Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Stamos, Central Park, and Serendipity!

The girls' annual trip to New York City didn't disappoint anyone! We experienced new things, held onto old traditions, and made new traditions. I can't wait until next year! Mom and I flew to Newark, New Jersey. Mom flew in first class because she got upgraded. I was stuck in coach, or steerage as I affectionately call it. I walked up to first class once they FINALLY turned off the seat belt sign and watched part of a movie with her. The man sitting next to her didn't seem to mind but then again he was sleeping. Mom and I were picked up at the airport by my aunt Caren, the best airport shuttle in the greater Manhattan area. The Newark Airport had gotten a new addition since last we had flown in. She drove us under the Hudson River to New York City via the Lincoln Tunnel. She dropped us off at our hotel, the Crowne Plaza in Times Square. We checked into our hotel. Our room was on the 40th floor facing Times Square. We had a great view!

I bought a cup of chicken noodle soup from a deli in Times Square for dinner. We sat at the tables near the steps of TKTS while I ate it. It was awesome to watch the sunset between the large buildings and watch the neon lights get brighter and brighter!

We walked to the Henry Miller’s Theatre and saw the musical Bye Bye Birdie. The Henry Miller’s Theatre was recently renovated. When you walk into the theatre, you are on the balcony level. You have to walk down the steps to get to the orchestra level. It was a fun play! The music was catchy. There were a lot of teenagers performing in the show so there was a lot of energy! After the show was over, Mom and I rushed out of the theatre to get on the front row of waiting at the stage door because John Stamos was in the cast. He played Albert Peterson. He did a great job! Mom, Caren, and I got autographs from most of the actors that came out of the stage door. The teenagers enjoyed talking with us. John Stamos was one of the last actors to come out of the stage door. He signed people’s playbills and took pictures with them. He signed Mom’s playbill first. He took a picture with her. As he was signing Caren’s playbill, he saw me and took my hand. He held my hand and asked me what my name was. I told him. He asked how I was doing. I said great. I told him he did a great job! He signed my playbill. Then I asked if I could get a picture with him. He said sure and moved the guardrails that were between me and him. He knelt down and put his arm around me. Mom took a great picture of us. After the picture was taken, he asked me if I performed in the Christmas Spectacular. (I was wearing my Christmas Spectacular jacket.) I said yes. He thought that was cool. He asked me if I sang and I said a little bit. He laughed and said yeah.

Oh how I loved being back in my city. I felt like I was home. I was in the place where I belonged. Why don't I live here??

The next day, Mom and I took the subway to the Manhattan Temple. It was great to be in the temple.

Then we walked to Central Park. We hired a guy to take us on his bike rickshaw around Central Park. He took us to all the sights in the park. We saw the Upper East Side, the Shepherds Meadow, the Central Park Zoo, the oldest carousel, the Bethesda Fountain, the Boathouse, the fountain from the beginning of Friends, Strawberry fields, the place where John Lennon was shot, Tavern on the Green, and a bunch of statues of dead people. It was a fun tour! Our bike peddler/tour guide was from Africa.

Mom and I ate a late lunch/early dinner at Ray’s Pizza. We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping (or more accurately, looking) at Macy’s, a Payless Shoes Source, and Old Navy.

We walked to the Minskoff Theatre where The Lion King was playing. It had been seven years since I had last seen that show. It was way too long! The Lion King was AMAZING!! I loved that show! It had such a great message!

One of our traditions is that after the show, we have a sweet treat. That evening's sweet treats were cupcakes from the Little Pie Company! I had vanilla cake with vanilla cream inside with vanilla frosting on top. Yummy!

The next day, we walked to the United Nations building. We were going to take a tour but it cost money. Neither of us wanted to waste our money to go on the tour again. Been there, done that. It was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities. Check it off the list! We walked all the way to the United Nations because there was supposed to be a street fair near that area. We walked to the area where the street fair was supposed to be but there was no one there. There were barricades along the side of the road as if there were going to be a street fair. The people and the goods were non-existent. Mom and I walked around the area for a little while.

We found a tramway that took people to Roosevelt Island over the East River. We decided to take it. We took some pictures on the way across the river. The visitor’s center on Roosevelt Island was closed. We walked along the river for a little while. There was an old hospital on the island. Then we crossed the narrow island and walked a little along that side. We stopped a lady who was walking on her lunch break and talked with her for a little while. She was very friendly. She grew up in the area and lived there all her life. She had been to Utah to hike Bryce and Zion Canyons. She thought it was very beautiful. We rode the tram back to Manhattan.

We walked to Serendipity 3 for lunch. It was delicious!! Mom and I shared the seafood pasta. So good! Mom had a frozen hot chocolate (which was their specialty). Mom loved it!! I had an ice cream treat that involved the following: lemon ice box pie, cinnamon ice cream (my creation), and whip cream (lots of it) lined with blueberries and strawberries! Holy cow, it was delicious! I loved it! I probably ate more than I should but it just tasted so good!

