I stayed at the Plaza Hotel

What I did: spent a Thursday night in the Tower Suite at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. 

View of 58th St. from our 18th floor room

What I did beforehand: rode the train into Grand Central Terminal thinking about , walked up 5th Avenue penned in by block after block of police barricades.

What I wore: James jeans, black suede Puma sneakers

The Tower Suite has a round, king-sized bed

Who went with me: my husband, the Bacon Provider

How I made the reservation: online (directly with the hotel), about a week ago

The tower suite has a domed ceiling 
Why I stayed there: I was planning a single night in the city, starting with the tickets I had just booked to see “Made in China,” a funny and raunchy puppet musical with a human rights message at the 59 East 59th Street Theater. I looked at a map online, and compared prices and availability of a couple of high-end hotels nearby, including  the Pierre and the Four Seasons. The thing is, though, that the book Eloise was one of my favorites as a child, and all I had to do was think about Eloise pouring water down the mail chute or feeding her mother’s attorney rubber candy, and the decision was easy. 

The best lobster roll I’ve ever had

Where I sat: I had a classic champagne cocktail and a snack in the Champagne Bar, which has chairs so comfy I want to get some like them for my new dining room when the big, bad upcoming remodel is done.

Things that were sad: we got back from dinner too late to have a drink in the Rose Club.


Things that were funny/not funny: we did manage to sneak in a scotch in the Palm Court before last call, and were overheard by the bartender as I compared the unpresident-elect to both Hitler and Stalin.

Something I ate: a lobster roll in the Champagne Bar, and breakfast in the Palm Court.


What it is: over 100 years old, but meticulously remodeled in a way that maintains its grand style, the Plaza Hotel is a beautiful, sumptuous throwback to a past New York when rich people were expected to have exemplary manners.

Our bathroom had a heated floor

Who should see it: aesthetes, connoisseurs of historic hotels, parquet aficionados, high-end Victorian cos-players, architecture buffs, Eloise enthusiasts, gold-trim fanciers, luxury freaks, marble junkies, suckers for an exquisite attention to detail, and money-spending fools.
The marble mosaic elevator floors

What I saw on the way home: thousands of NYPD assembling on 5th Avenue for the funeral of Officer Steven McDonald, a man who believed in forgiveness.  

I saw "Hamilton"


What I saw: “Hamilton,” a musical at the Richard Rodgers Theater, on West 46th between 7th and 8th Avenue.


What I wore: black Brooks Brothers no-iron cotton blouse with 3/4-length sleeves, stretch denim capri James jeans, black Puma suede sneakers, short black SmartWool socks, gold Victorian earrings I wore in my wedding, gold bead Tiffany necklace, my grandmother’s square face Longines wristwatch, mascara, excited grin.

On the TV, Olympic swimming
What I did beforehand: dropped off my watch for repair, had lunch at Fig & Olive (where I complained they didn’t serve eggs), watched the NYPD herding the excited and disappointed crowd at end of the live lottery in front of the theater, stopped for a pre-theater cocktail at the unexpectedly not inadequate Brasserie Athenée (corner of W 46th and 8th).


Who went with me: the Bacon Provider.

How I got tickets: though I half-heartedly played the Hamilton online lottery a few times, I bought these tickets online, through Ticketmaster’s re-sale option, about a month ago; the  price printed on the tickets is $175 (each) for the seats plus $2 handling. I paid about $1100 (each) for the seats, with a $200 fee for handling the re-sale. 


Why I saw this show: because everyone made such a big deal about it. I even read Ron Chernow’s book about Hamilton, which inspired the show. I found the book a good read, but ultimately depressing, because our founding fathers made terrible choices.

Where I sat: Front Row, Mezzanine, seat A 2. In my opinion the best place to see this show. (One of the reasons I was willing to spend soooo much money on this show was because these seats were available).

Don’t worry about which cast you see.
The performers are all spectacularly talented.


Things that were sad: our founding fathers were petty, egotistical, adulterous nitwits with anger management issues.

Things that were funny: our founding fathers were petty, egotistical, adulterous nitwits with anger management issues.

Things that were not funny: the show is almost three hours, including a fifteen minute intermission. The Richard Rodgers Theater has narrow public areas that become very congested before and after and during intermission and has howlingly inadequate restrooms. People brought small children to this show, some dressed as horrifying, tiny, be-wigged, tricorned, enlightenment-era patriotic props, as if such cos-play might win a door prize.

What it is: the most important and acclaimed American musical of the past twenty-plus years. Yes, it is as good as they say. 

Who should see it: bastards, Americans, students of American history, sisters, fans of American musical theater, rappers, revolutionaries, Federalists, Jeffersonians, duelists. 

They put bee pollen on it.
What I saw on the way home: we got dinner at the Marshal, a tiny and bustling restaurant offering skillfully prepared, locally-sourced, delicious food on 10th Avenue, near West 45th (reservations recommended). Some of the staff consider us regulars, and when they saw the “Hamilton” programs in our hands, I told them we’d seen it to celebrate because, “We’ve been married 30 fucking years,” which they thought was pretty awesome. So awesome, they surprised us with champagne and dessert at the end of our meal. We may have had the last word, though, with the tip. 

