Hello, New York!
Yup, that was the next stop on my JEXIT itinerary. My original flight from Atlanta got cancelled because of bad weather conditions in New York. I didn’t complain. The only aggravation for me was that the delay caused me to miss an important appointment that I had made, but I managed to get it rescheduled to a day later so it still worked out in the end. So, I was supposed to travel on Sunday but instead I arrived in New York on Monday evening the week before Christmas to visit my aunt and family there. She’s my favourite aunt and one of my favourite people in the world so it was a no-brainer that she would be included in JEXIT.
Auntie picked me up from the airport on Monday night. It was cold but I was prepared. I had started layering up back in Atlanta so when I got to New York, I simply added 2 more layers and dove into the lovely cold. Back at her house, my aunt fed me the Sunday dinner that my cancelled flight had tried to keep me from then, after catching up for a while, I called it a day.
On Tuesday morning, I jumped head first into the New York City Transit system. I hopped on a bus 2 blocks down from Auntie’s house, which took me to the subway station, where I hopped on a train to the Upper East Side of Manhattan so I could keep my re-scheduled appointment. The last part of my journey included a 15 minute walk across 4 blocks and up 6 more and I was running a little late so I hustled as quickly as I could from the 86th Street station to make it in time.
I got done with my appointment before noon and decided to take my time and wander around the neighbourhood a little bit. As far as I know, I’ve never been on the Upper East Side of New York City except through The Jeffersons. As I walked along, heading back in the general direction of 86th Street and Lexington Avenue, I took in the doormen and the posh apartment buildings and I saw why George and Weezie moved on up. I didn’t do much more than people-watch for the rest of that first day in New York, but more on that in another post.
On Wednesday morning, I got up and decided that I would be going to see The Rockettes’ 11 am show. I’ve always wanted to see their Christmas show but I never have. I’ve either not been in New York at Christmastime or I’ve been too cheap to spring for a ticket. But if the past couple of years of my life have taught me anything, it’s that money spent on experiences is worth far more, dollar for dollar, than money spent on material things. So I got online and bought a last minute ticket then happily plunged into the cold New York morning. This time I got off the train at the 42nd Street station and walked 8 blocks, past Bryant Park and NCB Studios, to Radio City Music Hall, the home of the Rockettes.
I settled into my mezzanine seat and prepared to be dazzled. The Rockettes did not disappoint; their show really is spectacular. As they high-kicked their way into my heart and delighted me with their use of lighting and images, I went with them on a magical journey through New York a Christmas time. There was skating on the pond in Central Park, a sightseeing bus ride, a gift shopping trip to the mall, a side trip to Santa’s workshop in the North Pole, and even a living nativity with real camels, sheep and a donkey. They even had giant radio-controlled snowflakes drifting over the audience at one point. People, if you haven’t seen the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular, you need to go see it next time you’re in New York City at Christmastime.
As I left the theatre with a big, goofy grin on my face, I was already pleased with how my morning had turned out. I wandered over to Rockefeller Centre and watched people ice skate then I walked past the Today Show window (it was early afternoon so no-one was there) and back onto 6th Avenue. I briefly stopped for a quick fast food lunch then I went right back out into the cold (it was 35 degrees) and walked a couple of blocks over to Broadway. My plan was simple – walk down the street past the numerous theatres and see which one had something playing with last minute tickets that were affordable. I hit the jackpot.
What was I supposed to do? There was a giant, flashing yellow sign saying “Get Lion King Tickets Here” so I obeyed the people. I walked on over and got myself a last minute ticket to see the Lion King for two-thirds the regular price. Score! My seat was a few rows back from the stage (score again!) and I sat down literally one minute before they turned out the lights and started the show.
It. Was. BRILLIANT!
This show is a work of art. It really is. It’s like the biggest puppet show on earth. How they’ve brought the story to life is simply phenomenal. They’ve even found creative ways to bring the grass and plant life of savannahs of the African plains to life on a stage in New York City. This show deserves every single award that it has won. Every one.
I left that theatre with another big, goofy grin on my face, so happy with the timing of my decision to wander over to Broadway. I had been wanting to see The Lion King for years, but again my cheapness had hindered me and I’m glad I was able to have this wonderful experience.
By this time, the day was done, it was dark outside and all I wanted to do was go home and revel in the great experiences I had that day. So I walked back to the 42nd Street station, still with that goofy grin, hopped on my train and headed home.
I went to bed that night supremely satisfied with how my time in New York was unfolding and decided that I needed to get one more thing checked off my New York list the next day.