Category Archives: Travel

Under Savannah’s Spell ~ Part 4

“Savannah was invariably gracious to strangers, but it was immune to their charms. It wanted nothing so much as to be left alone.”
― John Berendt, ‘Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil’

Our time in Savannah was coming to its bittersweet close, as all magical things must. We hesitated as we made our way through square after square. Some were spookier than others, but the spirits here seemed for the most part benevolent. We stopped for one final glimpse of Mercer House, all sinister elegance and gargoyle grace. 

I never much believed in ghosts. I remember there was a small corner of the McNulty School library that housed books on the paranormal and occult. Whenever I was bored, I’d find that corner and open up a ghost book, reading of especially terrifying hauntings and eye-witness accounts of spirits and mysterious, unexplainable activity. It was fascinating, and a little frightening. 

I’m still doubtful as to the existence of ghosts, but if such entities are real, surely they reside in Savannah. They could slip among the Spanish moss, disappear into cracked plaster, or swoop into the murky swamp. They could drown themselves in sweet tea or waltz along the thick Southern accent of any charming local. 

I never saw any ghosts or spirits, but something was at work that night. We made our way back along to Forsyth Park. The fountain was lit, but the park was mostly empty. At least, it was empty to our eyes. 

Back at the Mansion on Forsyth, an angel rested her head on her arm, her gaze downward, lost in her beauty, lost in her prayers. 

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Under Savannah’s Spell ~ Part 3

A coda of solitude. My last late afternoon in Savannah was spent prowling the charming stores and restaurants on my own. A Sunday cocktail at the Public Kitchen & Bar was followed by a charming visit to E. Shaver Bookseller, which, like yours truly, has been local and independent since 1975

Two cats slinked through the rooms, the first one a rich shade of orange with the faintest tiger striping, and the second a smoky grey thing that seemed to disappear and reappear as if by apparition. Room after room, filled to the brim with books and little reading nooks, I disappeared into the maze that was Savannah. Like most shops here, this would be tinged with enchantment and fleeting magic. Gone as soon as you tried to get it within your grasp.

That sort of fleetingness carries its own appeal, the way the wind can gently lift a silk scarf around your neck in gossamer glory, then disappear before anyone else gets to see the whimsy. 

Savannah had worked its enchantment on me. In this special city, where the lions had wings and the camellias continued to bloom into December, I breathed in some of its magic, hoping that it would stay with me. 

We had one more night here…

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Under Savannah’s Spell ~ Part 2

Along the Savannah River there stands a sculpture of a woman waving in the wind. The story goes that she was based on a real-life woman whose beau set sail out of Savannah, and for whom she waited faithfully to return, devotedly running out to the bank when all the ships would pass, waving a small sheet or towel and seeking out her lost love. She was said to have done this for over 40 years. That’s the kind of dedication that has, thankfully in many ways, disappeared largely from the world. But there’s a certain sad and undying love in that, and a faith and hope in something bigger than our individual selves. I hope she found other happiness in her life.

To get the grandest scope of the city while not exhausting ourselves, we opted for an old Savannah Trolley Tour. It’s always the easiest and quickest way to see the highlights of any historical city, and we plotted it out so that we would begin and end nearest to Mercer House, which we would tour afterward. We stopped by the river to see an immense cargo ship pass, looking like an entire city in motion and afloat. We sat and ate ice cream as we watched the people go by. It was a perfectly lovely day, the kind you don’t often get in November, and we held onto the moment. As we ambled off the trolley after the final stop, we headed back through Forsyth Park to Mercer House – the sight of the infamous killing that set ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ into motion.

It began on the veranda. Such a lovely word, such a lovely space. Certain words perfectly conjure the prettiness of what they are meant to describe. Moss and water plants played among the brick inlay of a sunken garden, while mirrors filigreed with wrought iron stood sentry at each side of the back door. A breeze blew somewhat harshly on this Sunday in November, but the sun was still strong, and the house was resplendent in the light. Our tour guide filled in the history of the house; despite its namesake no Mercer ever lived here.

