Living the Literary Life at The Algonquin

Stepping back into the 1920’s era of rich wood paneling where The Round Table met to discuss news of the day was a treat as we checked into The Algonquin hotel in NYC and were promptly greeted by the legendary house cat, Matilda.  Fat and sassy, the current Matilda is one of many felines who have graced the lobby starting with the original anointed “Hamlet” (boy cats are named Hamlet and girl cats are Matilda) by legendary thespian John Barrymore back in the day.  They even have a “chief cat officer” on staff to assist Matilda with her busy schedule and social media accounts.  Yes, this lucky cat has a Facebook page:  Matilda-The Algonquin Cat.


Aside from Matilda, this hotel reeks of history and luxury.  Enjoying Day 1 of our NYC/Ireland vacation, we couldn’t wait to check in and hit the streets to see our favorite Manhattan haunts.  While the rooms are small, they make up for it with top of the line furnishings from the backlit photographic headboard to the marble bathroom, this hotel experience is worth it.  Grab a complimentary espresso and sit in the lobby where classic tunes play and snuggle into the leather chairs for a quiet reading experience that is a very worthwhile use of time.

Stepping outside on 44th Street right into the middle of the hectic Manhattan experience, it’s an easy walk to all the landmark attractions like Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Times Square and even, for those of you like me who have to get 10,000 steps a day, it’s a nice long walk to Central Park.  We hit over 20,000 steps yesterday as we took it all in and walked through lush Central Park in the throes of an Indian Summer day with blue skies and temps in the 70’s.

After a long day of walking, we were still tired from the redeye flight from Hell where we fidgeted and twitched for 5 long hours but certainly didn’t sleep.  The front desk of the Algonquin couldn’t have been nicer, checking us in early at 9 a.m. when we finally arrived after a long, traffic-congested Uber ride from JFK.  Of course, Thom became best buddies with our driver, talking New York sports the whole way while I napped.  So fun meeting and talking to new people.  Our Uber guy in Seattle to the airport was from Vietnam and was so excited we had visited his country so we chatted all things Hanoi and Saigon.  Enjoying the journey!

Savoring the Manhattan Experience One More Time

Back in NYC after a business trip to Orlando (in July…HELLO, event planner, what were you thinking???–so hot and humid I was always moist) I couldn’t help but immediately take to the  streets.  It’s what I do and makes my FitBit so happy.   On the way to work on Sunday morning, yes I work 24/7, I managed to walk by Rockefeller Center, the LOVE sculpture, Central Park and St. Pat’s Cathedral.  Only in Manhattan is that all in a morning’s walk.

FishEddy's is my go-to store every time I am in NYC
Fishes Eddy is my go-to store every time I am in NYC
St. Pat's Io's always awe-inspiring and iconic
St. Pat’s Io’s always awe-inspiring and iconic

Waiting for Thom to join me later in the week so we can celebrate out 27th Wedding Anniversary, I wanted to save the fun stuff so we could do it together but I did manage a walk to my favorite store, Fishs Eddy, on Sunday.  The lure of kitschy hand towels, Hillary mugs, and fun stuff always has me leaving with a bag of goodies to bring home.  Putting in 17,000+ steps = 7+ miles on Sunday left the feet hot and tired for sure but, fueled by my beloved $1 cheese pizza, I just kept on walking, walking, walking….

With Thom finally here, we set off for the TKTS booth in Times Square to get a deal on Broadway tickets.  Having scoped out the Tony Awards and the NYTimes reviews, I knew exactly what shows I wanted to see and, sure enough, at 7:00 p.m. last night we scored 50% off 4th row seats to see Taye Diggs in Hedwig and the Angry Inch.  AMAZING.  GO.  He’s only been the lead for 7 shows yet I can’t imagine anyone else pulling off that story with the grit and sassy bravado he showed off in this explosive drama musical.  We were just shy of the water spout he shot out into the crowd and three rows away from him grinding on me like he did the lucky gal in the first row who really was into it.  That’s cool–little too up close and personal for me anyway.

Despite some microphone miscues, Taye just rolled with it and shook his fist at the so-called ghost who haunts the Belasco Theater and cussed him out.  Leaping out into the audience, he picked on the preppy guy in the second row, licking his glasses and then politely handing them back.  Sharing spit is caring!  This is the type of show I could go to again and enjoy it even more.  If you’re in NYC, go to TKTS, get your tickets at 50% off and enjoy it–may want to avoid that third row middle seat, however, unless you wear a raincoat.

Classic theater and explosive drama musical
Classic theater and explosive drama musical
Adding to my Broadway sippy cup collection makes me so happy!
Adding to my Broadway sippy cup collection makes me so happy!

