Today I’m back for another interview. My sister and I are planning our November trip to NYC. I am getting so excited! I have a few random questions for you. Thanks for agreeing to do these Q & A sessions. As you know, I find New York to be fascinating, as well as the people living in it. So, let’s chat again. Me, in my house in Digby, Nova Scotia. You, in your apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
SC: It’s always fun to try new restaurants, but there are so many to choose from. What are a few of your favorite “nice” restaurants in the city?
TK: I have so many favorites. Last week for my birthday Mike took me to Lupa, one of Mario Batali’s restaurants that we’ve been to many times, and it’s still as good as the first time we went probably about 13 or 14 years ago. It will always be one of my top picks.
I’ve been dining in a lot of hotel restaurants lately because I am covering for The Telegraph, and I never realized the quality of food that’s hitting the plates in New York City hotels. I recommend giving some a try. Here’s a list of some I liked a lot.
Last month I went to an Italian spot called Luna Rossa on the Upper East Side, and it was wonderful. I cannot recommend it enough. Straightforward place, not fancy decor, but the menu was interesting and not the expected Italian dishes you find everywhere. Plus, the service was attentive. Not inexpensive, but a good value for the quality. It’s definitely an off-the-radar place, and it feels very local and not touristy at all (probably wouldn’t be considering the neighborhood). And in my neighborhood, I adore Cafe Luxembourg. It’s been there forever! (since the 1980s), so it’s old school but consistently excellent.
And I came up with a list of restaurants that I love and those I want to try. That list is growing!
SC: I know you saw Hello Dolly recently and loved it. What is your all-time favorite musical on Broadway?
TK: Yes, I saw Bette Midler in Hello Dolly, and it was incredible! The show is one of the best productions I’ve ever seen. The Divine Miss M. nailed her performance as Dolly Levi – talk about comic timing. She has it down to a science. Bernadette Peters will take her place beginning January 20, and I think she’ll be amazing in the role too.
I have a lot of favorite Broadway musicals – La Cage Aux Folles, Rent, Company, Anything Goes, and Pippin’, and the recent American in Paris crown my list.
My all-time favorite show is A Chorus Line. I’ve seen it three times on Broadway, and I played the role of Judy in a community theater production in Pennsylvania way back in the day. 🙂 I saw it in the late 1970s when I was very young!, and I saw the revival twice. To me, it’s the perfect show. Fantastic music by Marvin Hamlisch, fabulous choreography by Michael Bennett, and a story that will always resonate. It’s about dreams, acceptance, success, and love, among other life issues. I won’t give away too much.
If you’ve never seen A Chorus Line, I recommend watching the film. It’s not nearly as good as the show, of course, but it’s a start. I also recommend watching Every Little Step, the documentary about how the show came to be, the rigorous audition process, and the casting of the revival. That is one of my favorite docs. I’ve watched it twice, and I’d see it again and again. You can see the trailer below.
SC: What is a good Broadway play to see? I have never seen a play, and I’m most interested in a drama.
TK: Broadway is in transition in late summer and early fall. A lot of new shows are in the works, but not open yet. If you haven’t seen a play, you should! It’s not a drama, but I am looking forward to Meteor Shower with Amy Schumer and Laura Benanti (previews begin November 1). I think it will be a hoot!
For something more serious, the finance-focused Junk starring Steven Pasquale (previews begin October 5) and Uma Thurman in The Parisian Woman (previews begin November 7, and this play is sure to have lots of drama!) are at the top of my list.
Looking ahead a bit, I want to see Angels in America next year. I did not see the original, so the revival is a must.
Know that when you see a play versus a musical, you need to sit closer to the stage. Don’t sit far too away because you’ll miss a lot of the emotion. It’s best to sit in the first 15 rows of the Orchestra if possible, so you can see the actors’ facial expressions and feel the connection to what’s happening on stage. The play will be all the more meaningful if you can connect with the players.
Plays don’t run as long as most musicals, so if there’s one you want to see, get tickets early. I’ve missed out on a lot of plays because I didn’t plan and then the shows closed.
SC: I really want to venture out of Manhattan this time, providing there is time. Which borough should I go to? I am thinking Brooklyn.
TK: I recommend Brooklyn if you have the time. There is so much to see and do. You might get overwhelmed if you can’t narrow down the neighborhoods, though. I suggest picking one section and focusing on that. You might try the Brooklyn Heights area because you can do the promenade and Brooklyn Bridge Park. It’s close to Manhattan, so you won’t spend too much time getting there. Williamsburg is another fantastic section of the borough. You could easily spend an entire day there and still have more to see and do. Go before the L train shuts down. Otherwise, it won’t be easy getting there from Manhattan.
SC: Williamsburg sounds great! If I want to spend an afternoon there, what should I do?
TK: I’d start with a street art walking tour – you’ll find some of the most cutting-edge pieces in the borough. We wrote about the street art scene in Williamsburg, and you can read that post here. Wander around from one mural to the other and take photos, but allow yourself to digest all that this neighborhood offers while you’re roaming around, so take plenty of time.
You’re bound to get hungry, so I recommend brunch or lunch at Cafe Mogador or Egg. Once your stomach is full and happy, it’s time to head for the shops. You’ll find a ton of stores on Bedford Avenue, which sits in the heart of the area. Allow an hour or two for browsing. Afterward, grab a coffee at Cafe Beit or a cocktail at Maison Premiere before you head over the Williamsburg Bridge. I recommend walking back into Manhattan because this bridge does not get crowded, unlike the Brooklyn Bridge. And, if by chance you want to linger and wait around for dinner, we’ll be posting about some of the best restaurants in Williamsburg very soon, so stay tuned.