Posts tagged New York City
We woke up early today so we could catch an early train to New York. We walked the short distance from the hotel to Union Station and caught the 7:31 AM train, which would arrive at Grand Central at 9:07.
We really didn’t have any plans, just stroll around midtown really. I didn’t want to take the time to go into any of the boroughs, and while a slice of Lenny’s Pizza in Bensonhurst would have been awesome, I didn’t want to spend 50 minutes each way. Our farthest destination from midtown would be the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade center site. After leaving Grand Central, we walked east on 42nd Street to the United Nations Building. I’d never been there, and I thought I’d snap a few shots to use as filming locations for the Alfred Hitchcock suspense film, North by Northwest, starring Cary Grant.
We worked our way back west to 5th Avenue and walked north to FAO Schwarz. Another place I took my daughter to alot when she was a little girl, I was feeling nostalgic when I saw the clock face on the wall, that used to be a clock tower in the entry, and was featured in the 1988 films, “Big” and “Big Business.” I have screen shots from the movie and from a time I was there in 1991 in my Movie Filming Locations post. The clock face now sits above an escalator leading to the lower level of the store, and plays the signature song “Welcome to Our World of Toys” every 15 minutes.
A few moments of feeling verklempt over hearing the song, I recovered since I have a wonderful grandson now and get to enjoy this sort of thing all over again with him – and watch my daughter enjoy being a mom!
We picked up some sweet treats at the candy shop FAO Schweetz, and continued along our midtown romp. I wanted to take Pat by the Solow Building on 57th Street. I knew he would recognize it from one of our favorite movies, “Lost in America” where Albert Brooks’ character begs for his job back after quitting in a hilarious scene, reeling from the news that he was being transferred from LA to New York, rather than getting the promotion to Vice President that he was expecting.
We headed over to Broadway and walked down Broadway to Times Square. I wanted to go to a Disney Store to see if they might have a replica Piston Cup from the Disney/Pixar film “Cars” for Jameson, but none were to be found. Bummer. We did pick up a “Lots-‘o-Huggin'” bear from Toy Story 3, though.
With as nice of a day as it was, mid 60’s and dry, lots of people were hanging out in the new (well, about 4 years old) pedestrian plazas in Times Square.
We walked west through Times Square and over toward 44th Street, giving our regards to George M. Cohan along the way.
I wanted to take Pat over toward 44th Street to see the Shubert Theatre and Sardi’s. Not technically a filming location, but nonetheless, I will be adding it to my blog for “The Producers,” the 2005 version of Mel Brooks musical, starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. A set was created that looked just like the area containing the Shubert Theatre, Shubert Alley, and Sardi’s.
We walked back toward Broadway & 7th, heading south to about 39th Street until I decided we ought to get down to the 9/11 Memorial. Pat was hoping to meet up with another Pat back in Connecticut, so we took the subway from Times Square to Chambers Street and made the walk of a couple blocks over to the World Trade Center site. We found the Memorial Preview site, where there were displays and information, and we picked up tickets/passes to the memorial.
We walked a couple of blocks over to the memorial, and visited the site. It was solemn and sad to be there, though it was a very nice and tasteful memorial to those everyday people whose ordinary workday turned anything but, as the horror unfolded around them. It shouldn’t ever become something we become desensitized to or forget, not just for the sake of those lost in the tragedy or their families and friends, but for all of us as Americans, whose world also changed forever on that day. Whether it’s extra IDs to open a checking account, to removing shoes, body scans, etc. to new government agencies and terminology, or PC arguments, our daily lives have been affected by the events of 9/11, and we should also mourn the loss of many of our fundamental freedoms. We should go on of course, and enjoy life, but sadly things have changed and not for the better. I hope that everyone who visits is solemn and respectful. They were for the most part, but there we’re a few people there getting their photo taken, smiling away, and I admit, it annoyed me.
Here is a very brief video I took at the 9/11 Memorial:
We headed back up to midtown so we could get going. I suggested to Pat that we cross from Times Square to Grand Central, but Pat was OK sticking around a little longer and walking. So we went over to the Cake Boss Cafe there to check out the hype. We’d tried to visit Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken two years ago, but the lines were too long (we had my then-two month old grandson with us). So now we’re at the Cake Boss Cafe, not “Carlo’s” so I wondered if the stuff was made by Carlo’s or is this a product of the television network. It seemed to have a full lined of baked goods. I bought a red velvet cupcake that wasn’t any more expensive than any other specialty cupcake place. It was good but not particularly great.
