On Broadway


I went to Cyndi Lauper’s Broadway musical, Kinky Boots at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre in Manhattan yesterday. The scene above is from a play I went to earlier this summer, The Book of Mormon.

I am amazed at the popularity of Broadway plays, since the tickets are quite expensive (average price for a musical is $100) and there are so many people at the performances that tickets are a bit difficult to get. I looked up some statistics on the Broadway League web site and was again impressed at the size of the business.

Broadway plays outsell the top 10 professional New York sports teams combined! They grossed over $1 billion and over 11 million people saw plays last season. In confirming my suspicions looking at the crowd, 2/3 of the patrons are women and “women are more likely to make the purchasing decisions than their male counterparts”. The around 40 new productions each year are most musicals and they employ 86,000 people. The average Broadway play viewer attends four shows per year (which I did in 2013) and 2/3 of the audience are tourists.

Looking north on Sixth Avenue

Despite a definite feminine bent, I really enjoy going to Broadway. I am continually amazed at the aspect of the live performance, not only the singers, dancers, and actors, but the musicians under the stage, the sets and choreography. It is truly a professional and awe-inspiring performance and highly entertaining.

I would guess many of the performers are gay, but there were no stats on the Broadway League web site on this aspect. The flamboyant nature of theatre lends itself to this impression, but I could be wrong. It doesn’t bother me, I marvel at their talent. I wish I could sing and dance as well as them. They are truly incredible artists, but it makes the high school performances that I usually see pale in comparison.

I also wonder why the theatres are not larger. Most of them seat around 1,000 – 1,500, but I guess the intimate nature of them, gives the audience a better experience.

Bryant Park in July

I won’t be back to New York until next summer, but we are planning to take the kids again. I would like to see a regular play instead of a musical next time I am in town.

After the show we went for dinner in Greenwich Village, or as the locals call, The Village. I looked up an apartment in the area to see how much it would cost. A three-bedroom, two-bath, with terrace/garden between 2,000-2,500 square feet runs about 3.5 million. (ouch) Definitely an upscale section of Manhattan, but because of the densely packed nature of the island, real estate prices are crazy. I don’t know how most people can afford to live there. We also ate lunch in Bryant Park, the most densely packed park in the world and the scene of many TV and movies. It was really nice under the London Plane Trees.

I am getting to know NYC more every time I visit. It really is the capital of the world and a marvel.

The view of the new World Trade Center, looking south from The Village

Visit to Central Park


In my third trip to New York, I finally went to Manhattan’s Central Park. It has been featured in many movies and I wanted to check it out for myself. I only visited a small part of the park and do want to tour it thoroughly. The park is quite impressive and a big space, but I was surprised at the large number of people in the park. There were some bits, especially as you got further in that truly were bucolic, but it is hard to escape the city’s noise and man-made structures.

There was a pretty competitive softball game between teams of Broadway actors on the beautifully kept softball field. (photo below) There were also too many vendors, bike rickshaws, “buskers” and general riff raff in the park to take away from the peaceful experience.

I also thought about the super expensive luxury apartments with central park views. Yes it is nice, but not worth what you get from it. An apartment on the ocean or in the mountains is much more valuable in the pleasure one would receive from it.

The photo on the top of the blog is looking west across Sheep’s Meadow. I want to run completely across the park on one of my next visits.

I also met my friend Melissa for lunch. She spent the day with me in my workshop I had at the Jazz at Lincoln Center, and she talked about moving to Manhattan. The Columbus Circle area and the Time Warner Center is very beautiful. New Yorkers are also very friendly – one guy offered to help me find Central Park when I looking obviously lost at the map. This is not the first time it happened.

Me and Melissa at Columbus Circle

Probably the most impressive thing about New York is the amazing number of experts that congregate there. The best and brightest musicians, actors, businessmen, scientists, etc. all work in the various museums, institutes, offices, etc. There is an endless amount of experiences and things to learn. It truly is the capital of the world! I have yet to see Beijing or Tokyo, but I have been to London and it does top that in my “Capital of the World” rankings.