Sunday, December 27, 2009

Here's A Tip

As Karen and I were having lunch at the Metropolitan Museum, we started discussing what we would do that night (Thursday). We both agreed that a play would be nice, but neither one of us had done any research on the availability of seats. So I pulled out my trusty cell phone and called my sister in California. Lucky for me she was sitting at her computer and was able to pull up the current listing of plays in New York. She read the description of several ones; a woman who sat next to me on the plane was going to Burn The Floor, but I wanted something with a plot. We finally agreed on Memphis. ...Since we would have to buy them at the theatre, we planned to leave at six and walk the fourteen blocks in the 27 degree freezing temperature. In addition to the freezing cold and wind, I was carrying my camera with the new wide angle lens. Love it.

We walked down Sixth Avenue bundled up looking like we were ready for a blizzard. We walked from Fifty-seventh Street down Seventh Avenue through Times Square, where I affectionately refer to as HELL, and then took a right on Forty-fourth Street. We walked one more block and there it was, The Shubert Theatre. When we walked in the lobby (about 12 feet by 6 feet) I approached the ticket agent by the name of Craig. After learning that there were tickets available the negotiations began. Be patient, the TIP is coming.

After the pleasantries, I told Craig that we didn't want zillion dollar seats. Furthermore,we didn't care if we were in the last row of the just didn't matter to us. That seemed to go in one ear and out the other because he showed me a floor plan and pointed to seats smack dab in the center section, ten rows back. I knew they were expensive because Janie, my sister, told me during our conversation that they started at $121.50. After Craig told me the price, I told him AGAIN, that we wanted the cheap seats. Then he showed me something a little less expensive and again I declined. Here's where it happened. Read slowly.
I laughed and told him that I knew he wanted to reach through the window and strangle me because I sold tickets for the Braves wayyyy back and I wanted to kill people who behaved like I was behaving, i.e. "Are they in the shade ?", "Are they on the right side or the left side of the section because I don't want to be distracted by people walking up and down the aisles ?", and "Are they under the overhang because we want to be in the shade ?", and on and on. Then I heard a voice behind the window asking if I sold tickets during the time that the Yankees beat the Braves. I told him it was before (as if I knew) and this started an amicable conversation. After Craig and the mysterious voice had a short conversation that I couldn't hear, although my ear was almost going through the window, Craig showed me the same seats that he offered at $121.50. Then he peered behind me to see who was standing behind me and saw that a line was forming. So instead of telling me the new price, he wrote it on a scrap of paper and showed me- $69.50. I accepted the new price and thanked him profusely. The mysterious man said something about extending the discount because I had been in "the business". Little did I know twenty some years ago that working for the Braves in those teensy, claustrophobic ticket booths after teaching all day would years later get me a $52.00 discount on a Broadway ticket! So that's the tip. Be nice, smile, try to joke with them, and when all else fails, tell them you used to sell tickets for the Braves. It's just me, but I would try the first three and only use the last one if you really did sell tickets for the Braves. You never know.

By the way, the play was wonderful and was worth the long walk to and from Broadway. Here are some of the shots I took with my new lens.

Thank you Craig and thank you Braves!

Monday, December 14, 2009


Last Friday, as we were waiting for my sister, Ann, to arrive from Connecticut, Karen (my friend who traveled with me to New York) and I decided to walk over to Columbus Circle and walk around the Time Warner Center. Besides, I knew there was a cute little restaurant on the third floor where we could have a coke and look out the HUGE window to watch millions of people play dodge ball with the cabs.

The decorations were drop-dead gorgeous. The stars that were hanging from the rafters changed colors in rhythm to the music. (More on this is a later post.) As we took the escalator to the second floor on the way to the restaurant, I tried to free my camera from the depths of my bag so I could take two or three thousand pictures. Digital is a miracle. As we were climbing on the escalator and after I got my hands on the camera, I spotted Borders Bookstore. I knew it was there and I was using their snack bar as a back up just in case the wait at the restaurant was too long. But before we continued our trek to the third floor I spotted a huge sign in the window of Borders. There were pictures of about six people who would be signing books soon with their schedules. I couldn't believe what I was reading. Lo and behold, the Pioneer Woman ( was going to be there that evening to sign her cookbook. She was in Atlanta the Monday before I left for New York, but I couldn't go and I was just sick about it. Those of you who do not know who she is, you will.

Side Bar: Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman, has a blog. It is absolutely the best blog that I have ever read. It's divided into sections: confessions, photography, cooking, and home and garden. Of course my favorite part of her blog is photography. She puts the process into every day lingo that is easily understood. You really should take the time and check it out, but it will take hours if you try to read it all at one sitting.

After seeing the notice in the window, I had to go in the store and get the low down. Poor Karen, she followed me into the store as I was mumbling, drooling, and running all over the store trying to find the book. Finally I got control of myself and found a really nice man who took me to the front counter and asked one of the folks to show me THE BOOK. That is when I met Amanda H. She is an angel. She not only showed me the book, but looked up my Borders club number so I could get a discount on the purchase price AND, get this, gave me THREE wrist bands so we could get seats at the discussion and the signing. "Good grief", I thought, "this is New York, people aren't supposed to be this nice and certainly not this helpful." But she was and it didn't end there.

I told Amanda all about The Pioneer Woman. Bless her heart, she really hadn't heard of her until recently. As she was showing us where the discussion and book signing was going to take place, she mentioned that the Atlanta signing had over 800 people. When I saw that they only had sixty chairs, I worried. But I didn't need to.

When my sister arrived at the hotel, Karen and I met her, exchanged pleasantries, and then I began educating her about the PW. She was willing to go with us, but I couldn't see any enthusiasm. She didn't "get" the whole PW thing, but I had confidence that she would. We had to leave the hotel around five to get there in plenty of time. We also knew that we had to leave Borders at seven to get to Lincoln Center to see the Nutcracker. Sadly, I had given up hope of having her sign my book. When we arrived we found Amanda H. and my sister asked her if there were any books left because she wanted to buy one. Amanda being the angel she is, took Ann's credit card and even gave her my discount! Amazing. Get this...she knew that we had to leave early (she also has a great memory) so she took our books in the back of the store where PW was waiting and asked her to sign them for us! She should be Employee of the Year. Maybe I'll write a letter.

At around six, out came PW. She was dressed in black, and had a sweet smile. She answered about fifteen questions from the two or three hundred in attendance. As soon as she started signing books we made a quick exit.

What surprised me was that PW seemed timid. I imagined her to be really outgoing and she probably is when she isn't in front of a huge NYC crowd and her publisher. She writes in some of her posts that she's always nervous, but she doesn't need to be...everyone there loved her!

We met a nice young man while we waited, named James. James was from Oklahoma, where PW lives, but was working in NYC at Bank of America. He knew almost everything about her. He's her friend on FB and Twitter. In fact, he got a tweet from her as we were talking. What a hoot! James also likes to cook, thus the cookbook. (Sorry for the blurred shot, James. I only brought my wide angle lens.) I don't cook, but I did buy the book just in case the mood strikes. Truth be told, if she wrote a book on dirt, I'd probably buy it. I'm a fan, what can I say?