Friday, August 15, 2008

When I was still in jr. high school, I saw our high school's production of South Pacific and began a life long love of musical theater. So you can imagine that a real, honest-to-goodness, Broadway production was VERY high on the list of things to do on our trip. It was very difficult to choose just one show. After weighing lots of pro's and con's, we decided on Gypsy at the St. James Theater.The theater itself was just gorgeous. I don't think there was a bad seat in the house. The size gave a very intimate feel that isn't found at our local civic center which is large and cavernous. Such a treat to see a current production with its Tony winning cast members. It was swell!
With Hubby's work obligations complete, Friday morning we were ready to start seeing the sights on our spreadsheet list and begin looking for those penny smashing machines.
I have been collecting smashed pennies for over 20 years now. They make wonderful, inexpensive souvenirs and don't take up much display room. My collection is closing in on 200 coins.
Our list indicated three machines in close proximity to Times Square - so that is where we began. The first two places, we were unable to locate the machine. At the third, I took matters into my own hands and asked for help finding the machine. A very accommodating fellow at the information desk told me the machines had been removed. As I was about to thank him and walk away, he smiled and said the machines are still in the building and he would get the maintenance person to take us to them. I couldn't believe our good fortune!
Here is Hubby placing coins into the machine. We were in almost total darkness and used the cell phone to provide some light for making selections. The camera flash in the photo takes away from how dark it really was.
Here is a look at what may very well be the last two smashed pennies from Times Square.
We didn't even look for more machines after this. No other could live up to the story of how we acquired these two. That left us more time to look up at the tall buildings. So many tall buildings. I'll share my favorites next time.

19 comments:

Beth said...

What a fun collection! I never would have thought to start a collection like that, how nice that guy let you use the machines too! I bet that made your day! I will have to remember you if I'm ever anyplace on our travels and get you a smashed penny if I see a machine!

Beth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
una quilter said...

That really brought back memories! My mother and I were in NYC in 1985, and I remember my fascination for the elongated coins we got at the Empire State Building. I thought they only had them there:) (I was only thirteen) What a thrill it must have been to find that machine - and that it worked! Many thanks from a long time reader - now delurked!

Guðrún said...

What are you talking about, I mean the pennies?

tami said...

I love live theater. We lived in NYC for almost a year when DD was 2. We didn't have much money so we only saw a couple of shows, but we loved them all.
You're right that is a great story about the smashed pennies. You have qite a collection going.

Karen said...

There's a list of where to find the smashing machines? I didn't know that people looked for them. Your collection doesn't take up much space and it is an inexpensive souvenir. Nice!

Judy said...

I only have used one of those machines once at the local space museum and have that one still. I was shocked when I looked at the list you had and saw all the different styles and things on them!

I suspect you want to collect them yourself, but if you want one from here, let me know!

paula, the quilter said...

I think I saw a penny smashing machine up in Estes Park the last time I went up there. So you need to come visit! *s*

Wendy said...

How neat to find a penny machine that way. It was nice of the guy to let you in, that's what creates good travel memories.

McIrish Annie said...

what a great momento! not only will the machines be extinct soon so will PENNIES!

I remember getting them when we went on vacation as kids.
you get an A+ for the effort!!

Catherine said...

I had never heard of penny smashing machines before!! So I Googled it -- and it's illegal in Canada. Who knows why! It would be a neat way to collect souvenirs!

Marcie said...

Wow, I had no idea that smashing pennies was a THING! I thought you just put them on the railroad tracks!

kjquilts said...

I've seen smashed pennies. I never thought of collecting them! I looked up some penny smashers in my area and I might just check one out this weekend!

Erin said...

what a great memory! glad you had a nice time at the show and found a penny machine, how lucky is that to go to storage and do that!!!!

Marilyn R said...

I have seen penny smashing machines from time to time, but never thought much of them. Now I wish I had - what great souvenirs! I will think twice when I see the machines again. Wonder why they put them in storage in NY? Hmmmm

Yvonne said...

That is soooo cool! :)

Colleen formerly of South Africa said...

Loved the story about the smashed pennies. I love them too...have them from all over Europe and South Africa. Glad you had a wonderful day. What a trip?

yellowfarmhouse said...

Who knew - I didn't know that there was such a thing as a smashed penny machine - learned something new today. Sounds like you had a great time at the theater. Getting away sure is good for the soul.

Hugs - Karen

Susie said...

Hi Libby,
Loved the story of those smashed pennies. Our grandsons collect those too! I got my very first one at the Seattle World's fair in 1962 and never added to it until they started collecting.
Off to check out your link!
xo