Bound for Glory - July 2011 travel blog

Columbus Circle panorama

Central Park

Central Park panorama

Central Park

Central Park

Columbus Circle

Times Square panorama

Times Square

Times Square

Times Square


It's very hot here; according to the news, it's very hot a lot of places. But when I find myself taking off my sun glasses so I can cool off my eyeballs, it's a broiler. In big cities with all that pavement, the heat doesn't dissipate at night, so every day seems a bit hotter. We rearranged the day's itinerary to maximize what coolness there is.

First thing in the morning we headed to Central Park to rent bikes and ride around this huge green space. By renting the bikes outside the park, we saved 50% over the prices of the vendor at Columbus Circle at the park entrance. If we had walked a bit farther away, the rental price would have fallen even morel. At the north end of the park we couldn't even hear the noise from the traffic. New Yorkers are justly proud of this special nature spot. There was a breeze and lots of shade under the stately old trees, but by noon, we had had enough.

So we headed toward the discount theater ticket center to book a matinee, which would take us into A/C for a few hours. If there is a recession, you couldn't tell it here. In the past we could rely on tickets with prices reduced 50%, but the three shows I most wanted so see, were not for sale here at all. Some were reduced 20 - 40%; we really had to read the fine print. The Book of Mormon is the top draw at the moment, but when we checked at the theater, we couldn't imagine finding $135/ticket worth of joy there. After it's been out for a while, the price will fall and this is a show that might make it to Chicago. Spiderman has gotten lots of press, but horrible reviews and even reduced it cost $110.

So we've seen some shows that would not be our first choice, but were still great entertainment. Today we saw How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying - an old classic. The theatre was full, but there were only a few of us gray hairs there, who could remember when a businessman had a secretary and would go out for business lunches. The star of the show was Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame, and the audience was packed with Potter fans. We can't remember when we have enjoyed a show with a more enthusiastic audience. It would be easy for Radcliffe to simply rest on his laurels and his movie millions, but his singing and dancing were top notch. This old chestnut was worth a revival.

We also enjoyed Baby It's You, an account of a New Jersey housewife who discovered the Shirelles and started her own record label in a man's world. Bert Bacharach and Dionne Warwicke ended up working for her as well. She was a pioneer in many ways and disregarded many of society's conventions at the time regarding mixing of races and the role of women. After the final round of applause, the Shirley who was the star of the Shirelles was called on stage from the seats and sang a few of her hits from the day. What a thrill it must have been for her to see a show honoring her life in music.

After sunset we headed to Times Square along with kazillions of other tourists from all corners of the world. Creating an asphalt park in the midst of the Broadway neon signs bordered by the yellow cabs working their way down the side streets was a stroke of genius. The huge neon signs lit the area and gave the impression that the sun never sets here. Cameras clicked all around. We couldn't resist either.

Tomorrow we will board the Carnival Vision for our free cruise and head north. While the itinerary doesn't excite us, heading north is feeling more and more like a good idea. Cooler temps ahead.

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