Here’s an encouraging update, to our open letter to Henry Kapono, to see if he might get behind a “We Are the World”-type anthem, to kokua the folks affected by the tragic wildfires on Maui.
We thought, while watching the Lahaina and hundreds of homes go up in flames in real time, that only one man, the prolific and productive Henry, (pictured below, left) might use his creative juices, tap his army of music-industry colleagues, and his longstanding mission to support communities in time of needs to make this a reality.
His encouraging response, received this morning via email:
“Aloha Wayne: Hope you’re recovering well. Yes the Lahaina wildfire has been something unimaginable, and the response of our Hawaii people is just phenomenal. I have been
thinking of a song. ‘We Are The World,’ keeps coming up.
‘ I’m sure someone is working on it. I’m talking to people I trust and respect and we’re thinking of something that might be very interesting. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, take care of yourself. Friends, Henry.”
Henry’s wife, Lezlee, also said the Henry Kapono Foundation already is supporting efforts on the Valley Island to kokua Mauians during these devastating times, via the “We Are Friends Maui” program.
Henry remains an influential mover-and-shaker and logically, this sort of special needs should be within his realm of creativity. Hope a Maui tune or project that he’ll spearhead evolves over the next few months. . …
Rain is forecast
Crossing Rain, pictured below, Hawaii’s homegrown K-Pop boy band, will perform at 7 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Joseph Rider Farrington Auditorium at Farrington High School.
Also performing, B.E.T., and Augie T, an FHS grad. The event is a fundraiser for www. bravehawaii.com.
The event is part of the October celebration of NationalAnti-Bullying Month.
A fundraiser for www.bravehawaii October is National Anti-Bullying Month 100% will go to fund community and school programs as well scholarships.
Tickets: $30 VIP, including a meet and greet; $20 lower level and $15 upper level.
NEW YORK – As I’ve repeatedly said, New York is my kind of town.
The 2023 visit, however, was quite different and very special: ‘twas my wife Vi’s and my first return to The Great Apple in nearly four years, the first after the COVID 19 pandemic, the first with a rented electric wheelchair because of my chronic back pain.
So for this final installment in a series of Broadway posts, thought I’d recapitulate some memories that hopefully will be beneficial for your New York experience.
Lucky we live Hawaii. But if you’re Broadway bound, you can’t drive, catch an Amtrak train, hop on the subway or take a ship cruise.
You have to catch a plane. And I believe in direct flights – costlier than a one- or two-stop itinerary, because time is money, too.
Happily, my two most-used carriers – Hawaiian and United – both have direct flights from Honolulu to New York. Hawaiian flies to JFK, anchored in the JetBlue terminal. United aims for its hub in Newark, N.J.
But the pandemic – among other reasons – has changed both carriers ‘direct flight home to Honolulu…at least on a Sunday, my return-home day.
Hawaiian’s sked was a one-stop, from JFK to LA, then HNL.
Wayne and Vi, on United Airlines — the homeward-bound trip.
United had a direct-to-HNL from EWR (Newark) but the agenda was changed while I was getting ready to fly out. United now was a one-stop, too, the pause at the mammoth George Bush International Airport in HOU (Houston), then HNL. Trouble is, the connection time was a mere half-hour, too risky since the airport is mammoth, so while still in New York, I called United to see what options I had to dodge the 30-minute gallop. The solution was to take an earlier flight from Newark to Houston, allowing a two-hour layover.
As it turned out, United’s flights anyway,, but as the hours ticked, the “new” flight left pretty much left the same time as the original flight, but the HNL-bound jet was held for those making the connection. Frustration and tension resulted in a happy journey, in the end. …
Everything is costly
Prices are up everywhere, for everything, so reality bites And folks who know us know that the Haradas prefer first-class flights (who doesn’t?) that cost an arm and two legs, but offers room for those arms and legs.
Since I had accrued mileage for both Hawaiian Air and United Airlines, I traded in 300,000 for two via Hawaiian to fly there, and another 330,000 for two for the return via United. There were $50 fees per person, too. If plan early, you can buy coach and upgrade to Business First, if possible.
We’ve been going to New York for more than 50 years, and my primary interest is to see Broadway shows. Over 10 days, we took in 11 productions; bought orchestra or mezzanine/balcony seats, costing $3,300. Where your seats are will determine your costs.
A disclosure: at the height of the “Hamilton” frenzy, I simply couldn’t find tickets no matter how hard I tried, and wound up – gulp! – buying $750 seats (times, two, since my wife was there, too) in the second-to-the-last-row in the nose-bleed section, but saw the original cast with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom Jr. Worth it, everything considered!
Choosing a hotel
In the past, we got rooms at “brand” hotels (Hilton, Sheraton) to get frequent-stayer points. It’s difficult to earn loyalty points, unless you’re a business traveler.