Upon entering, the righteous focal in my eyes was the floor: a harlequin of alternating dark and light ceramic tiles that dated from the origin of the house – miraculously surviving all sorts of mischief and mayhem, and still shining as if just laid.

The artwork was an eclectic and judiciously-edited wonder, grouped in that uncannily gorgeous manner of the most distinguished and revered collectors.

From the dining room we made our way past the stairs, looking upward to the stained-glass dome that was the first thing Jim Williams renovated when he purchased the place and began its revitalization. He put it on the map in more gruesome ways, which we touched upon as we entered the study – where the infamous killing occurred. I tried to imagine that night, and the players involved – then we were back across the hall into the sitting room. It was my favorite space in the house – an exquisite room that looked gloriously onto one of the only real front yards in all of Savannah. Shades of soothing sage called from elegant sofas and chairs, and I wanted to stay there and take it all in. Soon, though, the rest of the house beckoned – the music room with its grand piano, then the eggplant-tinted smoking room, with its tufted couch topped with a leopard pelt, head still intact. More than one dead body still inhabited the place, as a glass aviary housed a number of stuffed birds, frozen in mid-flight, frozen in time. Too quickly, our tour was over and it was time to leave Mercer House. We walked through the lush squares again, and the trees took on new meaning.

There were spirits and ghosts here; it was almost tangible. Even in the bright light of day, some of the squares hung thick with history – hangings and murders and countless yellow-fever deaths. That sort of stench doesn’t wash away with rain or wind or even the passing of time. It stains the surroundings, like the brick that bled through the walls of The Pink House no matter how many times they tried to whitewash it.

I found it fascinating and intriguing, though if I’d been in a more vulnerable mood I could easily find myself scared out of my mind. We never did do any of the ghost tours, and places like the Sorrel Weed House were left for another, braver day.

Savannah was revealing itself, slowly and seductively, with more than a hint of deadly danger. There was something beautiful in ruin, something gorgeous in deterioration. It showed in the plaster that was crumbling all around us, gradually uncovering the brick that was beneath the faux-stone. 

Nothing lasts forever, but still beauty remained here. 

JoAnn and I parted ways in Forsyth Park – she headed back to the hotel while I took one last stroll around the historic district…

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Under Savannah’s Spell ~ Part 1

“For me, Savannah’s resistance to change was its saving grace. The city looked inward, sealed off from the noises and distractions of the world at large. It grew inward, too, and in such a way that its people flourished like hothouse plants tended by an indulgent gardener. The ordinary became extraordinary. Eccentrics thrived. Every nuance and quirk of personality achieved greater brilliance in that lush enclosure than would have been possible anywhere else in the world.” ~ John Berendt, ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’

What few memories I had of Savannah were framed by the misty Spanish moss hanging on all of its trees. Such beauty and charm faded eloquently over the years, and in the ensuing two decades much of that first trip slipped into the tricky borders between dreams and fairy tales and surreal reality. Mostly I recalled the moss, the gaslight lamps, and the horse-trodden cobblestone percussion of carriages rolling through the night. Back then I was timid and afraid to do much walking beyond the safe immediate surroundings by my hotel, and at the time it was probably a wise decision. Savannah has come a long way since 1997.

JoAnn and I had been planning a trip here for at least a decade. She had never been, and I wanted to revisit the charming city with a better sense of self. Captivated by stories such as ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ and the haunting (and haunted) magic of the environs, we were both entranced by the idea of what this beautiful city might hold for us. The time was right.

We arrived to a charm and prettiness I’d almost forgotten could exist in this country. Easing into the afternoon, we set up house at the Mansion on Forsyth. Our room looked out onto Forsyth Park, steps away from that magnificent fountain, which, it turned out, was actually procured from a mail-order catalog from New York in the 1800’s. A quiet dinner on the river was followed by an early night. I find it best to ease into a city like Savannah, to allow it gently in rather than greeting it with bombast and possible oblivion. We tucked in for the evening, planning a full day of shopping and walking ahead.

