NYC Day 2

NYC Day 2

Our second day in NYC was packed with fun!  We started our morning with breakfast at a favorite spot, Europa.  Then we went to Wicked: Behind the Emerald Curtain.  It’s a behind the scenes look at Wicked, and it only runs on Saturdays.  It’s amazingly affordable for the experience you get.  If you’re a Wicked fan, you should TOTALLY go.
They set up a mobile museum/viewing area in the lobby and we got to see many of the costumes close up.


This was Kristin Chenowith’s Glinda dress.  Beautiful.  The care that goes into handmaking these costumes is amazing.
This was us in front of the original Nessa Rose wardrobe.
And I got to touch Glinda’s wand! Eek!
We heard many behind the scenes facts and info about the wigs, makeup, costumes, dancers, how the monkeys fly, the lighting, etc.
When we were finished, we headed down to Peanut Butter & Co’s shop for lunch (after going accidentally uptown on the subway! oops!).
We LOVE this little shop.
Mom got an Elvis (pb, honey, banana) and I had a Heat is On (spicy pb, chicken, pineapple jam).  It was SO good.
When we finished, we decided to walk around Washington Square Park since we were so close. It was a GORGEOUS day.  I love that you can see the Empire State Building through the arch.

We took a cab to the theater for If/Then!
The show was great.  I mean, Idina Menzel, LaChanze, and Anthony Rapp….how can it not be?  It was raining when we left, but mom INSISTED that we stay at the stage door to meet my favorite, Anthony Rapp.  He came out and was SO nice to the fans, even in the rain, signing programs and taking pics.  He signed his book for me and took a picture.
We had dinner at Nizza (AMAZING Italitan food, including a great gluten free menu for mom), and then we saw Pippin.  I LOVED it.  I didn’t have much preconceived notions because I knew so little about it…but it was wonderful.  The ending was not typical, and I think it threw the audience off a bit.  Many didn’t give a standing ovation (although it was TOTALLY deserved).


Second day was a wrap!

NYC Day 1

NYC Day 1

So last week I went to New York for 4 days with mom. We arrived (after a SUPER bumpy flight and our car service having a wreck in the airport) and got to our hotel around 2 a.m.  We were up and ready for a fun day on Friday.
We started with a subway ride down to Chinatown.  After buying some probably fake Tory Burch jewelry from a shady woman on a street corner (and turning down 50 people wanting to know if we wanted “hanbags Micha Kor, Chaneeel, Lou Vuito”) we took an AMAZING food tour through Little Italy and Chinatown.  We used Ahoy New York Tours and Tasting, and I would TOTALLY recommend them.  The local tour guide, Liz, gave us TONS of local history, history of the food, neat things to check out next time we are in the area, and took us to 7 places for amazing food (cannoli, pizza, cheese, prosciutto, dim sum, dumplings, tea, and more!).
You can tell we were pumped to try this homemade mozzarella and prosciutto at the oldest cheese shop in America- Alleva Dairy.

After the food tour, we headed to Rockefeller Plaza for Jimmy Fallon’s monologue rehearsal! He was SO funny and I’m so glad we did this.  We got advance tickets from 1iota to insure that we didn’t have to wait in line/possibly be turned away.

After the taping, we went back to the hotel and changed.  We wanted to go the the Stage Deli (a favorite of ours since our first trip to NYC back in 3rd grade!)…but it had closed.  So we decided to try Ellen’s Stardust Diner, and I’m SO glad we did.  The line outside was long, but we were the only party of 2…so we got in pretty quickly as soon as they had a 2 top open.
Mom LOVED her potato cakes. 

At the Stardust Diner, I looked upstairs and saw one of my favorite Youtube/Broadway people- Natalie Weiss.  She toured in Les Mis and Wicked…and I LOVE her Youtube channel.  I ran upstairs and talked with her (she was SO nice) and took a picture with her.


After dinner, we saw Aladdin, Disney’s new musical.  It was AMAZING.  The genie was amazing. We totally enjoyed the show.

After the show, we were walking back to our hotel and saw the Cake Boss Cafe.  This isn’t Buddy’s original bakery….but it does do many treats and cakes.

I had a California Cheesecake, topped with yummy fruit.  It was good.  3.5/5 stars on the dessert.

We had an amazing first day in NYC.

