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.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York City


The Boxer, originally uploaded by bill kralovec.

What an amazing place! I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, located next to Central Park in Manhattan. It is the third largest art museum in the world and one could spend literally months there, studying and appreciating all styles of art from around the world. It is an impressive collection of statues, paintings, rugs, weapons, etc. from ancient history to the modern era. I could have spent a lot longer there. I would like to go back.

Above is one of the featured temporary exhibition called “The Boxer“. It is a statue from ancient Rome and is over 2000 years old. The realistic quality of the bronze statue is breathtaking and awesome to realize that it is that old. In a world before photos or videos, this may be as close as one gets to seeing how it was back then. The life size statue even has inlaid copper to represent blood. It is also interesting to think about how long boxing has been around and the scars and equipment on the statue, show how brutal the sport was, and to some extent, still is. The statue was found in the late 1800’s in Rome, and the experts suspect it was buried to hide it from the barbarian hordes that we overrunning the city. I wonder how many other works are buried?

Claude Monet’s The Manneporte (1883)

Above is a Monet painting that caught my attention. Monet led the Impressionist movement in art which featured thin brush strokes, emphasis on the changing light, ordinary landscapes, and a sense of movement. The painting above is of a rock formation on the Normandy coast. It is amazing to be that close to a world masterpiece.

Finally for my Serbian readers, I was really fascinated with the Ottoman gallery. Below is a helmet from the 16th century workshop of Sultan Suleiman The Magnificent, who personally led the Ottoman Empires to conquer Belgrade in August of 1521. The inscription on the helmut reads “Help From Allah, and a Speedy Victory”. That style of helmet probably inspired fear and loathing for generations of Serbs.

I also wondered how many times nations have asked for these historical pieces to be returned to the home country. I guess this would be often. Judging on the amount and variety of people at the museum, they probably get more exposure here than anywhere else. What a magnificent collection of history!