What’s up everyone?! I hope all of you have had a spectacular Spring Break! I know I did!! Though it didn’t feel much like spring where I went, it was still a wonderful vacation. In case you didn’t see my title, I went to New York City this week!! What, you may ask, did you do in your time in the city that never sleeps? WELL, that’s what a blog is for, isn’t it my friends? 🙂
So we got into town LATE Saturday night, which would most likely lead to an uneventful evening right? Wrong. First of all, we drove up to our hotel which was right off of Times Square and I could have sworn that the night had turned into midday. The amount of light coming from a single strip of street was incredible. As soon as I had grasped the concept of brightly-lit advertisements, we turned onto the street where our hotel was. Checking in had no problems so we were able to go straight to our room. Once we opened the door, we got a sudden sour taste in our mouths of what New York life is like. The room (meant for four grown people remember) consisted of a full bed, a dresser and desk, vinyl pullout couch, and a moldy shower, all in very close quarters. Uuuuhhh…no. So we sent my father downstairs to see if anything else was available. He comes back to tell us we have been moved to the penthouse…penthouse floor that is. So we loaded our stuff onto the elevator once again and rode up to the 16th floor. This next room was much better. For one, it actually seemed like a hotel room. It had two full beds (praise the Lord) and a perfectly clean bathroom (though it lacked hooks) and a massive balcony. It was still a small room, but it at least gave us all room to breathe. So we fell asleep.
The next morning, we went to Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral (ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY XD) where we were only a minute late but still had to sit in the very back. The church was BEAUTIFUL, scaffolding included (they’re working on a restoration project). It was a super cool experience to celebrate the Eucharist in such a pretty place. We then took a tour of Radio City Music Hall which was really cool, especially since I’m such a theatre kid. The auditorium, and the whole building for that matter, was BEAUTIFUL. Everything was inspired by sunsets, so you can imagine the beauty in that. We learned a lot and got to meet a Rockette! After that we went to lunch Ellen’s Stardust Diner where all the waiters and waitresses are aspiring Broadway actors and actresses. SO my kind of place!! It was super fun because the servers walked around with a microphone and sang as they served. So fun. From there we took a tour of the city on a double-decker bus. We took the uptown and Harlem tour which allowed us to see some pretty cool spots that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. When we got back to Times Square, we went to Sardi’s for dinner. I did not know this until then, but apparently that is a durn famous restaurant. There are caricatures of famous people who have visited hanging all around the place, completely covering the walls. I had the spaghetti, which was quite good. A random part of the dining experience took place in the bathroom. THERE WAS A LADIES’ ROOM ATTENDANT. I had never seen one in real life before, so I was clueless as to how to react. She greeted me as I came in, and I of course smiled and said hello back. Then when I came out to wash my hands, SHE HELPED ME. She got up, turned on the water, pumped my soap, turned the water off, and handed me a paper towel. I was blown away by this kindness and simply smiled and said thank you and left. Apparently that was not the right thing to do. I did not know I was supposed to tip her. That makes sense now, but I was so confused in the moment I just took it as an extremely nice gesture. So I then sent my mother to restroom so she could tip the lady extra since I did not at all. I am obviously not used to upscale living. After dinner, we walked to Times Square to do some shopping and gawking. We went to the largest Toys-R-Us in the world (three floors!), the Disney Store, M&M’s world, and the Hershey’s shop. We decided to live as children. My brother and I also got our picture made with Spiderman, Woody, and Sonic outside of Toys-R-Us, though it ended up costing us money because they were apparently working for tips.
We had to wake up early the next morning for our tour at NBC studios. This was one of the coolest parts of the whole trip. We got to see Brian Williams studio, which I freaked out about because we got to stand in the room where a man informs an entire nation about the happenings in their country. We then goto to sit in Jimmy Fallon’s studio which was really cool, though sadly he and JT did not come out and perform History of Rap 5. From there we got to see the legendary SNL studio. This was truly special, as I am a pretty huge fan of the show. After the tour we went to the Top of the Rock exhibit where we took an elevator to the top of the Rockefeller Center to view the city. Now this was REALLY cool. I’m usually afraid of heights, but I think I’ve gotten better because I was not afraid at all. I was simply amazed. We could literally see all of Manhattan and the buildings that cover it. We could also see how Central Park is smack-dab in the middle of the busy city. We went up the very top deck where the view was breathtaking. We could see Manhattan, Brooklyn, New Jersey, and the Statue of Liberty. From there we took another bus tour to see the 9/11 memorial. It was a truly powerful sight to see where those two buildings stood and to see the new tower being built just over the place where such horrific events took place. The new building is rightfully going to be called the Freedom Tower and I am proud to say that I have witnessed it in person. We then made our way to a water taxi that took us on a tour of the Hudson River that allowed us to see the Brooklyn Bridge, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty. Our gift from the French was a lot larger than I expected (no offense Lady Liberty). She was a beautiful sight though. It was neat to see her in person. When back on land, we took a cab to Lombardi’s, America’s first official pizza parlor. I do not mean any offense to any pizza maker, but this was hands-down the best pizza EVER. We got simple order of a large pepperoni and small cheese, and we ate both with no problem. It was so delicious; the fresh basil on top made all the difference in the world. Not to mention, that famous New York crust is well-known for a reason. We then went to the one location that I specifically requested, The Strand Bookstore. I learnt about this place when we read a short story that took place in it in my English class. It consists of EIGHTEEN miles of books; you can imagine my excitement and enthusiasm. It was a truly unique place and I of course purchased a Jane Austen-related book. Not to mention, my parents bought me a Pride and Prejudice t-shirt.
