Saturday, June 30, 2012

A New York kind of day

Time passes quickly on the Shakespeare line.

Katie and I took our third annual trip to Shakespeare in the Park earlier this week, enjoying it just as much as the other times.

The play, of course, is the thing, and we saw a wonderful performance of “As You Like It.” But so is waiting in line for five hours with other people forming a long, snaking line through the park to get their free tickets when the box office opens at 1. It wouldn’t be the same without the line. When you get those tickets, you feel as though you really earned them. Plus, you are a part of a great New York happening.

We got there with our chairs and books a little after 8, but other people were there way earlier; those at the front of the line said they had arrived at the park at 5:30 to be first in line when the park opened at 6. This seemed a little extreme. We could tell from where we were that we were “safe” and would get our tickets.

Five hours passes quickly. Dogs and people parade in front of you. A musician serenades. You make friends with the people around you. We were not prepared for the cold, and an older couple in front of us lent us their blanket.

When you’re hungry for lunch, you order from a menu from a Columbus Ave. deli. You just have to say you’re “on the Shakespeare line,” and soon a guy on a bicycle arrives with your food. (You give him your cell phone number so he can find you.)

After you get your tickets (two per person), you have the afternoon to do whatever you want before returning at 8. We were staying downtown on West 16th Street with Serena. Katie really wanted to run in the park, so she took the subway back uptown to 81st Street and then back down again. (An expensive run.) I went for a short run along the west side walkway, where bikers, joggers and walkers can enjoy a view of the Hudson River.

The weather held out (last year it poured) and we loved sitting under the stars watching the show ¬– which had banjo music by Steve Martin! The characters were conceived as a group of rustics and royalty in a country setting, with the Forest of Arden created from scenery and the natural setting in the park.

It was a great visit but tiring. Down the subway stairs, up the stairs, down and up again. Into the park, across the park (to have a nice lunch with Pam) back across the park again…you get the idea. I took a couple of naps, including a catnap on a park bench on the way back from lunch.

Katie wants to go again in July or August to see the summer’s second production, Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods,” starring Amy Adams. We might just do it.

And now for the parking report. When we drove in we found a free space on Serena’s block, but I was disappointed because it was on the wrong side of the street, where I would have to move it for street cleaning Tuesday morning when we needed to be in the park. That night after we went to visit Marge and Bill, we saw a spot on the correct side of the street (i.e. street cleaning Monday and Thursday). Serena stood in the spot while I, with my heart racing, ran to move the car. I got the spot, which was good for Tuesday and Wednesday. I was so happy that I sat in the car for a while and made a phone call. And as I went into the apartment I looked up and said, “Thank you, Daddy,” certain that my fellow parking enthusiast had guided me.

Free parking, free tickets and free lodging (thank you Serena) and a wonderful show. Can’t be beat.

1 comment:

PJ said...

I know about the heart racing while you try to nab a spot on the "correct" side of the street, even if an intrepid partner is standing in it with a mean look on his/her face. NYC is unbelievable. Every moment is potentially wondrous or hellish.