Saturday, November 04, 2006

Take the Rock to the Hoop

I was out on a walking excursion of New York City last Saturday when there was a torrential downpour. I ducked under an awning, but after five minutes or so it looked like it wasn't going to let up so I hailed one of those ubiquitous yellow taxis to head uptown to spend some cash. I wanted to get something NYC-ish for my older son, Sneaker Dude, because he was totally bent out of shape that I took his brother to NYC and not him. (Hmm, could the fact that he's in Virginia have anything to do with my not taking him?)

I had previously scoped the shopping scene and determined that the one and only NBA Store in the world is in NYC. The only place more perfect than an NBA Store to buy something for Sneaker Dude would be the Nike Store and we have one of those in Boston anyway, so I popped into the taxi and told the driver I wanted to go to 666 5th Avenue.

“What’s the cross street,” he asked.

The cross street? Like I know, buddy. You’re the friggin’ taxi driver. Isn’t it your duty to know NYC like the back of your hand? I thought I was doing pretty well to remember the street address. I told him in my most non-touristy voice that I wasn’t sure. He rattled off some proposed route that I didn’t catch. The strong accent didn’t help much.

“Ah, yeah, sounds good,” I said. Whatever. Just don’t try to take me there via the scenic route through Brooklyn, buddy, or no tip for you.

Turns out that he deposited me smack dab in Rockefeller Plaza, a.k.a. home of NBC Studios and the Today Show, a.k.a. a suburban-esque shopping mall, a.k.a. tourist central. Guess he took me for a tourist all along.

Here are some shots of the Rock. (The bottom photo is the Today studio; the Today sign is hard to make out in this shot.) I briefly considered going up to the Top of the Rock observation deck, but it was a nasty day and tickets cost $17.50. Somehow paying that much to see cloud cover seemed excessive. Later I read that Top of the Rock is a ‘must see’ in New York City. Oh well.

The NBA Store was two blocks from Rockefeller Plaza, just past the Versace and Cartier stores. (Apparently this is the stretch of 5th Avenue to come to if you have a Platinum American Express.) The store is supposed to look like an arena. There is a jumbotron screen in the middle and a super-long (170 feet) ramp winds down to the lower level. (Truthfully the ramp was a bit annoying. That’s like as long as two basketball courts end to end! It took forever to get to the lower level. Don’t they want customers to conserve energy for shopping?) Along with tons of NBA merchandise, the lower level also houses a regulation-size half-court. I was especially intrigued to learn that the entire store can be rented out for birthdays and Bar Mitzvahs.

I almost bought Sneaker Dude a $1800 autographed basketball jersey, but settled on this instead because the jersey wasn’t his size. I especially loved the shopping bag (price: $0).


Kevin said...

I'm a terrible tourist whenever I go somewhere. I never want to go out and see the sights or sample the local color. As much as I'd love to go to New York (cuz it's the home of Spider-Man), I don't think I'd do much of anything while I was there.

abbagirl74 said...

I am planning on visiting New York next year. My boyfriend wants to see Yankee stadium before they rebuild a new stadium and I want to check out Mamma Mia on Broadway. Of course, there are a million other reasons why I want to go, but those are the two main ones. I'm glad you had a good time.


Kevin: You could always roam the city in search of Spidey. That could be fun. :)

Abbagirl74: Good plan. Let the BF go off and do the boring baseball thing and you hit Broadway! :)

Crankster said...

On our last trip, my wife forced me to got to Rockefeller Plaza. I loved it! It's like a really cool, art-deco mall. With L'Occitane, which, unfortunately, hooked me.

Awesome pictures. I'm in deep envy.