Conventions: A Toy Story

Buzz and Woody

One of the great things about New York is the many conventions and exhibits that you can find in the city. “The city” for those who are not in the know, is another name the locals have given to Manhattan. If you are going into the city, you are going into Manhattan.

For those who aren’t sure what a convention or exhibit is, I can only describe it as a gathering of like organizations (groups/companies) in one place to display their  product(s), either for profit or to raise awareness. Generally for profit.

Football Toy

I attended my first convention this week at the Jacob Javits Center. It was a Toy Convention, and yes, that means that there were companies who were displaying their toys for all ages. There were baby toys, stuffed animals, weird gizmos, gadgets for kids and old school toys. There was even a paper football toy there. Except, instead of you making the football and having a friend hold their hands up as the goal, they have provided you with a leather toy shaped like the paper football and a toy goal post. It was cute, but what a way to take the creativity (and to some extent, fun) out of a childhood game.

Old School Monopoly

My favourite part of the convention was the board games. There were tons of new board games and reinvention of old ones everywhere! There was an entire booth dedicated to Settlers of Catan, a game that I keep hearing about but have yet to play. They had the original Monopoly board, something that’s a bit hard to find now with all the newer versions being released.

There were so many different chess sets for any taste, my favourite was the Seelie and Unseelie courts set – well, I’m not sure it was called that, but it was a Faerie set.

Hello Valentine!

There were a ton of action figures, spectacularly made. The intricate work that is put into the clothing and face of these action figures is amazing. I even saw some Tim Burton action figures. Does it make me odd that I want one? I mean, he does have a very macabre line of toys.

I enjoyed the few hours I got to spend at the convention, walking around and feeling like a kid in a candy store.

The best part? Well, since it was Valentine’s Day, the best part would be bumping into Edward Cullen … even if he was just a life-size cardboard cutout. “Why Mr. Cullen, you’re shorter than I thought!”.

Tim Burton Toy

I choose you!

New York Secrets: Street Food

Our Locals Only stamps

The streets of New York City are littered with street vendors. Some sell souvenirs and little knickknacks and others sell food. One of the best hotdog eating experience is getting it from a street vendor. I’ve been told that one of the best chicken and rice is the vendor on 53rd Street and 6th Ave. People love buying the roasted nuts, especially in the winter. No one thinks twice of these things. So when my friend, Evie, told me that she had passes for two to sample food from a food truck where the meal was cooked by a top New York chef I was game.

NBC got a few chefs to leave their kitchens for a day and make gourmet food for New Yorkers in a food truck. The locations were secret and you had to have a password to get stamped to get food. Our street cart was run by Chef Daniel Boulud owner of DBGB Kitchen and Bar.

Only the best sausage ever!

I got the sausage and Evie got the burger. The dessert was a kind of parfait, but whatever it was it was delicious.

Chef Boulud was a pretty funny and high energy guy. He had a great personality and was quite hilarious while sharing the food. “Sausages! Burgers, where are my burgers!!.”

It was quite an experience. What can I say, gourmet food by a famous chef from a street cart is full of YUM!

Waiting in line to for food.

The chef

The food cart

Juiciest burger

Amazing dessert

Daniel Boulud

Serving the meal

Restaurant Week: Sending food back

really burnt meat

I did one Restaurant Week post already, so I am not going to go into details about this one, but there were a few things that I found interesting. Apparently, lamb done medium well is not the same as steak done medium well. This was the first time I ever sent food back, but really I could not eat the charcoaled piece of meat that was on my plate! Though, if I was quite honest with myself, I probably would have tortured through it if one other person at our table wasn’t sending their meal back in the first place.

Initially I was extremely upset about sending the food back, I didn’t want to insult the person preparing our food, however, the more I thought about it the more I realised that, regardless of whether it is Restaurant Week or not, the reason we go to restaurants and pay money is to enjoy a well prepared meal and if that is not true then the entire experience turns into a bad one.

I suppose the one saving grace of the meal – other than the apple cake – was the good company.

Ballet: Sleeping Beauty

Lincoln Center

If you’re in New York City, one of the biggest attractions is Broadway! And right next to Broadway you have the Ballet – at least that’s my opinion. For those who are unsure, there is no singing, or speaking, only just dancing at a Ballet, and yes, the style of dance IS ballet.

One of the most popular ballets is The Nutcracker – which I’ve seen a few times. It usually runs during the winter season as it tells a the famous story of the Christmas present of the Nutcracker toy coming to life. This past Sunday I saw the Sleeping Beauty ballet.

Sleeping Beauty was choreographed by Peter Martins and George Balanchine with music from Tschaikovsky. The dance was performed by the New York City Ballet company and it tells the story of Princess Aurora.

The Story

King Florestan and his Queen held a christening for their new born princess and Aurora’s fairy godmothers were invited to bless the infant with their gifts of virtues. During the blessings, as the Lilac Fairy was about to give the last gift, the evil Fairy Carabosse crashes the christening and, furious for not being invited, casts a curse on the infant. When the princess turned 16 she would prick her finger on a spindle and die.

The Lilac Fairy uses her gift to the infant to counter the curse: instead of dying the princess will fall into a deep sleep from which she will be awaken by love’s first kiss.

On her 16th birthday, Princess Aurora accepts a gift from an old woman – the Fairy Carabosse in disguise. The gift turns out to be a spindle and she pricks her finger and falls to the ground. Her mother and father are distraught until the Lilac Fairy reminds them that she will not die, but will sleep until a prince awakes her with a kiss. After this the Lilac Fairy puts the entire kingdom under a sleeping spell so they will remain sleeping until the princess is awoken.

outside by the new fountain

One hundred years later the Prince Désiré was hunting in the forest and during a time of solitude receives a vision from the Lilac Fairy of the Princess Aurora. He begs the fairy to take him to the princess and the Lilac Fairy leads him to the enchanted Castle.

The prince reaches the princess and awakens her, and with her the entire kingdom. There is a wedding and a celebration. Evil was defeated with love’s first kiss.

The Dances

Act 1 had three main sets: The Christening, The Spell, The Vision. My favourite parts were the dances of the fairies as they bestowed their gifts – The Fairy of Vivacity being the funniest – and the Vision set, with the best part being the prince trying to dance with the princess in his vision, but being cut off by the Lilac Fairy … rejected! =)

excited for the ballet

Act 2 had two main sets: The Awakening and the Wedding. The Wedding set included dances from the fairy-tale guests: The White Cat and Puss in Boots (absolutely enjoyable!), Princess Florine and The Blue Bird, Little Red Riding Hood and The Wolf (the little girl was so adorable!), The Jewels (Gold’s tights were well … tight) and The Courts Jesters.

The Grand Pas de Deux (dance between the prince and princess) was really good, but I think my favourite dance from all the different sets were the cats – of course there were a few “pas de chats” which is one of my favourite ballet moves.

The Conclusion

I loved the costume – especially the dresses of the courtiers in the wedding scene. I loved the set. I loved the music. I loved the dances. I loved this ballet and would definitely see it again!