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Posted on Friday, May 7th, 2010

Dave!I've had several perfect days in New York City. It's not terribly difficult, because the entire world is at your feet the moment you arrive. But, in all the years I've been coming here, this is going to be the day to top.

It started with an evacuation at Times Square.

It ended with an amazing dream concert I've waited half a lifetime to see.

That concert would be a-ha's Ending on a High Note farewell tour. For better or worse, a-ha will forever be known as the "Take on Me Guys" here because they're pretty much a one-hit-wonder in the USA. Probably because most of their follow-up albums were never released here, which is a damn shame because they had some amazing music in the years that followed.

The show was, as expected, flawless. Morton Harket's stunning vocals were as good as ever as they tore through a catalog of the band's hits. Sure there were some tracks I wanted to hear that were left out, but if they had put in everything I wanted the concert would have lasted five hours.

Still, it was a brilliant performance, and made me sadder than ever that the band is breaking up...

a-ha Ending on a High Note farewell tour

Good bye and thanks, guys.

That's the last of my favorite 80's bands that I needed to see in concert*, so I guess my life is complete now.

Going back to the beginning, my day started in Times Square... just as they decided to evacuate it. A cooler was left at West 46th Street, and the police (wisely) decided it's better to be safe than sorry...

Times Square Evacuation: The Sequel

Times Square Evacuation: The Sequel

Things ended up being a false alarm, but it's comforting to know that the NYPD is taking no chances. I must have gotten a dozen tweets, emails, and texts from people saying things like "ARE YOU CRAZY?" and "BET YOU WISH YOU WEREN'T IN NEW YORK NOW!" or whatever. I ended up ignoring all of them because (no offense) I just don't give a crap. Travel is ALWAYS dangerous... and, yes, New York is probably more dangerous than other places I could go just this moment. But that's not going to stop me from coming back. If my options are to stop traveling to amazing places like this... or to sit in my house for the rest of my life and fret about how dangerous the world is... I'll take my chances out in the world. Because I'd rather die doing what I want to do than doing nothing at all.

Anyway, the weather was absolutely fantastic, so I scuttled my plans to visit galleries all afternoon and decided to instead just ** be ** in New York. But where to begin? Ultimately, I decided to visit all of the Gowalla "Featured Spots" in Manhattan. It took several hours, but I made it (and even added Yankee Stadium in The Bronx!)...

Gowalla NYC Featured Spots

What a great tour! Starting in the upper-left, that would be Grand Central Terminal, Rockefeller Center, Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall, Times Square, The New York Times, FAO Schwartz, Apple Store Fifth Avenue, Madison Square Garden, New Yorker Hotel, Shake Shack, Flatiron Building, Central Park Carousel, Bethesda Terrace Landscape, The Loeb Boathouse, Bow Bridge, The High Line, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum, and Yankee Stadium. Whew... that's a lot of New York City! And I actually walked most of that, only taking the subway four times when the walk would have killed me...

Gowalla Featured Spots in Manhattan
The final stop of my Gowalla Tour... the Shake Shack!

The last cool thing of my day was after I had dinner following the a-ha concert. Dozens of police cars and motorcycles lined up to zoom through Times Square. It was darn impressive, and a great way to end my evening...

New York City's Finest in Times Square

And tomorrow is another day.

*Unless New Order decides to get back together and tour, in which case I have one more band to go.

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Categories: Music 2010, Travel 2010Click To It: Permalink


  1. JEALOUS of your awesome day, and I love that you scrapped plans and decided to just experience NYC. Very cool.

    PS Was the Shake Shack as great as everyone says?

    • Dave2 says:

      I have been by Shake Shack three or four times, but the line is always absurdly long… an hour or more at least… so I’ve never tried it. Maybe one day when I haven’t anything better to do… 🙂

  2. Robin says:

    The way I look at it, the ENTIRE world is dangerous these days – New York City is tame compared to other parts of the world…..and I am not saying that because I live here. I’m saying that because it’s true.

    I just wish people would really quit saying that New York City is this bastion of violence and crime. Shit – I wish it was so it would be a little more exciting. 🙂

  3. As someone who loves travel, yet can’t… I love to read your honest accounting of everywhere you go. So much better than the Travel Channel.

    And out of all their songs, “Hunting High and Low” was my favorite, even though A-ha was known as the “Take On Me” band. Haunting melody, beautiful instrumentation, and just a great song that got passed over.

  4. Karl says:

    Would love to see a-ha, didn’t even know they were having a tour right now, let alone their last one. May have to try that Gowalla, I hear it’s fun.

  5. Sizz says:

    I used to have a poster of a-ha in my bedroom growing up. 😉 I have yet to visit New York but I really can’t wait. It sounds so vibrant and unique. Hopefully I will get there this year. Enjoy the rest if your trip!

  6. whitenoise says:

    Right on, Dave! Good on ya!

  7. Mary P says:

    Being in NYC is like being plugged in to a giant electrical socket with the amperage cranked all the way to the top. It is so alive compared to other cities I’ve been to (which, really, isn’t a lot, but still). The lights, the people, the shows, the food, the money…it just STINKS of vitality, of melting pot, of the human condition.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip.

  8. Sybil Law says:

    I swear I am gonna stow away with you some time!!
    Glad you’re having fun!

  9. Michelle M. says:

    Oh, I’m jealous. That’s too bad that they’re breaking up. Scoundrel Days! But I guess there is Never a Forever Thing. Maybe Maybe they’ll reunite one day. Okay, I’ll stop now.

  10. Poppy says:

    We have a Shake Shack???

  11. Renn says:


    I may have to give Gowalla a try….

  12. martymankins says:

    Awesome that you were able to see a-ha on their final tour.

    As for New Order, I never saw them, but would if they got back together, which given their latest incarnation known as Bad Lieutenant (Bernard Sumner is the only original member), and Peter Hook not speaking to Bernard, that may not happen for a while. One can hope, though.

  13. I have three bands from the 80s that I still need to see. Two won’t happen, one I keep missing every time they’re in town. First up, the two that won’t happen: The Smiths, New Order. The third: Duran Duran.

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