So this year, we decided to select a hotel with easy access to near theaters, and chose the Hotel Edison on W. 47th St., smack dab in the middle of Times Square. It’s a mid-sized hotel, so elevator access is a lot better than a mega-hotel where conventioneers stay. The Edison had a rate of $238 a night, compared to other places that have $400-plus rooms.
One other hotel tip: Whenever we travel now, we book the room to include our departure day, so when we arrive overnight, we can check into the hotel at 8 or 9 a.m., compared to the universal 3 p.m. check-in.
Since most HNL flights to the East Coast have mid-afternoon flights out, you always arrive early morning the next day and having the luxury to check into your room early in the morning is a joy. If you haven’t slept on your flight, you can sleep, or unpack, or go out for breakfast. If you have young kids, you don’t want to wait till late afternoon to get your room. City attractions don’t open till 10 a.m. anyway, and a 3 p.m. check is now unfathomable for us.
Tip: If you do the extra-day booking, be sure to call your hotel on your departure day that you will be a “late” arrival, and to hold the room. …
Where to secure show tickets
Websites to order tickets:
The two key websites I use: Telecharge.com and Ticketmaster.com
Tickets are also on sale at Playbill.com; you receive discounts with a membership fee
Where to get half-price tickets
If you’re a first-timer tor Broadway, or a once-in-a-decade visitor, the place to go is the TKTS booth at Duffy Square, in the heart of Times Square, at W. 46th St. and Seventh Ave. You can’t miss the place, since there are ticket windows on the north side, and a bunch of red staircase seats on the south side.
This is the home of twofers, meaning you get two tickets for the price of one, and the booth sells only same-day tickets for a select list of shows. Hot-ticket shows (“Hamilton,” “The Lion King”) generally are not on the sales board.
The TKTS booth is where tickets are “twofers.” Buy one, get one free.
The booth just marked its 50th anniversary in June 2023.
Hours: 3 to 8 p.m. most days, 3 to 7 p.m. Sundays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for Wednesday and Saturday matinee shows.
Best resource for theater reviews: https://didtheylikeit.com/
Reviews (capsule and full-length) are posted here; you can peruse before you buy tickets, which also can be purchased here.
Regrets, I have a few
No matter how long you stay, you can’t to it all. So:
Couldn’t catch the subway this year; I can struggle and go down and up stairs, but the missus said absolutely not. Subways are the fastest way to get anywhere in New York, but I was in no hurry to go anyplace fast. Caught the bus with the wheelchair and used both Uber and the Yellow Cab in instances of rain.
Imagine, I didn’t have a single bagel while visiting. Reason: my favorite theater district deli, Carnegie Delicatessan, closed perhaps a decade ago, and food trucks sell ‘em, I was never near one to buy one. My hotel didn’t have ‘em, either. And Katz Deli and Zabar’s stock bagels but are too far away to get ‘em.
Visited Macy’s at Herald Square with the wheelchair. While the world’s largest store has elevators and wheelchair ramps, it is not really handicapped-friendly. Wanted a Starbucks coffee that day; though the café was on a highly visible mezzanine, with an elevator nearby (but no longer so), the only way via access ramps that are hidden, in corridors not easily found; went up one elevator floor to get the coffee, but didn’t bother trying to find the many Macy’s bargains.
Wayne on his wheelchair, at Rockefeller Center.
While leaving our hotel one day, a woman saw me in a wheelchair and inquired about how and where to rent one, too.
I recommend NYC Mobility Rentals; it provides chairs and scooters and delivers and picks up the rentals
NEW YORK – Truth be told, you have to be physically fit and heathy to enjoy the joys of Broadway and all the thrills New York offers.
The pandemic four years ago was my last trek to the Big Apple — in the summer of 2019, before COVID 19 shut down the city and all of his attractions – and it took some guts to decide to finally catch up on what I’ve been missing.
A late June return was a challenge, because I’ve become weaker and wobblier than the last visit. I lost confidence and was concerned about the recurring manic crimes and unacceptable unrest. Yet I needed to return to New York, which always has been My Kind of Town, so a 10-day visit restored my faith in the destination.
And happily, I saw the city through new eyes, since I rented an electric wheelchair to augment the walking cane that accompanied my treks because of lower back pain and a stubborn sciatic right leg.
Yes, I am not just elderly, but I’m now part of the handicapped community, too.
Clearly, The Big Apple still is best enjoyed by foot.
But a bum back prevents long walks, without aggravating additional aches. So a battery-operated wheelchair seemed like logical band-aid. The chair made me realize that it was possible at least to get a bit more mileage in the outings. Not a helluva as lot more, but a reasonable daily dose of a daily show (two on Wednesdays and Saturdays, when matinees are irresistible). Oh, what bliss! Live theater galore!
But you shouldn’t and can’t do this alone, without a support wheel in the form of a trouble-shooter and advance team member who monitors your behavior. So lucky am I, to have my wife Vi (show here at the Museum of Broadway) running interference; she checked out where and which theater has handicapped priority entrances, where lobby-level restrooms are located in performing halls, and which restaurants are wheelchair-friendly.