The hours passed and the sun crept over Forsyth Park. Beset by a cough and cold, JoAnn slept a while longer as I explored our first full morning in Savannah. The sprawling park proved a fertile starting point for beauty and visual feasting. Spanish moss hung on all the trees, and everything was so verdant and green that November suddenly took on new meaning. The Park fills over thirty acres and I meandered through its pathways, taking my time and breathing in the air. The large white fountain there was actually procured from a mail-order catalog in the 1800’s direct from New York. (And I thought the White Flower Farm catalog was fancy.)

On the breeze was the scent of something I’d noticed from the time I’d touched down at the airport – a pungent, earthy aroma – that seemed to come from the swamp and the sea, with a sharp accent of something slightly more sinister. Savannah had its dark corners, as most places do. These just went back a little further.

There were other fragrances here – the sweet camellias still in bloom, holding their perfume close to their petals, refusing to travel on the wind. The mouthwatering smoke of fried treats coming from a food truck. Yet it was that animalistic accent from deep within the earth that would surface throughout our time in Savannah.

There was music as well – pouring forth from all stops. The trumpeter playing a plaintive melody in the park, the singer offering a standard by the river, the band in the corner of the restaurant – there was music everywhere. It matched the vibrancy of the surroundings, lending a soundtrack and a memory plane to everything we did.

Beauty, too, overflowed with historical majesty and might, gleaming off the perfectly-kept Victorian homes, the delightfully-manicured squares, the natural wonders of Spanish moss and hedges of winking camellias. It was a beauty that demanded a slower pace. Slow down, it whispered. Sit for a spell. Cool yourself in the shade of a tree with a glass of Sweet Georgia Peach Tea.

Only when your heart is calm should you carry on. I paused in the middle of that day and took it all in. That’s a luxury I don’t often afford myself, and I’m poorer for not doing so. On this afternoon, when all of Savannah was in a rapturous state of 75 degree weather, and the world felt bright and light and balmy and good, I soaked it in.

JoAnn joined me for some shopping, then we walked back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. The city’s historic district was perfectly manageable on foot, each square opening up to another, the houses beckoning you to take a few more steps toward something just as beautiful from where you come.

The sun had shifted by the time we returned to the fountain. A wind was kicking up as well. The spirits of Savannah had been roused. A restless sense of excitement permeated the atmosphere. We dressed for dinner and had a lovely time at a.Lure, where I tried my first Low Country Boil (given an elegant spin). That famous Southern charm was in full effect with every person we spoke to, and even if it’s skin deep there’s something to be said for such consistent niceties. We went to bed floating on that feeling, and filled with delicious food…

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A Tease of Savannah

This weekend marks the recap of my recent trip to Savannah, so here’s a sneak peek of some of the photos that didn’t make the cut. It had been twenty years since I last visited that magical city, and in that time I’ve come to appreciate beauty a little bit more. (And food. I appreciate food way more than I did back then.) As for this recent trip, JoAnn joined me for a journey we’d been planning for a decade. It did not disappoint. Come back tomorrow for the beginning…

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A Tale of Two Trips – Part Two

Andy was good enough to drive Suzie and me to the train station while it was still dark. And chilly. A welcome chill in the relative heat of this autumn, and one that would quickly dissipate, like the fog rolling over the Hudson River as we rushed by en route to Penn Station. It was an other-worldly journey, clouded by the early hour as much as by the strange weather that had portions of the river shrouded in fog and cloud cover, with only a few floating vessels and trees appearing through the haze, illuminated by the morning sun. A magical beginning to a magical day. I wore my grandmother’s sapphire and diamond star-shaped ring on my pinky – a bit of bling that would have made her proud. We brought some lost family members along with us in our talks during the day, as we tend to do only when it’s just the two of us.