Tuesday was our last full day there and we made the most of it. We started the morning with a walk through the world of Harry Potter. THAT’S RIGHT. At the Discovery Museum, the Harry Potter exhibit was there and it was AWESOME. We got to see costumes, props, and we even got to pull our own Mandrakes. 🙂 The first part of the exhibit was interactive, which allowed a few of us to be sorted into our favorite houses (mine is Ravenclaw in case you were wondering). It was really cool to see all of that stuff, especially because I am the nerdy Harry Potter fan that I am. After that we shopped around a bit in touristy stores and then went back to the hotel to take a (much-needed) nap. We then got gussied up for our dinner at Carmine’s where we were served a family size of lasagna, which was the best I have ever had in my life. The flavors blended so perfectly and I could tell it was cooked to perfection as it slid off of my fork. We finished the meal with delicious Italian cheesecake. Afterwards we had some time to kill so we walked around a bit and then arrived to the most magical place in the city: the Majestic Theatre. It was BEAUTIFUL. Not to mention, it blew my mind just to be there. What did we do there? Well, you should know what goes on at the Majestic but for those who don’t, WE SAW PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. Yes, one of the world’s most famous musicals in its 25th run was what we ended our trip with. I am still in awe over what I witnessed. Samantha Hill, well-known for playing the role, is one of the most amazing human beings I have ever beheld, Her voice is so angelic that it’s hard to believe this show is her Broadway debut. Her counter, Hugh Panaro played the tempting Phantom and he was FANTASTIC. The set that surrounded them was unbelievable. Once again, I am a theatre kid so I tend to marvel at quite nerdy things. But the performances were just as admirable. I still can’t believe I witnessed it.
Wednesday we decided to make the most out of our last day in town and hiked our way to Central Park. Though it was slightly covered in snow and the trees were bare, it was very pretty. I could tell the difference in my ability to breath more deeply almost immediately. It was strange to be in a place so QUIT and (slightly) empty after having ben in the city of bustling pedestrians and constant sirens. But it was even stranger to be in a place meant for a nature retreat surrounded by visible skyscrapers. It was neat nonetheless. After our stroll, we walked around The Plaza Hotel and I got my picture made with a portrait of Eloise (!!!!) who is by far one of my childhood favorites. We then went to Carnegie Deli where my brother ordered a sandwich so large he ended up making (and eating) four sandwiches made from its contents. From there we made our way back to the hotel and rode (dangerously) in a shuttle to the airport. At the hotel we of course met people from Alabama so my mom now has a new friend.
So, as if this post isn’t long enough, I shall now offer my readers my review of the big city. It was definitely a fun trip and I wish we could have spent just a little more time there. There was a lot to do and really cool things to see. Many teenagers dream of moving there and making it big, but I can honestly say that after visiting, I do not share that desire. First of all, there are way too many people. I need my personal space and I would like to have at least a moment of privacy. Secondly, those people are always in a rush. My family and I were constantly being passed on the sidewalk simply because we walked at a relaxing pace; we were not used to walking that much after all. But the more I watched the locals, the more I felt sorry for them. They were living in a hugely populated, crowded city with no time to relax and enjoy themselves. I’m not saying this is true for everyone, but it is simply how I perceive it. Again, this is just my review. And maybe a lot of places are like that and I’m just not used to it because I’m from the slow-paced south. But that’s where I belong; my parents always said I move as slow as molasses. Thirdly, living there is too mainstream. I don’t mean to sound like a snobby hipster, but literally millions of people live there and the ones we talked to don’t know why they even came. I wouldn’t want to live somewhere just because everyone else does. I want to love where I live. And I love living in Alabama I must say. So as fun as my trip was, and it really truly was, I am glad to be back home below the Mason-Dixon. Peace y’all!! 🙂
P.S. If you find a mistake in this post, DEAL WITH IT. This is a daggum long post and I do not feel like editing it. Thanks! 🙂