Driving in Jersey
Is a frustrating mess.
Get lost at ev’ry turn
Even with the G.P.S.
So have I written in a song. After a number of driving adventures in New Jersey, my wife and I have recently decided to stay up in Westchester when we visit New York City. We formerly stayed in Secaucus, New Jersey which is quite close to the City, but traffic near the Lincoln Tunnel is a bit frenzied. I tend to get easily lost.
We now stay at Tarrytown in Westchester County. Located over 20 miles from Manhattan, Tarrytown provides train service by the Metro North to Grand Central Station. This railroad takes a bit longer than the PATH from Hoboken, especially when you get the local trains that stop at every depot along the way.
But in Westchester, you are surrounded by suburban quiet. You get the best of both worlds. And unlike the PATH facilities or Penn Station, Grand Central is lovely to behold. It also features several fine shops.
On our recent trip to the City, in mid October, we wanted to see Pinter’s play Betrayal, featuring Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz. This was sold out, so instead we saw the off-Broadway revue The NEWSical: The Musical at the Kirk Theatre. The Kirk is a pleasant smaller space located in Theatre Row, on West 42nd Street, past the Port Authority, and not far from the Hudson.
We sat in the theatre behind the sound man, who chuckled at the jokes. The show featured comic songs and sketches making fun of such people in the news as President Obama, House Speaker Bayner, Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus. Of course, it doesn’t take much exaggeration to make Kim Kardashian or Miley Cyrus appear ridiculous, but much of the show was funny. We weren’t given a program, so I can’t name the cast members, but all four of them were excellent. The best bit in the show was a dance done by a male actor dressed as Miley Cyrus.
As we do in every NYC trip, we made our rounds to the bakeries. On this one we stopped at the Doughnut Plant, a relatively small place located in lower east Manhattan. It features a large variety of doughnuts, expensive but very tasty. We also stopped at the midtown Magnolia, near Rockefeller Center, which has the best cupcakes in Manhattan.
One of the most interesting parts of our trip was a stop at Steinway Hall. Located almost across the street from Carnegie Hall, Steinway allows visitors to play and test its new models, including Steinway baby grands and Boston uprights.
A few years ago, Steinway had some quality control problems. While some models were excellent, others were uneven in quality between the bass and treble registers. But these problems seem to have been corrected. Of the current stock I tried at Steinway Hall, all the pianos had fine sounds in both treble and bass. And some of the pianos were outright outstanding.
Our only irritation was in midtown. Times Square is a pest, I would think, to anyone who is no longer a teenager. It is easily packed with tourists who constantly stop, and obstruct the flow of pedestrian traffic. It is worse now, as construction has narrowed the streets. The only pedestrian congestion I’ve seen similar to it is in Rockefeller Center during the month before Christmas.
There must be a trick to seeing Manhattan without having to go through Times Square, but I haven’t found it yet.