A Date with David Letterman

It wasn’t my first time to watch a “live” taping of a show in New York.  Back when my sister was here, (sometime 2001), we watched the then “Live with Regis and Kelly”.  I’ve been very determined to watch David Letterman after he announced him impending retirement from “Late Show,” and I thought I’d pick a “light week” and signed up for tickets.

The marquee said it all: Late Night with David Letterman #lateshowwithdavidletterman #theedsullivantheater #thingstodoinnewyork #visitingnyc #mynyc #mynewyork #ilovenewyork #ilovethebigapple

The thing is that when I signed a few weeks back, they only allowed you a choice of the next 4-5 weeks of taping coming up.  In addition to that, they required I give not only my name but the name of my guest as well.  I had put in Alan thinking he’d be in town, but I didn’t know then that he had a conference coming up.  So they called the day before I was to watch.  I didn’t even catch the call because it came after office hours and I was on the bus.  I did return the call when I got home but didn’t get a call back, so I thought that was that. 

But they DID call back the next morning, and I was told to bring a government-issued ID and to identify myself as being on Karen’s list.  I was told to appear at the theatre between 2pm and 3pm and identify myself, get my ticket, and line up.  The taping itself was 4:30-5:30 the same day.

The Late Show with David Letterman- worth all the lines and the wait.  Would want to watch again if I can... No matter what others may say, it's a totally different experience seeing David Letterman live.  I'm glad I snapped a pic of the ticket because th
The Late Show with David Letterman- worth all the lines and the wait. Would want to watch again if I can… No matter what others may say, it’s a totally different experience seeing David Letterman live. I’m glad I snapped a pic of the ticket because they took it back.

I ended up seated on the left side of the lower level, four rows from the front by the aisle. (Which, I guess, was orchestra in a formerly three-level audience seating>)  It worked out because the front has the camera obstructing your view of the band and of Dave at his desk. There was a lot of pep talk and cheering and rehearsing, but you go in trying to have fun and can have a ton of it if you let yourself go.

The CBS pages worked really hard and are a bunch of talented young people who will try to get you primed for your hour-long date with the big guy himself.

I’ve been watching David Letterman for years even when I was back in the Philippines. I can actually say we grew old together, although I’m not quite as old as he is. (HA!) As a New Yorker, you find yourself surrounded by a flock of tourists from all over. As a “native”, I actually felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb. But I think it would be a shame to be called a New Yorker without ever watching an icon like David Letterman “Live”.

Another one I would want to watch (someday) is Saturday Night Live.  Their ticket sweepstakes run in August (I must check that out), or you can brave the line and try for the rehearsal show or the show itself.  I would take either one anyday.  (But they only tape on Saturday — literally.)  One day.. some day…

Looking up: while waiting in the lobby of the historic Ed Sullivan Theater – home of The Late Show with David Letterman. #lookingup #ceiling #theedsullivantheater #lateshowwithdavidletterman #davidletterman thelateshow #newyork #mynewyork #thingstodoinnewyork

Conversations with a fellow transplant to NY

Over the weekend, I got an e-mail from a fellow Filipina who moved here to NY two months ago.  She had bumped into me via my Gotham Chick blog and had written just to say hello and to talk about Etsy.  We have exchanged e-mails, the last of which I wrote this morning on the way to work on blackberry.  I just thought it was worth sharing here because I wanted to write about my perspective as a transplant to NY after 12 years.  Here’s the edited version:

Hello, E —

I, too, moved here to get married but my husband is Filipino, too, and it wasn’t quite 5 years but we made things happen the same way you did.

Your husband is right, you know, you should get out more.  Yes, it’s so different here and adjustment takes a while.  I wish I can tell you your sleep patterns will adjust soon but w/o the pressure of a vacation timetable or work, give it another month or two more.

Since you are looking to live here a long time, may I make a few suggestions?

When I moved to New York (in 2000), the second week I was here, I was exploring the city already.  (Does your husband work in Manhattan?). I used to go to the city with my husband 2-3x a week and we’d share breakfast at Starbuck’s or Timothy’s after grabbing a bagel or some other from a street cart then he went to the office and I walked around.  We sometimes met for lunch, sometimes not, then we went home together.  Sometimes we’d go to dinner in the city.  By the end of my third week, I was riding the subway alone.  He gave me an allowance and I had an extension credit card.  (Even before we got married.)

There is so much to see in Manhattan, and it will help you adjust to “living here” and “being here”.  At home, boredom will remind you what you have left behind and everything you are far away from.  When you are ready to hit Manhattan, tell me and I will write you  a walking route.

Bell and Northern is quite a ways away from Bay Terrace but I spent my days at home basically walking to Barnes & Noble.  (we got a one-bedroom on 23rd Ave which was just behind it), I’d copy recipes from the mags, walk over to Waldbaums (had my extension credit card) and discovered I could actually cook! I  surprised my husband with some culinary delight every night.

I can cook but don’t ask me how I make kare-kare because I can’t.  I’ll tell you which Filipino restaurant in Woodside, though, has the better one.

The Michael’s in Manhasset is nearest you.  I go to the one in Westbury because it’s near our favorite Target store.  (My husband needs a Target fix weekly, which, if you ask me is better than a Banana Republic habit. Haha!  He’s outgrown it..).

Explore the Mid-Manhattan library — and the New York Public Library (the place where Jake Gyllenghal – sp? – and company hid during that winter storm in Day After Tomorrow) which are bigger than your neighborhood library.  I’ve never had a library card in Queens but always had one in Manhattan.

