Posted by: gabriellereneeleblanc | May 10, 2012

I <3 NY in Spring

All along Broadway, the branches of trees have begun to bloom: the city is filled to bursting with planted blossoms in every square and garden, and Central Park will soon erupt into the full sprawl of Spring…an allergist’s worst nightmare.

Meteorologists promise the current wet and cold will soon be gone for good, leaving us with the marvels of New York at it’s most pleasant. So, assuming they’re off by about two weeks, I’d say anyone wishing to visit The Big Apple should set their sights for the end of May.

In anticipation of the busy tourist season, new shows with big stars are opening in the Theatre District, counterfeiters are boasting of the latest and greatest Coach bags, and the Mr. Frosty trucks are blasting their jingles as they delay traffic on every avenue.

Despite all this, I still encourage you to visit Manhattan.

The parks and gardens in the city center really are a beautiful sight and well worth the effort of navigating the over-full subway lines.

Times Square can be a bit of a horror, but those who have yet to see the splendor of modern advertisement in a capitalist recession should at least drop by and take a peak. Sarcasm aside, I sometimes forget how impressive the multi-storey billboards can be until I take a stroll down 42nd Street.

Forever 21, Disney, and Toys-r-Us work continuously to out-do one another with the advertisements at their flagship stores. Though these efforts are impressive, I earnestly suggest any visitors to the area avoid actually shopping in these locations, as they are generally mobbed with foreign tourists and, let me tell you, the prices do reflect the location.

Whether you’re a first-timer or a repeat offender (ha ha), one really can’t consider a trip to New York complete without taking in a Broadway show. Poll the opinions of your travel companions and see what type of entertainment will suit. My suggestion is to attend at least two: one spectacular, over-budgeted musical extravaganza, and one piece of earnest drama.

My current suggestions for musicals would be Wicked for the younger crowd and those who enjoy lavish spectacle, The Phantom of the Opera for fans of classics and romantics, Rock of Ages for guys who hate musicals but like hair bands–and, lastly, Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark for people who watch Nascar hoping to see a crash.

I’m just kidding on that last one. No one should go see Spider-man.

As for the dramatic selection, the Theatre district has become flooded with revivals of prize-winning plays starring big-name Hollywood actors. That’s all well and good and, really, anything that encourages crowds away from The Adams Family and into Death of a Salesman is alright with me, but…and I mean this with all due respect to the amazingly talented actors on the stage…I cannot help but ask: “Why?”

When it’s universally acknowledged that there has never been and never will be a Stanley Kowalski to best that of Marlon Brando, why are there two seperate revivals of A Streetcar Named Desire being staged this season? What’s the point?

I’m going to get off my dramatic soap-box now and end this tirade by encouraging visitors to be adventurous! Branch out and sample the new dramatic works being staged within the city, Off-Broadway or even Off-Off-Broadway: it’s not just for Naked Boys Singing anymore!

Regardless of theatrical preferences, both tourists and locals alike should take advantage of the Theatre Development Fund TKTS discount program, which can cut up to 50% off the price of a ticket. If you’re interested in seeing the electric lights of the before-mentioned Times Square, you can kill two birds with one stone by visiting the famous TKTS booth under the giant red stairs. (You can’t miss them. Really.)

However, there is a great advantage in opting for the lesser-known second location at South Street Seaport, as you can purchase tickets not only for same-day evening performances but also for following-day manatee. Check out the website for further details, and a list of the discounted shows from last week.

As a public service announcement, I must once again remind any readers of the following:

Friends don’t let friends go to Spider-man.

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