We started with a rather unproductive stop at Century 21. I found a stunning Emilio Pucci coat which was marked down to $1260 (from $4000 – which is a bit of a steal when you think about it, but not so much when you really think about it). In the end, Suzie found more than I did, but on a day trip without a hotel home-base, I didn’t mind being empty-handed. We walked along Central Park as it neared lunch time, making our way to the Plaza.

In the past, I’ve discounted this corner of New York as a tourist trap, and it still is, but there are nooks and hideaways that can get you away from the masses and into the embrace of a cocktail. The Rose Court is one such place, slightly hidden up and away from the Plaza’s Lobby. We found a velvet banquette in the corner and set up shop for a ladies-who-lunch moment. A martini and a burger are a great accompaniment for a conversation with an old friend (so is whatever froo-froo champagne concoction Suzie ordered off the menu). The latter came with an orange peel that occupied her. Food and service were both impeccable, and you pay for both. We finished and made our way to Broadway for a matinee preview of ‘M. Butterfly’ with Clive Owen. I was eagerly anticipating the visual sumptuousness that director Julie Taymor usually brings to her work, but it was sorely lacking. The jewel-box description of the show made it sound more beautiful and intricate that it is, but the cast did their best with it. Even when Broadway doesn’t shine at its brightest, it’s still a nice escape.

A walk back toward Penn Station and some shopping stops later (Suzie tried out a few pairs of Doc Martens as if it was 1994 all over again) and soon we were at Keen’s for a final cocktail before our train ride home. It’s our old pre-Madonna concert stomping ground, where we’d always grab a burger before the strenuous gauntlet of a Madison Square Garden show. On this night, a sleepy Sunday evening that had us peering up at the Empire State Building on a breezy but balmy balcony a few moments before, we paused at the bar, holding on to our last moments in the city.

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A Tale of Two Trips – Part One

For two weekends in a row, I made a trip to New York. That’s usually the extent of my travels to that not-quite-fair city in a year, but I’m coming around to its appeal after quite some time of general antipathy. It still fatigues me, it still wears on my nerves, and it still wreaks havoc with my social anxiety (it’s not exactly the place one can avoid people), but if I can seek out quieter spots and safe havens, as well as the escape of a Broadway show, I can usually enjoy it.

For the first weekend, I stayed at the rather atrocious Marmara Hotel. The less said about it the better, but I’ll reveal a contradictory complaint to whet your appetite. As some of you may know, I’m not shy about showing almost everything here and getting completely naked at the drop of a hat and/or outfit. I have no hang-ups about nudity or such, but I like to be in control of how it’s done, and how much is actually revealed, and I’m never naked in public in person. (You won’t see me parading around Times Square a la the naked cowboy or that frightening over-size adult baby.) In person, I’m rather shy, and almost always fully-clothed. (There are notable party exceptions, but there’s never full-on nudity of any sort.) So it was with shock and dismay when, in the midst of my changing for dinner, housekeeping barged into the room unannounced and saw me in all my middle-aged paunchy glory. My hands instinctively cupped my cock before I gave up the ghost and shrieked that someone was in the room, but the first woman likely got a full-frontal eyeful. Good for her, I guess, but who enters a room at 5 PM right after a guest has just checked in, and without knocking first? You can find the rest of my hotel review on Trip Advisor, but dirty carpet and sticky balcony doors won’t win anybody over.

Thankfully the rest of my first trip was rather wonderful. The main impetus was to try Tom Ford’s Ultra-Limited Private Blend “Fucking Fabulous” – as first reported here. I’d uncovered hints that Andy might be working on that as a Christmas gift, but its hefty price tag demanded an in-person test for confirmation that it was as exciting as its cheeky moniker. On Saturday morning I made my way up the plush, carpeted circular staircase leading to the fragrance room of the Madison Ave flagship store, and promptly sprayed my arm with the new scent. Happily, it’s exquisite. While it’s described as an Oriental Chypre, I got a much lighter feel from it. Softer than expected, it floats around one rather than stomping about like ‘Tuscan Leather’ or ‘Amber Absolute’ – the perfect bit of subtle sparkle and pizzazz for the upcoming holidays.

