Nestled comfortably in our recliner seats of the Royal Sprinter luxury mercedes van service, we are heading home to Washington after four days in the footsteps of Woody Allen in New York City. Our program for the trip, as detailed in a previous posting on this blogsite, had been loaded with events. Yet, I am happy to report, we were able to make every single stop on our agenda. As a result, I have amassed a wealth of unforgettable memories as well as lots of material for future postings on museums, shows, restaurants, and shops in the Big Apple.
For the moment, with my tired feet resting comfortably on the extended elevated footrest of my seat, I can finally take the time to reflect upon what we had just lived through. It has been an exhilarating trip, with plenty of delightful happenings. The theme of following in Woody Allen’s footsteps had provided us with a superb way to enjoy New York in ways that we had not experienced before.
We ate at some of Woody Allen’s favorite restaurants and at several of the restaurants featured in his films. We saw where he lives and where he used to live, and we walked his neighborhood on the Upper East Side. We visited the just opened 9/11 Memorial Museum as well as exhibitions at the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum and MOMA museums. We saw Woody Allen’s new Bullets over Broadway musical on Broadway, went to the Kit Kat Club to watch Alan Cummings in the revival of the Cabaret musical, and spent a memorable evening at Cafe Carlyle with Hal Linden.
What would I remember as the best moments of this adventure? I think they will be the following:
1. Cafe Carlyle dinner and evening show with Hal Linden: Whenever Woody Allen is in town on Monday evenings, he plays the clarinet with his Woody Allen Jazz Band at Cafe Carlyle, a short distance from his residence on the Upper East Side. My schedule did not permit us to be in New York on Monday evening but we decided to spend an evening at Cafe Carlyle in any case, with Hal Linden and his seven piece orchestra.
The evening was magical. Hal Linden turned out to be not only a very talented clarinetist and singer, but a master showman. The setting at Cafe Carlyle is ideal for a club act. The drawings on the wall are suggestive and colorful, providing a perfect contrast to the crisp white linen tablecloths and the red glow from the small table lamps. The ambience is ideally suited to a romantic evening and the enjoyment of a small show. While the food was quite good, we were at Cafe Carlyle primarily for the evening show which followed dinner.
And what a show it was! As soon as Hal Linden got onto the stage, I was absolutely shocked to see how impressively this 83-year old man could sing and dance! I’ll have whatever he is having is what I felt like saying, as I watched him belt out with passion one beautiful song after another. His selection of songs for the evening just happened to hit me in the heart every time.
2. Bullets over Broadway musical: The new musical by Woody Allen at the St James Theater was wonderful fun and entertainment. I confess that I had grown a bit weary of Broadway shows in the past few years. The ones I attended left me with the feeling that the good old days were gone. I did not want to go to any more sub-rate shows at huge prices which made me fall asleep or made me cringe at the screeching voices of singers, particularly female singers, who confuse voice quality with voice volume.
Bullets over Broadway has an excellent cast of actors and dancers who make you share in their fun as they perform. The staging and choreography are excellent, the music lively, the laughs frequent, the entertainment constant. We thoroughly enjoyed it!
3. 21 Club dinner: The 21 Club has to be one of the New York restaurants with the most storied past. Started in what was previously a bordello, the restaurant was at first a speakeasy during the Prohibition era. It quickly became and has remained since a magnet for celebrities. Tables in the restaurant are numbered and celebrities have their preferred table. Woody Allen’s movie Manhattan Murder Mystery has a long scene filmed at the 21 club.
The setting below ground in MidTown Manhattan is luxurious and the clientele is clearly well-heeled. We ate in the Bar Room, famous for its ceiling full of men toys given by famous patrons. Food and service were excellent and the celebration of Lynn’s birthday with a vase of roses and a special birthday cake helped make the evening even more memorable.
Stay tuned to BonVoyageurs.com for more Countries of the World as we share our joie de vivre from around the world. Luxury escapes and city breaks to Quebec City, New York, Washington, Buenos Aires. In Europe, places like Paris France, Nice France, Provence and the Cote d’Azur (French Riviera), Tuscany and Florence in Italy, Rome, Napoli and the Amalfi Coast. In Asia, countries like China, India, Nepal and so much more!