Monday, October 01, 2007

WEEKEND IN THE BIG APPLE (PART 2)

Some pics:

Waiting for the train

Ground Zero




Some weird sculpture I found interesting in the Financial District. The cemetery at the church (I can't remember the name of right now!) in Financial District. I love this old church and the cemetery too. The headstones are so old and darkened with age and dirt you can't read them. This is about a block from Ground Zero, so its amazing that it appears to have gone untouched during the attack.

Another favorite: The Merrill Lynch Bull.



Other picture near Wall Street.

Corey and me (my Ilookdrunkbutamsober look) Renee and me.




In the subway.



Standing outside Radio City Music Hall waiting to get into Wheel of Fortune. Note the VIP tickets.



Inside the Palace Theater waiting for Legally Blonde to start.

(continuation) I think late September/early October is my favorite time to be in NYC. Of all the times I have been there, this time of the year seems to be the nicest weather. It ranges from hot and humid during the day but cooling at night, to balmy, to cool and crisp. Waking up Friday morning, a cold front had come in overnight, leaving us with the balmy weather I love. We had to leave early to get to the taping of Wheel of Fortune. The letter Renee had received with her tickets gave instructions to be there by a certain time. We figured the lines would be long, so decided to go a little earlier, just on the tail end of rush hour.

The drive into the city is always an experience. Traffic moves along at 80+ mph unless someone messes it up by going the speed limit. :D I just sit in the back seat and try not to think of all the ways one could get maimed or killed in the event of an accident. We usually listen to the traffic reports to see which bridge or tunnel has the longest delay and try to detour somewhere else if possible. This day, we took the Holland Tunnel, because it exited near where we would need to be.

People who have done the New York City Marathon will tell you Manhattan isn't flat, and that is the truth. There are some pretty short, steep climbs in some areas. Coming out of the tunnel is one of those areas. I can't remember exactly the street where we parked, but it was near Bryant Park, which on one side is on 6th Avenue/Avenue of the Americas. Radio City Music Hall is in Midtown, near the NBC studios, the United Nations, and other well known places (which escape me right now!). Even though it was barely 10 am when we arrived, and we knew we would have at least a two hour wait to get seated, we could see long lines winding around the building waiting for the show. Ugh, was all I could think of. I was glad the weather was good, however, because it would make waiting that much more pleasant.

We started out in the handicap line, without realizing, until one of the ushers came and announced where to go if you were not handicapped. So we headed to yet a longer line until once again, seeing our VIP tickets, an usher pointed us to a MUCH shorter line right in front of the building. There were maybe 10 people in front of us! Well, I guess VIP really does mean something! While in line, we chatted with others standing waiting, and learned there were people directly behind us who were family of a contestant. We found out the contestants were in tryouts as we waited, so it was obvious it was going to be a long day for them. Renee hadn't been picked as a contestant, as she had hoped, not making the deadline to apply apparently. Regardless, we were there as spectators, and that alone was going to be enough fun.

We hadn't waited more than a half hour outside when they let the VIP ticket holders in to wait in the lobby, again another VIP perk apparently. Had the weather been bad, it would have seemed like more of a treat. We knew we would be waiting for a while yet, as stated in the instruction letter, but what we hadn't been informed of was while waiting there would be NO food or drinks allowed, and no picture taking! The no picture taking rule seemed a little unnecessary, as it didn't seem like there should be any problem taking pics inside the lobby, but every time someone got a camera out, they were told to put it away. As for no food or drinks, that could be easily understood based on the number of people and the long wait. Bottled water would have been a nice touch, though. And fortunately we were allowed to get out of line to use the bathroom.

Waiting in line became an experience. Directly behind me were 4 older ladies who reminded me of what I call the Atlantic City casino set: carefully coiffed hair, stylish clothes, lots of makeup, big handbags, Jersey accents. All talking at the same time and loudly. One woman constantly wanted to know why our VIP tickets had a special seal on it. We would find out later. And they constantly complained about not being treated like VIPs. Lady, what do you expect when you're with 4,000 other people?? And naturally, as the wait dragged on, they complained more and more and crowded me more and more, apparently with the belief if they continued to press forward they would get seated sooner. By the time they actually separated the lines of VIP tickets from Wheel Watcher Club to non, I think my one ear was numb from them talking directly into it so loudly and for so long! With something like this, you really had to be patient and enjoy the moment.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, we were shown to our seats. And woo hoo! We were right in the center front, 11 rows back. The 10 rows in front of us were for more superior VIPs we were told. Either way, we had excellent seats. I only wish I could have taken a picture of the set, like the two Italian women seated next to us did! Some people get away with everything!

There was a flurry of activity going on all around, getting the lighting and sound set up, watching the first contestants "practice" spinning the wheel and being excited, watching interviews being given by the few unknown to us celebs that were in the audience doing promos. After a while, we were given instructions about how they would be panning the audience for audience shots and they would let us know when to applaud, wave, or whatever.

Then it was time for the show. The place was filled! I don't know how many people the Music Hall holds, but it looked pretty full, and of course they filled all the gaps in the audience to appear to be full. The set looks exactly like it does on TV: what you see is what is there. The theme for our shows was Best Friends week, so the contestants were in pairs.

Pat and Vana finally appeared, and of course the crowd went wild. Up close, they both look exactly like they do on TV.

Without going into a lot more detail about the show, I will just say we were there for three shows, to be aired on Nov. 5, 6, and 7. Three more shows would be taped that evening, and 6 more the next day. There is a lot of commercial break time, and the actual show itself probably takes less than 20 minutes. Each taping lasted for 45-50 minutes, however.

All in all, it was exciting and fun, if not a little tiring being there all day more or less. When we left the Music Hall, it was already after 5 pm, so we decided to get something to eat before heading into rush hour traffic. We went to a local barbeque place (Mannys?) a couple of blocks down from the Palace theater. We were there for about an hour and when we left, we realized it had rained, gotten dark, and cooled down quite a bit, but was not cold. Walking in the mob that is the City, you couldn't possibly have felt cold, what with all the body heat all around.

And again, it is a sensory overload walking down Broadway, through Times Square, etc. And as long as you are enjoying the whole experience, no one seems to get upset by the crowds. You just go with the flow. We were tired this night, however, and decided to call it an "early" night, planning on being back the next day for other activities. We got back to the car and again proceeded to weave our way to the tunnel to head out of town. What a mess! Traffic was almost the worst I have ever seen it. Friday night, you know? So it took us 2 hours this time to get back to Renee's, and we were all exhausted and went to bed early (11 pm). (to be continued)

4 comments:

TriBoomer said...

I can hear it now... "Start spreading the news, I'm leaving today..."

Stay tuned...

See Zanne Run said...

ah ... i grew up 40 minutes north of NYC - and my dad worked in the city for 35 years ... we were in the city all the time. all.the.time. i adore it. the crowds, the traffic, the noise -i know that feeling of wondering when you are going to die in a spectacular cab crash - i love how the city just hums along at such a fast pace ... my girls tease me - always saying i walk so fast cause i was born in NYC & everyone there is fast. loved your post - knew exactly where you were at all times! sounds like it was a great weekend. because of my dad's job - we got VIP tickets to all kinds of things ... NOTHING beats those VIP tickets! always fun to get in those short lines & get the good seats!!

Fe-lady said...

Sounds as if you had a blast! If we ever get there (NYC) it will definitely be fall or winter...altho I hate flying in snow/ice! Nice report!

Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

Love the photos. I guess someday I need to make a trip to NYC myself. :)