BootLeg Betty

Tourists!!! Whaddaya Gonna Do?…

Mister D: How do these people know where Bette lives? Is there some kind of celebrity tour bus that shows them where people live? Or did they follow the NE Bettehead gang (non-cultural ribbing!!!!)

By:Leta Wright December 10, 2002
©Polk County Democrat 2002

During the week of Thanksgiving, 48 of us from Polk County flew to New York City for a historical adventure. We left Florida temperatures in the 80s and landed in the 40s, but the crisp cool air did feel good for a change.

The first stop we made was the South Street Seaport which is filled with a variety of shops, and cafes, and where we had lunch. We rode by Ground Zero on the way to the hotel, which was a terrible sight as there is only a space where the twin towers stood.

After checking into the Sheraton Hotel on Seventh Avenue and 52nd Street, we hurried over to Radio City Music Hall, which is the most beautiful theater in the world to me. The size, lighting, curtains, carpets, two organs, and the maneuverable stages are enough to see even if you didn’t see a show.

The Christmas Spectacular is a combination of Santa Claus and the Bible Story. The scenery is more spectacular every year. The Rockettes are beautiful to watch and oh, how we wish we had the figure they have.

We toured New York City after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. I think there were millions of people on the streets day and night. The first Macy’s Parade was in 1924 which was a real promotion for the largest store in the world. They used live animals, but the animals frightened the children, so they switched to small helium balloons, but they flew onto a student pilot, so they switched again to the huge character balloons and deflate them on 34th Street when the parade is over. Each balloon cost around $350,000.

We rode around Central Park which is 2-1/2 miles wide and 13 miles long. We passed the homes of Lauren Bacall, Mia Farrow, Carly Simon, Steven Spielberg, Barry Manilow, Dustin Hoffman, Michael J. Fox, and Duke Ellington, and the apartment where Ira Gershwin wrote “Rhapsody in Blue.”

In Harlem, we passed former President Clinton’s office, the Adam Clayton Powell building and Sylvia’s Soul Food. This area was first a farming community in the 1860s, but after the subway was built it became an area for apartment buildings. Today, Magic Johnson is developing an area into stores and theaters. One of the famous clubs that is very active is the Cotton Club. There is a flow of money into this area.

On the east side, we passed the residences of Bette Midler, Paul Newman, Ralph Lauren, and Andrew Carnegie, and the reservoir named for Jackie Kennedy as she ran around it every morning. Her apartment sold for $9.5 million. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is in this area as well as the residence of Robert Redford, Barbara Walters, and Phil Donahue.

There are horse and carriages all around Central Park and can be rented for $40 for a half-hour. We passed many famous buildings, including the Trump Tower; Rolex; Cartier; Tiffany; Saks 5th Ave.; CBS; Columbia University, the oldest in the city; St. John’s the Divine, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world which is Episcopal; the Riverside Church, and the tomb of Ulysses S. Grant.

New York City is a cultural city in every respect. We passed the United Nations with its 147 flags flying. We stopped and took a tour of NBC Studios and somehow, I ended up being the weather lady for the news. It all went well until I said leather instead of weather, reading from the TelePrompTer. What an experience. We went to Macy’s to shop, but the people were so thick until you could hardly walk, so not much shopping took place.

The highlight of the whole trip was, “The Miracle of Christmas,” at the Millennium Theater in Strasbourg, Pa. It was the Bible Christmas story with all the live animals, the characters of the Bible in costumes, the beautiful voices singing, the angels dropping out of the sky and speaking of things to come. A real extravaganza.

Those taking the trip were:

From Bartow – Jimmy and Barbara Adcock, Jack and Ethel Davis, Harry and Betty Griffin, Bill and Issie Jencowski, Elaine Lunn, Patty Thackrey, Don and Jo Cox, Corine Head (my roommate), Earl Jackson and Jill Jones, James H. and Janice Murphy, Zurhn and Shirley Walker, Pat Beasley, Mary Cromartie, Tom and Lavonia Hutto, Sue Kennon, Bud and Martha Mann, Dot Taylor, Ken and Betty West;

From other towns – Roger and Joyce Cain, Babson Park; Swanny Seirup, Harry and Karrie White (our guides), Penn and Georgia Eustis, and Rhonda Lunn, all of Winter Haven; Thedford and Linda Andrews, Lakeland; Charles and Betty Stevens, Brandon; Arnold and Vonda Evans, Mulberry, John and Tammy Phillips, Bonifay; Dan and Ruby Moody, and Leta Wright, all of Fort Meade.

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