With my Tom Ford mission accomplished, I had time to take in a preview of ‘The Band’s Visit’ – the new Broadway musical that got rave reviews when it first opened in Connecticut last year. Those reviews were largely correct – it’s an enchanting little show with two lead performances that are lock-ins for Tony nominations. The music was glorious, the storyline quirky and unexpected, and despite a relatively stark and drab set (intentionally-so to fit the storyline) I was completely transported to another world. Initially and outwardly it appears as a dreary stop on a way to better places, but soon reveals itself rich in the wonder and beauty of the human experience. To be taken away from our own demons for a couple of hours is the greatest gift of a Broadway show.

The next weekend, Suzie would join me for another one

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High in a Tower

Our recent stay at the Towers at Lotte New York Palace is worthy of another look. This may very well be the best view I ever get from a hotel in the city (though I do enjoy a look at the Empire State Building for nostalgia’s sake). This particular vista is what the 52nd floor allows you to behold on a sunny day (and clear night). It is even more striking in person, when those tiny dots representing people and cars are in motion, and the clouds scroll slowly across the sky.

Not pictured are the equally transfixing views when a storm has engulfed the city. We were unfortunate enough to have much of a day marred by rain and clouds, but it’s fascinating to see it unfold when you’re actually up in the clouds themselves. It’s like being close to gods fighting.

On the morning seen here, it was clear and bright – the view stretched all the way to the river. New York can be stunning when the light is right.

At night, the transformation is remarkable. A different kind of beauty is at hand then, and it carries the hand of God and the hand of humankind gloriously intertwined. The winking lights of a city that never sleeps keep company with the brave and restless souls who stay awake.

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On Broadway With Mother: NYC Part 6

Over twenty years ago, my Mom and I caught one of Glenn Close’s last performances in the original Broadway run of ‘Sunset Boulevard‘. We were in the very last row at the Minskoff Theatre – one of the largest theaters on Broadway – but her performance was so big that it felt like we were right in the middle of the mansion at 10086. On this night, as a gift for my Mom, we sat in the front row at the Palace Theatre. It was a full-circle moment, and just before the lights went down, the disembodied voice of Norma Desmond sounded in the theater:

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is Glenn Close,” she began, in what I assumed was a recorded message to silence our cel phones. She continued, ‘Thank you for coming out on this rainy night…” Oh shit, this was happening right now. My one fear had been that Ms. Close wouldn’t be performing on this evening, and I held my breath for the remainder of the announcement. She said she was battling a cold, but was going on to do her best at navigating the wonderful score, and asked our indulgence. Before she had even appeared, she was greeted with thunderous applause. We were already on her side.

Had there not been an announcement, I’m not sure I would have noticed, so great and grand was her performance. There was one pause for a cough, and she made it through ‘As If We Never Said Goodbye‘ without holding the big notes forever, but that only added a poignance and vulnerability to the proceedings. It was another bravura performance, and the perfect culmination for our Broadway weekend 2017.

We had a nightcap until the Uber situation cooled down, then returned to our hotel for a final night in luxury. The next morning marked Mother’s Day, and we were scheduled to have brunch at Villard, conveniently located right at the Lotte New York Palace. It was the perfect way to celebrate the day and finish up our long Broadway weekend.

My Mom is the one who taught me how to travel, and we do so quite well together. This was a special Mother’s Day weekend on Broadway, something that has become one of my favorite traditions over the years. I’m already looking forward to next year.

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On Broadway With Mother: NYC Part 5

On our final full day in New York, the rains came, and they arrived with full-force. The wind accompanied all the water, making walking and outside travel difficult to impossible. That didn’t bode well for our dinner and theater plans, so I bit the bullet and finally downloaded Uber on my phone. It was the best thing I’ve done in a long time.

