Day 3: Brooklyn + The King and I

You don’t have to be scared babe
You don’t need a plan of what you want to do

Listen To The Man - George Ezra

One of the reason I chose the dates of my travel was that I know that Brooklyn Botanical Garden has a lot of cherry blossoms and I wanted to be there when they all bloom. So after googling the period it bloomed last year, I choose early May for my travel. I was pretty anxious about it, like what if they all have bloomed when I arrive or they wouldn't bloom yet by the time I leave. Luckily the timing was pretty perfect this time for me. Brooklyn Botanical Garden has many different types of cherry blossoms. By the time I arrived, there's a few which had reached post peak bloom, so I didn't see those. However I was in perfect time to see the Kwanzan cherry which was the species that they have the most and which form this beautiful rows of pretty pink flowers.

It was a Tuesday and I made my way to Brooklyn. I think I didn't find any difficulty on getting there except for the time when I sat at the station wondering if the train I wanted was going to arrive, then realizing I should just take the one train that kept on coming after letting it pass a few times. At least I didn't make a major mistake. So I arrived and the garden was just by the exit of the subway station. Then I found a lovely surprise. It's free on a Tuesday!!! I was like, wait what?!?! It was quite early and not many people were there yet. I was so happy upon finding out it's free. I saw there's a couple taking their pre-wedding picture, I guess people were really making use of this free Tuesday. The trees with the white and red flowers below are crabapple trees. I learned new thing here :)

The cherry esplanade has rows of kwanzan cherry trees and all were blooming in full. It's really beautiful walking under them. In the morning, there weren't that many people yet, but later in the day, there were so many people enjoying the flowers. I should have enjoyed them more that morning when there was less people, I just didn't expect that there would be more crowd. It might be surprising, but I had difficulty getting good pictures of the flowers and so I had to really work on the exposure setting in my camera to get decent pictures. I was finally forced to use all the fancy setting my camera has :P

Anyway, so I proceeded to explore the garden more. In the japanese pond garden areas, there were different types of cherry blossom trees. Luckily some still had some flowers. The pond also has a torii in it, making the whole thing feel very Japanese.



The garden also has a conservatory which houses different kind of plants from different region like the tropics and the desert and also a bonsai section. There were a lot of school kids on a field trip. Outside the conservatory there were beautiful tulips in different colours and patterns.

The garden is very very nice. There's a small castle looking structure made of woods and a lot of toddlers trying to climb it when I was there. It took me some time to realize the adults with them may not be their parents but their nannies. So those kids might be very rich. Before I left, I spent more time taking pictures of the cherry blossoms. Anyway initial plan for that day was actually to go to TKTS Brooklyn and see if I could get a nice discounted price for a Broadway musical for the Wednesday matinee, but since I was still struggling with sleepiness and I was already going to watch the musical The King and I later that night, I thought I should just end the day early and see if I could take a nap before the evening musical. First I decided to go to Brooklyn Bridge. Doing it just because la Gioia said that she crossed the bridge on her visit last year and I thought I should do the same. Stupid stupid me. First, I was quite lost in finding the way to start walking on the bridge. Then it was actually such a hot day, so it was really tiring traversing the bridge. The view was okay I suppose. On the left in the distance you could see the statue of Liberty and on the right you could see the Manhattan Bridge. There were some people jogging. You always see people jogging in New York at any time of the day. I don't know why they would jog in the middle of the day, like don't they work? Okay perhaps they work shift. For Asians, I guess it's just weird to be jogging on such a hot day. Well perhaps since they had such a bad winter, they're like really appreciating the hot sun. Saw some locks left by lovers at the bridge which I thought to be such a silly thing to do.

Before I went back to my room, I decided to explore a bit of Central Park. So I stopped there and decided to walk through it to get to my hotel. It's very big and during my stay, I've only explored half of it. I haven't explored the north side. I would really want to rent a bicycle and do this next time if I'm lucky enough to go to New York again. Tried to find the strawberry fields but I think I walked passed it instead of through it. Once I reached Belvedere Castle, I decided to call it the day.

