“I wanna wake up in a city
That doesn’t sleep
And find I’m king of the hill
Top of the heap”
~New York, New York
Ever since I heard the music of Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman’s Original London cast of Phantom of the Opera released in 1986, I’ve wanted to see it on Broadway. My Mom promised me that someday we would go to New York and see a Broadway show, I was twelve.
Growing up I dreamed of New York, wanting to see the Statue of Liberty in person, to really grasp her size and the enormous effort and symbolism in erecting her. I wanted to experience the hustle and bustle of Times Square and see the city lights at night, that New York Skyline…..and… of course The Phantom on Broadway..
In February 2011 my maternal Grandmother passed away leaving my Mom with strict instructions to purchase the Amish quilt she had always wanted. The condition was she had to travel to Pennsylvanian, to Amish country and pick it out.
In 2013 my Mom and I booked tickets to New York for 5 days, opera tickets, and a flight and two day stay in Pennsylvania to pick out her Quilt, (I’ll save that leg of the trip for another blog) We took the opportunity to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ and fulfill promises and dreams..
We arrived at LaGuardia and caught our first New York Taxi ride to our hotel. My eyes grew two times that day and didn’t go back to normal the entirety of the trip.
We stayed in an classy hotel called ‘The Belvedere’, just two blocks from Time Square in mid-town Manhattan. The 3-Star hotel, built in the 1920’s didn’t seem big from the outside… As we drove up to the entrance, I noticed it was guarded by golden eagles and gargoyles along the ledge of the brick building. The inside adorned in 1920’s Art Deco, gave off a warm, welcoming feeling. It was a very nice hotel at a great price. I highly recommend the stay here. The Belvedere
Our night at the opera was the moment we had been dreaming of for years. Half the fun was getting ready and dressed up for the occasion with my Mom. The Phantom was playing at the Majestic Theater, again only a few minutes from our hotel. The Majestic Theater, built in 1927, was everything we had hoped it would be. The perfect backdrop for the Phantom.
See video for more history and photos of the Majestic here.
I was surprised to see that we were among the few that were dressed appropriately for an evening at the Opera. I’ve always been raised to get dressed up for plays, even in our town.. A sign on the window of the Majestic read; Matinées casual dress, Evening, formal. It was a packed theater and the majority of the people were wearing Jeans and t-shirts or shorts. My Mom and I both felt fabulous and had the time of our lives!
We visited the Empire states building, Grand Central Station and Time Square. We were hoping to visit Ellis Island however it was still closed from damage caused by hurricane Sandy. Liberty Island required a months advanced reservation that we were unaware of when we planned the trip however, we were able to take a boat around NY, taking us passed Ellis Island, the Statue, the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge. The captain filled us with rich history throughout the entire cruise. It was worthwhile in our opinions since our options to see to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island were limited, it was the best alternative. It was a bit chilly on the Hudson in September, I’m glad I bought a sweatshirt at the Empire Store before we went!
It wasn’t until after we confirmed our trip dates that we realized we would be in New York during the anniversary of 9/11. It was important to us that we visit Ground Zero during our stay, but being there during the anniversary would be emotional and crowded. We decided to go the day before and I can only liken this experience to the reverence and sadness I felt at the Arizona Memorial. It was a somber place, as I’m sure most can imagine… Reading the names on the infinity pools, to see the remains of one of the towers enclosed behind glass. It was humbling. Knowing we stood where 2,606 souls had been lost, it left a heaviness in my chest… I did find a sense of peace being able to pay my respects. I’d like to return and see the progress of rebuilding that has been made since we were there.
For two ladies born and raised in the Inland Northwest, our trip to New York was a dream come true, and has left a Mother and Daughter with many wonderful memories and a desire to go back!
Have you ever been to New York? What were your experiences? Leave me a comment below and be sure to subscribe to read the second part of the trip to Pennsylvania!
Until Next time…
`Spread Your Wings!