This morning, while having my coffee and picking out the cobwebs, Boyfriend asked me why Jay Leno is always making fun of New Jersey. Having grown up there, and then migrating to New York City, I was prepared.
“When you first enter New Jersey from New York City, all you see are factories and the North New Jersey sights which are more industrial.” Then I added, “Usually those travelers trail off by the time the sights improve and become beautiful terrain.”
A few months back, Boyfriend and I headed up to New York City/New Jersey to visit family and see a few sights. Here’s what we did:
Arrive in Tampa, Florida at 4:30 a.m. ready to board our 6:00 a.m. flight to Newark, New Jersey. The customer service rep informed us the flight was at 6:00 p.m. (I did not have my cheaters on when I booked it). But this was not a problem because for $200 more we could get on a 6:00 a.m. flight and land in JFK instead.
Boyfriend thought we should just turn around and go home. Not about to retrace my steps, I paid the $200 more. Then I called my brother and told him not to pick us up in Newark and that we’d train it into the “city.”
A cab ride from JFK into New York City is $40, but if you take the new air train, it will cost $4 per person one way. All you have to do is take it to Jamaica Station and jump on the subway. You get on first and pay later, which sounded great in theory. It then took thirty minutes at the automated machine (the point you pay for the air train and buy your subway token), trying to figure out how to get through the turn style. There are assistants but they are swamped. After much ado, we are on the subway heading into Manhattan.
I feel the bliss already.
We decide on a Broadway play and I pick The Fantasticks (tickets $75 per person)
New York, New York
Having seen the original off Broadway play and the latest revival (on Broadway), this is the play to see.
You will never want this intimate story of unrequited love to end. Belly laughing abounds and sentiments soften as we witness the joys and sorrows of love and relationships through the eyes of “El Gallo,” (the narrator).
A little bit of dancing, a lot of singing, and some good ole’ one-liners make one enjoy the true talent of acting.
Most curious of all, that the entire production’s props fit in one trunk, make The Fantasticks the most engaging of musicals. You will be left deep in thought as you come to appreciate the moral of the story in your own life.
This is one instance where the book was not better.
I don’t think much of gambling, but Boyfriend does, so we take a country ride through New Jersey to Atlantic City. On the way, I tell him about the “Pineys.” Pineys are people who live in the New Jersey Pines. They never leave for any reason and in my teenage years, I always feared breaking down on those back roads. At the gas station, Boyfriend thinks he spots a “Piney.”
Once we arrive in “AC,” as it is lovingly called by the New Jersey natives, we head to the Trump Taj Mahal (free parking). There, I win seventy cents and stop. Boyfriend is trying to teach me how to get free drinks, but the cocktail waitress wasn’t that interested in a penny gambler. So we head out to stroll the boardwalk and check out the scene. On the seedy scale, Atlantic City falls in between Las Vegas and Reno. I couldn’t bring myself to eat anywhere on the boardwalk and the casino restaurants were expensive. Don’t go unless you have to.
I think it is a good idea to take Boyfriend down to Soho where there are cafés, restaurants, outdoor vendors, loft shopping, and interesting sights every step you take. (Parking in the lot was $22 daily.) We walked around Canal Street to “window shop” the knock offs. The vendors here are pushy. One became irritated when I didn’t buy and literally closed the door in my face.
So we moved on to Washington Square Park, which is full of jugglers, chess games, and musicians. This is a great spot to hang out in the day only. It is a very bohemian area and you don’t have to give two thoughts to your wardrobe. Anything goes.
We had a terrific lunch at Café Espanol for $15 per person which included appetizer, lunch, wine, dessert, and coffee at a sidewalk table. The double decker tour buses rode by about twenty-five times. Looking at us as though we were permanent fixtures, we looked back knowing they weren’t.
I promised Boyfriend a tour of Princeton University. The campus is magnificent and reeks of academia. The buildings themselves are of historic value and it was nostalgic to peer into the alcoves of architecture. If you want to walk down the main street, there are shops and eateries from counter to fine dining. (Parking on the street was free.) Instead, we headed back to the ole’ homestead where Mom and Dad were serving the best homegrown Jersey tomatoes in town. We had been feasting on those since our arrival and Boyfriend wasn’t about to stop today. (Cost of Jersey tomatoes … lots of hugs and kisses.)