Went to Shake Shack first before I went back. The queue was manageable. Got the cheese burger and the staff asked if I would like to donate $2 and get a voucher to claim a free shake on my next visit. I hesitated but in the end I agreed. I thought Shake Shack being so near, I think I could find the time to visit it again. So had that for an early dinner. Tried to take a nap, but I couldn't. Then I made my way to Lincoln Center where The King and I was staged. I actually would rather watch a matinee because I didn't feel like going out alone at night, but when I was googling for what shows there are in Broadway for some reasons I didn't find out about this. I felt so happy finding out about this because when I was googling, I couldn't decide which musicals I wanted to watch so this one was like fate that it was there for me. I know the story, I watched the movie with Yul Brynner as the king when I was young, back when Indonesian TV or should I say RCTI wasn't lame and actually put up good programmes. I loved it a lot back then and I had very fond memories of it. So finding this was like, OH MY GOD!!! I was ecstatic. Too bad I only found out I think the day after it opened and by that time the tickets were selling out for a lot of days. I think I was really lucky to be able to get a ticket on a Tuesday (May 5) with the other days near it being sold out. Literally my ticket was the last seat on the last row of the orchestra level. I am still very thankful to God for giving me this, it's like fate or a very nice blessing from God. It was also a good thing that it's on a Tuesday because on other nights the show starts at 8 pm, while on Tuesday it starts at 7 pm. Telecharge nicely sent a reminder email about this. Another lucky thing is that it's at Lincoln Center which was only 2 stations away from my hotel. I asked myself if I would be scared walking alone at night after travelling 2 stations away in Singapore and the answer is absolutely not, so I thought I should not be so harsh with New York and think it would be just fine. Anyway, arrived in Lincoln Center and I followed the direction from the exit and I actually got lost. Stupid me, I was actually quite early and I seriously wondered if I would actually be late because of this. The thing was I followed the signs instead of going up to street level and the signs totally screwed me up. Somehow I finally reached street level. I was getting worried, but I made it on time, thank God! By the way, the Juilliard School is actually in the same compound.

The musical is staged at the Vivian Beaumont Theater and an adjective I would use to describe it is that it's snug. It's not very big and it makes me wonder if all theatres in Broadway is this size. It's smaller than the theatre at Marina Bay Sands Singapore for example. By the way, ticket price is comparable to the price in Singapore. All this also makes me wonder about the economy of Broadway. So many shows, musicals and plays, I'm sure it employs a lot of people, which makes me think that there are so many artists in New York and the people are so cultured because they have access to so many great museums and all these art performances. How does the economy work, surely it's expensive to stage a musical so how much money do they actually make and how much money can a performer earn and how do they survive? I wonder if there's a documentary about this. Anyway, so my seat even though it's in the orchestra level, it's not all that nice, my view was blocked sometime. So the person sitting at the mezzanine / balcony level could actually have better views. The stage was in T form and it gets really close to the audience so that's great. Of all the musicals I have watched in Singapore, none gave a view this close or should I say this intimate to the audience. I was very excited about seeing Ken Watanabe playing the king and I guess so were the many Japanese who were there. I'm also thankful to God that I wasn't overly sleepy and didn't doze off. I love it a lot. Ken Watanabe's english pronunciation wasn't perfect and at times wasn't clear for me, but he's a good actor and he can really sing. His role was comedic at times and I can't help thinking it's his Japanese theatre training in the works. Everyone was great and the children were so cute. Again, I wonder how these kids could be doing this, are they not in normal school? A lot of Asians in the cast which most probably is great for them because of how their look I'm not sure it is easy to get roles in a Broadway shows for them. I kinda forget if the story is exactly the same as in the old movie, but I thought the conclusion was a bit to easy. There were some tragedies but I thought it's kinda glossed over. It was still really really wonderful though, seriously. Happiness, that's what I felt watching this. I felt so happy to be there, to be doing the trip. It was an awesome wonderful experience and it's also like telling me how awesomely wonderful this trip would be for me :) During intermission, I saw the 2 Japanese ladies from the Philadelphia trip the day before. I waved at them and they're so cute, one of them said she's so happy to be seeing me again. We got to talking and I am thankful God also gave me people to have conversation with.

On my way walk back to the hotel, I saw a Banksy graffiti and I literally stopped, looked to my left and right and was like, what, wait a minute is that a Banksy? It's a Banksy!!! but of course I had no one there to share the experience with. I stopped there for a while and just stared at it. It's so strange to be only noticing it then, at night in the dark, when I have walked the same street twice that day when there's daylight. It's like fate? It's also fate because I found it, someone who actually know what it is. Other people who doesn't know who Banksy ii may not realize what they're seeing. The next day when I walked the street again, I made sure to look out for it and took picture of it. There's a glass protecting it now. I think it's the building management who installed it not the city. It's interesting isn't it, if you're famous, your graffiti gets protected. If you're not famous, no matter how nice the work is, no one would take such a steps, people may actually paint over it to cover it up. I wonder if Banksy starts doing graffiti in Singapore, what the Singapore government will do about it. Anyway, that's about it, the day spent in Brooklyn. You can see the pictures here. I also put up the AMNH album here. Initially I wanted to combine all the photos from the museums all together, but then I realized it would just be too big, so there you go. I'll try to write the next day soon :)

:) eKa @ 10:35:00 PM •

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