42nd St East

The Public Library backs up Bryant Park to the east. Go up the marble staircases to the third floor - behind the unassuming door to Room 315 are two of the largest public rooms in the city - the Catalog and Reading Rms - thousands of authors famous and not have researched at the lit reading tables. Continuing east on 42nd St, the banking hall of the Bowery Savings, now Home Savings Bank is incredible. Grand Central Station is not quite the romantic terminal it used to be - the only trains departing here leave for exotic places like suburban Tuckahoe and Scarsdale, but its interior, though under renovation, is still one of NY’s signature sights. At Lex and 42nd, look up to see the most elegant building in NY, the Chrysler Building. Superman’s globe revolves in the old Daily News Building further east, and dont miss the fantastic indoor garden at the Ford Foundation. Go up the staircase at 2nd Ave and 42nd into Tudor City. At the far end, a winding stair descends to UN Plaza under the optimistic words, ‘They shall beat their swords into plowshares.’ Finally at the UN, take the tour and check out the great giftshop.

Rockefeller Center

The center of the center of the world. Things to look for: Today Show windows, the NBC Tour, Teuscher Chocolates, the Radio City Music Hall tour, the Guild movie theater, Saks Fifth Avenue, and of course, the Skating Rink. The Rainbow Room on the 65th Floor of 30 Rock is where we got engaged, you can go to the bar without a reservation, though a tie is necessary. See the city the way Fred and Ginger did. (For the guys, check out the NYC skyline while standing at the urinal)

Fifth Ave from 49th to 59th Sts

Start out at St Patricks and work your way north up 5th Ave. You’ll soon hit in quick succession: Cartier, Henri Bendel, Takashimaya, Fortunoff, Disney Store, Coca-Cola Store, Trump Tower, Sony Experience (58th/Madison), NikeTown, Tiffany, Warner Bros Store, FAO Schwarz, Bergdorf Goodman and at 59th Street on the Park, the indomitable Plaza Hotel.

42nd St West

Yes its hokey and filled with tourists, but the best way to see the city is from the water - on the 3 hr. Circle Line boat tour. My favorite part is going up the industrially challenged waterfront of the Harlem River. When you’re back on dry land, plunge into newly transformed 42nd St. Gone are the porn theaters - Disney even is building a store and theater that will open here next year. (Deb is currently designing a new Madame Tussauds wax museum to go next door). Over in Times Square-land, get an above ground view from the Marriott Marquis 5th floor glass covered bar (love those glass capsule elevators). Other Times Square treats? Virgin Megastore cola, Howard Johnson ice cream sundaes, the Zipper newssign. Continue east on 42nd St to 6th Ave. and end up at Bryant Park. Another one of NYC’s reclaimed crack selling public squares, it’s now a teeming lunchtime oasis.


This half-price ticket booth is best for those shows that aren’t too hot, but not too cold either. Get there at least an hour before the booth opens at 10AM for W, SA matinees and 3PM for evenings. Send someone up to the front of the line to see the computerized listings of what will be on sale, make a quick decision, then plunk down your $ for halfprice tix.

If you really want to see Sunset Blvd or other big name shows, go straight to the theater box office an hour before show time and wait on line for cancellations. I once got center orchestra seats for a long sold-out show of Six Degress of Separation the day of performance, though I had to pay full price. (But I also sat behind Lauren Bacall and in front of Tom Brokaw.) This season’s hot tickets are :

First produced Off Broadway, but now a widely praised rock opera based loosely on La Boheme - translated into East Village tortured artists terms.

Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk
Savion Glover uses his feet and other assorted body parts rhythmically.

Off Broadway, cast uses broom, shovels, pans and assorted body parts to get a big bass beat going.

Beauty and the Beast
Intriguing tale divining the impossibility of love given a society that rejects the cultivation of one’s inner self in favor of superficial physicality.

Also check out:
Empire State Building, Macy’s, Museum of Modern Art, Carnegie Hall, Coliseum Books, B. Smith’s blues club

Edison Cafe in Times Square
My fave Times Sq dive, try the matzoh ball soup or cheese blintzes. The restaurant’s ‘Polish Tea Room’ used to be where all the Jewish vaudeville comedians hung out in the 20’s and 30’s. 228 W. 47th

Ellen's Broadway Diner
Singing waiters anyone? Best deal for brunch if you’re trapped in Times Square

Carnegie Deli
You’ll pay +$12 for a pastrami sandwich, but its ungodly huge, you wont be able to fit it into your mouth

Virgils, Carmines, Ollies
These three Times Square restaurants are all owned by the same people and attack their respective culinary specialties, BBQ, Italian and Chinese, with a formulaic vengeance. However, they are great for a meal in a pinch, especially if you have go make that 8PM curtain at the theater. W 44th St/Times Square

Those in the know in the publishing industry take lunch here in this post-modernist fantasy of a hotel lobby. At night, its a scene, especially when you can savor your drink while relaxing in Phillippe Starck’s signature bullhorn chaise lounges. 44 W 44th St/6th Ave

Sister to the Royalton, the dramatic front entrance and hotel lobby shows off the trendy Euro clientele to its best advantage. Go for dessert, go to get picked up in the Whisky a Go-Go bar, or go to the men’s room, where the urinal is a stainless steel waterfall. 235 W 46th St/7th Ave

Zaro’s Bread Basket in Grand Central
Under the staircase, join the crowd for great knishes, rolls and baked goods to take away on your commute home.

Cats, Phantom, Les Miz
Don't you guys have anything better to do?

Rockefeller Center, New York Hilton, the Plaza Hotel, Trump Tower, Grand Hyatt at Grand Central Station, Times Square hotels.

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back to fountain comments to fanfon@interport.net december 1999