A Cruise and a Show

I get to the Circle Line dock in time for a 11am sailing,only to find that it is actually at 11:30, so I grab a drink and wait.

The cruise is a 2 hour semicircle tour of the harbour, which sails back on itself, so whichever side of the ship you sit, you will see everything. It is actually much more entertaining than I expected – the cruise guide is quite humorous, and keeps us entertained. We get to see good views of most of the New York waterfront, and Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

We don’t get back until 1:45pm, and I decide to carry on to my next planned attraction, and catch lunch there. This is where I hit a snag. I was going to see the Museum of Natural History today, and the Guggenheim tomorrow, but I discover that the Guggenheim is closed on Thursdays. So I decide to switch the two attractions and head for Guggenheim. However, disastrously, I accidently catch an express subway train instead of the local one, and am taken way past my stop. Then trying to get back to my stop, I do the same, in the opposite direction.

By the time I work out what has happened, where I am, and how to get back, I realise that it is 3:30pm, and I will only get to the Guggenheim a couple of hours before it closes, not enough time to do it justice. I am tired and hungry, so I decide to abandon the plan, and simply head back into town and find something to eat.

People have told me I ought to try Katz’s Deli, while I am in New York, but I haven’t gotten round to it, However, walking down 7th Ave, I come across the Stage Deli, so I go in. I order a “Joe DiMaggio”, which is pastrami, corned beef, onion and chopped liver, on rye bread. Like the previous deli sandwich I had in Long Island, it is massive, with as much sliced meat in it as I would normally eat in a week.

I thoroughly enjoy the meal, but after this and my Long Island experience, I decide that deli cuisine is probably not my cup of tea. This may be contentious, but when it comes down to it, I enjoy good cooking, and frankly, piling a pound of assorted cooked meat on a couple of slices of dry bread isn’t cooking to me.

It’s coming up to 5pm, and I am not due at the Minskoff Theatre until 8pm, so I wander around the shops in the area, and just have fun. I find time to nip into the Internet Cafe on 42nd street to check my email, and then head back to my hotel to change for the show.

“Fiddler on the Roof” is a masterpiece. It is a very modern production of the musical – the stage is an open space, bordered by realistic looking trees, and the cast and crew bring on props and furniture as they are needed – a bed is brought on, and the space is a bedroom; tables and chairs make it either a bar room or the town square. The orchestra are actually on stage, to the rear, and the Fiddler wanders around the action on stage.

It is hard not to make comparisons between this cast, with Alfred Molina, and the cast I am familiar with from the movie, with Topol in the part. Molina’s voice is lighter and higher, and during the first number – “Tradition!”, I wonder if he is going to pull this off. He plays Tevye the Milkman as a much younger man, and the pace of the songs is faster than I remember them.

But it works. Molina makes the part his own, and takes some real chances that pay off – particularly with his scenes with Tzeitel the tailor – where as much is said by the pauses that punctuates their dialog, as by the words themselves.

Subsequent to seeing the show, I have discovered that this has received very mixed reviews. Perhaps it’s just that I’m a sucker for a live show, but I loved it.

When I leave the theatre, it has gone 11pm, but I am not the least bit tired. I wonder back towards my hotel, and discover an “Irish Pub”. On entering, I discover that at least two of the barstaff areIrish, and that their Guinness is good too. I stay for an hour or so, and a few pints, before going back to my room.

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