Monday, March 18, 2013

Fancy and Shmancy in NYC

"Hey Upper East Siders, Gossip Girl here, you're one and only source into the scandalous lives of Manhattan's elite. What's making the headlines on my homepage? Spotted: Margaret Riley walking the streets of New York and staying at the Waldorf Astoria. Looks like there's a new player in town."

That's what ran through my head last weekend as I walked around New York. My friend Caroline from law school and work moved to Manhattan last month so me, Chris, Kent, and Monique decided to spend the weekend visiting her and my other friend from undergrad, Sarah. Monique happened upon an advertisement for the Waldorf Astoria where they mentioned taking the government rate....and well, our fancy New York weekend adventure began!

Of course, the glamour kind of wears thin when you take the Bolt bus up, but hey, we save money where we can, right? After arriving in town and arriving at the hotel (I did a little dance when I told the cab driver to take me to the "Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue, please"), we changed into some fancy duds and grabbed food and drinks at several of the hotel bars. Now, these are nice places so the drinks were kind of expensive (about $20), but they were also really delicious. And you can't beat the ambiance. Plus, I'm going through this phase now where my absolute favorite thing is to get all dolled up and go to fancy restaurants and bars. It's just a thing.

The Waldorf's main lobby

Exploring the hotel and striking a pose. Two of my favorite things.

The next day we also had big plans. After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, we met up with Sarah and Caroline for the matinee of the Broadway show, Kinky Boots. It's still in previews, so we felt extra special getting a chance to see it....and if you haven't heard of it, I suggest you get your butt up to Broadway IMMEDIATELY because it's going to be a hit and win all the Tony's. Just you wait. It had a kind of Hairspray feel to it with the fun and the dancing and the brightness and the lesson that it's ok to just be yourself, but it also felt very real to me in terms of the characters and the decisions they made. None of that typical Broadway bullshit plot stuff that sometimes jerks you out of a story.

Did I mention the songs were by Cyndi Lauper? Gayest and greatest show ever!

If you haven't heard of the show before, here's a brief run-down: "Charlie Price (Tony nominee Stark Sands) has suddenly inherited his father’s shoe factory, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Trying to live up to his father’s legacy and save his family business, Charlie finds inspiration in the form of drag queen Lola (Billy Porter). A fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos, Lola turns out to be the one person who can help Charlie become the man he’s meant to be. As they work to turn the factory around, this unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible… and discovers that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world."

After the show we checked out Caroline and her husband's Joe's fabulous apartment (basically across the street from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden) and their AMAZING view. I was jealous, not gonna lie. And then it was down to the Lower East Side for dinner, mini cupcakes, and a burlesque show at The Slipper Room, one of NYC's first neo-burlesque cabarets. You might recall that I am going through something of a burlesque phase right now, but this show was racy even by my standards. Typically, burlesque doesn't involve full I was a bit shocked when there was full on vagina on the stage. But it was still all in good fun and what's a little naughtiness among strangers?

Group shot on the rooftop of Caroline and Joe's apartment building!

After a full day of planned fun on Saturday, I had purposefully reserved all of Sunday for just wandering around. I started at MOMA (the Museum of Modern Art) and downloaded their free Droid app with all the audio tour info. There was also a special exhibition of Edward Munch's work, including The Scream, and the museum's regular collection was impressive including works by Van Gogh, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, etc.


I then walked over to Central Park, through the zoo, and back along 5th Avenue (ooo la la) to do some couture window shopping and then over the Rockefeller Center, a sandwich shop, and Magnolia Bakery. Hey, when in Rome....And then it was time to head for the bus and ride back to reality. I think I might be spoiled for all other hotels though.

Next time: THE PLAZA! At least in my dreams.

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