Posted in These Vagabond Shoes

“These Vagabond Shoes” #6

Daily nerdy notes on our New York getaway.

Well, it’s about time to take off the vagabonds and head back to Savannah.

But first …

I love St. Patrick’s Cathedral here in New York. And in every city we visit, I try to find a church and light a candle as a meditation and prayer for us all:

“May we be happy. May we be healthy. May we be safe. May we be at peace and live our lives with ease.”

Oh, and get an ornament for our Christmas Travel Tree.

Oh gosh, I almost forgot to tell you. HR and I were able to spend some quality time with a major Broadway star! Can you believe that? What an unexpected NY surprise.

Robert (who defines “truth” a little more strictly than I do) is forcing me to tell you what actually happened. Well, we were walking down West 52nd, minding our business, when we happened upon The August Wilson Theatre, where “Funny Girl” is currently playing.

All of a sudden I heard HR gasp and squeal like an eighth grade girl, as he grabbed my arm (a little too roughly for my taste), halting us on the busy sidewalk. “It’s her!” he was able to squeak, in near hysterics. I looked over as a tall woman stood just inside one of the no-admittance side doors to the theatre, greeting a young man entering said door.

It was Jane Lynch! (She plays Fannie’s mom in the musical.)

She quickly closed the door.

We so loved our week in New York! You must join us next time!

Posted in These Vagabond Shoes

“These Vagabond Shoes” #4

Daily nerdy notes on our New York getaway.

Robert and I opted for a tiny breakfast at Carnegie Diner to start off our day today …

Then a 10 kilometer bike ride around Central Park to burn off some of the calories.

Then I forced a somewhat disinterested HR to walk over and look at my dream NY condo.

He doesn’t seem quite as thrilled as I do.

In case anyone wants to buy it for me as an early Christmas gift, or even for National Watermelon Day (August 3), it’s the Plaza Tower on 60th Street east of the park.

I prefer the bigger middle-balcony apartments (see below), but I guess I would settle for the smaller balcony to the left or right, if that’s all you can really afford. But maybe you could simply work on your budget a little to free up some cash. Do you really need to eat out so often? Home cooked food is cheaper and healthier. And what’s wrong with your children wearing hand-me-downs? They need to learn about not always having to get the “best of everything.” And Goodwill has some really nice stuff, like everything you need—pots, pans, dishes, books, old electronics, furniture and hammers. It would be a win-win situation.

Then Robert rudely forced me away from where I was respectfully peering into a lower-level window just so he could go back to the hotel and … take a nap, of all things! IN THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS.

After HR got his rest on, and I made lists of what I would bring from Savannah to put in the new condo, we subwayed down to Chinatown for lunch at our fav restaurant there. But lo and behold, there was an hour wait at Hop Kee, so we found another little place on a side street—The Taiwan Pork Chip House.

So good! I got the salt and pepper chicken with scalded vegetables. I didn’t pay enough attention to see what Robert got. But here’s what it looked like.

We love Chinatown!

We only have one more day in Manhattan, so if you plan to join us, you need to come on up.

Posted in These Vagabond Shoes

“These Vagabond Shoes” #3

Daily nerdy notes on our New York getaway.

I’m very picky about my coffee, basically thinking that all coffee EXCEPT DUNKIN’ DONUTS tastes like black ashes in hot water. So I was very pleasantly surprised when I discovered the cute little, gay-owned coffee shop, Kahve in Hell’s Kitchen close to our hotel.

The coffee was delicious!

Yummy coffee, me, and a girl’s leg.

Robert and I signed up for a Gay Pride Tour here in New York. We were to meet at Christopher Park in Greenwich Village near the iconic Stonewall Inn (arguably the birthplace of the gay rights movement).

We arrived a bit early. Stood in the tiny park for a while. Then heard two loud explosions and saw black smoke billowing from the apartment building next to the Stonewall!

We watched as the frazzled residents were rushed out of the building, and the fire engines loudly arrived.

Well, this is New York, so our plucky guide Joe went on with the tour for HR, a handful of friendly folks from the UK and me.

Thankfully the fire was extinguished, and the firemen put away the hoses.

What a smokin’ tour!

Well, the tour and the fire left us hungry and thirsty. so we headed to Julius, New York’s oldest gay bar, for incredible burgers and a pint.

Julius was the site of the “Sip-ins” of the 1960’s, fashioned after the Sit-ins of the Civil Rights movement. Gay folks went to bars, said they were homosexuals and were refused service, leading to widespread awareness of LGBTQ discrimination-and eventual changes in the laws.

What a fiery gay day we had!

Posted in These Vagabond Shoes

“These Vagabond Shoes” #2

Daily nerdy notes on our New York getaway.

Seeing Broadway’s ”Company” with Patti Lapone.

Oh. My. Goodness. One of my top five Broadway musicals I’ve ever seen. (Well, I am gay.) All about the crazy expectations we heap upon relationships. (Don’t get HR started.)

I’m glad HR’s my company.

After the play, here’s Robert embarrassingly trying to convince me that he could make it in NY as a Radio City Music Hall Rockette.

“What? You don’t think I could?” he angrily pouted as he stormed away.

I finally caught up with HR and calmed him down with some New York pizza. (Pizza always works.)