We started walking back to Grand Central and before boarding, we picked some Magnolia Cupcakes for my daughter, and a few for ourselves. Yummmm…
After leaving Grand Central on a New Haven bound Metro North train, I promptly fell asleep. Seriously. I’d been sleep deprived since a week before vacation, which continued right through the night before. I didn’t wake up until a few minutes before we arrived in Milford.
We went to the Milford station to meet up with someone Pat met last year, another Pat with the same name. I guess they Googled their name and found each other through Facebook. I was unable to meet the other Pat last year, since I was watching my grandson, so I was able to meet Pat and his fiancee Karen this year. We went to a place in Milford called SBC Brewery. Very good! We had a nice visit and Pat brought us back to the hotel.
Still tired from my extended bout of insomnia, it didn’t take long for me to fall asleep! We were going to meet a friend tomorrow morning for coffee, then start following the route I planned that we were going to take before we changed plans. We were still going to take part of it, but in upstate New York, we’d continue west for home rather than loop back to Connecticut.
Pat & Jennifer
Below is a slideshow of all of today’s photos. Click any photo to stop the slideshow and view the photos on my Flickr site.
[flickrslideshow acct_name=”roadtripmemories” id=”72157633538910462″ width=”600″]
My daughter Amber documented the following series of photos from “Mickey Blue Eyes”
The Minetta Tavern – MacDougal & Minetta Streets, New York, New York
James Caan outside the Minetta Tavern, aka “The La Trattoria” in the movie.
Hugh Grant enters the Minetta Tavern, aka “The La Trattoria” in the movie.
The Alleva Dairy – Little Italy, New York
Central Park West at 67th Street – New York, New York
MacDougal Street – New York, New York
My daughter Amber documented the following series of photos from “Men in Black II”
New York Subway – 81st Street Station / Museum of Natural History
Hayden Planetarium – New York, New York
Famous Ben’s Pizza of Soho – New York, New York
Here’s a random collection of movie filming locations, of which I don’t have enough photos to warrant a separate page.
FAO Schwarz, 5th Avenue & 58th Street, New York, New York
12-year old Josh Baskin, frustrated at his slight stature, turns into a grownup after making a wish with a fortune telling machine called Zoltar. After frantically searching for the Zoltar machine to turn back into a kid, Josh has some time on his hands, while waiting for information from the Department of Consumer affairs as to the location of a Zoltar machine, and gets a job in the data processing department at MacMillan Toys. One Saturday, Josh spends a little time browsing at New York’s famous toy store, FAO Schwarz. Many locations of the store were used here, and I visited the store many times with my then 4-year old daughter. (She was very much into “Hello Kitty” stuff and FAO Schwarz had a huge area dedicated to this cute kitty). At that time (around 1991-1992), the store had changed very little since the movie was filmed.
In one of the movie’s most memorable scenes, Josh runs into his boss, the owner of MacMillan Toys, who spends his Saturdays at FAQ Schwarz observing what toys kids are into. He and Josh spend a little time bonding as Josh explains his likes and dislikes of various toys (much to the bemusement of Mr. MacMillan). They stumble about a large floor model “piano,” where Josh starts to play “Heart and Soul.” Mr. MacMillan joins in, and together they do a well-coordinated routine consisting of Heart and Soul and Chopsticks. Having not had so much fun in a while, MacMillan taps into Josh’s knowledge of toys and makes him vice president….one of them, anyway – they have a hundred of them!
From the movie:
FAO Schwarz, approximately 1991 – 1992:
The clock is no longer in this location, as the store was completely remodeled/renovated. Now, the clock face is hung on a wall above an escalator leading to the lower level. It still plays “Welcome to Our World of Toys” every 15 minutes.
Rye Playland, Rye, New York
Two scenes in Big were filmed at the location below, which is Rye Playland Amusement Park in Rye, New York. It was depicted in the movie to be “Seapoint Park” New York. In one scene, Josh goes to Seapoint Park on a date with his co-worker, Susan.
