April 29, 2017: Day 3 of our New York trip began with a long-awaited desire to watch a musical on Broadway! We hopped on the subway in the early morning around 9:30 and dashed towards Times Square where the home of Broadway was. Seeing Times Square and the surrounding big box stores, lights, and billboards was a surreal moment after having only seen it in movies or photos before. It was every bit as exciting as I imagined it to be.
Two friends had told me about the discounted musical tickets available at TKTS. This ticket merchant sold heavily discounted prices for the musicals that were playing that day. We found the line-up and queued ourselves up. It was a nice day and we were in the midst of one of the most busy public spaces in the world.
Cartoon characters/street performers in Times Square is actually an interesting topic. I found an article that talks about it here.
Although I had a desire to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the musical, when we were preparing for this trip, I realized that the tickets were quite expensive and not something that I wanted to spend on for this trip. Thus, we decided to watch Phantom of the Opera which was also one of the musicals discounted at TKTS. It was actually 50% off the regular price! What a deal! We got really good seats too; in the orchestra right about five or six rows from the stage. 😀 Although the line-up was a little long, it was so worth it! It ended up to be the perfect musical to see because ever since I knew that Broadway was the place where musicals were born (kinda?), I had always wanted to watch this classic musical here. And so, it happened! 🙂
With our tickets in hand, we set upon places to eat for brunch before our matinée show in the afternoon. First, we stopped by a Starbucks for the babe to get his morning coffee. I liked the look of this Starbucks.
There were a lot of restaurants all around Times Square. We set upon Bubba Gump to try their famous shrimp dishes. (I had previously been to the one in Miami.) They opened their doors at 11 a.m. and we were one of the first ones to dine in.
I really liked the decor at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. (1501 Broadway, New York). They really put a lot of effort into making the place resemble a fishing boat with ties to the movie Forrest Gump. The host placed us at one of the farther tables near the end of the restaurant facing Times Square. It was a really nice street view!
We ordered the “Shrimper’s Heaven”, a presentation of four types of shrimp: Hand Breaded Coconut Shrimp, Grilled Shrimp, Crisp Golden Shrimp, and Tempura Shrimp with Fries. It had three homemade dipping sauces: Tangy Asian, Cajun Marmalade, and Zesty Cocktail.
The Shrimper’s Heaven arrived in good time and we enjoyed snacking on the four types of shrimp to compare which one we liked most. All of them were quite good. I was particularly impressed with the coconut shrimp; enjoyed the freshness and firmness of the grilled shrimp; and the Tempura Shrimp. The fries were pretty good too.
After this quick meal, we walked around Times Square and stopped at Junior’s Bakery where they served a large assortment of desserts and cake including cheesecakes. It was on my list to be able to try a piece of New York Cheesecake and because Junior’s boasted “The world’s most fabulous cheesecake”, I decided to try a slice.
We also bought a bag of nuts from one of the food vendors on the street. We found an empty spot in the middle of Times Square to sit and enjoy our food. The pink recliner chairs were available for 20 minutes to anyone who wanted to sit in them. It was a really nice spot to enjoy our food while people watching in the middle of Times Square. 🙂
Mmm, the cheesecake from Junior’s Bakery was amazing! I was so impressed! The cheesecake was perfect!! It was cheesy yet moist and definitely tasted like the best cheesecake I had ever had. I was so happy with it!
We finished the cheesecake in time to walk to Majestic Theater where we lined up for our 2 p.m. matinée show for the Phantom of the Opera. I was so, so excited! I love watching musicals and finally was able to watch a musical in the musical-city of the world — Broadway, New York! 😀 We took many selfies and I was so excited while waiting in the sun in the line-up. 😛
We entered the theater once the line started moving and people were let in. I took just as many photos when I was inside. The theater was gorgeous!
I’ve never seen The Phantom of the Opera live in theatre before. I did see the 25th anniversary celebration of it in the movie theatre with Elizabeth many years ago but it doesn’t beat a live experience. Yay, musicals! 😀
After the 2.5 hour-long musical — which was beautifully done –, we exited and found a place to eat. We went to Havana Central Restaurant & Bar (151 W 46th St, New York) for some Cuban food. We were hungry! There was a line-up to get into the restaurant but we figured that at that time, anywhere we went would be packed full of people so we stayed in line. The line moved at a good pace and we were seated at one of the tables in the upstairs dining area of the restaurant.
We ordered the Sandwich Cubano Clásico, a classic Cuban sandwich that had smoked ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. It came with a choice of sweet potato fries, potato wedges, plantain chips, side salad, or a choice of red or black beans and yellow or white rice. I chose the plantain chips.
The sandwich arrived quickly. There were actually a lot of people dining all around us; the tables were fairly close to each other so we could see what our neighbours were eating very easily.
We shared the Cuban sandwich and we thought it was just mediocre.
After finishing the sandwich, we departed and walked around Times Square a bit more. We visited a souvenir shop, found our names on New York licence plates, and played with magnetic stuffed monkeys. 😀
As we continued strolling, we saw a pizza shop called Little Italy Pizza (696 9th Ave, New York) and because New York pizza was another item on our eat-list, we ordered the Margherita pizza there. It was a hot and stuffy place so we relocated to a nearby park (Ramon Aponte Park). I thought that we were really lucky to have chanced upon a park in the middle of the concrete jungle — seriously, there were buildings upon buildings all around us.
We played on the swings after our pizza snack. 😀
Next, while walking, we got a green smoothie at Juice Generation (644 9th Ave #1, New York). I liked watching the staff make the smoothies by inserting the fresh vegetables and fruits into the juicer. He selected the veggies from a tall tower of carefully stacked produce. It was neat!
The green smoothie was refreshing on a hot spring day. :9
We continued walking and headed towards the direction of where Carlo’s Bakery was. Along the way, we passed by The New York Times building. I took a photo of it at the time not realizing that we would be there again involuntarily a few days later (dun dun dun…).
Everyone knows about Carlo’s Bakery from the TV show, Cake Boss. While this Carlo’s Bakery (625 8th Ave, New York) was not the original one that is featured in the show, it was still really neat to be there in person. Before we lined up to try the sweets, we actually watched a cake being decorated in the window. It was a neat and tedious process. 😀
We ordered the infamous cannoli and the lobster tail. It was my first time having a lobster tail! There were only a few tables with chairs for dine-in at Carlo’s Bakery. They also had a standing counter though which was where we enjoyed our sweets.
We did a short video too of us trying to eat the cannolis together at the same time. XP I really enjoyed the lobster tail! The French cream was soooo delicious! ^_^
With that, we concluded our Day 3 in New York. Keep coming back to read about Day 4! 😛