cathedral, Columbia University, George Washington Bridge and the Palisades of New Jersey. If you pardon the pun, our 17 Minutes in the helicopter flew by! Soon we were landing! It was pricey but worth every penny!
We took in the sights of the city on that bright Saturday morning as we headed away from the heliport. We next headed to the Empire State Building in Midtown and took some photos from there around midday. Below us Manhattan stretched for miles and we were lucky that the day was so bright.
We headed down to Macy’s and explored that whole area of town. That evening was very special as we headed to the famous Tavern on the Green in Central Park which features in several films. We had booked dinner for 7pm and it was stunning there with all of the twinkling fairy lights. We had a couple of pre-dinner cocktails and then a delicious meal. We wandered out into Central Park and watched people going by in the horse-drawn carriages. Truly magical.
On the Monday morning (10 April 2006) we soaked up the atmosphere as people rushed off to work. We had a blast in Toys R Us and FAO Schwartz and then brought our purchases back to the hotel.
(Above) Toys for Sale - NYC - 10 April 2006
In the afternoon, we headed to the Rockefeller Centre and stood watching the skaters for ages. We finished the day on Top of the Rock just as the sun was going down over Central Park and the lights were coming on in the Empire State Building.
(Above) View from Top of the Rock, NYC - 10 April 2006
On the Tuesday (11 April 2006) we just went out for our last breakfast, did last minute shopping and headed for JFK airport in the early afternoon. We were flying home at 6pm with Aer Lingus on another Airbus A330 but this time it would be an overnight lasting six and a half hours arriving into Dublin at 5:30am on Wednesday. We arrived home tired but happy.
I’ve had the pleasure of returning to New York since…but that trip with Charlie will remain special. ❤️
Bucket List Items Ticked Off in the above Blog post 103
Number 57 - Travel - 7 Continents - North America
Number 58 - Travel - 80 Countries - USA
Number 59 - Travel - 80 Hotels
Number 80 - Experiences - 80 Tall Buildings/ Vantage Points
Other Blog Posts
Blog 11 - Sydney, Australia
Blog 12 - Hong Kong, China
Blog 17 - Beijing, Xi'an & Shanghai, China
Blog 19 - California, USA
Blog 27 - Scotland
Blog 28 - Barbados
Blog 29 - Canada
Have you been to New York? Tell me about your experience in the comments section below.
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My name is Mary and this is my bucket list blog ...having survived a near-death experience. I hope it encourages you to "live your best life". See how I'm completing my own bucket list items. And let me know how you're getting on with yours!