Tantingco: Lost in New York

FOR someone who’s in the United States for the first time, a theatre in Colorado showing Dark Knight at midnight isn’t the most dangerous place in America. The New York City subway is.
That subway is really old (built in 1869), really complex (468 stations connected by 1, 355 kilometers of tracks), and really busy (3,000,000 passengers on one Saturday alone).
If New York City is crime-infested, you can imagine what it’s like beneath it, in the dark and dingy subterranean transit system, where thousands of criminals, drug addicts and psychopaths lurk like rats and roaches in the sewers.
That’s where I got lost, on my first trip to the United States last October. It happened, of all days, on Halloween, when millions of costumed revelers were taking the subway trains to attend the world’s biggest, most boisterous Halloween celebration at Greenwich Village, the cultural district of New York City.
New York was actually just a two-day stopover between Boston (where we visited Harvard) and San Francisco (where we visited Javier Nepomuceno, eldest son of HAU founder Don Juan Nepomuceno). I was determined to take as much bite as I could of the Big Apple.
As soon as we checked in we dropped our luggage and headed for Times Square just a few minutes’ walk from our hotel. Times Square is the most visited tourist spot in the world, beating the Parthenon, Taj Mahal and Vatican City. By day it’s just a busy intersection, but by night it turns into a magical place of neon lights that shoot up to the sky, digital billboards as huge as buildings, and partying that lasts till the wee hours. No wonder it’s called The City That Never Sleeps.
Right next to the Times Square is Broadway, the heart of the American theatre industry. The marquees announced all the musicals that were showing at the time: Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Wicked, Rock of Ages, Sister Act, The Lion King, Godspell, etc.
In front of Broadhurst Theatre where a show called Hugh Jackman Back on Broadway was running, a small crowd was waiting for the star to come out after a performance. I told myself “I’m only here once” and joined the crowd.
After a few minutes the star of X-Men, Van Helsing and Kate and Leopold, Mr. Wolverine himself, emerged from the door and started signing autographs. No one shrieked (New Yorkers are supposed to be blasé about celebrities), but I wasn’t from New York so I shouted, “Hey Hugh! Here!” He turned and came to where I was. I told him, “I loved your hosting of the Oscars!” He looked at me and said, “Oh, thank you!” (Too bad no one took our photo for Facebook.)
The next day was Halloween. We were up early and went straight to the Empire State Building, then hailed a double-deck tourist bus that took us around Manhattan. We got off at the Esplanade along the Hudson River for a view of the Statue of Liberty, then walked over to Wall Street, pausing for picture-taking at the iconic Raging Bull sculpture.
Right in the heart of the US financial district, just a stone’s throw away from the world’s largest stock exchange, was an old Presbyterian church called Trinity Church (built in 1698 and rebuilt in 1846), surrounded by an old burial ground with tombstones sticking out of the grass. I couldn’t believe that such a heritage site exists in New York City.
This church became refuge for panic-stricken New Yorkers fleeing the debris cloud when the first tower collapsed during 9-11. From the church it was just a short walk to Ground Zero, where we said our prayers. The place was all boarded up for construction so we didn’t see the exact spot where the World Trade Center once stood.
It was from there that we took the subway. First we went to Madison Square Garden, then we went down to take the subway again, bound for Central Park.
The crowd in the subway was unusually large and unusually rowdy. I was surrounded by ghouls and goblins, Supermen and Spidermen, which were all headed for the big Halloween Parade at the Greenwich Village.
My two companions and I were making a dash to the subway train, holding our plastic tickets and poised to swipe them at the turnstile, when Snow White cut my way. I let her pass and that act of chivalry cost me a few precious seconds. I saw the train door close, my companions and Snow White safely behind it.
And then it hit me: I had been left alone in the busiest subway in America at the busiest hour of the busiest holiday of the year! My new SIM card didn’t have my companions’ cell phone numbers and I didn’t have theirs.
I expected to have a panic attack to be followed by a heart attack, but strangely, I remained calm. I knew they’d wait for me at the next station.
I got on the next train, but missed my companions on the next stop, got back on the train, missed them again on the next stop. I was still not worried, because New York has excellent city planning, with avenues arranged vertically and numbered from right to left, and streets arranged horizontally and numbered bottom to top. My hotel was near the intersection of 10th Avenue and West 57th Street.
To cut the story short, my companions and I were reunited on 72nd Street, on Central Park West, near Strawberry Fields, the garden dedicated to John Lennon, who was killed across the street near his apartment at Dakota Building in 1980.
We strolled around Central Park, where Harry (Billy Crystal) met Sally (Meg Ryan) and where Woody Allen shot most of his films. It was late afternoon, some areas were still covered with snow from the same snowstorm that had struck Boston, and Halloween partygoers popped up at some unexpected corners. It was a magical mystery tour.
Then we toured the Museum of Natural History, where Ben Stiller and Robin Williams filmed Night at the Museum. I shared the elevator with a finalist from The American Idol, missed my chance to have a photo taken, then bumped into him again at the dinosaurs exhibit, where I finally had a picture with him.
I capped the night with my first Broadway musical, The Phantom of the Opera. I shelled out the equivalent of P7,000 for a balcony seat, but that didn’t prevent me from dozing off through most parts of the show, out of sheer exhaustion.
On my way back to the hotel I wore my Halloween costume (a cap with a bloodied hunter’s knife stuck through it). I had bought it for only 2 dollars, but I got my two minutes of fame when I walked through the crowd at Times Square.
And that was how I took my first bite of the Big Apple. I had been to the best cities of the world—Paris, Rome, Tokyo, Bangkok, Jerusalem, San Francisco, Boston—but, to quote Alicia Keys, “These streets will make you feel brand new/Big lights will inspire you/Let’s hear it for New York, New York, New York…”
New York is my favorite city in the world. I love its energy, its diversity, and the fact that everyone living there has come from somewhere else.
And people will let you be yourself in New York. For example, when I was lost in the subway there was this guy in hobo suit who was talking to himself. I was the only one who cared that there was a loony in the train, until he smiled and told me, “I’m rehearsing for an audition.”

