Here’s What’s on Laura Benanti’s Tour of New York


NYSS Opening NightLaura Benanti is a born-and-bred New Yorker, who has a lot of out-of-town visitors who come to see her perform on Broadway and at the Radio City Music Hall where she is starring in the New York Spring Spectacular. As a self-proclaimed opinionated New Yorker, Benanti has a lot of ideas about what sights visitors must see as they make their way around her town. Luckily she’s willing to share her list of insider secrets.

“I take visitors to Central Park, because that’s my favorite,” said Benanti. “Obviously I take someone to see a Broadway show and then I take them to Grimaldi’s pizza, because I’m obsessed with pizza and I’m obsessed with Grimaldi’s.”

Benanti doesn’t take the subway to the famed coal-fired pizza shop in Brooklyn, though: “I like to do the Water Taxi, because the tour guides are hilarious. I’ve gone three times and crack up, because they are performers!”

Benanti’s tour also includes stops at the Empire State Building and Ellis Island as well as sending guests up to Harlem, because, “There is so much going on there!” Benanti also likes to send visitors to the West Village, which is her dream neighborhood to live in. “It’s so cool down there,” she said, “and I enjoy the pizza.” (Sense a theme here?)

As a local and a performer, Benanti also recommends that people visit the Upright Citizens Brigade comedy theater where up-and-coming comedians and the occasional star show off their improv comedy chops. “I think what they are doing is fantastic,” she said. “I went one time that they did a completely improv musical, which was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen. I would have been terrified! The imagination and commitment that these people have is amazing. I just think improv is a spectacular thing to watch and also to do.”

Even though Benanti is a proud New Yorker, she admits that the best views of the Big Apple come from across the East River. “New Jersey has the best view,” said Benanti. “That’s the view of New York! We have to look at New Jersey. If you want a great view of Manhattan from the City, go to Brooklyn. There are new parks that they’ve created with these incredible soccer fields that jut out into the water. They are beautiful.”