Kay being serenadedSince the travel party started out in three different cities and two time zones, we were pleased to find each other at LaGuardia Airport.  Along with my niece Stevie (from northern Minnesota), we were joined by my sister-in-law Kay and her friend Deb (both from southwest Wisconsin).

We enjoyed a Yellow Cab ride to Times Square (yes, right where the New Year’s Eve ball drops!) with a friendly young driver who is working on a criminal justice degree.  His parents were born in India and his four sisters have a mixture of “love marriages” and “arranged marriages”.   Everybody has a story.

Colette & StevieWe stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in Times Square, on the 31st floor.  This is my sixth trip to New York and I’ve finally gotten smart about some things like asking for the highest floor they have available.  I love the vibe and the energy of the city…just not when I’m trying to fall asleep.

Food, food, food – so many choices, so little time!  We had a late lunch/early dinner at the retro 1950’s Stardust Diner.  I discovered this a few trips ago  and love their singing wait staff.  Yes, it’s a little kitschy, but it’s a fun environment and you hear some great talent just waiting for their big break on Broadway.  You’d think it would take a long time to get your food when your server has a microphone in their hand instead of a tray, but this place has been around a long time and they’ve got the system down.  I haven’t been disappointed yet by the talent or the food!

I used to wait in line at the TKTS booth for discount theater tickets.  I prefer to shop in advance online so I have some control over which show we see and which night, even if it means paying a little more.  Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic Theater (aptly named) was our selection for this trip.  Majestic TheatreThis is one of the largest Broadway theatres and was built in 1927.

It’s hard to capture in pictures, but the architecture on the inside of the theater is absolutely beautiful.  Like so many buildings in New York, it was constructed during a time when true craftsmen, quality materials and attention to detail were used.  The theater is the perfect complement to Phantom, a classic Broadway show – big voices, over-the-top costumes, grand staging, dramatic love story…we were entertained in the manner kings and queens have enjoyed for eons.

Today started about 4 a.m. for some of the gang and ended about midnight.  I think we sucked all the life we can out of this first day in the city.