USA series: The Lion King and Empire State Building

This is where magic happens

This is where magic happens

Alex and I are nearing the end of our two wonderful weeks in New York but we have saved a few big ticket items for last.

We have pre-purchased tickets for tonight’s performance of The Lion King at the Minskoff Theatre.  I am anticipating this will be another New York City highlight as I have only ever heard excellent reviews.  After the theatre we are going to the observation deck of the Empire State Building.

But first, Alex and I will be spending the day cruising the trendy streets of Soho and Greenwich Village.

9:30am
And so our 12th day in Manhattan, New York begins with the biggest breakfast I have ever seen (and managed to eat) at a restaurant called “Good Enough to Eat”.  This place has people queuing around the corner every weekend.  We want to see why.  Alex’s order of waffles and my Cinnamon French toast with peaches are both as big as they are delicious. Cost USD$40 but so worth it and good enough to eat.

Breakfast for two

Breakfast for two

It is another beautiful day with blue skies and 27 degrees today and time to get on with it.

11:30am
Our journey through Soho begins from Houston subway station.  We head up West Houston Street passing all sorts of sleek shops and galleries until we reach Broadway Avenue.

The apartment buildings in the side streets are all adorned with their metal fire escapes and so New York.

Fire escapes

Fire escapes

On a day like today, I reckon I could never tire of this city.

Cute streets

Cute streets

We reach Broadway, which is the main shopping strip and also the busiest strip and the perfect place to buy… jeans.

Shops have rows of jeans

Shops have rows of jeans

All the shops here seem to have sales on… all except Prada who apparently don’t have sales. Considering Prada apparently spent USD$30 million on re-fitting the store interior here, they probably can’t afford to put stuff on sale.

Prada interior remodel costs a bomb

Prada interior remodel costs a bomb

We dare to go inside, where there is not a price tag in site. You know the saying, “if you have to ask (how much) you can’t afford (it)”.

Back on the street and our path up Broadway leads us to Washington Square Park, not before we take a slight detour to find some typical “brownstones” and a bite to eat in Greenwich Village.

Brownstones

Brownstones

Washington Square Park, like many parks, has its fair share of buskers, a puppeteer and some musicians all relying on the tourists rewarding them with coin for some amusement or entertainment received.

Washington Park

Washington Park

We pass on the buskers and keep moving.

6:00pm
We are back in Times Square and make our way to the Minskoff Theatre in plenty of time for our 7:00pm performance.

The Lion King according to Wikipedia:

“A Broadway adaptation of the film opened in 1997, and won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical. As of April 2012 it is the highest grossing Broadway musical of all time. 

It tells the story of Simba, a young lion who is to succeed his father, Mufasa, as king. However, after Simba’s uncle Scar murders Mufasa, Simba is fooled into thinking he was responsible and flees into exile in shame and despair. Upon maturation living with two wastrels, Simba is given some valuable perspective from his friend, Nala, and his shaman, Rafiki, before returning to challenge Scar to end his tyranny.”

I am super excited to see The Lion King.  Alex has seen the performance some years back in Sydney, Australia but this is all new to me.

The Lion King production is here

The Lion King production is here

Our seats cost US$112 (each) and are located in the middle on the balcony.  Not the best seat in the house as tickets range up to near US$200 but our seats are more than fine.

The Lion King stage

The Lion King stage

The lights dim and the performance begins.  No more than 30 seconds into the opening and I turn to Alex and whisper excitedly “I love it already”.

The performance is outstanding, the characters delightful and the performance flawless.

I hate to admit but once the performance was finished and by the time the lights came back on I had tears in my eyes.  I wish everybody had the opportunity to see The Lion King just once in their lives.  This is getting added to our list of highlights… probably will go straight to the top of the list.

For tickets from the official website you can go to The Lion King.

11:00pm
To try and make the night even more special we are next off to the Empire State Building and make our way there on foot, via a busy as usual Times Square.

Times Square from Minskoff Theatre Window

Times Square from Minskoff Theatre Window

Empire according to the Empire State Building:

“The Empire State Building’s Observatory is the highlight of New York’s skyline, reaching 1,250 feet above the city. Experience stunning views of the city and beyond from the top of one of the most famous landmarks in the world. 

Get unmatched views of New York and beyond from our world-famous 86th and 102nd floor observatories.  Don’t miss a visit to the most famous building in the most famous skyline in the world. 

There are two observatories.  An open air 360-degree terrace on the 86th floor also contains an indoor viewing gallery for chillier days.  Outside, you’ll find high powered binoculars and a wheelchair-accessible promenade with the most spectacular views of downtown, midtown, Central Park and beyond.

 

Sixteen stories up, and almost a quarter mile up in the sky, you can visit the 102nd floor Observatory, the highest public point in New York City.  Relax and take in the full 360-degree view in our climate-controlled indoor gallery with comfortable perches.”

Even just walking into the beautiful foyer is part of the experience for me. 

Empire State Building foyer doors

Empire State Building foyer doors

Empire State Building foyer

Empire State Building foyer

Having gone to the Top of the Rock earlier in our trip and experiencing how busy the observation deck was at an earlier time, we figure going later will be less crowded.  To our surprise, there was a semi-decent queue when we arrived at 11:00pm. 

First we need to get through the airport style security screening.  Once through we make our way to the ticket counter to buy our USD$27 ticket (adult ticket).  We snake our way along until we reach the elevator which takes us quickly and quietly to level 80.

We leave this elevator only to find we need to again snake our way further, passing picture boards setting out some history of the Empire State Building. 

Empire State Building interior

Empire State Building interior

Eventually we make our way to another elevator.  Again awaiting us is our next elevator driver looking very respectable in his neat hat and period suite of purple with black trim. 

This elevator takes us the next 6 levels up, eventually arriving at the 86th floor main observation deck. 

Welcome to the Observation Deck

Welcome to the Observation Deck

Alex and I exit here, deciding not to pay the extra USD$17 to continue onto the level 102nd floor observation area.

Our views from the 86th floor open air main observation deck is amazing and wonderful with beautiful New York City and surrounds set out before us in all its lit glory.

New York City

New York City

More New York city

More New York city

Fantastic view from the observation deck

Fantastic view from the observation deck

Wow, wow, wow.

Manhattan streets below

Manhattan streets below

Bryant Park below

Bryant Park below

The Chrysler Building especially looks fantastic.

Chrysler Building is a feature

Chrysler Building is a feature

Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building illuminated

Chrysler Building illuminated

The view from the Empire State Building is simply stunning… we say… do it and appreciate it.[showmyads]

For the previous USA series post see Brooklyn Bridge and Coney Island
For the next USA series post stay tuned…