Let Us Entertain You: Professional Plans from a Concierge
Tourists and Musical Theatre enthusiasts alike flock to New York City every year to bask in the glow of the Theatre District marquees and be a part of the magic happening eight times a week. Some come to see a specific show, a specific star, or a specific writer’s work; others come to cross off “See a Broadway Show” on their unofficial bucket list. Whatever the reason, they come to the city with a goal: to see a show, yes—but more importantly, they come to have an amazing Musical Theatre experience.
Helping them to do that is what I do.
As a NYC hotel concierge, my favorite part of my job comes when someone approaches my desk and says, “So—what’s a good show to go see?” But be warned: when you ask me that question, you don’t get a one word answer. You don’t even get a one paragraph answer. See, for me—seeing a show is about so much more than just the show. It’s about the experience. There’s a reason that the heart of Musical Theatre is in New York City, and it’s not just because the talent and the creative minds are here. It’s because of everything else that this vibrant city has to offer that elevates a night at the theatre to an unbelievable experience that you are sure to remember. With the perfect meal, the perfect ambience, and perfect show—well, I think you get the trend here.
So here, from the desk of a New York City Hotel Concierge (and a self-proclaimed Musical Theatre Superfan), are three plans for a memorable theatrical experience in NYC. Don’t just see a show—be immersed in it. And tell them Kevin sent you.
This original new musical from the creators of Next to Normal features mega-star Idina Menzel and Broadway favorites LaChanze, Anthony Rapp, James Snyder, Jerry Dixon, and Jenn Colella. The show celebrates the possibilities of life in New York City and after a successful run on Broadway, If/Then is preparing to close March 22nd. Before they do, here’s my plan for an If/Then Adventure:
Begin: Central Park (Columbus Circle Entrance: 59th Street and Central Park West)
Meet at the famous southwest entrance to Central Park and immerse yourself into the picturesque scenery. Take a stroll through New York’s favorite man-made paradise and experience the serenity juxtaposed against the formidable skyline of the city. Central Park is a living, breathing part of this city and a necessary stop for any visitor—but since it’s also an important location in the story of If/Then, it’s a great way to start off your experience.
Food: The Smith: Lincoln Center (1900 Broadway, Broadway and 63rd Street)
A stone’s throw away from Central Park, The Smith has been a popular and beloved part of the Lincoln Center area since it opened in the fall of 2012. With an eclectic American menu and an always-bustling environment that reflects the city’s “fast and chic” ideals, The Smith is a perfect way to celebrate the excitement of New York City. Make sure to sample some of their fantastic original cocktail recipes—and their Ricotta Gnocchi is to die for!
Night Cap: The Press Lounge (653 11th Avenue, 16th Floor, 11th between 47th and 48th)
After the show, discuss the various possibilities of life and recount your own versions of a “what if” story as you take in the breathtaking views from this rooftop bar. In a night that’s been celebrating the vibrancy and wonder of New York City, what better way to end your night than with a cocktail and a cheese plate? And don’t worry—if you end up singing “Let it Go” to the surrounding skyline, we won’t tell. What happens in New York stays in—wait, that’s another city—which brings us to Plan #2…
The newest production from popular Musical Theatre composer Jason Robert Brown features Tony Danza, Rob McClure, and Brynn O’Malley. Based on the 1992 film with Sarah Jessica Parker and Nicolas Cage, this comedic romp through the wild world of Las Vegas—with stops in NYC and Hawaii—is the perfect inspiration for an indulgent evening that will have you saying “I do” every step of the way.
Begin: The Diamond District (47th Street, 47th and 8th Avenue)
Before you can think about the honeymoon, there is one tiny (or not so tiny) detail that you need to think about first: the rock. Take a stroll through New York City’s famed Diamond District, located along 47th Street in Midtown and window shop for the perfect way to say “I’ll love you forever”—or else just look and think “I’d love to have that kind of money.” Either way, you’re sure to see something that catches your eye. Just don’t let it catch your wallet.
Food: Benjamin Steakhouse (52 E 41st Street, 41st between Madison and Park)
If you aren’t in love at this point, you definitely will be when you walk into this beautiful Steak House near the historic Grand Central Station. With pristine white tablecloths, elegant dark wood, and an impeccable wait staff, Benjamin Steakhouse is one of my favorite restaurants for a sophisticated evening out. Dive into the Steak for Two and peruse the impressive wine list for the perfect meal to set the mood.
Night Cap: Réunion Surf Bar (357 W 44th Street, 44th and 9th)
After the show, embark on your own “tropical honeymoon” by visiting this oasis in the city. Enjoy the “tiki-chic” ambience and sample a Mermaid—the bar’s signature frozen mojito—as you relive your favorite moments of the show. But be warned: too many Mermaids and you may need help getting your sea legs the next day.
Lin-Manuel Miranda has once again taken the New York Theatre scene by storm—and this time he’s channeling his considerable talents into the story of Alexander Hamilton and the iconic figures who helped shape our country. Hamilton is currently playing a critically-acclaimed run Off-Broadway at the Public Theatre before heading to Broadway later this year. If you get a chance to see this show at the Public Theatre, here is how I think you should spend your historic day.
Begin: The Alexander Hamilton Room, The Museum of American Finance (48 Wall Street, Wall Street and William Street, Open 10-4 Tuesday through Saturday)
The Museum of American Finance is housed in the former headquarters of the Bank of New York, an institution that was founded by Alexander Hamilton in 1784. The Alexander Hamilton room, a permanent fixture at the museum, follows Hamilton’s life from his humble beginnings to his prominent place as a Founding Father of our great nation. See papers written and signed by this iconic historical figure and connect with the man and the legend who helped shape the face of New York City.
Dinner: The House (121 East 17th Street, between Irving and Park)
Only steps away from Union Square in historic Gramercy Park, The House is a beautiful and intimate space located inside a restored 1854 carriage house. Enjoy the fantastic wine list and an elegant menu in a building built only fifty years after the death of Alexander Hamilton in a city that was developing and growing due to his efforts and influence. Make sure to sample the Truffled Mac & Cheese…it definitely went down in my history book as one of the best Mac & Cheese creations I’ve ever had (and trust me, I know Mac & Cheese).
Night Cap: McSorley’s Old Ale House (15 East 7th Street, Between 2nd Avenue and Cooper Square)
A night of history should end with a historical location, so make sure to visit the oldest Irish tavern in NYC. Claiming to have opened its doors in 1854, McSorley’s is filled with newspaper articles and historical memorabilia (including Houdini’s handcuffs and wishbones hanging above the bar “for good luck” that were left by WWI soldiers before heading off to war). McSorley’s is known to have been a favorite location for historic figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and Teddy Roosevelt—so raise a glass to the men and women who helped to shape our country, and then raise another to the men and women who continue to shape the face of Musical Theatre.
And then raise one to your Concierge…and a night you won’t soon forget.
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