Wednesday, September 07, 2011

I love The Book of Mormon... and New York!

Here's my most recent travelogue. For many more of these please check out my book, WHERE THE HELL AM I? TRIPS I HAVE SURVIVED. E-book version is only $2.99. That's less than a penny a laugh, which in this economy, is pretty damn good. Order yours here.  And often.  Thanks!

Flew to New York on Virgin American, which is really just Jet Blue with mood lighting.  There with the family for the east coast wedding reception for my son Matt and his new bride, Kim.  We have a lot of NY relatives who couldn't get out to California for the actual event.   If you're even remotely related to us and couldn't get to this one either, just drop me a note.  We'll be by to throw one in your town, too. 

Stayed at the Affinia-Dumont (hey, we went price shopping).  It's at 3rd & 34th in the very heart of foot spa and Brazilian wax salon district.  Arrived to find twenty mattresses piled in front on the street.  Never a good sign.   The Affinia's recent claim-to-fame is that it didn't blow down during Hurricane Irene. 

Next door is a Spy Store.  I'm sure there are hidden cameras in the shower.

The city was re-paving sections of the sidewalks around our hotel so there was yellow police tape everywhere.  It was like walking through the opening scene of every CASTLE episode.   

THE BOOK OF MORMON is the funniest and most brilliant Broadway musical I've ever seen.  Although to be fair, I haven’t seen SPIDERMAN or CARRIE: THE MUSICAL. 

But Trey Parker & Matt Stone and Robert Lopez have created a masterpiece!  And the cast headed by Andrew Rannells & Josh Gad is phenomenal!  They're all going to burn in hell for eternity, but so what?  I was amused for two hours. 

Went backstage after the show.  Andrew starred in the musical I co-wrote a few years ago.   Our show was Off-Broadway though (Connecticut).  Talk about an added bonus -- Randy Newman was also backstage.  Got to talk to Randy Newman.  I rarely get star struck but Randy Newman -- he's like the John Lennon of Jews.

Topped off the night with a late snack at Ellen's Stardust Diner where all the waiters and waitresses take turns singing Broadway tunes -- usually right when your order is up.  But it's great fun, they all can really sing, and I so look forward to the day they add some songs from THE BOOK OF MORMON, notably "Fuck you, God".  The tourists will just love it!

Did not get to the Upper West Side this trip.  Now that H&H Bagels is gone, what's the point?

The weather on Friday was glorious.  Must've walked ten miles.   Okay... Two. Explain this to me.  On the corner of 3rd & 49th there were two five-foot canisters of nitrogen, just standing there.  Why? I bet within six minutes someone made off with them.

A neon sign in front of the neighborhood Dunkin' Donuts says, "We are kosher!" which I suppose is a nicer way of saying "We don't use lard!"

The NY Post has one of my favorite movie critics, Kyle Smith.  His Friday review began like this:  "Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and Jason Sudeikis are three good reasons to stay very clear of A Good Old Fashioned Orgy".   Don’t think they’ll be using that on the poster.

The "hard hat Sinatra" has left the now-completed building.  A construction worker on the Upper East Side used to bellow Sinatra tunes during lunch.  Jackhammers and Teamsters whistling at passing women provided his Basie-like accompaniment.  Again, to hear music and possibly witness a horrible accident, why pay good money for SPIDERMAN when you can see this guy for free?  

Has there ever been a NY theater column in the last fifty years that didn't mention Stephen Sondheim at least once?

Took the 4 Train out to Yankee Stadium.   Wow!   It opened in 2009 and, unbelievably, it still looks new!  Much as I loved the original I have to say this updated version is the oyster's ice skates.  Everything is first class from the wide concourses and tributes to the team's rich history to carved turkey sandwiches.   There's also an impressive museum filled with cool memorabilia.  I was hoping to see a napkin from the strip joint in Texas where Billy Martin got the shit beaten out of him but had to settle for several Babe Ruth bats.   The restroom fixture ratio is one for every 60 fans, but the team merchandise store ratio is one for every 6 fans.  

Sorry we didn't go to the Yankee game on Monday.  Missed their big promotion -- (I kid you not). Hand Sanitizer Key Chain Day

The Learning Annex is alive and well in Manhattan!  Among the courses for the upcoming session:  "How to Shoot Erotic Photography", "Contact Your Angels", "How to Talk to Your Angels" (I suppose  "Contact Your Angels" is a pre-requisite unless you have a note from your angel), and "Living in Buddha Standard Time".  Even though classes begin at $.99 I still think you're being ripped off...except for that erotic photography course (although you do have to provide your own fruit). 

