I still have to unpack and I have no pics yet, but we had an amazing trip.
Traveling was an adventure. LAX desperately needs to update their space to make sense of it all, and when we got to JFK, we had to wait nearly 2 hours just to get our shuttle to the City, but it was all so worth it.
That first night, we met up with family (some who live there, some who were also on vacation) and took the kids to FAO Schwartz. Sylvia and Riley each got to pick a gift and we saw their Big Piano Show, which was pretty impressive.
We then went window shopping at Bergdorf's and stopped to admire the tree at the Plaza, and then the girls got a hot dog from the vendor - which Riley thinks is one of the coolest things ever. But it was pretty cold that night so we opted for a cab back to the hotel to warm up.
Thursday, we got our subway passes and headed to Rockefeller Center. A friend had arranged for us to bypass the line and we went ice skating with our cousins and had a blast! Riley was very unsteady at the start, but an hour into it, she was off and skating all by herself. She was so proud - and adorable!
After lunch, we took our first trip into Times Square. I totally love Times Square - but MAN, there were a lot of people! And every day that passed, there were more and more. I can only imagine what it's like on New Year's Eve...and have no desire to experience that.
Xmas Day, we went to Radio City Music Hall to see their Christmas show - aptly entitled Spectacular! I felt my stomach expand just watching the Rockettes - it's like watching a Busby Berkeley movie unfold before you. We really loved the show.
We enjoyed a more simple dinner that night, and had tons of fun just hanging out together.
Saturday was Broadway Day - but not without its price. I decided to do some laundry and when I was in the elevator, we heard this clamoring and all looked up to see if the roof of the elevator was about to cave! Needless to say, we all got off. For the rest of that morning, there were only 2 elevators working, and I ended up walking down 30 flights of stairs - three times. I fought my way into elevators for going up!
But eventually, it was time to head out to In the Heights, the girls' first Broadway show. And we loved it! While the understudy for Usnavi (the lead) was disappointingly stiff, the dancing and singing was still incredible. And there were a few cast members from the original recording that we know and love in the show, including Priscilla Lopez, an original cast member from A Chorus Line. It was a great first Broadway experience. I cried at the curtain call.
Although, I got annoyed in the lobby after the show when I overheard one blond woman say it's like an updated West Side Story. The story is NOTHING like West Side Story. The only similarity is that the characters are Latinos.
After the show, we took the girls to One Shubert Alley and Riley picked all these director's items as souvenirs, while Sylvia opted for a bag with the comedy and tragedy faces (she's SO like I was at her age). The very nice man there had a great pizza recommendation, so we went there for dinner and it was perfect.
We then headed to our second Broadway Day show. The girls' cousin worked on Bye Bye Birdie and got us tickets. There was some issue, and we ended up being moved from the mezzanine to the 4th row orchestra! The show was fun. At intermission, I chatted with a woman, who ended up being John Stamos' mother! I was sad we didn't get to see Gina Gershon, but Riley especially loved Bill Irwin. I cried at the curtain call.
On Sunday, we went to see the Statue of Liberty. The line for the ferry was nearly 2 hours long, and it was very cold, but the girls were excited to be there. Then I stood in line for another hour and a half at TKTS and successfully got a ticket to Next to Normal. The girls stayed with my parents that night when I went to the musical. I was SO excited to see the entire original cast, and loved loved loved the show. I cried for about half the show, and as the lights came up for the curtain call, we in the audience jumped to our feet to thank the cast for such an extraordinary night in the theatre. And I continued to cry. I was glad I had the innermost seat in my row so I could take time to collect myself before leaving the theatre.
Through the crowds, I practically floated back to the hotel from my theatre high. My parents and I enjoyed some wine before calling it a night.
Our last full day in NY, we went to visit my cousin in Staten Island and he gave us a mini-tour of the island before we went to his place for some wine and cheese. We then went back to Manhattan and visited Ground Zero and the small museum they've set up. Riley got a messenger bag with the Towers. We ended up having dinner at the Standard, which was nice and warm. It was REALLY cold in the area that night!
After that, I left the girls with my parents again to meet a friend of mine from high school. I hadn't seen him in nearly two decades, but as soon as we saw each other, it was like no time had passed. We've been keeping up with each other on FB so we could skip a lot of the catch-up and just dive in. We went to this club that has Musical Mondays. They show clips of Broadway musicals on a ton of screens, and it was pretty much heaven for me! We sang along, danced, and drank aplenty! I fit right in with my friend's friends and the rest of the crowd with my otherwise useless knowledge of all things Broadway. It was so much fun.
But it was hard to get up the next day. We had to get an early start, and made it to the airport with no hiccups...only to have our flight delayed by nearly 3 hours in all.
There was a newsstand at our gate, and Riley befriended the woman working there. Riley helped her stock the shelves and they chatted for a long time.
And then we finally got to board the plane and head home. I could not wait to put on my iPod and relive Next to Normal and In the Heights. But once I was done, I was restless to get home. I couldn't sleep, couldn't focus on my book, and whined to the girls, "I'm bored! Are we there yet?"
Thankfully, our luggage was the first on the concourse, our shuttle was right there, and we got in the car rather quickly. My parents were perfectly understanding when I just wanted to get our bags in our car and go home already.
It was a great trip. The girls were so well-behaved, and my parents and I really enjoyed each other's company and we all relished every moment.
Of course, the last day, we thought of so many things we didn't get to do this trip, but we did all the things that were most important to us, and most excited to show the girls. And while it was cold, it was bearable and I was grateful there were no snowstorms during our trip!
And now I have to unpack and get quarters for yet MORE laundry and get some milk in the house. But first I had to indulge the need to re-live the trip. And of course, I've got Next to Normal playing. But this time, I'm not crying. I'm just glowing!!