What to do? We did plenty, and it was quite enjoyable even in the forecasted 100° heat.
First off, boarding a nice, air-conditioned bus which would take us straight to 42nd Street. This company seems to get around; bus tours to Iceland must be quite a feat.
Our reason for going was to see the Broadway production of “A Little Night Music” with its new stars, Bernadette Peters (taking over for Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Elaine Strich (for Angela Lansbury). The cast and production was near-perfect, one of those performances that you wish wouldn’t end so soon. Wikipedia tells me that Peters is 62, which is simply unbelievable. She looks wonderful, and performed not as the Big Star but as one member in a very tight ensemble, something that people like me happen to appreciate very much.
We’d bought our tickets online and, when picking them up at the door 2 hours before curtain time, asked at the box office if they could recommend a nice, not-too-expensive place for lunch. They send us across the street to Hurley’s with a card for 10% off our bill. We sat upstairs by the window and watched the street life below us.
Next door to the theater was a little public park, dedicated to the local fire company, containing a small fountain which doubled as a memorial to their comrades who perished at the World Trade Center tragedy. When I was in Manhattan in July 2002, I saw all sort of temporary memorials. I was happy to see this permanent one, and the use of the lot as a little oasis in a hot city block. We were certainly grateful for the shade.
It was nearly 5 when the show let out, and we had two hours more until our bus departure. On a lark, we hopped into a cycle rickshaw, this one powered by a young Turk who told us he was studying economics in the city. He took us on one white-knuckle ride (expensive but for that one time, more than worth the thrill and the view) straight through Times Square and down to Chelsea…
where we took a look at the High Line, Manhattan’s new pedestrian way made from the unused elevated rail line. Wildflower beds and fountains (soon to be finished) alternated with art installations and deck chairs filled with sunning young New Yorkers to give us yet another view of city life. Then a taxi to the station, bus home by 10 pm.