East Side, West Side
New York Travel Blog› entry 8 of 10 › view all entries
November 12th, 2009 – by: Andy99
After breakfast, it was time to take the Line 320 bus to Manahttan. Morning traffic reports on TV had alerted drivers to a heavy volume at the Lincoln Tunnel. We allowed plenty of time, though by the time our bus arrived at the tunnel approach, rush hour was over. (The trip from Harmon Meadow to the Port Authorty via the Lincoln Tunnel can take from 25 to 60 minutes depending on traffic conditions.)
This time, we headed staight across on 42nd Street towards Avenue of the Americas. Rain had developed overnight, and we were glad we made the decision to vsit Top of the Rock the night before.
At the corner of 42nd and Avenue of the Americas, the American Standard Building stood out over Bryant Park.
Avenue of the Americas, or Sixth Avenue, in midtown presents a collection of various office towers. I took photos of three known collectively as the "XYZ Buildings". These International Style structures from the 1950s and early 1960s were the first expansion of Rockeller Center outside its original boundaries.
Susan and I reached Radio City Music Hall at 10:10 a.m., plenty of time to check in for the tour.
By 10:45 we thought we'd better check in for the Radio City tour. Now they had set up, we found. Rain had started, so they allowed tour members to wait inside. The Radio City Stage Door Tour began promptly at 11:00 a.m. The first stop was the auditorium itself, which seats over 6,000. Our guide, a woman dressed in a classic 1940s usher costume, told us about the history of Radio City Music Hall, the first building constructed at Rockefeller Center and efforts to restore and peserve it, and of its unique stage machinery. The tour included backstage rehearsal and costume rooms, notable decorated public areas, and a meeting with a Rockette. The story of Radio City Music Hall is bound with the story of the Rockettes precision dance team.
After the hour long tour, we returned to Rockefeller Center Plaza. The Christmas Tree had by this time been hoisted off the truck and was being set in place. More photos. Perfect timing! Now, time for lunch. We found lunch at 'wichcraft, a sandwich restaurant on the Concourse Level.
I had a "punch list" of significant buildings to see on the Midtown East Side. Susan was game for that, so off we wne to explore. First, we wanted to see St. Patrick's Cathedral, on Fifth Avenue across form Rockefeller Center. We went in to St. Patrick's to see the sweeping Gothic interior. The 1:00 p.m. Mass was in progress, so the interior was illuminated. Just up Fifth Avenue at 53rd Street was the smaller, but Gothic, St.
At Park Avenue stand two monuments of 20th Century architecture. Lever House, completed in 1952, was the first steel-and-glass International Style building in New York City. Its design, by Gordon Bunshaft, dispensed with a traditional masonry exterior in favor of glass walls supported by steel.
By this time it was after 2:30 p.m. Susan thought we had better head back to the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the bus for our hotel in order to be ready to return to see Billy Elliot that evening.
Indeed, we were back in Manhattan at 7:00 p.m. and heading towards the Imperial Theatre on 45th Street. Time for a stop to browse Broadway and theatre souvenirs near Shubert Alley. Curtain for the musical Billy Elliot was at 8:00 p.m. The show, with music by Elton John, is based on the film. There were some differences, adding dramatic situations for the stage.
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