Monday, August 25, 2014

Elvis, Opry, Bluebird & the Apple

Well greetings from the Apple, that is the Big Apple.  The trip continues to be action packed and my feet and occasionally head are aching.  We arrived in NYC on Thursday afternoon following 3 days in Nashville.  And yes we managed to continue on the Elvis trail, this time visiting RCA Studio B, where Elvis and many other notable music luminaries recorded - Waylon, Ray Price, Dolly Parton, The Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison - the list goes on.  It was a fascinating insight into the business in Nashville, albeit old-school.  We passed many other studios, Reba's, the studio the wonderful Patsy Cline put down some of her hits, all clustered in within a few blocks of one another.  We visited the Grand Ol Opry with some big name acts - Carrie Underwood, Trace Atkins and a cast of many, but it was Wednesday night that we had our big quality music night - at the famous Bluebird Cafe.  I was extremely fortunate to secure tickets for both shows - these tickets are hotter than Tennessee summer days, but my planning and good luck rewarded us.  The first show - In the Round, is a number of singer-songwriters who play songs and tell stories - it was fantastic.  The stand-out performer for us was Joshua Scott Jones, great songs and a good sense of humour! We stayed for the second show - an acclaimed songwriter called Victoria Shaw who has written for many performers including Garth Brooks.  She was joined by some other great song-writer/performers - it was a fantastic night but oh dear, way too much vino.  And the Bluebird was fantastic - great to go somewhere with good wine, and importantly music.  It is a tiny venue, coupled with featuring in the hit show Nashville, it makes getting tickets even harder - but well worth my late-night date with my computer last week. I finished off the frantic fit-all-you-can-in trip with some power-shopping, sightseeing, and photos.

We dropped our car back, had a quick bite at Tootsie's, then on to our flight to La Guardia bound for NYC.  Everything went smoothly and before we knew it we were in Harlem, our home for the next week.  We were met by our host Janet and shown to our apartment - the basement in their brownstone, too cute and ever so central.  We dropped our stuff and headed out for dinner - to a Harlem establishment - Patsy's, a pizzeria that's been around since 1933.  It was a hike - about a 30 minute walk through the projects and interesting part of town that Harlem is.  And we were rewarded with yummy calamari, pizza and tiramisu.  Tired and with another 30 minute plus walk ahead of us, we got a cab back home to our door on 132nd street.

Friday morning we were up early and off again, this time with a leisurely walk towards downtown, through Central Park.  Although threatening to shower, it was warm and slightly humid.  We walked down to Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall and all importantly Magnolia Cupcakes on Avenue of the Americas.  I must say however cupcakes worldwide are ruined by my new found love of the Dark Horse cupcake in Queen Street Melbourne - far more superior than anything we sampled at Magnolia.  I will go back and try again just to be sure though.

Onwards and upwards we checked out a few other things we needed to - tickets, trains to NJ for the golf, and visited Battery Park, the 9/11 memorial, and walked around town.  We then headed to Greenwich village for dinner, where we continued the old-school tradition and had a divine Italian dinner in a restaurant that's been there since 1918 - Montes.  The NY cheesecake was sublime and the best we've ever tasted, and the tiramisu was pretty damn good too!  Subway home and a bottle of French rose from a new fancy wine store in Harlem, and we hit the hay to be ready for our busy Saturday at the golf in NJ.  Loving NYC, and especially glad we decided to stay in Harlem - not a tourist in sight, no touts to wake up to, just lots of swearing and partying all night long from the projects - but hey we are in Harlem, and I'm looking for the rose in Spanish Harlem!

(NYC part 2 and three to come - and the Barclays Golf round up from Ridgewood, Peramus NJ to follow when I have some energy and more wine!)  PS apologies for typos and spelling

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