At the end of the movie, Josh returns to Seapoint Park after discovering that a Zoltar machine is here, so that he could make a wish to turn back to a kid again.
Rye Playland Boardwalk, taken approximately 1991:
Palisades Interstate Park – Fort Lee, New Jersey
Where Josh wishes he were “big” with the Zoltar machine at the carnival.
The site below where the carnival was held and where Josh rode the next day to find the site looking basically like we did.
Hotel St. James, 109 W 45th St, New York, NY
After finding himself “big” Josh needs a place to stay and selects the Hotel St. James. During our stay here in May 2009, we did not find it at ALL in the condition from the movie. Rooms were pretty small, but that’s about it. I should’ve taken some interior lobby photos, as those scenes were filmed there.
Jingle All the Way
Mickey’s Dining Car – St. Paul, Minnesota
36 7th St W, St Paul, MN
Bethesda Fountain in Central Park – New York, New York
This is from a scene from “The Producers,” in which down-and-out Broadway producer, Max Bialystock (Lane) is trying to convince his mousy accountant, Leo Bloom (Broderick) to participate in a get-rich scheme. They will oversell shares in a Broadway show, keep the additional money and go to Rio. But in order for the scheme to work, the show must be a “surefire flop.” Leo is too scared to do it, and runs away as Max desperately convinces him that it will work (“We Can Do It”).
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
The Sun Motel – Braidwood, Illinois
Del Griffith (John Candy) and Neal Page (Steve Martin) are two very different businessmen who met by chance in New York City when Del “steals” Neal’s cab to the airport. Unfortunately, the simple, short flight from New York to Chicago just before Thanksgiving turns into a two-day ordeal, bringing Del and Neal together as they make their way from New York to Chicago by way of Wichita, Kansas.
In this scene, they are waiting for a ride to the “people” train station, 40 miles away, which they will make sitting in the back of a pickup truck. They just spent the night sharing the last motel room in town, at the fictional “Braidwood Inn.” This motel is actually in Braidwood, Illinois along I-55.
From the movie
A Christmas Story
The house in the movie “A Christmas Story” is located in Cleveland, Ohio. For more information, click the link for the official site. You can visit it and go on a tour! The house was being restored when we passed through Cleveland in July 2007, we just took a couple of exterior photos.
There isn’t too much to say about this day! After two days of clear weather, we were bound to have a rainy day, and this was it. Many museums were closed Mondays, but one of our favorites, the American Museum of Natural History, was open. We’ve been there countless times before, but we didn’t mind going again. Evidently, everyone else in New York had the same idea, because it was very crowded! We waited to enter by the lower level subway entrance but they called out that it would be faster to head to the main entrance instead. So a bunch of people did that…I figured, why do that because everyone else is, so we’ll have just as long of a wait, but Amber suggested we do it. I don’t know that it was any faster, the lines were longer, but there were more ticket windows, so whatever…
We did the usual rounds (links open to the corresponding page at the museum’s website):
- North American Mammals
- Small Mammals
- Hall of New York State Environment – not as many people seem to visit this exhibit, but it’s very cool. It shows “the development of New York’s natural landscape over time,” its “geological history,” and also features exhibits on New York State agriculture and ecology, including “the water cycle, the relationship of plants to geology, the cycle of nutrition and decay, photosynthesis and respiration, life in a pond as a closed system, and changes to the environment through the seasons.” There’s also a large “slice” of a Great Sequoia tree, cut down in 1891. When I was little, I always worried that this slice was going to fall over and crush me! LOL
- African Mammals
- Hall of Ocean Life
- North American Birds
Since it was raining and chilly, we didn’t feel like venturing out to get something to eat, so we ate there. The Museum offers a variety of dining choices – not too bad, really. The food wasn’t bad, though slightly overpriced, as expected.
Alot has changed over the years, of course, but alot has remained the same. I’ll add photos soon!
Slideshow of All Photos
For more details about a particular photo, click on it in the slideshow and it will open in my Flickr site.
[flickrslideshow acct_name=”roadtripmemories” id=”72157605180457846″ width=”500″]