Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Thirty-One Hours In NYC

Part of the reason that Radio Free Charleston was delayed until Thursday this week was that, last weekend, your PopCulteer and his lovely wife took a very quick trip to New York City to see the play “The Minutes” on Broadway.  That’s us at right in a fuzzy selfie, right before we went to the show.

We’d actually seen the play during its world premiere run at Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago back in 2017, but Melanie really wanted to see it, and I was curious because when we saw it, while I really enjoyed it, I thought it could use a little work.

Happily, it got a little work and is now a wickedly hilarious look at a city council with a secret. I will be writing more about it later in the week, so today’s photo essay is mainly about our trip.

We hopped the Amtrak Cardinal in Charleston first thing Friday morning. It was our first train trip in 26 months, and there have been a few changes. Business class is gone. We really liked Business Class, but as that option had been discovered by more parents of screaming children, it became less pleasant for us, so we usually try to get a roomette when we’re heading toward NYC. The food was vastly improved from the last time we rode Amtrak, but there’s still some room for improvement on that front.

Anyway, late Friday night we arrived in New York, were directed to Penn Station rather than the fancy new Moynihan Train Hall, and stepped out on the street to look up and see The Empire State Building. One cab ride to our hotel later, we were checked in and soon were asleep.

The next morning we woke up, got ready and grabbed a cab to a matinee performance of the show, which is in the theater located at Studio 54, making this trip a double treat for Mel. Not only did we get to see her favorite playwright and actor, Tracy Letts, acting in one of his own plays for the first time, but we got to see it at Ground Zero for the Disco excess that Mel celebrates on her MIRRORBALL program on The AIR.

We saw the play, hopped a cab back to the hotel, shed our jackets and walked out exploring a little corner of NYC. It is pretty wild how now that marijauna is legal in New York, the predominant smell of the city is weed. Folks are selling it on the streets and pitching it to passers-by: “Hey, you want weed? Joints? Vapes? Edibles?”

I’m all for legalization, but I can’t stand the smell of that shit. I miss the smell of the exotic food carts. Anyway, we grabbed some cheap pizza and headed back to the hotel for dinner in our room. We’re still not ready for restaurants, even though we’d just been in a packed theater (wearing masks and showing proof of vaccination to get in). After we ate we ran back out, went to Times Square so Mel could hit some Broadway book stores, and we grabbed some Junior’s cheesecake to eat back at the hotel.

Back at the hotel we went to sleep. Woke up at 5 AM. Went the block and a half to Moynihan Train Hall, got settled on our train and we were back home Sunday night, before 10 PM.  The trip was a blast, and it was great to recapture some of our normal abnormality.

Here are some photos for you to enjoy…

One quick shot from the train on the way up. This might wind up inspiring one of my imitation Hopper paintings.

My beatuiful and camera-hating wife, so happy to be going on the trip that she didn’t scowl at the camera for once.

The reason for the trip.

I’ll probably have a review of the play up in a day or three.

They have a cool photo booth thing in the theater, where you can have an official Big Cherry City Council photo taken and emailed to you.

I wasn’t supposed to, but I snuck a photo of the ceiling inside the theater. The pic doesn’t really do it justice.

The foyer of the theater has a sizable mirrorball, so we had to get photos to use for graphics for Mel’s show.

After the show, outside the theater.

The most frustrated burger joint on the planet.

Around the corner from Studio 54, it’s where they do The Late Show, with Stephen Colbert.

People asked us what it was like on Senor Wences Way. It was ‘salright.

Couldnt really pass up this photo opportunity.

Mel, getting our cheesecake.

Schubert Alley, right after the shows started.

In Times Square. That building up there? That’s where the original Captain Marvel was created in 1940.

We were trying to catch a cab in Times Square when a Pedicab driver appeared, and he seemed to have been sent specifically for Mel. His Pedicab was adorned with SpongeBob stuff and a mirrorball, and he was wearing a SpongeBob shirt. He got us back to our hotel in seven minutes, blasting “Staying Alive” for most of that time.

Going through Times Square in a pedicab is a lovely experience.

Our driver insisted on taking photos of us looking out of the back of his tricked out pedicab. Now we know why.

On our way home, I finally got a halfway decent photo of The New River Gorge Bridge from the train.


1 Comment

  1. Thomas Wheeler

    Great photos! Glad you had fun!

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