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js


I saw “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City”

What I saw: “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City,” a play, at MCC Theater at The Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher Street, in the West Village of NYC.

What I wore: limited edition Puma X Swash States, white jeans, eShakti tunic top, tiny fancy dark mauve handbag with an extra-long strap.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js


What I did beforehand: braved a traffic jam without honking, rode the E train, tried unsuccessfully to get a smile out of a pair of bored and surly NYPDs, succeeded with a haughty hipster barista when I got my coffee and cookie at Joe on Waverly Place.


Who went with me: lots of strangers, including some women from Florida celebrating , a couple whose daughter was a gynecological oncologist in Madison, Wisconsin, grumpy old folks next to me who were quietly uncomfortable with my cackling.

How I got tickets: online, because I thought the name was stupid and therefore great.

Why I saw this show: having seen two hospital-room black comedies, I now hope to see them all.

Where I sat: row G, seat 107, behind a guy with a huge neck and head, and between some old people and some even older people.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js


Things that were sad: this is a play about people whose moms are fighting cancer. This is not a play about brave survivors, or courageous 5K fundraising participants. It is about people who are fundamentally broken.


Things that were funny: vibrator jokes, a long condom story, and that long name, which isn’t even accurate, since the funny things happen at the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City, not on the way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City.

Things that were not funny: someone to my left fell asleep despite my loud laughing, and when he woke up he wanted his wife to tell him what happened.

What it is: a play, set in a hospital room at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City, featuring four skillful actors and lasting about 90 minutes. 

Who should see it: anyone seeking something better than the absurdly simplistic and unrealistic portrayal of people with cancer being “brave warriors,” audiences prepared for simulated oral sex onstage, fans of Law & Order.

What I saw on the way home: a warning light on the dashboard of my car alerted me that the front seat passenger was not wearing a seatbelt. My front seat passenger was my purse, made somewhat heavier than normal with the addition of my laptop. Nothing like the engineering choices of some German car-feature designers to remind me that I, being a hand-bag-carrying woman, may not always be thought of as a car-owner or otherwise relevant person. 

I saw "The King & I"

What I saw: “The King & I” at the Lincoln Center Theater, on W 65th in NYC

What I wore: favorite dirty jeans, Chinese-made Australian boots, new Brooks Brother floral blouse, tan cardigan, yellow striped scarf that I think I bought at one of those gifty shops at U Village in Seattle a couple of lifetimes ago, black Baker-plaid trimmed quilted jacket

What I did beforehand: disregarded recent filings by the Department of Labor and went to B&H to buy headphones that don’t go in my ears for listening to audiobooks when I vacuum because the in-ear ones from Apple deliver regular shocks from static electricity; walked 31 blocks up 9th Ave from 34th to 65th; stopped and ate hummus with dry pita at American Table at Alice Tully Hall where my three dollar tip was noted with a hearty “Thank you.”



//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Who went with me: My cousin (the one who requested I see “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time“) texted me a couple of months ago, saying she and her husband would be in town, and that she had gotten tickets to “The King & I” on this night. 

How I got tickets: online, full-price
Why I saw this show: see “Who went with me,” above

I could have vomited into the pit


Where I sat: Row C, seat 403, in the front row on the end. I had a view of the orchestra pit beforehand, and regular eye-contact with the bassoonist. 



//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Things that were sad: I was an alto in the chorus, starting in junior high school, and we sang a medley of the best songs in this musical. As the exquisitely talented Kelli O’Hara sang the opening phrase of the first song (“Whenever I feel afraid, I hold my head erect, and whistle a happy tune…”), I began to cry. I also cried during “Hello, Young Lovers,” which I thought was a stupid song in 7th grade, and during, “Shall We Dance?” 

Things that were funny: Afterward, I asked my brother about some of the things I was uncomfortable about in this musical, and he said:

There are only three ideas white people have about black and brown people–1) how to get things/labor from them2) how to save them from themselves 3) how to protect us from them 

Things that were not funny: How do I see a show like this and not talk about the “barbaric” King of Siam being rescued by insistent teachings of the spunky and opinionated English woman? Or about the fact that Asia is a huge continent, but any Asian face passes for Thai (or Burmese) on an America stage? Or about the broad and sometimes unintelligible accents? The underwear gags? 

What it is: A Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that gets revived regularly for the Broadway-musical-loving world. It is nicely staged in this venue. The singing and dancing were great. And it was nice to see my cousin and her husband.

Who should see it: men (there was a very long line to the cramped maze that is the women’s restroom before the show, and an even longer line at intermission), people who can hold their pee 

What I saw on the way home: seven mounted NYPD officers, riding up 10th Avenue in formation

The best way to go uptown



And I lost a glove.
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js