At the end of September, I had a fantastic opportunity to attend a First Descents rock climbing camp in upstate New York. Camp was amazing, (as usual, but I'll post on that later), but before camp I decided to spend a few days in good old NYC. I had never been there before and was excited to wander around by myself.
While riding the bus into the city from the airport, I met Richard Berman, a PR guru who used to write for NBC Nightly News. He gave me a must-see list of places to visit as well as his son's phone number, insisting we meet up because, "He's gay and those gays know all the good places around town." (I did call him, we had lunch, he was a great guy.)
I spent the majority of my time in the city on Broadway. While I wasn't a huge fan of Times Square (too much touristy yuck), I loved going to see shows. The day I flew in I saw, "First Date: The Musical," starring Zachary Levi and Krysta Rodriguez.
The show was a lot of fun and the leads were both fantastic. I hung out at the stage door because I had heard that Zachary Levi puts on a pretty good show for his fans each night: dancing, singing, the whole bit. He didn't disappoint!
I woke up early the next morning and went on a run through Central Park. 5 miles later (didn't gauge my distance very well...), I made it back home, got ready and headed to one of my must- sees: The New York Public Library. It was magical. After seeing pictures and movies so many times, it was so cool to actually be there. I sat in the Rose Main Reading Room for a good half hour, just praying & thinking. As much as I love Grant and little Willister, it was so nice to experience this wonderful place all alone.
Then, that afternoon I went to The Glass Menagerie starring Zachary Quinto and Cherry Jones (think President Taylor from 24). It was fantastic. Quite a different crowd than First Date (I think I was the youngest by a good 30 years :)
I finished off my last night before camp by visiting the World Trade Center Memorial. Wow. What a powerful and sacred place. It was dusk when I finally got to the site, a perfect time to take it all in, to reflect, and shed a tear or two for such a great loss. The memorial wasn't at the top of my list when I came to the city but I was so incredibly grateful that I was able to experience it.
When I got back from camp I had 36 hours in NYC before I flew back home. I convinced my old roommate and best friend, Suzie, to come up from D.C. to spend some time with me (yay!). We went to the American Museum of Natural History, wandered around Central Park, saw Cinderella on Broadway (so magical!), and went to church in the building that houses both a normal chapel and the Manhattan Temple.
It was a fantastic trip. I felt so empowered and so free by visiting the city alone. I could go wherever I wanted, do whatever I wanted to do, and sit in one spot as long as I darn well pleased. One night, after a late show, I wandered back to where I was staying, going multiple blocks away from the quickest route intentionally. I ended up at Rockefeller Plaza with a Magnolia Bakery Cupcake in hand. I felt so calm, so happy, and so in control of my own destiny (however delusional that idea really is...) There were no schedule nap times to work around, no early wake ups by a crib jumping toddler, and nobody to please but myself.
And while I was so grateful for those moments of clarity, for those opportunities to be myself apart from any other human beings, I knew that it wouldn't be lasting, and that truly, I didn't want it to be. I am a wife, a mother, and a lover of community. By the end of my trip, I was ready to come back home. I was ready to cater to nap times, hot cocoa requests, and "another story mama." I wouldn't have it any other way.