After an early lunch at a typical New York diner (turkey club sandwich and fries) I returned to the hotel while Mom did a little more shopping. When the Towers at Lotte New York Palace offer champagne in the middle of the day, it makes the rain bearable. And sets up a dinner at 21 Club in fine fashion.

Before that, however, we made a quick stop at the hotel lounge, where I had a Last Word and Mom had a Manhattan. Two classic cocktails for our last night in NYC.

I’ve been wanting to have dinner at 21 Club for some time, even if it seemed to be a favorite of our Fake President. (I recall he made promises to lower the taxes of rich Republicans in a meeting there.) Being that it was the weekend, and he was out golfing, I felt safe that we wouldn’t run into such an undesirable.

We had been seated for a few minutes when my Mom looked over my shoulder in horror. I jumped a little, expecting a spider or bug to be on the wall when I turned around. It was much worse.

We were at the Fred Trump table, and both of us were mortified. Had we noticed just a few minutes beforehand, we would have asked to move, but our order was already in. When the table beside us was seated, they made similar groans. I tried to understand why the Fake President had to ruin our dinner. On a visit to the bathroom, I understood the appeal of the place to someone like Don the Con.

I got it. #TrumpLeaks indeed.

Despite the affiliation with such an awful person, dinner was marvelous, and we shared a slice of chocolate cake that made up for the stain of that pisser.

The night was young, and the rain persisted. We hopped in another Uber and made the slow, traffic-heavy trek to the Palace Theater, where Norma Desmond awaited our arrival…

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On Broadway With Mother: NYC Part 4

Shopping is second only to the shows in New York as far as my interest level is concerned, and I learned that mostly from my Mom. We made a few excursions on a fine, sunny morning, then refueled at the beautiful Café Sabarsky, where German and Austrian fare was served right out of another century. A glass of Gruner Veltliner and a platter of bratwurst made for a charming lunch, and a slice of Klimttorte (named for the gorgeous collection of paintings in the upstairs Neue Galerie) was perfect for sharing. That Galerie surrounded us, beckoning with its decadent ‘Woman in Gold’ and other towering Klimt works, and after lunch we toured the upstairs rooms, re-fortified by beauty and reinvigorated by art.

The day was so beautiful that we stayed on foot, walking back over twenty blocks until we reached the St. Regis. That evening we were scheduled to see ‘War Paint’ and a few key scenes take place in that legendary hotel, so we stopped for a cocktail in the King Cole Bar. Suzie and I had enjoyed a birthday lunch here a number of years ago, and I remembered the classy old-school vibe

With its famed mural and tried and true ambience, it made for an elegant pause in the day. We made it back to the hotel, where a platter of cookies awaited our arrival. The Towers at the Lotte New York Palace sure know how to welcome a guy home.

After an all-too-brief siesta, we headed back out for dinner at the Lamb’s Club. Previously, we’d enjoyed cocktails there before a show, and it’s one of the hidden gems in the midst of the insanity of Times Square that I’ve been reluctant to share for fear of droves of people discovering and spreading the good word. Those fears are unfounded (all twelve of you can spread it far and wide) and we headed into the dining room area for a special meal. Soft-shell crabs were in season, so I ordered them up and enjoyed their crunchy yet soft exterior.

We finished dinner and headed into the Chatwal Lobby while awaiting curtain time for ‘War Paint’. Its shiny art-deco style gave sparkle to an already-enchanted evening, and the anticipatory enthusiasm over seeing two Broadway legends – Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole – lended additional excitement.

They did not disappoint, and we walked home on a cloud of euphoria that only a Broadway musical and its original cast can produce. The library glowed, and though there was a breeze, it was not cold. New York was magical at such moments.

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On Broadway With Mother: NYC Part 3

An auspicious beginning to our Broadway adventures occurred when we ran into Michael Xavier, star of ‘Sunset Boulevard’ on our way to dinner that first night. He was about to cross the street and I stopped him like a crazed teenage girl, blubbering that I had seen the show and we were going to see it again and this is my Mom and a few other nonsensical things that left him looking sheepishly flattered. I wish I had been brave enough to ask for a quick phone pic with him and Mom, but I didn’t. Next time.