Today, we celebrate our 27th anniversary.  Seems like yesterday that I was in NYC at the Cadillac Bar picking up the cute guy with the long hair, earring and fur-lined leather jacket.  We went dancing the night away at the trendy Limelight Bar in an old church and have never stopped the adventure of enjoying our lives together.  While I had to work today, Thom braved the rain and got to see his Mets play (and lose-pity!) but enjoyed the experience thoroughly.  Tonight we will go to Toshi’s, our favorite bar in the Flatiron District with Hello Brooklyn singing on stage and will thoroughly enjoy the Presidential Suite the lovely Grand Hyatt just upgraded us to.

Using my many Diamond status perks, we had been promised last night to be moved but there were Secret Service here who took priority, watching over somebody far more important than us.   Hmmm… wonder who??  Could Thom be wearing the very hotel robe that a foreign President just wore???  Yes, we are not only blessed with ridiculous adventures but, more importantly, we have each other.   I don’t have to worry about anything because, no matter what, I know Thom has my back and will be there to support me and love me and, really, what else matters??  Best friends and soulmates for the last 27 years.  How lucky I am.

Presidential Suite at the Grand Hyatt is amazing!
Presidential Suite at the Grand Hyatt is amazing!
The adventure continues...
The adventure continues…

My Destiny-Manhattan & Me

NY Post. Bagel Shops. $1 Pizza. Dog parks. Broadway. Interesting people-EVERYWHERE. Why do I love NYC so much? All that & more. You can never be bored here. I hate being bored. I want to be able to walk for miles and see something new and different, whether it be a store or people or a park, every day I am alive. I’m a walker and NYC is a walking paradise. Even in the downpour last night, we had fun dodging under scaffolding and running across broad avenues to reach the historic and wonderful theater where we saw Kinky Boots.

Broadway Baby-Kinky Boots Amazingly Fabulous!
Broadway Baby-Kinky Boots Amazingly Fabulous!

Enriching my colleague’s life with a night on Broadway, he was even more amazed when I leaned over and told him that those gorgeous ladies doing the high kicks in the skimpy outfits and kinky boots were all men. Priceless. He was still talking about it the next day and really appreciated the story line and talent displayed on stage. But never, ever would you or could you experience something like that in China.  I’m glad we could share that with him.  And, yes, those were Kinky Cocktails in sippy cups.  When I die and the grandkids are going through our crap, they’ll see my collection of sippy cups from all the Broadway plays we have gone to and think their Nai Nai was pretty cool and drank ALOT.  Oh, the stories they will tell but hopefully we will inspire them to see our big, wonderful world.

Today, after work we walked around the UN area between 49th and 55th and 2nd Avenue, wandering aimlessly with no destination in mind as we do everywhere we go.  Manhattan, we love you!  When we stumbled upon the Peter Detmold dog park by the East River and 51st Street we just felt like it was home.

Puppies galore!  I miss my Izaak so much!
Puppies galore! I miss my Izaak so much!

There were even Vizla’s playing among the many dogs with their owners chatting and enjoying the warm sunny day.  Ahhhhhhh….this is where we belong.  While there were no coal barges running up and down the river like in Shanghai, an apartment here would be awesome.  We favor a river view always, though whether we could afford one here is still to be determined.

Many of the buildings were very historic with beautiful stonework and rich details.  Doormen in their uniforms guarding the residences doesn’t bode well for affordability but does speak to feeling secure and pampered.  Many restaurants including Il Positino and other international restaurants due to the UN being so close made for a diverse atmosphere.  How can we make this happen?  Well, I have been known to be a planner and stubborn in my resolve to make things happen–it took me almost 4 years to get an international job, taking on the challenge of many different assignments to get to where we are now, so it’s in my wheelhouse to make this happen in the future for us as well.

We have no intention of cutting our current adventure short but we are restless vagabonds who long to have Manhattan as our base of operation some day, along with a nice abode in Boise, Idaho to visit often with the soon-to-be arriving Mia and her superb parents, Mike & Hannah, along with our son James who will probably stay in the damp, grey Seattle he favors.  When he graduates next year, I just may go back and get my MBA in China which could serve me well as a consultant in my future years should I go in that direction.  In the meantime, I will dream of living in the Big Apple with Thom and start saving to make the dream become a reality.  EVERYONE NEEDS TO DREAM BIG!!  That doesn’t mean, of course, that I’m giving up our VIP Membership at Dragonfly Massage in Shanghai.  A girl has to have her weekly foot massages.  I’m not a savage.

View from the dog park.  How do you beat this?
View from the dog park. How do you beat this?