Thursday, 26 June 2008
We had two big things on our agenda today - a tour of Yankee Stadium and "Young Frankenstein" - so we hit the ground running. We had the name of some Chelsea area restaurants, so we got our bearings and walked over to Madeleine Patisserie for breakfast. Kim had a ham and cheese croissant and I had Canadian bacon and grilled onion quiche, which also came with a salad. I'm not accustomed to having salad with breakfast, but it was good! This little restaurant is famous for their macarons (no, not macaroons) but we did not get any this morning, thinking we might stop back by. That didn't happen, so I'll have to try a macaron some other time. It was raining a little bit, so we had our jackets and hoods on, which was making us pretty sticky and hot, as it was warming up fast and was pretty humid.
We were already a little stressed, just knowing we had to get ourselves from lower Manhattan to the Bronx on the subway. But, being the intelligent, intrepid adventurers that we are, we made our way to the subway entrance and entered the underworld. Even though we had specific instructions about which trains to take, we did what any smart Southern girls would do - we went to the window and asked what to do. The attendant could not have been nicer - she sold us our tickets, told us how and when to change trains, and pointed us in the right direction. Now, if only we could follow her instructions! We did pretty well, only having to ask a nice man at the next stop which train we were supposed to get on (we had been in the right place) and soon we were arriving in the Bronx. Of course, we went the wrong way when we got off, so we stopped in a little grocery store and got re-oriented.
Once we went around the corner in the right direction, there it was, right in front of us - the hallowed grounds of Yankee Stadium! And immediately across the street was the new stadium, well underway. For those of you who are not big baseball fans, this is the last year that the venerable old stadium will be used, as it is slated to be demolished once the new venue is completed. The first game in "The House That Ruth Built" was played in 1923, so you can imagine that it's seen a lot of wear and tear. Read more about it at http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=nyy and see some great photos. On the way from the subway to the stadium, we met a dad with his daughter and son who were also going for a tour. They were from Lubbock, Texas, and we had fun chatting with them. It was raining pretty steadily so we all sought shelter under awnings as we waited for the tour to begin.
Soon we were inside, being separated into four groups. Our group began the tour in the Yankee clubhouse, which was a big surprise - not all the tours get to go in the clubhouse. This was the only place we couldn't take pictures, but it was still fun. A couple of things of interest - the late Thurmon Munson (a Yankee who was killed in a plane crash) still has a locker and Derek Jeter has two lockers - the one he uses like everyone uses, and the one next to it that is full of his fan mail! From the clubhouse, we went through the tunnel and into the dugout just like the players would. That was pretty cool, too! We sat on the bench in the dugout and got to see the same view the players would during a game. By now, it had stopped raining, and we were able to fully enjoy the experience. From the dugout, we walked through the stadium (up the stairs and ramps) to the press box. One of the funniest things about that was the wire baskets used for the press kits and stat packs - it looked like something you would have seen forty or fifty years ago, especially next to the green blackboard with lineups written in chalk. Not exactly high tech here!
The view from the press box was primo! One thing we learned about was the area in the outfield bleachers called the Batter's Eye - out in dead center field was a section painted black (as opposed to Yankee blue) and no one ever sits there so that there is nothing to distract the batter from being able to see the little white ball that's coming at him. Who knew? We got a chance to buy a special version of the Yankee press guide (we bit) and then we walked out to Monument Park, which is near left field, next to the bullpen. Along the wall leading to it are the numbers of all the retired Yankee jerseys. Did you know there were two number 8's retired? Both belonged to catchers - Yogi Berra and Elston Howard. Around the corner were the monuments - some to famous Yankees like Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and some plaques commemorating things like the Papal blessings (there have been three) of Yankee Stadium and 9/11. All too soon, (even for Cardinal fans) the tour was over and we were on our way back to the subway.
