“My Wonderful Day” in NYC Theater has inspired me to travel to Yorkshire, England.
What is the connection, you might wonder?
“My Wonderful Day” is a play written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn, who comes from Yorkshire, England. He came to the 59E59 Theater in mid-Manhattan, where the play is being staged through Dec. 13, to participate in a fascinating “Conversation with Alan Ayckbourn.” The be-knighted playwright discussed his inspirations, his technique for playwriting and directing.
He is also an unofficial Ambassador for his hometown of Scarborough in Yorkshire, England, and the Yorkshire Travel Bureau used the occasion to invite travel press. Over lunch, I became intrigued to experience the landscape, coastline, people, history, art and culture. The region is about 2 hours by train north of London, half-way to Edinburgh (www.yorkshire.com).
I became most intrigued to experience Harewood, Yorkshire’s visitor attraction of the year, which celebrated its 250th anniversary this year. Harewood House, in Leeds, is a fabulous mansion home built in 1759, which offers tours of its state rooms, its “below stairs” experience, gardens, an Adventure Playground and planetarium, art exhibits and theater, cultural events and festivals (the VW Festival in August offers caravan and camping); http://www.harewood.org.
In the interim, to get a British fix here in the Big Apple, a number of English themed properties that have opened recently in NYC; Crosby Street Hotel in Soho – Firmdale Hotels (www.firmdalehotels.com) first property outside of London, Brit-owned new restaurant Le Caprice at the Pierre Hotel, The Spotted Pig’s Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield’s new restaurant Breslin at the Ace Hotel (http://thebreslin.com), The Clerkenwell in the Lower East Side – named after London’s Clerkenwell (where the first gastropub appeared) and Brinkley’s, recently opened gastropub in Soho (http://brinkleysnyc.com.) New York Magazine ran a piece just last week on the rise of the English breakfast (http://nymag.com/restaurants/features/61830/) and traditional English afternoon tea has long been a trend in NYC. Other English exports include Tea & Sympathy (www.teaandsympathynewyork.com/restaurant.php), the “quintessential corner of England in the heart of Greenwich Village” and Myers of Keswick (www.myersofkeswick.com) traditional English shop on Hudson Street, and of course the theatre – “Brits off Broadway” (which runs until January 3, 2010) and Sienna Miller is currently staring in After Miss Julie on Broadway while Jude Law is in Hamlet.
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