Fandom in NYC
New York is well known for its place in film and television. It serves as the back-drop for many comic books and the setting for dozens of comic movies. My wife and I are big TV and movie fans and we wanted to take a trip that fed our fandom. A dream vacation to NYC has always been something I really wanted to do and it was my 10th anniversary so I figured “why not”?
I had a few things that were a must: a direct flight not from LAX, a nice room in Manhattan with a great view, and a chance to see whatever I wanted to see and do whatever I wanted to do. We booked a room at the greatest hotel value in New York, the Park Lane Hotel with a suite on Central Park and the adventure began.
We flew from Long Beach Airport to JFK in New York on an afternoon flight that saw us touching down at 9:45 pm local time and headed to our hotel via the Air Train and the subway. The airport is often a great place for a random celebrity encounter but we had no such luck. After a slice of Pizza and a root beer for a late night dinner we called it a day.
We started the day with an amazing experience riding through the Central Park, seeing all of the sites that we’ve only seen in film and television. Movies like Home Alone 2, Keeping the Faith, and Ghostbusters all feature famous scenes from the park.
Next we met my brother in law and his wife at the Ed Sullivan Theater as audience members to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The show featured Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Jenny Slate from Parks and Recreation and as special double performance from the re-formed Blink 182. We capped off the evening with a late night drink at McGee’s pub which David Letterman writers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas used as their inspiration for McClaren’s in How I Met Your Mother.
With brother and sister in law in town we decided on a second, longer Central Park bike ride, this time circumnavigating the whole property. We saw the walkway where The Happening told us that the trees were rebelling against us because of how we had treated them. The four hour ride also took us past the Museum of Natural History, the place the attractions came alive in Ben Stiller‘s Night at the Museum. Following the ride we returned to the hotel to clean up and prepare for our 1st night on Broadway. We ate dinner at the 212 Steakhouse in Eastern Midtown which was fantastic. After dinner we headed to the Roosevelt Island Tramway, an aerial tram that goes from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island and offers great views of the city. We recalled a scene from White Collar where Neal Caffrey jumps from one tram to the other in an effort to elude a tail.
We then headed towards Time’s Square to see She Loves Me, the Musical that inspired the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan film You’ve Got Mail. It was great and Zachary Levi from TV’s Chuck was super nice. He stayed outside the theater for a long time taking pictures with a long line of fans and stayed until the line was exhausted. That night we walked around Times Square encountering characters from Frozen‘s Elsa to Wolverine.
Hamilton has become a world-wide sensation with First Lady Michelle Obama calling it “The best piece of art I’ve seen in any form in my life”. Unfortunately, for a fan, that means soaring ticket prices with the lowest available ticket for a Wednesday AM show priced at $950. Never fear, there is a lottery every Wednesday morning where they give out 21 front row tickets for $10 each. 704 people showed for the first lottery in June of 2015. As the main cast prepares to exit, that number rose to over 5000 when we decided to go. We waited in line for several hours but the odds prevailed and we failed to secure a ticket. We did however get to see Lin-Manuel Miranda get roasted by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog as seen below.
Hat in hand, we headed back to the hotel with a waking lunch. We bid farewell to my Brother and sister-in law and headed back to Central Park, this time for the Zoo; the famous zoo where Alex the Lion performs daily in the film Madagascar. Though not as big as one would imagine, it was a fun time and we even caught the special 4-D feature featuring the cast of Ice Age. We returned to our hotel and attended the free (included in the resort fee) appetizer and drink social. It was there that I surprised my wife with tickets to Fully Committed. This was an amazing one-man show, Jesse Tyler Ferguson of Modern Family was unbelievable playing over a dozen characters. Afterwards we purchased tickets to the “Top of the Rock”, a viewing center on the 70th floor of 30 Rockefeller Center (setting of the Emmy award winning 30 Rock) that featured amazing views of the entire island of Manhattan.
This was the day to make sure we crossed important things off of our checklist before we flew home. We took a 40 minute subway ride to Brooklyn Heights where we walked the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, a 600-yard long platform that looks back on downtown Manhattan. This spot featured in Woody Allen‘s Annie Hall offers glorious views of the New York skyline and only cost a subway ride.
We headed next to the world trade center complex, the site of the 9/11 Memorial and the new 1776 foot tall building One World Trade Center. It was beautiful and humbling but was way too long of a line for us to go up. We hopped on the subway to Washington Square Park featured in I Am Legend with Will Smith. There we saw the arch which is modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and we waded in the famous fountain.
From there we walked a mile through Greenwich Village where TV’s Friends lived and where many famous people actually live. This walk took us to the High Line Park which is a 1.5 mile park built 30 feet above the ground on an old, unused subway track. Many shows have had scenes filmed at the High Line including HBO’s Girls. When we finished the High Line it was time to start heading toward the airport. We walked back to Penn Station (featured in An Affair to Remember) to catch the subway to Times Square where we purchased a couple of souvenirs for the kids, stopped by the hotel to pick up our bags, and hopped on the subway to return to JFK (site of Steven Spielberg‘s The Terminal).
Fandom in NYC has been achieved. It was an amazing trip and one that I would recommend to any fan who want to see what NYC has to offer.