In the morning we packed up and checked our bags in for storage during the day. We stayed at the Marriott Marquis at the center of Times Square at 7th Avenue between 45th and 46th streets. I usually stay at one of the small boutique hotels in the Theater District-The Time Hotel, The Algonquin, The Iroquois. The Casablanca, with its free extended continental breakfast and free wine and cheese happy hour in Rick’s Cafe, is my favorite. It are able to avoid the crowds you find at a large hotel; the boutique hotel are also generally quite charming (and sometimes a little quirky). However, it is really difficult to put more than 2 people in the small rooms at the boutique hotels. Since we all wanted to share one room, the Marriott was a great choice. The room was huge by NYC standards. To check-in you take the elevators to the 8th floor. To use any of the elevators, you punch in the floor number on a panel in the lobby and it directs you to one of the elevators marked by letter. Don’t make the mistake of just getting in an open elevator. It may not stop at your floor and there is no floor selection panel in the elevator itself.
The hotel has many of the amenities you expect in a large hotel including a glass paneled room where you can watch the activity on Times Square while you walk/run on a treadmill. The downside is that there are so many people there that everything is crowded. There is also a Broadway theater on the lower floors (which is why reception is on 8), which means even more people. And don’t even try to get a taxi there; the line is usually ridiculous. The cab bringing us in from La Guardia dropped us of a block away, probably saving us quite a bit of money. Since we went everywhere on foot (at times with rolling suitcases), it worked out great for us to stay there.
It was Sunday, Mothers’ Day in fact, and we found a fun place for brunch on 9th Avenue called Traffic. It was really more of a bar with a limited menu, but the brunch menu offerings on Saturday and Sundays until 4 pm were more extensive than their usual bar menu. For $30, you could also get anything off the brunch menu plus unlimited mimosas, sangrias, or bloody Marys. Oh, so hard to choose. Since the weather was gorgeous, they rolled up the garage doors along the side walls of the building and offered open air dining.
After brunch, we wandered around Time Square and into some of the shops. There are a lot of stores catering to families-the M& M store, the Disney Store, the Hersey Store-and plenty of souvenir shops. The naked cowboy was singing and playing his guitar, a not so family-friendly sight. No purchases for me; I had done my damage at the clothing outlet.
Our last show was the Sunday matinée performance of Gore Vidal’s The Best Man. It had so many film stars in the play cast that there were no half-price tickets available. We had bought ours before we came. James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury, John Larroquette, Eric McCormack, Candice Bergen, and Michael McKean were all in the cast. The story surrounds two political candidates vying for their party’s bid at the 1960 National Convention. The theater was decorated with delegation signs from various states and the ushers wore straw convention hats. There were monitors decorated as old TV sets that were used to set the mood and even to project part of the play. The end and beginning were set at the convention press area, but most of the action shifted back and forth between the hotel rooms of the two candidates. The scene transition was quite impressive.
In other words, the show deserves a Tony Award for set design. The performances however, were disappointing. James Earl Jones, playing the former President, was off badly; he is nominated for a Tony Award and is lucky that the committee had come to an earlier performance. People dropped cues, missed or fumbled lines, and generally seemed to be having a bad day. Sorry to say, I can’t recommend the show. Maggie didn’t even stay for the third act; she left and went shopping at the second intermission. Not the show I wanted to end my weekend with.
At the conclusion, we quickly went back to pick up our checked bags from the hotel and walked down 7th to Penn Station. It is an easy walk, but it was very crowded and we were pulling suitcases. In contrast to the street, the lines at Penn station were shorted than I saw them on Friday and I breezed through the ticket line. It would have been quick to the track, but a non-working escalator and a rolling suitcase don’t work well together. I ended up making an earlier train than expected.
Emma and Maggie headed back to Villanova to pack up her dorm room for storage and my train took me back to the airport. Once I got to the airport train station, I went up the escalators and used my train ticket to get through the electronic gates (so make sure you save it). Since I was flying United, I was able to print my boarding pass right there. Then back down the escalator to the monorail platforms where screens tell you the terminal/gate you need to go to. I was flying out of Terminal C, so there was only one stop before mine (a parking lot).
I entered the terminal right by airport security. If you needed to check bags, you simply used the escalators to go to the ticket counters. Bathrooms are also right there. Airport security seemed slow and I got picked for a random screening. I completed security one minute after the earlier flight had left and was glad I had opted for the last flight of the day.
I had a pretty good slice of pizza in the terminal and used my cell phone to update a few people on my progress. I am on the airplane now anticipating an arrival in Houston after midnight. I’ll close here and maybe take a look at a few of my photos before I try to get some sleep. Here’s wishing your next trip to New York is as much fun as mine…