I would not to be able to survive all that I did, without her guidance and trust, so thanks, honey.
Especially since my mobility has deteriorated considerably since the pandemic.
So the first time ever, I didn’t “do” the subways any more (Vi objected, knowing subway stations have zero or very few elevators, but plenty of stairs to descend and climb). So despite the purchase of a Metro Card, which allow limitless subway and bus rides, we only had two bus trips after heated discussions. She always advocated taxis or Uber service.
So while the underground trains were taboo, I wanted to experience the street-friendly MTA buses on two occasions. Once, to visit a Trader Joe’s store on W. 14th Street near Union Square, and an immediate pause at a nearby Post Office to send home omiyage treats in Priority Boxes to avoid overweight airline suitcase fees.
The post office, however, had a few steps up from the sidewalks, so I waited patiently while Vi handled and processed the boxes for sending the treats. Two of three mailings were awaiting our return home.
As a novice wheelchair driver, I was like a kid trying to earn a driver’s license. Steering is via a toggle knob, for all forward, backward, or left and right moves. With one lone dry run in the lobby of Hotel Edison on W. 47th St., in the heart of the Theater District, I had no mentor, nor a how-to manual, nor a trial run on the immensely crowded sidewalks of New York, night and day. But folks are hugely helpful, offering to lift or nudge the chair onto the pavement, or help jimmy it up or down, when necessary.
Similarly, on the bus, commuters – male and female – were open to kokua. And patient, too. Perhaps they pitied this oldster and wondered WTF?
You do know that buses “kneel” to enable cane, walker or wheelchair folks to enter or exit the bus.
They don’t know whether I had Wheelchair 101 certification, and laugh if you want, it’s not that easy to do parallel parking on the bus, while scores are watching, either the already boarded, or the small throng awaiting to board.
At a visit to the new Museum of Broadway, a hall of the treasure trove of Broadway actors, choreographers, writers and more, the corridors and the elevators are not as wide and generous
Like those at MoMa, the Whitney or The Met, so it takes meticulous and precise skills to make a quick turn or stop, with your toggle switch, but I had the benefit to have my friend Kevin Iwamoto (pictured in front of a glitery sign at the Museum of Broadway), pushing me cautiously, with the wheelchair on manual mode. Otherwise, I might have had an embarrassing collision with a display or Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” costume or a cluster or real-life Tony trophies.
I share these shameless revelations of wheel chairing, mostly because I fear handicapped folks might nix making a journey to a Broadway show, a dining spot, or a museum. Surely, having a trusty buddy along with the experience is a must. There’s so much culture out there to be enjoyed, and it’s treat to witness the joy of musical theater or experience Cuban cuisine once in a while. There’s so much to explore and savor if you’re willing to take a chance and go for it.
I had surprising fun, doing nothing but sitting in my wheelchair on several instances, watching vacationers in action. Times Square offers free shows year-round, like free performances from budding stars, in the space where there’s the tiered seating above the TKTS booth, watching a model try to build a portfolio with her boyfriend shooting pics, sometimes in the middle of a crowded crosswalk while folks are transiting, or cheapie Mickey and Minnie, counterfeit Spiderman impersonators trying to get unknown folks to get a photo taken with ‘em, then asking for a few days payment.
Is it just me or are you noticing the frequency of new signage on our highways and byways.
I’m talking about newish and plentiful signs that warn drivers to be cautious and keep foot on brakes.
And it’s a matter of gradations:
HUMP. Sort of like a warning that there will be a large bump on the road.
BUMP. OK, perhaps this is a signal that there will be an uppity element, maybe less so that a hump
DIP. Hmmm, like a slight discrepancy on the paving of the word. Not as worrisome or wobbly like a bump or a hump.
UNEVEN SURFACE (OR ROAD). Golly, that’s applicable to all the freeways and side streets that are worn out and awaiting fixing.
I believe you see all of the above east-bound on the H-1, from the Makiki area to the University Avenue.
The stretch of Kalanianaole Hwy., from Waimanalo heading to Kaneohe, has its share of hump-bumpy warnings. There are some HUMP warnings painted on the road, near the school zones, and you need to chill unless you’ve got a sturdy truck.
On the other side of the island, Kamehameha Highway from Aiea east-bound to Pearl Harbor boast a few on-road hump warnings, too. Sedans and SVUs need to heed these little mounds.
The worst of these humps/ bumps might be at the Hilton Hawaiian Village resort, whose entrance and exit have the highest humps or bumps, and speeding would be manic. Methinks the small mountains of tar should be ID’d for what it is: Hilton Hills. After the first ascent over the first hill, you need to keep your seat belts on, put foot on the brakes, and Go. Slow. Otherise, you’ll ruin your tires or chassis.