Thursday, December 15, 2016

An Afternoon in Manhattan with Friends, 12/10/16

Two of my closest friends in the world, met me Saturday at Rockefeller Center, in NYC the day I flew into LaGuardia for a visit with our daughter, Amanda. They both live in the Philadelphia area and when they learned I would be in NYC, made plans to spend time together. What a treat!

I was at Amanda's apartment in Astoria (Queens) by 11 am (flying in from the SW Florida Regional Airport near Ft. Myers). She had to work two shows (Sweet Charity at the Signature Theatre starring the fabulous Sutton Foster) Saturday, so I was free the entire day. We took the subway from Astoria to 42nd Street where we parted ways for her to get to work and me to meet Claire and Lisa at Rockefeller Center

As I walked through Times Square to our meeting place, the streets were packed with people. And the traffic in Manhattan is absolutely the worst, but mostly taxis and buses. No question, the subway is the best way to get around here.

The Jimmy Fallon Show is filmed at the Rockefeller Center. At Radio City Music Hall ( where their Christmas Spectacular show runs 6 times a day, there were so many people waiting in line you could hardly walk along the street. And there are holiday decorations everywhere in this part of the city!

We met near the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center. This year it is 94' tall, 56' wide, is decorated with 500,000 LED lights, and is topped with a 9.5' 550-pound Swarovski crystal star. The skating rink is at the Lower Plaza of Rockefeller.  

The sculpture of Greek god, Prometheus, bringing fire to man, is of gilded-cast bronze and 18' tall weighing 8 tons. It was created by Paul Manship in 1934 and is reportedly the most photographed sculpture in NYC. As you can see, the Christmas Tree is situated directly above it. 

Our next stop was the beautiful StPatrick's Cathedral. Of course, the architecture is in sharp contrast to the surrounding skyscrapers, but offers an amazing island of serenity in the hustle and bustle of the city. 

I loved the Advent Wreath and pipe organ (in the rear of the church). It goes without saying that the stained glass windows here are gorgeous. The crèche featured life-sized figures. We all lit a candle (for a $2/donation) and said a short prayer next to it. Just beautiful.

We were planning to eat lunch at the Stardust Diner (, where the servers are all aspiring Broadway stars who sing for their customers, but the line was super long and a one to two hour wait. Instead we went to a lovely nearby restaurant, Azalea (www.azalearistorantenyc,com) nearby where we had a delicious, leisurely lunch, drank a bottle of wine, and caught up with each. 

The Top of the Rock (the top of Rockefeller Center, that is) was our next stop ( After purchasing tickets (we had to wait about an hour to take the elevator up to the 68th floor), we spent some time checking out the stores in the area. We tried to find a place to get a cocktail, but every place nearby was packed with standing room only! When we reached the top, the views of the city were spectacular!

Our last adventure for the day was a trek to the Signature Theatre to see Amanda for a few minutes before the evening show of Sweet Charity. We walked through Times Square and past the theatre where Hamilton is playing (sold out for the next couple of years!)

The lobby at the Signature Theatre has a Cafe, Bookstore, and there was some jazz music adding to the lovely ambiance. We enjoyed some wine while we visited with Amanda (and she kept checking in at work). It was a delightful visit! 

We enjoyed some wine while we visited with Amanda. It was a delightful visit! 

Lisa and Claire departed for Penn Station for their train to PA and I headed for the subway back to Astoria. What a great time I had with Claire and Lisa as we had not seen each other for about 18 months. It was awesome that they made the trip from Philadelphia! We hope to do it again sometime in the future.

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