“In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made, oh
There’s nothing you can’t do, now you’re in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you, let’s hear it for New York
New York, New York.”
~Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, “Empire State of Mind”
Life continues to be difficult, draining, and nightmarish, but yesterday was a much needed distraction from that, and I’m excited to finally have something cheerful to write about on here. It was my sister’s twenty-third birthday, and in lieu of a family celebration like normal – just too difficult this year – she decided that she wanted to spend the day in New York. One of my favorite things about The Big Apple is that it’s like its own world, a snow globe of inspiration and energy, so I was more than happy to go with her and spend the day ensconced in Manhattan’s magic. There really is no other place like it.
After the most bizarre coincidence ever (finding myself face-to-face with my fifth and sixth grade teacher the second I stepped off the train at Penn Station – we both did SUCH a double take!), we headed to Bryant Park to take in its sights and sounds on what was easily the most beautiful weather day I’ve ever had in NYC. The sky was the color of robin’s egg blue, and the sunbeams bounced off the buildings with such intensity that it was nearly blinding. Bea-u-tiful. So was Bryant Park, although it was much smaller than I imagined. Carousels are always fun, though, and we got a good laugh out of this sign. The birds, they are a-following me!
Next up was Mr. Softee (best. soft serve. ever.) and Rockefeller Plaza, probably my very favorite place in the entire city. There’s something really special about it – hustle and bustle mixed with serenity, this atmosphere that comes alive with all the colors in the flags. Simon & Schuster being a five minute walk away? Added bonus! It doesn’t matter how many times I see different publishing companies in New York, it always, always, always engulfs me in a starburst of inspiration and excitement. And, just when I think it’s impossible for me to feel even more passionate about writing than I already do, it reminds me that lines cross over into the possible all the time. Being in such a publishing mecca only makes me fall in love with the industry even more. It has my heart, and it’ll never let go. That’s what my dreams are made of so completely.
Then there’s Times Square – so easy to see why it’s called the Crossroads of the World – and Broadway. How can you not fall in love with their magic? We’d been hoping to see Anything Goes, but tickets were sold out, so we decided on Memphis instead. I didn’t know much about the show beforehand, but I enjoyed it and so did Marissa. The dancing was fun, the singing was stellar, and the rhythm of the beat was so infectious that you couldn’t help tapping along. Such fun, as was running to the Gershwin to buy a second Wicked shirt and going to dinner at our favorite Olive Garden, the one overlooking the center of Times Square. How can you beat that?
Getting away for the day was like medicine for the soul, and even though everything going on at home was never far from our thoughts, we still had a lovely day. Marissa really enjoyed her birthday, I really enjoyed spending it with her, and we both really enjoyed one of the world’s most spectacular cities. I say this frequently, but it’s true: that place sparkles with light and life. The air is alive with possibility and potential, and it grips you in its embrace so completely. Like the shirts say, I Heart NYC.
How about you? Have you ever been to the City That Never Sleeps? What’s your favorite part?