You need to start talking to other people because they won’t understand your English good as it may be because they talk not just w/ a twang but the dynamics are different.  I’ve been here 12 years and my first year, I had to adjust to that quickly.

People will ask you “how are you?” and about how your day is going when they just need a report or print out — in Manila, diretso yon.  Sa atin, chika yon, pero dito, conversation yon.

I still miss Manila even if I’ve been home 5x the last 3 years due to family matters I had to attend to plus our usual every other year vacation.  (Advantages of having a Filipino husband who has high school classmates and relatives in Manila.).   Take advantage of this time to explore your new city.  Hindi ka na bakasyonista dito, taga-rito ka na.

Do you have family here?  Mine are all in Manila.  All my bestfriends, too.

Take the adjustment as a forever phase in your new life.  I was a lawyer in the Philippines but I was in Corporate Communications in my last 4 years there.  Never actively practiced.  I arrived here at age 34 and I had done practically everything I had hoped to achieve except rake in the millions (ha!) so I wanted a family.  I haven’t quite forgotten about the legal part of my brain, and maybe when my son is in his teens…I’ll give the NY bar a try.  But see, I wanted a baby, and my husband was firm that we both had to work (started 6 months after I got here), save enough to buy a co-op (which we did in 2 yrs) then we started trying.  My boy was born in 2004.

Sorry I got carried away and I’m almost at my stop.  (I take the express bus to and from the city when I don’t hitch a ride with the hubby.  He has a parking spot as a perk in his job  but he stays even later than my usual 6pm cut off at work.)

I’ll send you things to do in Manhattan if you’re interested.  Tell me the relative area where your husband works if he works here so I can have a reference point.  Maybe we can have coffee or even lunch if ever you hit the city.  August, I can even take you around the bead stores here on 6th.

Explore… I’m the perpetual tourist here myself — even after 12 years.

Hitting 42nd.. Later…

Have a great day, E..

Forever the tourist in my New York

There is so much to see and discover here in my home, New York, that I have always refered to myself as a perpetual tourist.

Even though I walk the streets of Manhattan five days a week and my office is right smack in the center of Midtown,  I still find myself admiring the everyday structures and landmarks around me.  I look in quiet admiration at the Manhattan cityscape as it greets me every morning I make my way towards the Midtown Tunnel.  On the way home, I find myself taking a peek at the Empire State Building to check out what glorious colors adorn it on any given day.  I have seen its reflection on the glass canvass of the building on the southeast corner of 42nd and the Avenue of the Americas hundreds of times before, but I still feel like taking out my camera to snap a picture each time I look up.

There is a certain thrill to sharing “my” New York with friends and friends of friends and I’ve always taken to sharing recommended lists of “musts” and a walking tour or two.

A friend of my sister and I from back home is in the city with her husband who is running this Sunday’s ING New York Marathon.  Edlynn and Brian are visiting the East Coast for the first time, and I had taken to writing them snippets of recommendations and tips for visiting the big apple.  I really must get down to writing them formally to share here.

So let’s start with the edible things you have to try when you’re in New York City — at least per my recommendation:

Bagels from the streetcarts. My personal favorite is the raisin bagel with butter or cream cheese.  There’s a different chewy consistency to this all-American favorite and I like the sweet flavor of raisins and cinnamon mixed with butter.

Hotdogs please! Whether or not you’re a health buff or one who will eat anything, the so-called “hotdog experience” is one you must not miss if you are ever in this part of the US.  What makes it different is a person-to-person experience, but besides being the equivalent of our usual streetfood back in Manila, it’s an economical way of doing something we everyday New Yorkers do.

Cupcake-wise, CRUMBS takes my vote. I had always thought that Red Velvet was overrated, until I tried their Red Velvet cupcake. The sizing can be dauntingly huge, but I usually share one with the hubby.  The medium size is okay for an individual serving, but the minis don’t quite sate my craving.  Branches on 42nd between 6th and 5th and on Lexington Ave behind Grand Central

While most others would go to the next “must” on my list for the cupcakes made famous by Sex in the City, I’d vote for the Banana Pudding of Magnolia Bakery as the hands down winner in their category! Creamy pudding with slices of fresh banana and cake bits mixed in… pure heaven!  (That’s rephrasing their own description: ” Layers of vanilla wafers, fresh bananas, and creamy vanilla pudding.. heavenly!)  They have a branch on the 6th ave side of Rockefeller center.

Going for more sweets, you’ll have to try Junior’s Cheesecake which tops all cheesecakes. They have a restaurant near Times Square w/ humongous inch-thick all-meat burgers and generally great food but the cheesecake is what you MUST try!

Pastrami Sandwich at Katz Deliwell worth the trek to Houston and the line.  I’m not a lover of liverwurst but someone told me that theirs is something worth looking into if you’re into that sort of thing.

Although they say Gyros and it’s really supposed to be pronounced “Hee-ros”, these wraps are familiar to us as the once (in)famous shawarma back in Manila. My personal recommendation: KwikMeal (corner of 6th Avenue or Avenue of the Americas and 45th street beside Citibank) or the food carts around 53rd and 6th Avenue which always seem to have quite a line forming behind them.  (Must be THAT good!)  The chicken, beef and sometimes even lamb can be served in naan or pita or over rice.  I personally go for the chicken on pita and I ask that they tame down the hot sauce and slather on the white sauce — yum!

Here’s to the taste of New York!