But we had a purpose in the tween’s Broadway Artists Alliance two-week program and a drive to enjoy the city to the fullest extent. With the experience of our previous visits, we no longer felt the need to hit the tourist places, but instead to experience the city life and to try new things.
Tween had a wonderful time at BAA, honing her performance skills with some illustrious Broadway faculty. Her favorite moment was practicing her song “Lamest Place in the World” by singing directly to Adam Kantor — of RENT fame. Our favorite was seeing her monologue in the final showcase, which she delivered perfectly. Truly, I found the showcase for parents and industry astonishing, in that every one of those kids was fantastic. There was one boy who sang well but looked nervous, which just reinforced for me how amazing it was that seventy kids under fifteen years old performed well and with confidence.
Teen and I had a blast exploring the city. We often feel like best friends, but even more so on this trip where we were really travel buddies. Together we’d figure out what we wanted to do, we each made compromises for each other, helped soothe over each other’s cranky spells, and looked to find the humor in things. We walked until our feet hurt. We shopped, but bought very little. We laughed a lot, and treated ourselves to cupcakes, cookies, and chocolates as needed.
Saks, Tiffany’s, FAO Schwarz, Apple, Prada, and American Girl. At Bond No. 9 we decided on our signature scents and wished we could be “job creators.” We went to the American Museum of Natural History, Museum of Modern Art, Tenement Museum, and the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens. Teen toured Columbia University (and loved it — oh, no...), New York University (great film studies program) and NBC Studios (possible future page postion). Teen and I took a dance class at BAA with Tyrick Jones, watched Broadway in Bryant Park, and toured the New York Public Library.
We saw RENT off-Broadway, and would have liked it better if our seats hadn’t been so bad. Teen and I saw Avenue Q, which was funny, brilliant, and quite raunchy for a show with puppets. We all went to see two Broadway plays, Catch Me if You Can — which was fun — and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying — which was ridiculously entertaining, especially Daniel Radcliffe, who was working as hard as I’ve ever seen an actor work. No phoning it in for this kid. Look at him dance:
Over the two weeks the family sampled street fairs and sample sales, gelato and gyros, the Strand and the High Line, Rockerfeller Center and Fort Tryon Park. Our home base for the first week was a friend’s apartment in the peaceful, lovely, birdsong-filled Washington Heights. We spent the second week in my cousin’s place in the accessible, lively, city-at-your doorstep East Village. There was no drive to purchase “souvenirs,” but we bought books, sundresses, fun jewelry, and feathers for our hair. (It’s a thing!) Breakfast meant bagels, and we had our favorite dollar-a-slice pizza place to nosh after class. We knew which direction to turn on the grid of city streets. The subway lines began to make sense.
Which meant it was time to come home and recover from becoming New Yorkers. The detox took about a week, and while I don’t miss the stench of the subway platforms or the steady drip of condensation from a thousand air conditioners, I can’t wait to go back. In fact, I kinda want to live there. Who knew?
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