Sunday, June 15, 2008

Star spotting, musicals and more as Jason in Hollywood goes to New York...

Yes it's true folks, I left sunny California behind for this special hot and sultry report from 'Jason in New York'.
New York City skyline South of The Empire State Building
So four days B.C. (Before Cooper), we caught an early United Airlines flight from LAX to JFK, which was a return visit for me and the first time in New York for Charlie. I was excited to be going to the Big Apple, however at the same time my mind was on our impending parenthood and choosing our new puppy at the weekend, but since I can't leave the country at the moment, it was nice to make the most of travelling from the West to East Coast.
The Chrysler Building from above
We were lucky as we'd just missed the worst of a major heatwave in New York and caught the tail end of it instead, with dramatic thunder storms lighting up the skies over Central Park on the Tuesday night as the weather broke. We watched from the South Gate restaurant of the luxurious Jumeirah Essex House Hotel on Central Park South, where we were staying, as the sky turned white over and over.
Jumeirah Essex House Hotel Central Park South NYCWednesday was still amazingly hot and stuffy walking around as Jason in Hollywood took to the streets of Manhattan. The last time I'd visited NYC was in 1999 with my friend Nick and we'd spent more time shopping, eating and drinking than going to that many of the usual tourist attractions. The one thing we did do was go up to the top of the World Trade Center and I'm still thankful we did and I cherish those pictures overlooking the city.
The busy streets of NYCSo this visit I really wanted to take in the sights and do the very unusual thing for me and see all the tourist attractions I'd missed last time. As Charlie had to work, with camera and map in hand (torn from the back of a hotel guide - I'm always so unprepared for holidays and city visits), I ventured out into the hot and stuffy city. The Chrysler Building on East 42nd Street New York CityAfter three months living on the West Coast, it was such a culture shock walking through New York City. There's such hustle and bustle and a sea of yellow taxis, where in L.A. there are none to be seen. Even with all the taxis it's still impossible to flag one down and pedestrians and motorists alike seem to disregard traffic signals and power on regardless. Plus it's so noisy and smelly. But in a funny way it reminds me a lot of London with its fast pace of life and the high rise architecture is truly stunning, whereas L.A. lacks much of a skyline and a history to its building designs. It was also a bit of a transition going from the laid back casual style of L.A. (shorts and a t-shirt) to the more sophisticated business attire and nightwear of Manhattan.
The Empire State Building seen from the streets of ManhattanSo I walked the city grid and saw the Chrysler Building up close and personal, Times Square (which always disappoints because it looks so much better in the movies), The Empire State Building, the New York Public Library, Carnegie Hall, Grand Central Station and The Gridiron Building. The Gridiron Building New York CityI wandered through Greenwich Village, Soho and Tribeca, all the way down to the site of the World Trade Center on my own personal pilgrimage.

I didn't know what I was really expecting, but I just wanted to revisit the one place I'd been before in NYC, which now holds so much significance for so many people for all the wrong reasons. It's now a construction site and it'll be interesting to see what takes shape there in the months and years to come.
The World Trade Center construction site New YorkOn Wednesday night we had tickets to Disney on Broadway's The Little Mermaid musical. I've never seen the animated film, but knew the basic Disney's The Little Mermaid Musical on Broadwaypremise, so I was intrigued to see how they'd transferred it to a live action musical on Broadway.

It's colourful, with great performances and full of Disney cheer. You can't help but like it and the small girls, and boys alike, in the audience loved it. The family sitting in front of us were practically beaming at the shared experience and there were lots of knowing looks from mum to dad and the kids, especially when there was a speech on stage about fathers having to let their daughters go and find their own way.

Mario Lopez stars in A Chorus Line on BroadwayThey also use wheelies (trainers/sneakers with built in wheels) to great effect, providing the underwater movement of the mermaids and other sea creatures, plus glow-in-the-dark colours light up the stage and costumes. Not all the songs are that memorable, but it was a very enjoyable show.

Another perk which put a smile on Charlie's face before the show was seeing hunky Mario Lopez, outside Starbucks, whilst I was off buying a bottle of water.

For the uninitiated he's an actor who's risen to popularity again in recent years in the U.S. after a successful stint on ABC's Dancing with the Stars and even funnier as I've just found out and the penny well and truly dropped, he was in 81 episodes of American teen comedy series, Saved by the Bell, as A.C. Slater.

Now he's starring in Broadway in the revival of A Chorus Line. That was our first celebrity sighting of our New York visit.
The impressive Empire State Building New York CityOn Thursday Charlie was able to accompany me on my travels and we had a stroll through Central Park and then went up the 86 floors of the Empire State Building to see the entire cityscape of New York from the best vantage point around. The wonderful Art Deco Chrysler Building viewed from the 86th floor Observation Deck of the Empire State BuildingIt was a brilliant thing to do, with stunning views of the city, especially of the beautiful Art Deco Chrysler Building, which I love, and I'm glad I did it this time. Bethesda Fountain in Central ParkOur trip wasn't intended to be a shopping trip (now that we're paid in dollars and not lovely pounds) and even though we were armed with suggestions of bars and restaurants to check out from helpful friends, we didn't really have much time to plan our visit in advance and as Charlie was working and we were seeing a few shows, we did what we could on this visit (there will me more I'm promised). However, one of our glamourous indulgences was a lunch trip to Soho House (the one with the roof top swimming pool) on the edge of trendy Chelsea.
Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, New YorkAfter a yummy lunch and my first venture onto the New York subway we headed David Hyde Pierce the star of Broadway musical comedy - Curtainswith a friend to another Broadway musical. We saw David Hyde Pierce (who superbly played Niles Crane in the TV sitcom, Frasier) in Curtains, which is closing at the end of June.

Even though it's a more traditional Kander and Ebb musical comedy 'whodunit', it was great fun and it's a shame it's not been a fantastic hit, as it deserves to be. It also starred Christopher Belling, he played the camp radio restaurant critic, Gil Chesterton in Frasier, who was a scene stealer throughout the show.

So aside from the sweaty heat, a fun time was had by all in the Big Apple. Our Hollywood movie star Kevin Baconvisit was made even more memorable by our final A-list celebrity spotting, this time on our flight back to L.A. Who should we see boarding the plane and sitting in First Class than movie star Kevin Bacon, he of Footloose and Flatliners fame.

As with Teri Hatcher in Studio City I was almost face to face with him (and this time we were on a plane for six hours so there was no getting away from me. Well that's not strictly true, as he was travelling in First Class and I was in Cattle Class sandwiched in the middle seat at the very back of the plane! Sadly no photos, only memories and the moment of recognition me and Kevin shared). He's looking a bit rougher than in his glory days, although that could have just been a celeb night out in New York for you.

So it's back to West Hollywood for Jason and a new challenge in the form of puppy parenthood.
Jason at the Turtle Pond in Central Park NYC
Keep tuned to this channel to see how that goes...

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails