Traveling the Roads Well-Traveled.
I'm a sucker for flowers and Dark Chocolate with Ginger on the pillow. Beyond sparking clean, it is details that make a hotel noteworthy or just average. The Bryant Park Hotel has a small footprint but the rooms are largish by New York standards. The rooms feature Red Oak wood flooring and a fully updated marble bathroom to put it above average on my lodging barometer.
What makes this hotel noteworthy is the location across the street from Bryant Park between 40th W Street and 42nd W Street. Even on a lower floor, the view of the park is grand. Sometimes I get a little claustrophobic in large cities so the 100 year old oak trees - verses another tall building - were helpful. I haven't been in many heavily populated parks. I like this one. It hosts yoga sessions, a kiosk with board games that are free to take to a table, a mid-size carousel and Shakespeare plays on the weekends. Seating in sunshine and shade and somehow feels intimate as hundreds of people walk by.
The first night in NYC was one of Eric Clapton's final tour concerts. Clapton says, "I swear this is it, no more…..I know I’ve been threatening retirement for the last fifty years.”
I've listened to Clapton's music for over three decades but fully appreciated him while watching a performance at the Minneapolis Excel Center and after reading his self-authored book 'Clapton'. At concerts it seems at times he is playing and singing just for himself - head down, eyes closed and fingers that move quicker than a cat. I wonder, is it still fun? Nerve wracking? Or like any job, sometimes you just have to talk yourself into doing it day after day for 50 years?
Clapton is a serious performer. Only at the very end of the performances I've attended has he cracked a smile on stage and I sense that is more for his band mates than anyone else; as if to say to the musicians "well done, thank you, well done". But that single smile lights up a stadium. I wait for it with binoculars in hand. Walking out after this performance onto 4 Penn Plaza, we talked about going the next night. It was that sensational.
While you will never see my words, Eric, I will write them anyway. You are my Forever Man.
Hamilton: an American musical by Playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda
Hamilton is everything that people talk about so save money and GO when you have an opportunity.
Minnesota, it is arriving next year! Information available on this link: Hennepin Theater Trust
Education at The Empire State Building
Education at The New York Public Library
Ah, pastry and tea time.
Even on this brief trip I learned a good strategy for getting through a long tourist day. Hangout in a pastry shop. Order calming tea, find a table in the back so you can recharge phones and prop your feet up on a chair. Sitting for an hour helped me refocus for more sightseeing.
What I didn't expect.
I didn't anticipate being utterly charmed by the spaces at Rockefeller Center where an estimated one million people visit every year. The plaza is flanked by flags from every nation. Visitors come from every nation.
I liked the outdoor Rock Garden Cafe with couches in front of the waterfall, a nice spot for shareable salads and desserts. Founder John Rockefeller envisioned a city within a city over 100 years ago. The Center opened in 1933 and has a fascinating background story: Rockefeller Center History
"I believe in an all-wise and all-loving God, named by whatever name, and that the individual’s highest fulfillment, greatest happiness, and widest usefulness are to be found in living in harmony with His will. I believe that love is the greatest thing in the world; that it alone can overcome hate; that right can and will triumph over might." ~ John Rockefeller
"Everybody goes every way all the time."
Walking is my thing. Manhattan is a style mecca where anything goes and walking in any direction seems to be acceptable. Ragged sidewalks, bumping shoulder to shoulder, feeling like a fish swimming upstream is fun. For a long weekend it's a blast. Everyday it would not be my thing. We do like walking to mostly everything we want to see. Madison Square Garden, where Clapton performed, is an easy 20-minute walk from the hotel. Broadway's Richard Rodgers Theater near Times Square is a 13-minute walk door to door. Spyglass Rooftop Bar and The Refinery Rooftop Restaurant, both on West 38th Street, are 7 minutes from The Bryant Hotel. We only had to take a taxi twice - from airport to hotel and back to the airport. Perfect.