Real New Yorkers may never understand the throngs of tourists that make a beeline toward Times Square every day, snapping pictures of bootleg Elmos and Elsas and ogling the seizure-inducing flashing lights. But sometimes you make a brave decision to barrel through the possessed crowds to see a Broadway production that changes your perception of theater and, dare I say, life itself. For me, that show is The Ferryman.
This London import, set during the Troubles in 1981 in Northern Ireland’s countryside, takes place in the home of an ex-activist of the Irish Republic Army (IRA) on the day of the Harvest. The drama comes to life through the relationships between family members and certain outside individuals: a priest, an IRA leader, and a character reminiscent of Of Mice and Men‘s Lennie. Even with a run time of three hours and 30-plus cast members, this play is never boring or confusing; I sat on the edge of my seat the entire show. For a perfect night, feast on sushi beforehand and sip on curated honey-infused cocktails afterward. Irish whiskey will have to wait!
Step 1: Fill Up on Creative Rolls at Sushi of Gari
If you’re a sushi purist, this place is not for you. Sushi of Gari tops its special pieces with unique combinations like seared tomatoes, fried lotus root, and poached eggs. (I swear it works!)
If you’re overwhelmed by the selection, go with the sushi deluxe, a nine-piece and one roll sampling of the chef’s choosing. You’ll most likely encounter Gari’s famous tuna tofu, a piece of tuna belly topped with a creamy, tofu-based sauce. Other favorite pieces are the king salmon with roasted tomato; tuna yuke (chopped tuna in a ponzu sauce atop a tempura-fried nori); and the melt-in-your-mouth red snapper paired with lotus, arugula, pine nuts, and a bright soy sauce.
Gari’s nonsushi offerings are just as delightful. Its agedashi tofu—a soft-textured, large-cut variety, lightly fried and soaked in an aromatic ponzu sauce—is both light and filling. And the tempura udon soup is the perfect bowl to warm up with in the winter. The noodles are chewy and the broth is a succinct mixture of salty and sweet. Dunk the tempura shrimp lavishly in the broth before taking a bite.
Step 2: Head to the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre to see The Ferryman
Jez Butterworth’s play starts out with the revelation that a body has been found: Seamus Carney, one of the “disappeared” during the bloodiest years of the Troubles.
Still in blissful ignorance, Seamus’s widow, Caitlin, and his brother, Quinn, playfully dance around the house at dark. From there, the show never leaves the kitchen, where the family members buzz with the excitement of the Harvest day. The drama steadily progresses from that first moment of pure joy to the last scene of Greek-tragedy-like horror. Through the people who come into the Carneys’ kitchen during Harvest, you’ll learn about the history of the IRA, what it feels like to live in an occupied state, and the sacrifices that families make for each other.
The impeccable acting—particularly by Laura Donnelly of Outlander—and emotional story line put this play, for me, on dramatic par with the likes of Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton. Its run was recently extended through July, so you officially have no excuse not to go.
Step 3: Sip Honey-Based Cocktails at the Stinger
Buzz down Eighth Avenue and turn on 44th Street for the Stinger, Todd English’s cozy bar on the first floor of the InterContinental Hotel. If you’re just two, cuddle up by the window-side fireplace while sipping inventive cocktails in comfortable large blue chairs. A group can post up around one of the high-tops toward the back and should definitely indulge in the For the Hive large-format punch bowl. Our office’s go-to is the Honeyed Rum Punch, served with eight-year-aged Bacardi, house-made black tea syrup, fresh lime juice, Peychaud’s bitters, and honey cultivated directly on the hotel’s rooftop.
If you’re not feeling a punch bowl, turn your attention to the craft signature cocktails, all which incorporate the in-house honey. A fun way to try a bunch is the Beehave tasting flight, a sampling of three drinks for $18. Definitely make one of them the Dalliance, a mezcal-based libation shaken with passion fruit and rooftop honey, with a spicy chipotle rim to finish it off.
The quiet setting is perfect to pore over the details of what may just become your favorite play of all time. Enjoy!