Caren wanted us to go to the Gershwin Theatre to see if we could win tickets to Wicked in the lottery. (Before every show, the Gershwin Theatre holds a lottery where the winners can get two front (or second) row tickets for $26.25 each.) I thought it was a fat chance on a Friday night. We lined up and put our names in the drawing. We waited a half hour while they collected names. I hung out by the stage door while I waited. I didn’t see anything spectacular. There were over 100 people that put their names in the drawing. My name was the third to the last name pulled out! I was so surprised! I bought the two tickets. Mom said we were going to sit there, and give Caren the tickets we had in the wheelchair seating which was on the last row of the orchestra level. Caren got a friend and they traveled into the city from New Jersey.

To kill some time until Wicked started, Mom and I decided to walk over to the theatre where Hugh Jackman was performing in a play and do a little stalking. On our walk to the theatre, I ran into a girl I did Radio City with last year. She was just leaving a dance class when we ran into her. I was so surprised to run into someone I knew on the streets of New York! How random!

Mom and I stalked the Hugh Jackman theatre stage door for a half an hour but then we had to go to the Gershwin for Wicked. The most exciting thing that occurred while we were there was just before we left the theatre-a black SUV pulled up to the curb! We all thought this would be him! The driver gets out and walks to the back of the SUV. He opens the back...and brings out a salad! He walked it into the stage door of the theatre. Then they put three boxes into the SUV and drove away! It was a bust! Oh well, it gave us something to do!

Mom and I met Caren and her friend outside the Gershwin Theatre. Mom and I went down to our seats which were on the aisle of the second row. Fabulous seats! Caren and her friend went to their seats. Wicked was amazing! I loved it! Anyone keeping score of how many times I have seen it?? When we came out of the theatre, it was pouring down rain. Mom and I (as true die hard fans) stood at the stage door to tell the cast they did great and get autographs anyway. Caren and her friend didn’t want to stand in the rain so they headed home. Besides me and Mom, there was a girl in her early twenties with her little sister who was about nine years old at the stage door. The security guard that was standing at the stage door felt bad for us so he let us in the backstage area of the Gershwin Theatre! We saw the sign in boards and other message boards that were backstage. It was funny because as the actors came from the stairwell, they burst in to where we were. They kind of looked at us with the "what are you doing here" look. We told them it was raining and the security guard let us in. We told them how great they were! They were very appreciative. That was a fun Wicked evening! Now I can say I have been backstage at Wicked!

Saturday before the matinee, Mom and I went on a pizza run. We found the best pizza (taste, look, and price) in Manhattan at Patzeria’s Pizza. It is located across from the Marriott Marquis Hotel alley on the north side. Delicious! We walked to the Broadway Theatre where we saw Shrek the Musical. Shrek turned out to be the surprise musical of the trip-in a good way. I wanted to see it because of one of my favorite Broadway actors was in it-Sutton Foster. Sutton is one of the most amazing actors on Broadway. She is so funny, a great singer, dancer, and actor! The complete package! She’s got it all. Shrek was so cute! I was not looking forward to the tons of kids at the show for a Saturday matinee and thought they would ruin the experience. They were actually well-behaved for the most part. Surprise, surprise! Shrek the Musical had a lot of heart. I loved the story, songs, actors, costumes, set, etc! So fun! After the show, Mom, Caren, and I ate lunch at Virgil’s. Virgil’s was one of my favorite places to eat. I ate macaroni and cheese and banana pudding (of course)! It was delicious! Caren went to see a friend’s play that evening. Mom and I saw the musical Billy Elliott. It was the kid who plays Billy’s last performance. His name was Kiril Kulish. He did an AMAZING job! The dancing in the show was AMAZING!! Kiril’s dancing was so good! At the end of the show, Billy goes off to dance school in London. He tells his friend goodbye and then heads up the aisle for his exit. The friend is supposed to say, “Goodbye, Billy”. Instead that night he said, “Goodbye, Kiril.” All of us in the audience were crying! It was a great way to end off my Broadway shows for the year. As Mom and I were approaching Times Square, I saw another coworker from Radio City, one of the Rockettes I have worked with for years! She asked me what I was doing. I told her I had just seen Billy Elliott. She said she was there too! Wow! It was so good to see her!

We almost missed our flight on Sunday because there was a Puerto Rican Parade going on near Caren's home. All the streets were blocked or full of cars. Mom and I hurried through security. Then we ran to the gate. Gratefully the plane we were going home on was late arriving because of rain at the plane's origin. We only had to wait about ten minutes before we boarded the flight. That was calling it close! Mom and I sat next to each other on the plane ride home because she didn’t get upgraded to first class. Boo-hoo!

Oh how I love my NYC! Mom and I had such a great time together! We always do! Even though we have been to NYC many times before, we keep finding new treasures in the city. It's one of the many reasons we go back every year.

Here are some extra pictures:

Rockefeller Center

The New TKTS Duffy Square Steps

Times Square during the day