Country Goes to Town…The Final Episode

Published 6:44 pm Tuesday, September 14, 2010

When last we got together, Donna Sue and I had finished our double-decker, downtown loop tour of New York City. It was late afternoon of the first full day of touring. We had begun at a very crowded Times Square, that most famous New Year’s Eve site, and had spent over two hours riding around what may be the most famous city in the world.

The top part of the bus had been removed and we all sat in the open air as a driver turned down little narrow streets that were more suited for a Volkswagen. Once again, as with the shuttles and taxis, why people don’t get squished, I don’t know.

It was during this portion of the trip that we got close to the Twin Towers, Ground Zero site that has become NYC’s most talked about and controversial area. We didn’t go right by it and our guide could only point to the cranes that are currently building the new tower that will be at least one foot taller than the original. We also did not go by the proposed site of the Muslim Community Center and mosque and, to be honest, we heard very little about it.

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We finished our first day with a late evening visit to the King Tut exhibit that was in town for a few weeks. King Tutankhamen was known as the boy king and the relics from his tomb have been seen worldwide. There was his chariot that was much larger than I had expected. Also, the crown that was found on his head when his tomb was discovered and his coffinette were parts of the exhibit.

If you have the courage, you can go to Donna Sue’s Facebook page and see me posing as King Tut’s South Georgia redneck friend. As my daughter says, “In every crowd there’s always one.”

This stuff was supposedly over 3,000 years old, as was his mummified remains. Quite frankly, I didn’t think they looked a day over 2900. I’ve worked on greater relics when I was helping my Dad farm! Now that was some “old stuff.”

As we walked back to the hotel to call it a day, we had a hamburger. I know that doesn’t seem like a meal that would be worthy of a NYC excursion, but let me simply say that it was the best thing I had eaten that day. I had tried the big salty pretzel and hotdog from the push carts during the touring of the day. My get up and go had gotten up and went and the hamburger hit the spot, thank you.

Our second full day (we really had only two full days) began with a trip to the Empire State Building. We had passed by it the previous day and only looked, but this was the day that we traveled all the way to the 86th Floor Observation Deck. Guess how long it took in the express elevator to get that high? Fifty-eight seconds. And, we didn’t even feel it going up or down.

All I could do was marvel at the all-around sight of the city far below. It was a little hazy; could have been clearer, but the view was still magnificent. We had arrived early and I would advise that. The lines were very short and, in fact, there was hardly any waiting. I understand that the later in the day, the longer the lines are.

We left the tallest in building in NYC and walked to the largest department store in the world. That would be Macy’s. On its nine floors of merchandizing, there are over one million square feet to shop. Talk about “shopping ‘til you drop.” Donna Sue and I stayed on the first floor and both bought something. And the price was reasonable.

After Macy’s, we took our only taxi of the trip and it was a trip in itself. It wasn’t too expensive. It cost $3.50 for the initial fare and 50 cents for each additional one-fifth of a mile (about four blocks). It was fun.

The highlight of the trip was the afternoon and evening of this second day. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that the impetus for the trip was twofold. We wanted to celebrate our Tenth Anniversary and I had wanted to see the musical, “Jersey Boys.”

I had never seen a Broadway play on Broadway. That may sound redundant, but one can see a Broadway play in a different venue other than Broadway. If a play is real popular, they will assemble a national touring cast and go on the road. In fact, the play I wanted to see, “Jersey Boys,” could have been seen in Atlanta a few years ago. It can also be seen in Las Vegas.

Yet, I sort of wanted to see it on Broadway. What makes a theatre a Broadway theatre? It has to be within a certain NYC geographic location and the theatre must seat at least 500 people. We had matinee tickets for the show at the August Wilson Theatre.

The Four Seasons singing group has always been a favorite of mine. That voice of Frankie Valli’s is so unique and the songs, mostly written by group member Bob Gaudio, are unmistakably identifiable. I guess the biggest of all the hits was the first, a song by the name of “Sherry.”

The show was built around the story of the rise to fame of the Four Seasons. There was some profane language, unfortunately, but the excitement of seeing real, live actors and singers and all the sets and lights was exhilarating. It was tremendously exciting and, although I was sitting down, I was standing up and awestruck by the performances.

It would take me a while to describe my joy at the show and I have to say that seeing it was worth every penny and it lived up to my expectations.

After the show, Donna Sue wanted to see if we might get tickets to another very popular musical, “Memphis.” It was the winner of the 2010 Tony Award for Top Musical on Broadway. It was at the Shubert Theatre and we were able to get tickets. It, too, was very thrilling.

We arrived back at the hotel late in the evening to a great surprise. We had met the hotel manager earlier in the day and we had told him we were celebrating our anniversary. He had sent up to our room a complimentary bottle of wine. I thought that was very, very nice, but it was too late to enjoy it and we couldn’t take it with us on the plane the next day. Still, his gesture was icing on the cake.

Our trip home was not as smooth as we would have liked, but we returned all in one piece and full of joy and thanksgiving. There was no way to tell you everything, but I’ll let the New York experience rest for now.