Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Promises Promises in NYC

Giving up the Ice Skating as one of those things that just wasn't meant to be, we instead embraced our love of plastic interconnecting toys and headed into the Lego shop to buy a couple of Lego themed souvenirs. NornGirl bought a brick and I bought a Toy Story 3 Lego Alien keyring. It was then a quick dash across town to get in line at the TKTS booth in Times Square for some discount show tickets, our first choice would have been Avenue Q but as we saw the sign and got in line it became apparent that it wasn't on that day. D'oh! Instead we looked around and desired to give one we'd never heard of before a try. 'Promises Promises', caught our eye and so that's what we bought tickets to.

We had a wrap and beer at a Chipotle on the way back to the hotel where We dolled ourselves up and headed out for our anniversary night out.

First came the show which was at The Broadway Theatre. The musical of Promises Promises is set in New York and it's the same plot as the film 'The Apartment', a comedy with a romantic plot that plays with themes of affairs and attempted suicide. Set to the music of Burt Bacharach, we're led through the story by the lead character Chuck who is a quite junior employee working in the corporate world of a 1960s insurance company whose life takes a few twists involving his love interest and his apartment.

When we were there, the character of Chuck was played by Sean Hayes (aka Jack from Will and Grace). His comic acting as you'd expect was brilliant and really made the show.
Both he and the female lead of Fran who was played by Kristin Chenoweth (of West Wing, Pushing Daisies and Glee fame) did a great job and it was great fun, Kristin's voice is quite something.
Apart from one or two rather unbelievable moments in the plot around the Fran character, there wasn't really a downside and although not our first choice it was a great substitute.
As far as an American cultural experience goes, it really was very American, which you'd hope for really being on Broadway! However this did leave us ending up laughing at somewhat inappropriate moments that most of the room didn't seem to get - ah well!

Near Times Square in the rain

Leaving the theatre with the glow of having had a good laugh we made our way out into the rain for the grey blanket was still snuggling the tallest of the city's skyscrapers. Our next destination was the Marriott Marquis View Lounge for some drinks and deserts.
The viewing lounge is on the 47/48th floors of the hotel and rotates around a central column giving a view of the city and the Hudson river. We had a lovely desert and some nice drinks and enjoyed a little us time chatting as couples on their anniversaries do (in our own 'special' way). The view was largely of clouds and rain but beyond the raindrop painted glass we could still make out a fair few of the NYC Skyline's well known features.

Rainy night Skyline of NYC through the window

Bertelsmann Building NYC

Sadly, apart from the guy who served us who couldn't have been more helpful; our experience did end up a little tainted. This was because a rude member of staff commandeered the rare sighting of a lift that a group (of about 8) of us had been waiting on for a good 5 minutes or more. It wasn't like the member of staff had some urgent repair work to do, he just had a trolley of supplies and the place was closing for the night. We were not amused, especially as it took the best part of another 5-10 minutes for another lift to reach us. We were even less amused though when the hotel never released their hold on a reservation of money they had placed. Norn Girl even emailed them weeks after the event and they said they were in touch with their accountants to release the hold. It never happened. In the end - a month later, it was our bank who by default broke their hold on the money in our account - sure $48 to some of their clientèle might not be much but to us that is a fair old chunk of money. It has to be said that this was all 4 months ago now so I wouldn't worry if you're heading there soon, they could have been one off's. Thankfully we didn't have to worry about too much on the actual day and another good thing about the Marriott was that the lift to the rotating restaurant is quite a ride - it moves through a massive space inside the building. If you stand facing towards the glass and just look out it's like a theme-park ride. It was awesome!

Overall, my personal opinion on the rotating viewing lounge is that if you have a bit of money to burn, the place is worth a one off trip, but given the cost of it (over $120 after you count the cover charge, the desert buffet, two drinks each and the service charge, the bill came to over $120) it won't be on our to do list if we're lucky enough to return to NYC again.

We ventured out happily into Times Square, a period of very heavy rain had left what was usually one of the very busiest parts of New York almost empty, an odd sight indeed.

My head at this point was filled with fond memories of our wedding the year before, I was also happy as always (when not in the dog house) at being present in the company of my wife Norn Girl which was made more special by being surrounded by one of the biggest urban rainforests in the world. We merrily meandered back to our hotel. The day hadn't gone completely to plan but we'd enjoyed ourselves nevertheless – as Norn Girl wrote; “the whole holiday was really a celebration of our anniversary anyway and we were really looking forward to what we had planned the next day... “ and that day was 'AWESOME DAY!'

[Back to Part 1 of this 2 part post]

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