Wednesday, August 12, 2015

New York, New York - June 2015

Our first Broadway Play - Gigi on June 4, 2015!

Before I even knew the meaning of "Bucket List", I've always wanted to visit New York City. I remember when I was in high school in the late 1970's that the Arkansas United Methodist Church sponsored a yearly trip for youth group members to New York City during the Thanksgiving holiday. Fours days on a Greyhound bus, staying in a New York City hotel, dinners at Times Square, attending a Broadway Play, and the highlight of the trip, going to the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade! Several of my friends went on the trip but I wasn't able to make it. Once I flew into an airport in NYC, but instead spent the weekend visiting my late husband's sister and her family in Connecticut, who refused to take me "into the city."

Fast forward to spring 2015.  My oldest daughter, Lauren, was about to graduate from college while my youngest daughter, Sara, was about to graduate from high school. I was celebrating 14 years of cancer free remission and I began thinking about planning a summer trip as a graduation gift to both girls. When Lauren graduated from high school and Sara completed middle school in May 2011, we attended the Glee!Live Concert Tour in Chicago.

Glee VIP Reception - June 4, 2011

Long Story Short - Both girls graduated in May, we celebrated Mother's Day, Sara danced in her Senior Dance Recital and Lauren landed a new job out of state. And Sara and I planned our trip to New York City!

How To Do New York City In Five Days

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

We flew on American Airlines from Little Rock, with a stop at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport, and arrived at the LaGuardia Airport in New York City before 1:30 EST. By booking a Vacation Package online through Expedia Travel Services, I received a discount on both the plane and hotel charges. After taking a taxi cab from the airport, Sara and I arrived at our hotel, the Pearl Hotel near Times Squares. Our hotel was located next door to the Ambassador Theatre where Grammy award winner Brandy was starring as Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago and across the street from the Eugene O'Neill Theatre currently playing The Book of Mormon. As Taylor Swift sings...Welcome To New York!

We spent our first day in New York City exploring Times Square, napping in the hotel and eating dinner at Applebee's at 10:00 pm!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

We woke up early to attend a live broadcast of our favorite news show, the Today Show on NBC.

Today Show anchors -
Carson Daly (holding Wrangler's dog leash, Savannah Guthrie,
Matt Lauer & Al Roker (backs to camera)

Sara took this picture of me by the NBC Studios in Rockefeller Center.
Shortly after we took this picture, I saw NBC Nightly News Anchor Lester Holt
walking across the street!

Later that night, we went to our first Broadway play, Gigi, starring High School Musical alum Vanessa Hudgens. Turns out we attended the only performance that Vanessa missed because she was sick. Her understudy, Hannah Florence, did an amazing job and we really enjoyed the musical.

Billboard for Broadway Musical Gigi in Times Square

On the way back to our hotel, Sara received a text message from a friend who lives in Chicago and was also visiting New York City with his school group. We met Sara's friend and one of his classmates in Times Square. I convinced all three of them to walk a couple of blocks to the Belasco Theatre where Darren Criss of Glee was starring in the role of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. We all saw Darren when he exited out the stage door a few minutes later and I was able to get his autograph on a photo that was taken of him with Lauren, Sara and I at a previous event.

Darren Criss signing autographs after his performance on June 4, 2015
in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway

Friday, June 5, 2015

We slept in that morning and around noon rode the subway from our hotel to New York University (NYU) and Washington Square Park. Special thanks to the hotel staff who gave us step by step directions to the subway! That evening we met one of Sara's friends that lives in New York City at the Plaza and then we attended the 8:00 performance of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

One of Sara's friends who lives in New Jersey met us at our hotel and we rode the subway to the New York Yankees game against the Los Angeles Angels. Yankees won 8 - 2! And on the way back to our hotel we met actress/singer Brandy!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Our last day in New York was spent walking around Time Square and watching production crew set up at Radio City Music Hall, site of the 2015 Tony Awards, which was going to be held live later that day!

Early that evening we arrived on time for our flight to back to Little Rock with a short stop in Chicago. With the threat of storms, our flight from New York City was delayed for several hours, which meant we missed our connecting flight in Chicago. We were put on a flight to Little Rock on Monday morning and slept on cots in the Chicago O'Hare Airport!

Sara eating a donut in "Cotland" at the Chicago O'Hare Airport
late on June 7, 2015!

Sara and I both had a great time on our trip to New York City. She was able to see friends she met in previous summer programs and camps, we saw our favorite Today Show anchors in person, enjoyed two Broadway Musicals, talked to Darren Criss, ate in great restaurants, and attended a professional baseball game!

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