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Trip Report yk's 48 hrs in NYC; mid-June 2012

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I did a quick 2-day trip to NYC last week, staying with my friends in Manhattan. Here's a recap.

I took Amtrak down (from Boston) and arrived around 2pm. Sadly, heavy winds and rain awaited me. I had to do some errands, and by the time I arrived at my friend's office (to pick up the apt key), I was pretty soaked despite having an umbrella. Feeling a bit hungry, my friend suggested I check out Food Gallery 32 in nearby Korea Town. It is a Korean food court where I could choose whatever looks good.

There are about 8 different stalls there, each one serving a different kind/style of Korean food, ranging from Korean sushi to Japanese-style curry katsu to Korean-Chinese to jjigae/bibimbap etc. I ended up choosing Korea Garden as they offer Kalbi Tang ($12).

Originally, I had hoped to take advantage of the Museum Mile Festival mentioned by Fodorite SueNYC (free museum admissions from 6-9pm). However, feeling wet and tired, I decided to call it a day and stayed home. That evening, we ordered Thai delivery from a nearby restaurant.

The weather was still crappy but at least it stopped raining. Since it was a Wednesday, I decided to try my luck at the TKTS Time Sq booth for a matinee show. When I approached the booth, my heart sank as I saw the hoards of crowd and the snaking line. Luckily, the show I had in mind was a play and TKTS offers a "Play Express Line" which is much, much shorter than the regular line for musicals. I'd say the Play Express Line was about 15-20 people deep, and I waited for 15 minutes for my turn.

When I got to the window, I asked for a ticket for One Man, Two Guvnors. Almost did a double-take when I was told the price was $66.50. Yikes, that is 50% off already. I forget how expensive B'way shows are. Anyway, I bought the ticket.

My next stop was the Metropolitan Opera box office where I paid full price for a ticket for that evening's ballet program by the American Ballet Theatre. I have never seen ABT before b/c I rarely visit NYC during the summer (I go to NYC 3-4 times during opera season). Wednesday evening's program had first-rate dancers including Natalia Osipova and David Hallberg. I "splurged" for a Dress Circle seat at $85.

Having read about ramen joints in NYC, I decided to try my luck at Totto Ramen. I arrived at opening time (12noon) but found a line outside the shop. I put my name down on the sign-in sheet and luckily got myself a sheltered seat on the bench outside, as it had started raining again. I did not make the first round, but I didn't think the wait would be that long. After all, how long does it take to cook and eat ramen?

Luckily, I was right. The first round of customers started to leave after about 25 minutes, and I was seated among the second round. Most diners ordered the miso ramen or the spicy ramen, but I chose the vegetable ramen instead because it is made with a vegetable/mushroom broth. I tend to find the miso base soup way too salty for me I also requested additional toppings of char siu and Kikurage mushroom (thinly-sliced wood ear).

I am no ramen expert so I don't know how authentic the noodles are. They have a nice chew and not as greasy as the ramen I've had in Boston, so I guess that's a good thing. It is not cheap though, with my add-ons, I think my lunch came out to $18 inclu tax/tips.

I slowly made my way to the Music Box Theatre and settled in for the matinee performance of One Man, Two Guvnors. I absolutely love it! James Corden certainly deserved his Tony Award. I don't remember the last time I laughed nonstop at a comedy for the entire time.

Afterwards, I made my way home for a nap and some dinner, before heading out to Lincoln Center for the evening performance of American Ballet Theatre. The program that night was:
Thirteen Diversions (by Christopher Wheeldon)
Apollo (by Balanchine)
the *new* Firebird (by Alexei Ratmansky)

The spotlight of the show was on the new Firebird. I like the industrial staging and the nice contrast of colors (fire-engine red for Firebird, cool green for the evil kingdom). Osipovo was amazing as the Firebird. Hallberg's character reminds one of Johnny Depp in Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands or Sweeney Todd.

My Dress Circle seat would have been GREAT if it were an opera, but for a ballet, it still is a tad too far for my taste. I am pretty spoiled here in Boston by the Boston Ballet as the venue is quite a bit smaller than the Met so one is never too far from the stage.

I made an effort to get up early so I could get to the Metropolitan Museum just after its 9:30am opening. My main interest was to see the Shiaparelli and Prada fashion show. I liked it quite well as more than a few times I couldn't tell who designed which without looking at the placards. The show has video clips of the 2 women in conversation on different subjects throughout the exhibit (Shiaparelli was played by an actress; script was based on her writings/interviews). While interesting, some of these clips are hard to watch because they are projected on the walls behind the mannequins.

I had some time to spare so I went up to the rooftop to see Tomás Saraceno's Cloud City. Maybe it's the gray, overcast skies, I didn't find it particularly enticing. It looks like a miniature Atomium to me. Although Cloud City is open for climbing, one has to get a timed ticket from an obscure gallery downstairs. I deemed that too much trouble for me.

I walked over to the Neue Galerie and waited in line to get in at 11am. The current exhibition is on Klimt, celebrating his 150th birthday. What a disappointment! I'm sure it's fine for visitors who haven't been to the museum before, but for me, there really aren't really that many Klimts on display nor new to me (I've been to the Neue at least 6-8 times). The "exhibition" is on the 2nd floor main galleries. The darkened room displays his drawings, while the main room has 3-4 of Klimt's landscape oil paintings in addition to Adele Bloch-Bauer. The final room shows the same Wiener Werkstatte objects in 4 vitrines, in addition to a few Kokoschkas.

Upstairs on the 3rd floor holds a separate photography exhibit which doesn't interest me. At least I remembered to get the free audioguide this time so I learned more about certain objects.

I met Fodorite MademoiselleFifi for lunch at Cafe Sabarsky. We had a wonderful lunch; I ordered the creamed spaetzle with peas, carrots, and mushrooms which was delicious. With encouragement from Fifi, I also got coffee and dessert! After checking out the cakes in the refrigerated case, I opted for the strawberry-elderflower mousse cake. It was refreshing and light, although I'm not sure if I could taste the elderflower.

It was time for me to head back to my friends' apartment to get my bag and take the train home, so Fifi and I parted ways at Neue Galerie. I took the 3:30pm train which surprisingly arrived in Boston 15 minutes early!

Guess that's all! Thanks for reading!

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