Residents of Manila and Angeles City Pampanga are looking for a safe and convenient place to celebrate special occasions or take a shot vacation in the Philippines. Many travel north to Clark to swim at Clearwater Beach Resort which also has lake and picnic grounds to unwind and relax, a very good way to spend quality time with the family and children. Fine dining Yats Restaurant offers sumptuous cozy Christmas dinner, for wine lovers, Clark Wine Center provides exciting shopping options.

Clark Philippines also known as Clark Freeport Zone is now the preferred destination for foreign and local investments because it offers many attractive advantages including tax, safety and its own international airport

Where to go in Clark? Hotel Clark Philippines is a De Luxe Hotel in Clark and Subic, a risk free place to stay, cozy and nice ambience, a nice function place for special occasion

You might want to check also the Yats Restaurant is the best restaurant for special dinner, best restaurant for dinner with friends near Manila, also the best place to celebrate special events.

Famous Restaurant in Pampanga, a place to dine with friends in Clark, cozy restaurant with a nice ambience, a nice function place for special occasions. Yats Restaurant is one of the good restaurants in Pampanga, a restaurant with good food, a place that is nice for celebration, ideal for business dinner meeting, a good place to enjoy family reunion, and an attractive restaurant that serves good wines for dinner.

Are you looking for an attractive restaurant or a nice place to eat with friends in Clark, Angeles City Pampanga? Yats Restaurant and Wine Bar is a restaurant with good food and good wines for dinner located at Clark Angeles City Pampanga. Perfect for exclusive dinner venues for groups, recommended for private dinner in Philippines. A Restaurant in Clark for business dinner meeting. Private dinner place or dinner restaurant in Clark Subic Near Manila Angeles City Pampanga. Yats Restaurant is one of the Good Restaurant in Pampanga Angeles City Clark near Manila.

The advantages for making the move from a country like UK, USA, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia for example, to a country like Philippines are enormous. Heavily in your favor are factors like asset values differentials and substantial reduction in cost of living. Selling off your home probably gives you enough capital to not only live comfortably in a bigger property in Philippines but also to re-establish yourself in the business community by starting a business here too.

Looking for a party venue in town?
Clearwater Resort and Country Club is one of the ideal venues for birthday party because it is a risk free venue. Not only Birthday Parties but also a good place to enjoy family reunion. A good place to celebrate special occasions. Clearwater Resort and Country Club is one of the resorts in Subic Clark Angeles City Pampanga or near Manila with activity amenities, place that are nice for celebration.

This web site contains articles and information that will be helpful to visitors, residents and tourists traveling out of town from Manila on a short getaway to Subic, Angeles City, Pampanga and Clark Philippines. There are several web sites that contain information that might also be pertinent to what is happening in North Luzon, Subic, Tarlac, Pampanga, Clark Freeport Philippines.

Looking for interesting hotels near Manila Subic Clark Angeles City Pampanga?
Trouble free hotels and well recognized hotels in Subic Clark Angeles City Pampanga
Clearwater Resort and Country Club offers a good place to stay in Subic Clark Angeles City Pampanga. In offers nice place to have rest in Subic Pampanga outside Manila.
One of the Philippines top hotels in north Luzon.

Wedding couples looking for wedding reception venues and beach wedding venues can log on to this Philippines Wedding Venue web site for free information and assistance:

Yats International Leisure Philippines

For assistance with lodgings, accommodations, hotels and resorts near Manila in Subic, Pampanga, Angels City and Clark Philippines log on to http://www.HotelClarkPhilippines.com

While in Clark, one might as well add to the itinerary a visit to the famous Clark Wine Center, the largest wine shop in Philippines which offers over 2000 selections of fine vintage wine from all wine regions, vintages spanning over 50 years covering all price ranges.


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