One night in New York

by Julie Frayn on August 12, 2013 in  Adventures in New York City

Adventures in New York – part seven

Our third night in New York was one for the history books. And the daytime was no slouch either! It was Thursday, the day we were whisked up to the top of 30 Rock in a glass-ceilinged elevator (*squirm, vertigo-fueled nausea*), the day thar be giant whales at the Museum of Natural History, the day of the not-so ‘world famous’ cheesecake, of the downpour and touring MOMA dripping wet. The day of our first subway experience (that deserves a whole post on its own, don’t you think?).

And it was the night of shiny red patent leather stilettos and music. The night of Kinky Boots and flash mobs.

Kinky Boots marquis

Kinky Boots marquis

We arrived at the Al Hirschfield theatre early, my red leather shoes shining, our excitement levels high. Kinky Boots! Live and in person!

We made sure not to miss opening curtain. No tools in our family. At the refreshment counter we asked about a London Bar (where you order your drinks ahead so that at intermission you save a bunch of time). Do you hear crickets? They had no idea what we were talking about. Turns out, you just buy your drink right then and there, and take it with you. INSIDE the theatre! Baby girl, we’re not in Canada any more.

Beer and Kinky Boots

Beer and Kinky Boots

We found our seats, enjoyed the beautiful architecture of the theatre, and sipped (snicker snicker) our weak-ass American beer out of our plastic Kinky Boots souvenir cups.

After opening curtain, a whole herd of tools showed up. They filed in, ten minutes late, five rows in front of us, and blocked the stage for a good three minutes. There had to be fifteen of them! That’s numerology rudeness. Ten plus five = fifteen. Five times three = fifteen. Times I swore at them under my breath = fifteen….

The show was amazing, the dancing and singing superb. Billy Porter WAS Lola, and Annaleigh Ashford as Lauren was freaking hilarious. They stayed true to the movie, so stayed true to our love of the story. So ladies, gentlemen and those who are yet to make up your mind – watch this show! Live on Broadway or on a DVD in your living room. No matter, just watch it.

comic genius of Al Hirschfield

comic genius of Al Hirschfield

We didn’t want to miss one second of it, so we stayed in our seats through intermission. As soon as the last curtain call ended, we bee-lined to the basement where they hid the ladies washroom. But oh, what a washroom it was! Funky light fixtures, great ambience. We’ve never taken so many pictures of a bathroom. While doing so, a woman glimpsed my red shoes, pointed and said, “The sex is in the heel!” Oh yes, yes it is. It isn’t anywhere else in my life, so I assume it’s in the heel. (Seriously, watch the show, then you’ll be like “Ooohh, now I get it.”)

I got a tip from my editor to try John’s Pizzeria on Bleecker. The night before, after our amazing experience at the Lion King and a great meal at Guy Fieri’s American, we happened across an unassuming little red canopy a block or so from our hotel. John’s Pizzeria Times Square! We vowed to try it out after Kinky Boots, so after the show, we headed straight there.

Ceiling in John's Pizzeria Times Square

Ceiling in John's Pizzeria Times Square

The pizza did not disappoint. The service was great. The building was . . . . wow! It’s inside an old church, two stories of open architecture and magnificent ceilings. As we nibbled on the pie, I swear I heard a choir singing. Weird, right? Power of suggestion perhaps? I looked at baby girl and said, “Do you hear…”

“Singing?” She heard it too. My sanity remained intact for now.

The singing stopped. We noshed on pizza and beer, chatted and admired the surroundings, the two huge pizza ovens, and the talented chefs who tossed and spun dough in the air.

Pizzeria flash mob

Pizzeria flash mob

Our table was at the base of a staircase that led to a small landing and then up to the second floor. A railing lined the opening above us. We looked up when the shuffling of many feet caught our attention. There, standing right over our heads, were about thirty teenagers. And then they began to sing! Even this atheist appreciated the beauty and quality of the churchy songs filling the cavernous space. All the diners were enrapt. When the singing ended, the entire restaurant erupted in applause and hoots of appreciation. How great is our timing? Had we found John’s the night before, we would have missed our first (and maybe only) singing flash mob.

Hallelujah chorus with beat box

Hallelujah chorus with beat box

When the applause died down, they began their rendition of “Hallelujah.” Not the Leonard Cohen one. The bibley one. Their teacher was on the landing conducting the choir, and one of the boys joined her. He began beat-boxing and break dancing. I’ve never seen anything like it. After more uproarious applause, they filed down the stairs, past our table, and out the door. I thanked a few of them on the way by, then stopped the instructor to ask, you know, what the hell?

They were a choir from Nevada asked to join other choirs from the US and our home and native land, Canada, to sing in Carnegie Hall. They had decided to go around the city giving impromptu performances for unsuspecting, surprised, and appreciative strangers.

After they left, baby girl said it was like real live Glee.

New York City, you never failed to amaze us.

Part eight will be all about the dirty underground – we’re talking subway.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

J Timothy Quirk August 13, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I loved this post! You lived an adventure many times over in NYC. To get an impromptu concert performance by a flash mob is awesome! Wonderful photo of the two of you in your seats with the playbill and the souvenier cup! I admit I’m curious about the subway ride! Can’t wait for the next installment!


Julie Frayn August 14, 2013 at 7:38 am

Thanks so much, Joe. We had a GREAT time. A friend who lives just outside of NYC told me we saw more New York in six days than most New Yorkers see in a lifetime :)

joannevalentinesimson August 17, 2013 at 8:34 am

Julie, this was a wonderful post – exciting and descriptive. Sounds like you both had an awesome time!


Julie Frayn August 18, 2013 at 9:52 am

Thanks Jo Anne. We had a blast. I credit my girl for that. We have fun no matter where we go :)

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