New York, Memorial Day Weekend, Part 1

I took a quick jaunt up to New York for Memorial Day. This time, I ran around in Brooklyn a lot more, as I’ve spent plenty of time in Manhattan and am well familiar with the sights and sounds, pleasures and distractions it has to offer. I stayed near Times Square, and took in a play at the Lyceum Theater (how can you go to New York and NOT see something at the theater??).

Times Square, from Broadway
Times Square, from Broadway
Times Square, TKTS booth
Times Square, TKTS booth
Lyceum Lobby
Lyceum Lobby

The play I went to is “The Nance”, starring Nathan Lane. It’s about a burlesque theater company in New York in 1937, and Nathan Lane plays the part of Chauncey Miles, the “nance”, who performs comic relief bits between the striptease acts. The Nance was a common trope in burlesque theater, a sissy whose lines and mannerisms were full of double-entendres and sexual suggestiveness. They also often ran afoul of the morality police for “promoting indecency”, although their routines were fully clothed, and even the dialog was never sexually explicit. Nathan Lane is brilliant as Chauncey, (not that I would have expected anything less from him), and I was riveted throughout the performance. I wish I could have photographed the theater interior, not just the lobby, because it was itself something out of another era, and a unique experience. I had balcony seats, and even though they were in the third row of the balcony, and had an excellent view of the stage, the balcony is five flights up, and is pitched at a vertiginous slant, with very little walking space between the seats and the backs of the row in front, with no guard rail until the front row. Fortunately they did see fit to squeeze in bathrooms on the balcony so you didn’t have to hike up and down five flights.

Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Skyline
Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Skyline

The Brooklyn Bridge is so iconic. I didn’t get to walk across it this time (next trip), but I saw it from the Brooklyn side and got my photo with the skyline of Manhattan framing it. Looking at it here and now it’s hard to imagine what this view would have looked like when it was first built in 1883, with the bridge being as big as many of the buildings behind it. Now of course, Freedom Tower behind it is actually taller (with the spire) than the Brooklyn Bridge is long (1776 feet vs 1596 feet).

DUMBO, the Manhattan Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge
DUMBO, the Manhattan Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge

On the East River, at least, bridges are a defining feature of New York. Here is the view from Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO (which stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, the new name for the neighborhood between the bridges, for those unfamiliar with the term) of the Manhattan Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge to the north.

Tomo, Brooklyn Bridge Park
Tomo, Brooklyn Bridge Park

Amazing, isn’t it? There are green spaces in New York, besides Central Park. This is my friend Tomo, sitting on the lawn at Brooklyn Bridge Park. The park itself is fairly new, and runs south and west from the Manhattan Bridge, under the Brooklyn Bridge, and on down the East River, reclaiming a number of old piers that no longer support shipping.

Platform Stairs, NY Subway
Platform Stairs, NY Subway

What trip to New York would be complete without a ride on the subway? Here’s a staircase to the platform, I want to say at the 57th Street F train station.

Tomo, Subway Platform
Tomo, Subway Platform

My friend Tomo, waiting for the train to Brooklyn with me.

Pedros of Brooklyn
Pedros of Brooklyn

This shot would have been better in color, I know, but black-and-white was what I had loaded in the Rolleiflex at the time. Pedro’s is a Mexican restaurant in the heart of DUMBO, just a block or so down the hill from the York Street subway stop. Didn’t try it, so no comment one way or another on the food, but it sure looks like it would be fun. I’ll give it a try on my next trip, unless any of you have warnings for me!

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