Sunday Stories: Spring Forward, Airplane Food, and Veggie Lasagna

Did you remember to spring forward by an hour last night or this morning? I'm definitely looking forward to the extra hour of daylight at the end of the work day.

Perhaps this is why many guys won't stop and ask for directions.

It's not just your imagination. Food and drinks really do taste different at 30,000 feet

This vegetarian lasagna sounds amazing - unless you're a carb-phobe.

I studied abroad in the beautiful city of Florence, and it would be a shame if this happened.

She was amazing as Eliza in "Hamilton" - this is really cool.

Happy Sunday!



Our (Second) Shot at "Hamilton"

We looove it when family ventures up to New York City to see us - especially during the dead of winter, when there is a decent chance you will be treated to one of our surprise snowstorms or President's Day blizzards - or land in the middle of a polar vortex.

But the sun came out - all weekend - and the weather got downright warm in the 50s and 60s for our visit from Scott's brother and sister-in-law. We invited up them since we had two extra tickets to (wait for it...) "Hamilton" on Friday night, and they decided to make a weekend of it.

They arrived early Friday morning, giving me an excuse to make a ham, mushroom and soufflé for breakfast. After fueling up on soufflé and hot coffee - plus croissants and brioche from our nearby Maison Kayser - we jumped on the M3 bus and headed uptown to the Hamilton Grange, a National Park Service site and museum that includes the only house that Alexander Hamilton ever owned. Not surprisingly, with the popularity of all-things-Hamilton over the last two years, the number of visitors to this place has increased.

We saw - and loved - "Hamilton" when it opened in 2015. I have been pre-gaming a bit in recent weeks, listening to the soundtrack more than usual and getting back into the revolutionary spirit, so this was the perfect pre-show outing.

Here's the view of from this uptown property at 141st Street and Hamilton Terrace. It's quiet there.

And a peek inside the Hamilton's parlor.

After a bit of non-Hamiltonian sightseeing at The Cloisters (part of the Met Museum), and much needed afternoon naps all around, we met up at the theatre and took the obligatory pre-show selfies.

Do we look excited or what?




In high school, my drama teacher told us about a Broadway show that was based on a bunch of poems about cats.

I thought that sounded like one of the craziest ideas I had ever heard.

Nevertheless, I saw "Cats" years later, and loved it.  It was my first Broadway show, and I was overwhelmed by the music, set, costumes, choreography - all those good things you love about musicals.  I enjoyed it, but never felt any need to see it again, even though it ran on Broadway for 18 years, closing in 2000.

Not surprisingly, "Cats" has had multiple lives - most recently being revived on Broadway last year.  Scott had never seen it, and when we were looking for cheap last-minute Broadway tickets on TodayTix (highly recommended!) this weekend, we decided to go for it.

If you've ever seen this, you know the set (partially visible in these photos) is quite the spectacle - and the costumes?  Don't even get me started.  Awesome.  And whatever your feelings about this show, chills will go down your spine when Grizabella belts out "Memory."

While it may not be for everyone, "Cats" is a classic.  If you come to New York and have time to see lots of shows, definitely check it out to see what all of the fuss is about.  

Significantly, it is also one of the few Broadway shows that is child-friendly.  Kids love the cats - and there will be no language or mature plot lines that you'll have to answer questions about later.

Sunday Stories: Grammy Night, Broadway Toilets, and the Most Relaxing Song in the World

Welcome to the day of the year that I feel most uncool: Grammy Sunday.  Just my use of the word "uncool" proves my point, right?  Although a media and celebrity news junkie, when watching the show, I always realize how clueless I am about so many of the nominated songs and artists.

We went to a Broadway show last night.  And it's about time someone started thinking about how hard it is to go at a Broadway show.

Who knew? Wearing superhero costumes can be beneficial for a child's development. 

Snow days in New York City are the best days.

I can spend hours dreaming over the New York Times Travel section's "36 Hours" column.  But this week's tour of Brooklyn?  We can make that happen.

Major Vogue cover photoshop fail. How could you miss this

As a public service - and continuing justification for my coffee habit (black decaf only, please) - I share yet another study about the health benefits of drinking coffee.

And back to the topic of music:  Is this really the most relaxing song in the world?  If you listen, let me know what you think.  I haven't actually heard the entire thing.  I played it when we went to bed the other night - and was asleep before it ended.

Have a lovely - and relaxing -  week! 

New York Notes: Our "One Shot" with Hamilton

A year ago, if you'd told me that my favorite Broadway musical would turn out to be a hip-hop flashback to junior high history, I'd have thought you were crazy.

Three hours of song and dance about our nation's Founding Fathers?  Not really my idea of a night on the town.

Well, fortunately, someone else (that someone else being Lin-Manuel Miranda), had other ideas - and the musical "Hamilton" was born.

A quick bit of background:  Based on a biography of Alexander Hamilton, the show opened off-Broadway at New York City's Public Theater last year.  It quickly generated a lot of buzz, attracting celebrities, politicians and media. The show uses hip-hop music and a multi-ethnic cast to tell the story of Hamilton, previously known to junior high students as the guy who was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr.

Scott and I both love going to shows, but despite Broadway being just a few subway stops away, we don't go as often as we'd like since work and life kind of get in the way. But we figured there had to be something to all the buzz.  So we bought tickets last spring - three months before the show even opened on Broadway, and seven months in advance of our performance.

Well, it didn't just live up to the hype - it far exceeded our expectations.  Even though on the day of the show, I had been up since 3 a.m. for an appearance on "FOX & Friends," I was on the edge of my seat.  We were blown away by the genius music and storytelling (portraying Jefferson and Hamilton's Cabinet debates as rap battles, or King George III's warning to revolutionary colonists styled as a hilarious Brit-pop break-up song).

But here's the bad news:  don't plan on seeing the show if you're coming to New York anytime soon.  Checking Ticketmaster today (which is the only place I would recommend buying tickets, as there are more counterfeit "Hamilton" tickets floating around than there are fake Louis Vuitton bags or "Bolex" watches on Canal Street), there are a few random single seats available next winter - as in December 2016 and January 2017.  If you want tickets, follow the show and watch when the next block of tickets goes on sale - and snap them up as soon as they do.   

There is a daily "lottery" where a few lucky people win the opportunity to buy last-minute front-row seats for $10, but because you're competing with about a zillion people, the odds of winning aren't good. 

The show also starts an open-ended run in Chicago this September, so you can follow the show to find out when tickets go on sale.  Other extended runs are planned for L.A. and San Francisco, but I haven't yet seen any details about those.

Until then, you can get your "Hamilton" fix by listening to the fantastic cast album, catching them opening the live Grammy telecast on February 15, or - better yet - reading the biography that tells the story of this colorful "ten-dollar Founding Father." 

If you ever get your shot at seeing "Hamilton," you won't be disappointed.  Already seen it?  What did you think?