Our dinner at Becco was superb – everyone knows I adore Lidia Bastianich, and this Restaurant Row staple did not disappoint. The Sinfonia de pasta was insane, and they will happily keep filling your plate until you are full. (I’m happy to report I was filled with one round.)

Our first show was the one I agonized over choosing more than any. There was a heated debate (in my mind) between ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ and ‘Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812’ – and it really was a crap shoot because I basically used an eenie-meenie-minie-mo selection method. It turned out rather well, as this is one of the best shows I’ve seen in a while. It’s a completely immersive experience, and not in a hokey, forced way. Just go see it.

I must say, I was never a Josh Groban fan. It’s not that I didn’t like him or anything, he just didn’t register on my admittedly-pop level of (lacking) sophistication. That changed when I saw him in this show, and I’m now an official Grobanite.

PS – For those coming to find Andrey, you’re in for a wonderful awakening.

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On Broadway With Mother: NYC Part 2

For this NYC trip, my Mom indulged me in a booking at The Towers at Lotte New York Palace. If you scroll down to the end of this post, you will see our view from the 52nd floor, which is probably one of the best views I will likely get from a hotel room in Manhattan for the rest of my life. One does pay a pretty penny for such a view, and such amenities as the beautiful surroundings, but once a year we all deserve a treat like this.

The grounds of the building originate from a mansion, and our last brunch of the trip would take place here, but that’s not for a while. Right now, I’m remembering the respite of being so high above the city, the remoteness and connectedness that seemed to occur at once.

I’m also recalling the plate of macarons and the bottle of wine left so kindly by the hotel on our first night. Client considerations like that elevate a typical hotel stay into something extraordinary. It’s the sort of luxury that could make someone start to love New York.

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On Broadway With Mother: NYC Part 1

The train ride into the city was blessedly uneventful. This was the start of our extended Mother’s Day weekend in New York, and the sun sparkled over the Hudson River as the train sped along the water’s edge. I’d booked one of the earlier rides based on the fiasco that occurred the last time I visited New York: a derailment at Penn Station forced our train to backtrack for an hour before being re-routed to Grand Central. We encountered no such troubles on this fine day, and arrived far in advance of check-in. After storing our luggage, we walked around the Upper East edges of Midtown, settling on a browsing lunch at Saks.

The spring windows were in full effect, filled with groundbreaking florals and fancy shoes. Given our early reservation for a pre-show dinner, we began with lunch at their café. I settled for a decadent avocado with house ricotta cheese toast dish, which came topped with a duck egg and a side of marinated tomato salad. It was the perfect light lunch to tide us over until dinner.

As an accompaniment, and a stunning kick-off to the weekend, I ordered the always-fashionable Aviation. With its fanciful purple tint and herbal-tinged sweetness, it was a glass of spring. A proper justification for having a bottle of Crème de violette on hand. Our Broadway weekend had begun

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A Place in which to Luxuriate

Our annual Broadway mother-son trip to New York is slated for a couple of weekends from now, and while I’m looking forward to the shows and time with my Mom, I’m also keenly anticipating our first stay at The Towers at Lotte New York Palace. In a city like New York, most people seem to consider the accommodations an after-thought, more of a place to sleep and shower than a destination unto itself. I’m somewhere between the two, though that may change with the the promise of these Towers.

Located at Madison and 50th, the location is ideal for our purposes – within reach of Broadway, but safely removed from the annoying aspects of Times Square. Billing itself as a boutique hotel within a hotel, The Towers at Lott New York Palace is the fancier section of this wondrous property, and looks to be the perfect home-away-from-home as we enjoy a long weekend indulging in Broadway and fancy dinners. (Stay tuned for a more indulgent review after we experience all the luxury.)

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