American in Spain

Empire State Building - NYC 2006 - Part 2 of 4

October 16, 2006

On Friday, October 13, 2006, we got up at 6:30 AM, both because of internal timezone confusion and a plan to get on live national television. We hopped on the subway and popped out in Times Square. At 7:00 AM, the "city that never sleeps" was definitely waking up.


The moon was still shining bright as the morning sun hits the top of the buildings.


Drowsy suits plod along their commute, powered solely by their Starbucks drug hits and the thumping beats from their iPods.


Matt Lauer turns to see the crowd gathered in the designated area outside the studio. For some reason there was no one along the other glass studio wall, bordering the street. You can read what's on the teleprompter if you click on the image to see the larger version.


Me and Matt Lauer. During commercial breaks, they get make-up touch-ups and info from studio personnel.


Whatever poor soul is trying fill Katie Couric's shoes gets a make-up adjustment.

While we were there, Matt turned around the other way and saw us. I waved, and he waved and smiled back. This is by far the most celebrity interaction I've ever had. It's crazy how a simple lift of an arm can incite irrational joy in a simple plebe like me. This puts me only one person on the "salutation chain" from the President, since Lauer has interviewed His Bushness.

After the commercial break, I was able to position myself directly behind the female presenter so that I should have been visible on national television. CIMG2623.JPG

The legendary Rockefeller Center skating rink. That's Marga on the wall there.


There was a figure skating class going on at 7:30 AM.


Lots o' flags.


There was a huge concave "sky mirror" where Rockefeller Plaza meets Fifth Avenue.


It wasn't easy to position myself so the moon was in the middle.


Times Square.


We walked by the NBC studios again and caught a glimpse of Al Roker. He was interviewing some "expert" on Friday the 13th myths.


The convex side of the mirror on Fifth Avenue. Can you spot me and Marga?


St. Patrick's Cathedral. 10 years ago it was the first cathedral I'd really seen. Now, being a European traveller, it struck me as very strange to have a US flag in a cathedral. (The low quality is due to there being almost no light.)


I'm pretty sure you won't see any flags in any European cathedrals. Separation of church and what?


We briefly considered moving the wedding to 5th Ave, but decided against it in the end.


This sign was in a Barnes & Noble. It reminded me of one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes.


The pubic libary. (sic)


The Empire State Building.


Not a bad view from up here. I can see why King Kong climbed up here.


Trying to peer over with my camera at arms length wasn't as dramatic as I had hoped.


The Chrysler Building.


Lower Manhattan.


Looking over again.


It really makes perfect sense to raise the crane as you build upwards. Not having given it serious thought before, I was kind of curious how it was done.


Looking uptown towards Central Park.


This guy wasn't afraid of heights at all.


revver(80760) A panorama of the view from the top of the Empire State Building.

revver(80761) Looking down on 5th Ave. traffic.

We came back down to earth and looked for a place to have lunch. We ended up in a burger joint where I had a bacon cheeseburger and a ginger ale.


This was in the restaurant bathroom. How can people so blatantly misuse punctuation like this? Let alone capitalization...


Each ribbon around this church is a fallen soldier in the war in Iraq.


More dead Americans.


The Flatiron Building.


Not a cloud in the sky at 12:37 PM.


I got a chuckle out of seeing The Onion in print.


Me and the Empire State Building.


The juxtaposition of concrete and flora in the city's parks is impressive.


Skyscrapers reflected in a fountain.


Grand Central Station.


A Lamborghini on display.


This building had a gradual slope at the base.

We headed to Times Square to buy some tickets for a Broadway show that night. When we got to the discount ticket booth, most of the shows were sold out, and we didn't have enough money (you have to pay in cash for some reason) to get our sixth choice, so we decided to show up earlier the next day and buy tickets for Saturday night. After missing that opportunity, we were approached by a cheerful gay fellow in Times Square who wanted to sell us some tickets to a show at his comedy club, The Improv. There were lots of lies in the sales pitch. First of all, he gave a list of comedians that would be there, several of whom I was familiar with. And he also claimed that they would be taping for Comedy Central. He also claimed that the Seinfeld intros were filmed at the Improv. It seems pretty obvious to me that they were filmed in a studio, but he was talking so fast I didn't have time to think clearly about it. We paid $20 for two "admits two" tickets. Comedy clubs, according to Pinocchio, our salesman, all require a two-drink minimum. We went that Friday night and the drinks cost us about $35, so it was a night out on Broadway for $55. Our seats could not have been more perfect. Everyone was crammed into long tables perpendicular to the stage. We were seated right up against the stage, except for one person between me and the stage, and we were on the right side of the table to face the stage. The comics were closer me than my television is when I'm sitting on my couch at home. Not being right up against the stage was good, because guess who gets picked on by the comics? Unfortunately, they put the best comic first. We really liked him. His name is Mike Yard. His routine was mostly the old stand-up goldmine of "the differences between men and women". Everyone can relate to something strange that the opposite sex does. The second guy, Russ Meneve, wasn't nearly as good, even though his website has videos of various Jay Leno performances. His best joke was, "I think my favorite thing in the world is food. It's not that I like eating so much. I just really love pooping." And it got progressivly dirtier from there. The other comics weren't bad, it's just that I didn't get nearly the same pleasure as I did from the first guy, even with the two drinks entering my bloodstream.


The host of the evening. I forget her name. Her best joke was, "I think I finally figured out why Catholics cross themselves when they enter a church. They're touching the places where they have sinned." While she said it, she touched her mouth, crotch, left breast and right breast.

After the show, we took the subway back to the hotel for some much needed rest.

« Go to Part 1Go to Part 3 »