But just between us, let’s be honest, HR simply couldn’t do those strut kicks.

Posted in Where Happiness Finds You

Neal’s Neverending New York PhotoNotes Post

[Warning:  If you’re going to read this one, you might want to go get a snack.  And maybe a cushion.  Wear loose-fitting clothes, comfortable shoes.]


I traveled with daughter Amy, son-in-law Orte and grandsons Daniel and Gabriel to Manhattan last Thursday, returning yesterday.  This trip has become our annual spring rite of passage.  Except spring didn’t cooperate this year–cold!  Brrr!  Even a little snow.  But what a Grand Time as our Vagabond Shoes left Savannah and headed to the Big Apple.






Easy, FUN flight, even with five- and three-year-olds.  No, BECAUSE of five- and three-year-olds.

Cool suite on Park Avenue:



And of course, the first thing the boys want to do upon our arrival in New York?   Watch Gravity Falls on TV.


(Okay, maybe it was pretty interesting, all about Dipper’s sister Mabel having a crazy-about-boys summer–at one point she sees a young fella holding a turtle, runs up to him and exclaims, “You like turtles?!  I LIKE TURTLES!  What’s happening here?!” as she moves her hands back and forth between her and the boy.  Finally Mabel sorta falls for a trenchcoated pyramid of Gnomes who want to marry her and make her their Gnome Queen.  I had no idea Gnomes could be so pushy.)

Gabriel looking out on the NY skyline from our 27th floor:


The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (on the Upper West Side):












A walk in Central Park, playing with dirty snow.  (But we’re from the south–we’ll take what we can get.)







Delicious Waldorf Salad lunch for me–at the Waldorf:


Touring = Tiring:


Dinner at Victor’s, our favorite Cuban restaurant in Manhattan:




Neat day, after Gabriel’s “breakfast” …


… we taxied to another great museum: the Children’s Museum of the Arts in SoHo.  What an interactive place!





My work:


(Now do you see why I teach part-time at an art school?!  I call it Morning Glory and Green-Haired Cory.  Bids start in the upper thousands.  Thank you.)


Daniel’s Dragon:



(Those aren’t my blue fingernails.)



First of two Broadway plays: Newsies.  Just incredible energy!  Google it.




Newsies ticket

And here’s a pic of the stage/curtain thingy, right before I got yelled at for taking pictures inside the theatre.  (I’m sure they didn’t realize they were talking to a world-famous blogger and all.)


I’m thinking about becoming a Broadway star.  All that’s holding me back is that you have to sing and dance and memorize lines and get up in front of people and not stutter because you’re so nervous.  AND not fall off the stage when you have to walk close to the edge.  That part TERRIFIES me.  But still.

The most incredible coincidence happened next.  Walking back to our hotel to join the fam, I saw Andaz.  No not a person, a very cool hotel.  We have an Andaz on Ellis Square in Savannah where they give you the MOST delicious Candied Bacon I’ve ever tasted.  (Okay, it’s the only candied bacon I’ve ever tasted but SO good.)  Of course I had to shashay in to compare Andazes’ (plural possessive?).  This sign greeted me when I walked into the lobby:


Hooting Hyenas!  SCAD is where I teach as an adjunct.  So I hopped on the elevator to the second floor!  Wouldn’t you?  Why?  Well, duh, a reception, and receptions mean one thing … free food.  The first person I saw was Joseph; he’s in a writer’s group I sometimes attend:


(I’m not sure why I look so huge and bloated in that picture.)

(Does anyone know how to Photoshop me standing about two feet behind Joseph so I don’t look so very big?)

I chatted with other SCAD folks and even a few newly accepted students and their parents.  A fun NY surprise.

Next morning, Grand Central Terminal …





… and waiting for Kidding Around (a very cool toy store) to open–we did F. A. O. Schwarz the day before:




Street vendor hot dogs, of course:



Second Broadway play: Cinderella (with a new spin, including lots of humor and an evil stepsister who turns good).






Orchestra pit (we had second-row seats!):



Afterwards off to Ellen’s Stardust Diner where the wait staff … SINGS!.  So cool:



Snack on the walk back to the hotel:





The Apple Store in Grand Central Terminal for a new case for my iPhone:



Last morning.  Daniel and Gabriel reennacting the final scene from Gravity Falls (we watched the same episode three times over our stay) when Dipper rescues Mabel from the Gnomes, and the brother/sister engage in an “awkward sibling hug” with “pat, pat.”  (Hulu it.  I think the episode is called “Tourist Trap.”)




Blustery/snowy/rainy weather on the way to LaGuardia.



For some reason, less-than-ideal weather always makes me feel better when it comes at the end of a trip.  (Reminder to self: therapist talking point.)

While we were waiting at the gate for our flight, a Big Red Heart sauntered up.  No clue why.  But D is never one to miss a photo op.



Oh, if you were that Big Red Heart, looking where he seems to be looking, you would see this:



It’s an iPad cafe–you order your food right from the iPad.  (“Hip” should be my middle name.)



A wonderfully joyful New York trip.

As we waited on the runway, while an animal-like machine de-iced the wings, Daniel looked at me fiddling with my phone and yelled (loud enough for his dad and the rather stern flight attendant to hear), “Abu is not turning off his electronic device!”

Great memories to think about.