Sunday, August 6, 2017

New York City, Day 1

Earlier this year, I found out that Josh Groban was starring on Broadway in a new show until July 2. Well, he's my favorite! And my BFF Stephanie and I were planning to get together sometime this summer, so I asked if she wanted to meet me in New York City to see Josh on Broadway. Her answer - "umm, yes, of course!" So we started planning our trip. We flew up on Wednesday night late in June; even though I was flying from Dallas and she was flying from DC, we were supposed to land within 15 minutes of one another. Well, both flights were delayed, mine only 30 minutes or so - I actually landed in NYC before she left DC! I was treated to a lovely sunset on our descent. I got my bag, figured out how to take the shuttle bus to the terminal Stephanie was landing in, and settled in to wait an hour until her flight finally arrived. I grabbed a snack, read a few travel brochures, and took random pics until she finally landed. The last time I saw Steph was in Sydney! We hailed a taxi and made our way to the hotel, right in Times Square, and settled in to get some rest.

On Thursday morning, we went up to the 44th floor lounge of the hotel for a complimentary breakfast - our seats looked out on Central Park! Then we set out for Rockefeller Center, walking past Radio City and the Today Show. Before this trip, I had never been to NYC when there wasn't snow on the ground and an ice rink in Rockefeller Center. This time, instead of ice there was a cafe, and instead of Christmas decorations there were beautiful hydrangeas.

One of my must-do's for this trip was to actually go in St. Patrick's Cathedral, located in Rockefeller Center. I found out they do free tours at 10:00 on Thursdays, so we decided to take advantage of that. Our tour guide was funny - they were tuning the grand organ during our tour, and it was really loud, and she kept making snide comments and saying "shut up!" when the tuner would play a particularly long loud note. She was also quite knowledgeable though, when we could hear her, that is. And part of the tour included being allowed to go up to the high altar. The Cathedral itself was beautiful! Bright and airy, with all the trademark features of Gothic cathedrals. It felt like I was back in Germany or England.

After we left the Cathedral, we walked down 5th Avenue toward the Empire State Building. In my previous NYC trips, I went to to the top of the Empire State Building and the Top of the Rock at night - I'd never seen the city like that by day. I was quite surprised that the line wasn't bad at all, and so we made it to the observation deck without too much delay. Wow! The Big Apple is beautiful! I loved seeing all the amazing architecture, including the Chrysler Building, the new Freedom Tower, and the Statue of Liberty off in the distance. 
Makes me think of "Sleepless in Seattle"

After a quick lunch, we walked up to Central Park and wandered around the lush green space for a while. It was such a warm day! We soon decided to return to our hotel (by way of Starbucks and a frappachino) to get cleaned up for our next big adventure - Wicked!

After showering and changing, we walked back toward Times Square and the Gershwin Theater, where Wicked is showing. We got there early enough for some photos - I wanted to try to recreate the Wicked poster, but we weren't too successful. :) Regardless, we had fun and then entered the theater to find our seats. We'd both seen Wicked before elsewhere, but nothing can compare to seeing it on Broadway! Our seats were great, and the show was incredible! Neither of us wanted it to be over. 

After the show, we continued the happy vibes by grabbing dinner at Ellen's Stardust Diner, home of the singing waitstaff. The waiters sing and dance, performing Broadway and oldies songs as they waited tables. It's so much fun! We actually stayed until they closed at midnight before walking back through Times Square to our hotel.

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