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday: NYC

I spent my Memorial Weekend (plus a day or so) in NYC.  Recap posts coming next week…but for now, enjoy this picture of the Freedom Tower on the sunny Memorial Day.

I Remember. My Visit to the 9/11 Memorial.

The moment I walked into the 9/11 memorial, I knew I had to mention more about it than just a passing photo. So, I saved it for today. Here are my thoughts upon visiting the 9/11 Memorial in NYC.
This place was quite the conundrum. It puzzled me.  There were huge crowds outside. People walking around New York. Horns honking, strangers rubbing elbows, people passing by on crowded sidewalks. But the crowds around Albany Street were almost magnetic, being drawn to the memorial like moths to a flame.
As we approached the blocks close to the memorial, I noticed we were suddenly in a sea of people all going there. Together.
Approaching the memorial.  That is Freedom Tower being built in the background.
 We got to the start of the line, and began waiting. Stepping forward a few steps at a time. Security checks. Check your ticket. Keep stepping in line. Eventually, we reached the entrance of the memorial.
Waiting in line.
It happened without notice. There was no announcement that we were entering an area of serenity and reflection. No announcement to be quiet out of respect, but as we entered the gates, it hit us. We met remembrance there inside.
The space was beautiful.  It was trees and landscaping. And then, you walked a little bit.  You saw the reflecting pools. They are quite breathtaking. HUGE gaping holes in the ground where the towers once stood, chasms full of gushing water. I imagined that the tears from those who lost loved ones could fill a thousand of these giant pools.
Surrounding the pools were heavy, strong metal beams that were engraved with names. Names of those who gave their lives. Names of those who were surprised as planes flew through their office.  Now that I’m a working adult, I can’t imagine this.  I can’t imagine sipping my coffee at my computer and something horrific like that happening.
There were names of those who were trying to evacuate, but were lost in the falling tower rubble.  Names of those on a flight just trying to travel. There were names of those who were trying to rescue others. Firefighters, policemen, heroes. There were names. Endless names.  I slid my hands over the names.
Interesting to me, the names were cutouts in the metal. Empty space. The hollow names show the gaps. Gaps in families where people are gone. Children without parents. Wives without husbands. Babies without momma’s. Dogs who don’t understand why their owner never came home that day. Indeed, those names are voids, not just voids in the metal, but voids in the lives left behind.
Like everyone else old enough to remember, September 11, 2001 was a memorable day for me.

I remember exactly where I was sitting (in Mrs. Goss’ Arkansas History class.  I was the teacher’s aid, so I got to sit at the kidney shaped table at the side of the room).  I was in 9th grade. I remember someone busting in the door and telling Mrs. Goss to turn on the news. We watched. It looked like a movie trailer, not something real. When it was time to change classes, the bells didn’t ring. We didn’t move. We were all watching. We watched as the second plane hit, as people jumped out of windows, as towers fell, as the dust covered people ran for their lives.  I think it was Diane Sawyer explaining the situation over the airwaves. Eventually, we changed classes. I felt numb.  I felt confused. I felt scared.  Then lunch came.  My friends and I were talking about it, trying to make sense of it all.  As much sense as 9th graders can bring to international politics and terrorist attacks.  

When it was time to go home, I remember my mom picking me up.  As soon as I got in the car, she hugged me.  Tight. Long. She had the radio on.  No music, only talking. We got home and sat at the table.  I attempted homework, but it was all eyes on the TV.  All eyes on New York. All eyes on America. The next weeks were a blur.  At school, our backpacks and lunchboxes were seized.  They were afraid of what we might bring in with us.  We bought American flags.  We watched people be pulled from the rubble.  We weren’t there, but we were all a part of it.
And then, a couple weeks ago, there I was in New York City, in the midst of this bustling city, rubbing my hands over names. Names of people I don’t know.  Names of people my heart hurts for.  I miss these people. I wish these people were still here.  I want to jump in those pools and let the water wash it all away. The world before that day felt so different.
Now, when I hear “God Bless America” I tear up. Now, when I fly I am nervous. Now, when 9/11 comes around, there is something to remember. Today, we remember.

If you want to remember with videos, check out these videos of the live footage as it happened.  I am taken back there as soon as I hear their voices.  The second video shows the second plane hitting.