Jun 6, 2016

The Impossible Dream

I have heard other moms talk about mythical "girls' getaway weekends" and laughed inwardly at the unlikelihood that I would ever get to participate in such a magical event.  Actually, the last time I went on a girls only trip was a little thing called the Estrogen Tour way back in 2004, which was 4 years B.K. (Before Kids)  So, when my friend Jamie told me that she wanted to go on a weekend trip to NYC to celebrate her birthday, I figured the chances of me accompanying her on that trip were somewhere between slim and none.  Imagine my surprise when Damon said, "I think you should go; I can handle the kids."  It made me wonder if he even realized how many kids we have, but I took advantage of his momentary lapse in judgment and booked my tickets.  The first weekend in June I hit the TSA line with only my carry-on, my friend, and my sense of adventure.

Traveling with 4 kids ages 8 and under can sometimes be a bit of a logistical nightmare (that's totally worth it), but traveling as a couple of footloose and fancy free middle aged ladies is actually pretty easy.  Once we landed from our direct flight, we hopped on the train at the airport and in no time found ourselves in the heart of the action.  We checked in and stored our luggage in time to attend Stars in the Alley, which is a free outdoor concert featuring numbers from Tony-nominated shows.  It was awesome!  Kudos to Jamie for knowing that it was even happening, because I had no idea.  From there we decided to explore a bit before our first show.  I had never been to the Empire State Building, so we walked over and there it was...    
Inside was a long line and a hefty admission price to get to the top.  I opted to give the old Empire State Building the John Guillory Two Thumbs Up in the lobby and save my money for more important things...
Like souvenir shopping at the New York Public Library.  How nerdy am I?  Very nerdy!  I bought Cille a kit to play library since she was planning a book-themed birthday party.  She is a little nerd after my own heart...
I like statues and fountains.  I also picked up the book Library Lion for Watts...



Grand Central Station, the Met Life Building, and the Chrysler Building.  We are knocking out these tourist attractions in rapid succession, I tell you...

Inside Grand Central Station...
It actually reminded me of our house, with all the people coming and going...
On the way back to dress for our show we grabbed the necessities of life: cupcakes!
Chocolate with buttercream frosting.  To. Die. For...
Our first show was She Loves Me with a fabulous cast, including the incomparable Jane Krakowski.  I LOVE HER!  She is amazing.  We saw her in London back in 2005 with Ewan McGregor in Guys and Dolls and she was fantastic.  I did not even realize she was in this show so it was a wonderful surprise.  She was also so sweet and gracious when we met her in the autograph line.  I will forever be a fan of this special lady!  So much so that I am willing to post this picture featuring all 6 of my chins just to prove that I had a brush with her greatness...
This guy was in the show, too.  Who is he?  It depends on who you ask.  My kids would say Flynn Rider, or Toby from the Chipmunks movie.  Damon would probably say that blonde guy who is Thor's friend.  I know he was in Chuck, although I never watched that show.  Whoever he is to you, he is pretty darn hilarious in real life...
The Salvation Army.  Why am I taking a picture of the Salvation Army?
Because I liked their poem...
We visited the Tenement Museum and if you go there, know that you should check the schedule ahead of time.  It is not a traditional walk-through museum, so it is important that you arrive at the proper time for the tour you are most interested in taking to make the most of your trip.  We did not do this, but still enjoyed the experience.  We also took a hike down the High Line...
Which is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the city streets, if you are wondering...
I ate some gelato on the High Line, because I have my priorities.  Then we trekked on over to Little Italy...
And had my first cannoli.  Because how else do you chase gelato on a warm day?
Courts remind me of the hubs so I took this picture for my sweetie...
We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge!  It was super fun, although we really didn't have time for it and we probably should have biked across instead...

We saw this carousel they used in that Glee episode and in one of the Spiderman movies...
Our second show was Something Rotten and it was totally not rotten at all.  Every number was a show stopper and that guy who is in literally every TV musical was phenomenal in it.  (His real name is Christian Borle.)  We woke up early the next morning because it was supposed to rain and we wanted to hike Central Park before the deluge...
It was a little foggy...
Belvedere Castle...
Two thumbs up for the birthday girl who just happens to also be an extra on the MTV series Scream...
After our hike around the park we cleaned up, checked out of our hotel, and went to meet one of my former students for brunch.  Her name is Ashley Wilking and she is the model on the wall behind me...
She is also the model on the inside of this water bottle.  It is a little weird to drink water with a picture of your friend inside it, but weird in a good way.  Obviously, we are super proud of our hometown girl who has taken New York City by storm.  We've been cheering for this kid since she was a literal child running track in high school and we'll forever be some of her biggest fans.  Go Ashley!
We rode the ferry out to Ellis Island and saw this lady on the way...
And the city from a distance...
It was hard to capture Ellis Island, but I did my best...
If you are traveling with small children, I would not suggest this stop.  It is a cool museum and features lots of interesting information about immigrants, but could be boring for the little ones.  Maybe wait until the kids are a little older and have a better appreciation of history.  I enjoyed it, though, and picked up a little immigrant doll for Corinne...
It was tons of fun to explore New York with one of my best friends and also a little exhausting since we ended up walking about a half marathon each day of our trip.  I spent a lot of time on the trip wishing the kids or Damon were there with me so they could experience what I was experiencing.  Though I may wander far, there's no place like home, where my heart always is with the ones I love.

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