In my last post, chronicling the beginning of the action-packed day when I toured Manhattan with George, a young visitor from Greece, we encountered the Museum of Natural History, Columbus Circle, a series of three-star restaurants, and various street people on our way to Times Square.
When we got to Times Square, they were already setting up barriers and cameras in preparation for the next day’s New Year’s Eve dropping of the ball at midnight, which would be witnessed by an estimated one million people packed into the area (plus 6,000 cops hoping to keep them safe.) One professional cameraman, setting up his tripod, said the ball would fall from just above the Toshiba sign above.
George took photos in all directions, and so did I. The crowd frantically waved at the huge Revlon billboard, which kept zooming in on the people in the street below, including us. It’s a kick to see yourself on a lighted billboard above Times Square!
Next George led me into the nearby Hard Rock Café, where he bought a tee-shirt, saying “We don’t have a single Hard Rock Café in Greece.” Then it was on one block to Madame Tussauds where the line of people waiting to get in stretched for what seemed like miles.
When we finally got in, after paying $40 each, we were herded into a large elevator to the 9th floor, called “Opening Night”, filled with film stars dressed in red carpet garb. We would walk down to the other floors, each with a different theme. The first statue to welcome us was Kim Kardashian and then Kanye West, seen here with George.
On the next floor I enjoyed seeing John Wayne with this elderly fan, and then Jennifer Lawrence with a much younger admirer.
Jimmy Fallon was interviewing this young lady. And Don Draper was already celebrating Happy Hour.There were floors with scientists and writers and inventors and a theater where we watched a six-minute 4-D Marvel Heroes film. Evidently 4-D means that, when you see splashing water or a bullet whizzing by or a punch in the back or an explosion, you experienced it yourself, sitting right there in your chair, with water in the face, air whizzing by, and a poke in the back.
Obama and Michelle didn’t seem to mind two teenagers taking over the presidential desk. And finally George reached the floor he had been waiting for, where he got to spar with Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali.
famous Christmas tree. The sidewalks were so crowded that I kept thinking about how, in India on religious holidays, people who fall down are trampled to death by the crowds. Luckily I didn’t fall down before we got to see the tree, with the skating rink in front of it and all the beautiful lighted angels lining the way. George was determined to be photographed with a New York police officer (don’t know why) and this gentleman obliged.
Halfway to the 67th floor, everybody got out and filed through a security checkpoint just like at the airport.
It was worth it, and the $32 tickets, because from the top we got amazing views of Manhattan at night, including the Empire State building that was decked in red and green lights for the holidays.
There the owner and chef, Maria Loi, the official “Ambassador of Greek Gastronomy”, shared some of her cooking secrets with George.
After we caught our breath, George declared that he had seen a week’s worth of New York City in two days. I had to agree.