New York City May/June 2024

“Pops” (aka Dr. William/Father Basil/Bill Cushman) and I took a wonderful week-long trip to New York City the last week of May. We had been many times in the past, but what made this trip so special was that we met our daughter Beth, and her husband, Kevin, and our granddaughters, Gabby (12) and Izzy (8) for the adventure. We stayed at the Renaissance (Marriott) Times Square, which was a great location for our activities. There was even a terrific view of Times Square lit up a night in the lounge of the hotel . . . a great place for a nightcap at the end of a busy day!

In one week we visited 7 museums, saw 3 Broadway plays (1 with the kids and 2 for just me and Pops), and ate at numerous terrific restaurants, including Wolfgang’s, Nobu, Liberty Bistro, Broadway Lounge, Keens Steakhouse, Bill’s Bar & Burgers, Flippers (pancakes in Soho), and a couple of food trucks for gyros, cheesesteaks, and hotdogs! Everything was wonderful and I highly recommend all these restaurants.

Here’s a list of the museums we visited, most of which were chosen by our granddaughters:

Museum of Natural History, 911 Museum, Statue of Liberty Museum, Ellis Island Museum, Museum of Ice Cream (yes, it’s a real place!), Museum of Illusions, and the Color Factory.

The kids did a few things without us (when we ran out of steam!) like Chinatown and Olfactory Custom Perfume Making, and a second trip to the Nike store for customized hoodies. And we loved watching 8-year-old Izzy’s doll “Iris” get her ears pierced, nails polished, hair styled, and lots of new clothes at the American Doll Store in Rockefeller Plaza.

So, a little about the plays and museums, and a meaningful tie-in. Our visit to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island museums was a first for Pops and me, although we’d been to NYC many times. I wasn’t prepared for the strong emotional response I had to the Ellis Island museum. We had a wonderful tour guide who introduced us to this important part of our history as Americans. The tie-in? Watching “A Beautiful Noise,” the Neil Diamond musical, when the lead (played by Nick Fradiani, who won “American Idol” in 2015, which we watched) sang “Coming to America,” which is, of course, about immigrants (which all Americans are, except for Native Americans) and I reflected on our tour of Ellis Island and it brought me to tears. I also cried during the final scene when Nick Fradiani (playing Diamond when he was younger) and Mark Jacoby, who also cried (playing Diamond now) sang together. Diamond has Parkinson’s and can’t tour any more. The playbill included this wonderful personal letter from Diamond.

Bill and I also loved “Hell’s Kitchen,” written by Alicia Keys. It was amazing and nominated for 13 Tony Awards. We saw a scene from this play on the Tonight Show, which is why we got tickets.  “Hamilton” was even better our second time, and it was fun watching our kids and grands enjoy it for the first time. So, how would I “rate” them?

#1 Hamilton, for its brilliant writing and acting and stage setting

#2 Hell’s Kitchen, also for brilliant writing and acting

#3 A Beautiful Song, mostly for its nostalgic value, audience participation, and great music

Photos below. What a great trip!