The wedding reception went off very well.   Lots of relatives discussing hurricane damage, how nice everyone looks, and tumors.  Getting a cab home from Broadway & 39th proved problematic.  You'd think a bride, in full wedding dress, standing out in the street, hailing a taxi would attract some attention.  This can be a tough town.

There will be a Labor Day parade on September 10th celebrating the end of summer and inability to read a calendar.  Guess they didn't want it to conflict with Hand Sanitizer Key Chain Day

Cowabunga!  There was a surfing championship at Long Beach, NY.  Gidget goes Gotham!  And the U.S. Open tennis tournament at Forrest Hills.  And yet together they couldn't fill the void left by the absence of Jerry Lewis. 

Flew home Monday night on Jet Blue, which is really just Virgin American with Sirius/XM.   On the ride to the airport I thought I saw a street vendor selling jewelry, twenty mattresses, and two nitrogen canisters.   All in all a lovely trip.  The wedding reception was a big hit.  Just wish I had known about Dunkin' Donuts being kosher beforehand.  I could have saved a fortune!


dgwphotography said...

You missed the last few days of filming for The Avengers. They were in Central Park on Friday, and also shot around 42nd and Park both Saturday and Sunday...

ManhattanHillbilly said...

Sorry I missed you. Next time you're in the Big Apple, do come see me on the UWS. We'll split a kosher doughnut and some liquid nitrogen!

sephim said...

The only disappointing thing about The Book Of Mormon is that I'm never going to be able to see it with the original cast.

Although, if it ever does come to Australia, I'm definitely going to audition for a part, even if it's as a piece of scenery.

scottmc said...

While staying at the Affinia-Dumont did you see the statue of the painting artist located on 34th Street between 3rd Avenue and Lexington? It causes a number of passers-by to do a double take. The hotel is a few blocks away from the Cuban Embassy-you were fortunate that your trip didn't coincide with a U.N. General Assembly meeting.

There used to be a couple of wonderful single screen movie theaters in the area. But that was a while back. The last movie at one theatre was the original ICE AGE. And at the other was where I saw ISHTAR.
And with respect to the Yankees, had you been working last night's game with the Orioles you would have had to wait out a 4 hour rain delay and broadcast past 2AM.

RCP said...

Having lived in NYC for a dozen years, I very much enjoyed reminiscing with this post - Ken, you always have such a great take on places.

By the way: Zabar's is just down the street from where H&H stood, and still makes a pretty mean bagel. Next time.

Scott H said...

I completely agree with you on "Book of Mormon". But I have to strongly disagree on Ellen's Stardust Diner. I was there a few months ago for the first time, and found sub-par food and incredibly over-loud singing. Yes, there is some talent there, but I my ears hurt about 2 minutes in, and I had probably the worst burger & fries I've ever eaten there. My niece's meal was similarly awful. The deafening music never stops, either. DO NOT GO THERE after a show if you want to have any kind of conversation! Better still, don't go there at all. Any fast food place will beat it.

Breadbaker said...

35 years ago, which makes me feel very old, I worked across the street from the Lindell AC in Detroit, which is where Billy Martin originally kicked the shit out of Dave Boswell back in 1969. Unfortunately, the original closed a few years ago. There's apparently one out in the burbs, but it could never be the same. We had lunch there almost everyday back in the day.

Kris from DM said...


benson said...

Bought the e-book version of "Where the hell am I" over the weekend to read on my Droid. It's a fun read...with numerous laugh out loud moments in between the chuckles."

I also told the publisher (via Amazon) that I'd like the baseball book in Kindle format, too.

NYCTrivialist said...

The nitrogen tanks used to be found all over NYC but are becoming a rarer sight. Never seen anyone take one but they used to be regularly defaced with stickers telling people that the tanks were an eyesore and that people should complaint to Verizon. Apparently, they're used by Verizon to maintain phone lines:

Frank said...

I can just picture "he's like the John Lennon of Jews" used as a promo for Randy's next album.

Johnny Walker said...

Hey Ken, I recently unearthed a questionnaire for those contemplating jumping into Hollywood. I know you tend to be very positive about your experiences there, but I personally think it's a great test for people to take and think about.

What do you think?

Mike Schryver said...

Ken, I finally bought your book for my Kindle, after months of waffling. (I can turn any decision into an internal debate on the scale of the Paris peace talks.)
I look forward to a great read.

Michael Zand said...

Sorry to be a nudge, but as a baseball fan I'm sure you wouldn't let someone saying Yankee stadium was in Manhattan slide. So being a major tennis fan, I have to tell you that the US open moved from Forest Hills to Flushing Meadows thirty three years ago.

Anonymous said...

In case you're interested, the Dumont has gone condo