Once again, we stopped to ask specifics. The attendant we asked this time was just getting off duty, so she personally escorted us to the correct train and then said, "Where in the South are you ladies from?" We just had that look about us, I guess! We had a nice chat with her and then just waited for the train to come. We were sort of leaning against the wall (germophobes, don't even think about it) and Kim had her bag on the floor at her feet. Suddenly, this man swooped in and stood right next to Kim, ostensibly reading his paper but in reality scoping out her seemingly unattended bag. We were looking at pictures on my camera (while really paying attention to everything around us) and after a while, Kim casually reached down and picked up her bag. With that, the newspaper guy left, just as quickly as he had arrived. We were almost hysterical thinking what he would have done with Kim's bag had he stolen it, since all it contained was Kim's rainjacket and Peppy!! I told her we were lucky he didn't take it - he might have come back and shot us when he saw what was in it!
We got back to the hotel without further incident, and since it was getting on in the afternoon, we looked for lunch options. Ya know, in New York City, you can eat just about anything, anywhere, at almost any price, but I'll bet there aren't many of you who would have found the Trailer Park Lounge and Grill. But the Sassy Sisters did, and it was just our speed! On our way there, we passed the iconic Hotel Chelsea, which was practically across the street from the TPL&G. The minute we stepped through the screen door (no lie!) we felt RITE at home. There was a bowling alley section, a real trailer, lots of black velvet Elvi, and tons of Southern signage and such. I'll try to post a variety of photos so you can get the full effect. At any rate, the place was practically empty (it was about 3:30) except for a few people at the bar. We had chicken salad sandwiches - Kim had mac and cheese (it was FINE!) and I had sweet potato fries - and we had really good frozen margaritas - strawberry (K) and mango (J). The place was so cool (temperature-wise, too) and entertaining that we lingered over our meal, chatted with the bartender, and took lots of pictures. I have no shame! The bartender was a fine southern boy - from South Dakota! We talked to him about all the places in SD that we had visited last summer. He doesn't miss it.
After lupper (you know, lunch/supper) we walked down to the Chelsea Market. This melange of neat shops is housed in what used to be the Nabisco factory, and boy, have they retrofitted it! It was a fantastic place, full of foods of all kinds and home (at least we think so) to the Food Network. There was definitely something Iron Cheffy going on there - we followed the VIP signs until they caught onto us. We watched bread being made and baked at Amy's Bakery, somehow passed by gelato without getting any, looked through a market full of produce, spices, dried fruits, cheeses, and more, wandered through an awesome kitchen store, and finally succumbed to ice cream (coke float for me, purple cow for Kim) at this fun little dairy bar. Got milk? We were sad to hear that the Chelsea Flower Market was closed, cause we had heard good things about it. Since we had play plans for that evening, it was time to move on. We walked back via a different route, and just enjoyed the street life of New York. Except for the man who looked around to see if anyone was looking, saw us, and peed into a fenced in churchyard anyway, right there on the street! Is nothing sacred? We crossed the street. We had a little bit of time to cool off and rest before show time, and then we were off to the theatre district.
We started out walking to the Hilton Theatre, because cabs weren't stopping on 6th right then, but by the time we got to about 30th or 32nd, we got a cab. The Hilton is at 42nd and Broadway, so Kim got to see a little slice of Times Square and all of its craziness. We were excited about seeing Young Frankenstein, as it was one of our favorite movies of all time. I just hoped it could live up to my expectations. The cast was great - Dr. Frankenstein was played by the guy who played George (the creepy pharmacist on Desperate Housewives), his fiance, Elizabeth was Megan Mulalley, who was on Will and Grace, and Inge was played by Sutton Foster, who was the lead in Thoroughly Modern Millie on Broadway a few years ago (Rex & I had seen her in that). The set and special effects were beyond fantastic, and the play stayed true to the movie, and all the hilarious jokes (and more) were in there. We were howling most of the evening! If you're a Young Frankenstein fan, you'd love the play, and if you're not a Young Frankenstein fan, I'm sorry!
After the play, we walked back to the hotel and again observed and enjoyed life in Manhattan. It is not like where we're from! It had been a long day, and by the time I downloaded pictures, we were crashing and burning. Now you know how I got so far behind on my blogging...
Much more to see and do tomorrow - the waterfalls are calling us...