Lights, Camera, Action!

I woke up to the crunching sound of my mum eating toast at 6.30a.m!! Clearly someone has not adjusted to the US time zone. After having some breakfast – I had spicy tuna rolls left over from dinner which were just as good the next day – we headed in to Times Square.

Unbeknownst to us this day was going to prove quite unsuccessful. We had decided that it might be nice to take the Brooklyn hop-on-hop-off tour in order to see the most populous borough of the city. However, when we tried to get tickets using our New York Explorer passes we realised that you could only redeem one of the bus tours and so we had to re-organise our plans.

We wanted to tick off some of the big shops today anyway and so we meandered through Times Square to Madison Square Garden visiting Sephora, Mac, Macy’s to name a few. By this point we had re-jigged our plans and decided to head to the Guggenheim museum, another famous Art institution. From where we were we had to do some pretty nifty navigation through 3 different lines but we eventually arrived and made the 10 minute walk. The museum, like the Met, it pretty imposing on the landscape and although smaller, its circular design really wows. We couldn’t understand why there were barriers over the main entrance and so went in the exit to the gift shop along with about 20 other tourists. At this point the ‘Closed on Thursday’ sign became all too apparent. Things were not going quite as smoothly as planned.

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As we made our way the few blocks back to the Subway I decided that we should head down to Greenwich Village for another food recommendation and to check out some of the wine warehouses. We had lunch at a quaint Italian – Via Della Pace. Corey had said this was his favourite Italian in New York and as with every other place he recommended, it did not disappoint. We shared a rustic crispy bruschetta to start which was beautifully seasoned with rosemary and then I had spaghetti carbonara and my mum had spaghetti pomodoro. This place is no frills, good authentic food. They don’t have a hundred different concoctions on the menu, instead sticking to the classics and doing them sublimely.

We stopped off on the way back to the subway at Trader Joe’s Wine Shop and I was immediately struck by how cheap some of the expensive Californian wines are back in Edinburgh. They were selling Bogle for $7.49!! I really wanted to get some New York State wine to share with my wine buddies Maeve and Robyn and so headed straight to the New York section where there was a guy doing tastings. I asked him what he would recommend but was surprised when he was actually quite rude. He asked what I liked and when I said I like a lot of grapes but picked out a few he absentmindedly pointed to a few that had nothing in common at all with what I had said. He then asked if I wanted a sample of the wine on the counter and when I said yes, he asked for ID but refused to accept my British driver’s license. I had my tasting anyway – it was nice but I was quite affronted by the guy’s manner so picked some wine – hopefully they are nice ladies – and let my mum pay.

After that debacle my mum was pretty tired so she took the wine and shopping back to the room while I headed out into a different part of Queens to the Museum of the Moving Image. This wasn’t a museum I had previously thought of visiting but when I read in one of the New York magazines that there was a MadMen exhibition on, I thought it would be rude not to check it out. The museum was not a grand palace akin to the Met or Guggenheim, just a modern sign with regular door. When you got inside it opened up to a huge modern seating area with a few upstairs floors of exhibitions as well as a movie theatre on the ground floor.

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I made my way straight to the top floor MadMen exhibition. The first section was beginning to end. They had a section on the inspiration behind the series such as books that Mathew Weiner had read for plot lines etc. They then had all of the memorabilia from the original episode ‘Lucky Strike’ as well as the writers room set up as it was for the final season. They had a video playing of Weiner explaining how different episodes had come about and why different details were so important for each character later on in the series. I watched a bit but then had to run off before he started on an episode I haven’t seen yet!

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Costumes from all of the main characters were set out and then the set of the Draper’s kitchen and Don’s office. It was pretty surreal as you could walk right into the middle of the rooms and feel a part of the show. The attention to detail, as with the show was fantastic. The final section contained a lot of spoilers so I won’t go into that in too much detail but the exhibition as a whole was fantastic and one of my favourite museum experiences so far.

I headed downstairs to the general exhibition they have on all the time which was the process of film. They had a lot of objects from famous films such as some of the Star Wars figures and the cast they used for the strangulation scene in Black Swan. They also had costumes but the exhibition focussed more on the process behind making a film/tv series which was quite enlightening. I skimmed through this second exhibition still reminiscing of my love for MadMen and then took the subway back to the hotel to catch up with my mum and of course watch some MadMen!!

Tonight we were booked for a night on Broadway and so decided to go out for dinner beforehand. We chose another recommendation of Corey’s and went to Five Napkin Burger. Thankfully we had reserved online that morning as when we arrived the place was packed out. I had the Original burger which had a rosemary aioli, gruyere cheese and caramelised onions and my mum had one with blue cheese. The waitress even asked how we wanted the burgers cooked – I went with medium and was quite glad as it turned out to be lovely and juicy. I ordered a Malbec with my meal, although in hindsight would probably have enjoyed something American as the Malbec was just average. We also had a side of fantastic panko breadcrumb onion rings.

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With full stomachs we walked the couple of blocks to our show theatre. My mum had chosen Dr Zhivago which I was quite intrigued by as I hadn’t had a chance to watch the film so didn’t really know what to expect from the plot. The theatre was beautiful as expected and the free programme was a nice touch. As we settled in to watch the show I was really spellbound by the set and how they managed to portray a Russian love story set during war into a musical. It seemed strange at times to have singing during war scenes but it was done really well and we both would definitely recommend the show. The cast were also fantastic and I can see why Broadway has the same great reputation for producing stars as the West End in London. It probably wouldn’t have been the first show that I would have picked but I was really glad I had the chance to see it.

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Homeward bound to Queens ready for an early rise in the morning. The murals in the subway never fail to keep a smile on my face even when I am particularly exhausted. This Alice in Wonderland inspired one is one of my favorites.

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