New York City Amazing!

I stood outside Columbia University with my suitcase. My mind was cloudy, my stomach sick and my eyes filled with tears. A black car pulled up and popped the trunk. I handed the man my suitcase and climbed in the backseat alone not fully understanding what I was feeling. I didn’t know saying good-bye would hurt so much. Or I did know and refused to face it. Either way it was happening and I was on my way home without my daughter. But that’s a blog for another day. Let me start at the happy beginning where mother and daughter arrive in New York City eager to explore and see Broadway shows.

We arrived at the Sheraton Thursday afternoon. Police with bomb sniffing dogs strolled the lobby. President Obama was going to arrive in a few hours. Perfect, we had enough time to eat and then get back for a picture of the President.

I took a step outside and felt the anxiety rush over me. I had forgotten about city life. Shoulder to shoulder with strangers, trying to scan the sidewalks and streets for large bumps that might catch Arielle off guard, lights flashing, sirens and horns blaring. I was studying our location and making sure I knew how to get back. We moved with the crowd. The sky was gray; misty rain dripped down on us. We were in another world far from our sunny, pedestrian-free Cape Coral.

Arielle found TKTS and I thought why not? We already had tickets to Spiderman, Catch Me if You Can, and Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, but we didn’t have plans for Thursday night. Book of Mormon – no luck. We were able to get half price tickets to Mamma Mia and bonus – I knew all the music!

Planet Hollywood was close. We ate and then made our way back to the Sheraton. It was packed with police and onlookers hoping to get a glimpse of President Obama. One thing I love about New York City is that people talk to one another. It’s perfectly acceptable to strike up a conversation with a stranger on the street or in a restaurant. We waited and waited and learned about the lives of those around us but never saw the President. Oh well, we had a show to get to.

I am teased mercilessly for having been in musicals and not wanting to watch musicals. I am not the fan that my daughter is. She can spout off actors names, what they played in, if they’ve won awards and probably their favorite foods. I prefer plays to musicals especially thought provoking dramas. But this trip was for Arielle’s senior year and my only request was to see Robin Williams in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. Mama Mia was the perfect musical to begin our trip. Up-beat and fun the crowd danced and sang. I especially enjoyed the comedic acting of Stacia Fernandez, Lisa Brescia and Jennifer Perry. And then there was Jordan Dean… well, when he took his shirt off…

Friday morning by six am. we were at the Today Show to see Bruno Mars. The crowd was unbelievable. We heard Bruno Mars but could only see him through a small television screen the crew set up. Ann Curry had such a compassionate presence and she took the time to hug fans and pose for pictures. I got a glimpse into their world and saw how overwhelming it must be to have so many people snapping pictures, calling your name, and asking for autographs – every day of the week all year long.

After the Today Show taping my head was pounding. Traveling and lack of coffee had caught up to me. But we were in the city for only ninety six hours. I had to keep going. We made our way to Macy’s and spent our afternoon shopping. Then it was back to the hotel to get ready for Spiderman.

Arielle spouted off facts about Spiderman and Reeve Carney as we sat waiting for the show to begin. I was excited to hear U2’s music. A lifetime ago when I was in high school I jumped in a car with two friends for a road-trip to Philadelphia. The words U2 or BUST written on the windows.

Spiderman was incredible! It reminded me of a rock concert. Then there was the flying – wow! It’s an experience as much as it is a show. I loved it. Of course we had to wait outside for autographs afterwards. Reeve Carney posed for a picture with Arielle and I think that trumped everything else we had done so far on the trip.

Saturday’s agenda began with a tour of the Empire State building and sky ride, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, and then a late lunch at Lindy’s. Several wheelchair related dramas combined with the intensity of the play left Arielle and I a bit emotional at lunch (more about that in the next blog). We couldn’t talk about the play or the events leading to the play because the wounds were too fresh and we needed to lift ourselves up and enjoy the rest of the day. We had four hours until Catch Me if You Can so I suggested we take a peek at the Harry Potter Exhibit that happened to be right across the street. As we were making our way out of the restaurant I heard someone call my name. I turned and couldn’t believe it! A. H., a teacher I taught with at Edison Park was standing there smiling at me. We hadn’t seen each other in years and now here we both were in New York City! She too was having a mother-daughter weekend seeing Broadway shows. Amazing!

Catch Me if You Can blew me away. The talent of Aaron Tveit (another name I’ve heard a lot about), Tom Wopat and Norbert Leo Butz was as mouth dropping as Jordon Dean’s body. If you’re still reading this, I thought that would be more interesting than simply writing – awesome. Oh and thank you for still reading.

Aaron Tveit posed for a picture with Arielle and she was still smiling and talking about him Sunday morning while we prepared for our adventure to Columbia University.

We climbed in a cab and drove uptown to 116 and Amsterdam. Arielle was quiet. She was as nervous as I was. Parents and students with suitcases and cameras lined the sidewalk below us. At the far end of the giant stone stairway was a long metal ramp. Thank goodness. Ramps always make me happy. A kind man with a Columbia University shirt helped us with our bags. Blue and white balloons waved in the wind welcoming students. Arielle was quiet. They handed her the keys to her dorm. When we got off the elevator we were greeted by two smiling RA’s who had decorated the dorm area in a 70’s theme. Arielle’s name was written on a record that hung on her door. I helped her unpack and then we went off to explore Riverside Park and ate at an Indian Cafe. Delicious. I bought her some Wd40 for her wheels and extra towels and stopped for more pictures inside the University gates. Our mother-daughter New York City trip had come to an end and now it was time for Arielle to begin her college camp experience. I told her how proud I was of her and if she needed me for anything I’d be there in… three or four hours. We laughed. I picked up my suitcase and gave her one last hug.

As I stepped outside the building I saw a student collecting the balloons that had welcomed us. He let a few go. I watched as they drifted away. One more year until she graduates. One more year.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. elena
    Jun 27, 2011 @ 21:25:34

    Sounds like a fantastic time!!!!


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The Picture Book Review

Reviews of Children's Board Books, Picture Books, Activity Books, and Graphic Novels

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