Saturday, January 13, 2018

New York City Birthday

While everyone in North America was celebrating Thanksgiving Day, my mom and I were celebrating my day of birth. We had a lovely breakfast at a local restaurant and then walked up the New York block to watch the famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I had a panic attack that you can read about here. Once we escaped the crowd back to the top to the street that we started on, we found a place to stand among some very nice people who took pity on me, the crying, on the verge of hyper ventilating birthday girl. Seriously, there were some very sympathetic individuals in attendance of the parade that day. A wonderful British woman who had a camera set up, talked to me and even called me "brave" for going to the parade. She offered to let me stand next to her and let me find all my escape routes. Another older gentleman let my mom stand next me even though his wife kept complaining that she couldn't see.

The parade was not my favorite. To be honest, I think parades are kind of boring. No offense to New York City or Macy's. I was really hoping there would be a Bart Simpson balloon, sadly there wasn't. 

 I kept an eye on that police officer in the lower right hand corner. Just in case my panic attack revisited, I wanted a man of the law to help me.
 Our view wasn't too bad.
 This is the photo I snapped after my panic attack, however, I want to point out the decorative button that I sported that day. It reads, "Happy Birthday To Me". I bought it myself from Party City for $4 and it was the best money I spent. All day everyone I came in contact with said 'happy birthday' to me. I loved it! I even got sang to by the employees where my mom and I bought my cupcake. I liked it so much, I wore it the next day too!
 All the balloons that make an appearance are blown up the day before and some of the roads have to be closed off to store them.
 The kids we were standing next to went nuts for this balloon.
 The star of the parade, the Macy's Star.

 No Bart Simpson, but there was an Angry Bird.
 I do love Charlie Brown.
My mom and I left before the parade officially ended. Her phone died, I needed to re-apply make-up and catch my breath so we headed back to our hotel so that we could get ready for a day of sight-seeing  but not before stopping at Starbucks so that I could get my FREE birthday drink.
 Our first stop was St. Patrick's Cathedral. It was stunning! We went inside and it was just as beautiful as the outside. There was a mass going on so we didn't venture too far.
 Across from the cathedral is the bronze Atlas statue which depicts the Ancient Greek Titan, Atlas, holding the heavens.
 Saks Fifth Avenue window displays had a fairytale theme. Mostly of Snow White but a few other princesses were represented as well. Truly creative.
 The Waldorf Astoria
 Grand Central Terminal
 Flag inside Grand Central Terminal
 New York City is so magical at Christmas time. Everywhere you look, there is holiday decorations.

How beautiful (and giant) are these succulents! They were all over the city.

Not pictured: My mom and I enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at the New York City deli across from our hotel. Really delicious! Also, we stopped by Juniors (restaurant) and although they are said to have the BEST cheesecake, we picked up a birthday cupcake to eat at the end of the day.

 My favorite part of the day was going to Radio City Music Hall, taking a tour and then watching the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular.

 This is the 35-foot Christmas tree made of Swarovski Crystals centered in the lobby. It is breathtaking!
 During the tour we went to a viewing area where we watch a few minutes of the show already in production. Santa walked right past us!
 These are past costumes used in the show.

 Willam Zorach's sculpture "Spirit of the Dance".
 A different view of the Swarovski Tree.
During the tour, we met one of the Rockettes and our group had a little Q&A session, then we all had the opportunity to take a picture with her. Her name is Shelby, she is from South Carolina, she is 22-years old. 2017 was her second season as a Rockette. Each dancer MUST audition each year regardless of if they have done the show before. There are two full casts. There are six shows a day and each cast does three. She likened it to a marathon and said that backstage transitions and costume changes are choreographed to keep everything running smoothly.

I also learned that you have to be AT LEAST five foot. six inches to be eligible to audition. So close! I pled with the girl, "Um, I think once you see my kicks, you'll change your mind."

The show really was spectacular. I watched it multiple times on Netflix after our trip. Did you know it is more than just a kick-line? There is a whole story and everything. Live animals make an appearance not to mention multiple Santas.
 After the show we walked around and watched the light show on the Saks Fifth Avenue facade.
 The light show included Christmas music. Hopefully, the video I attached will work.

 We walked through Rockefeller Center where there was beautiful holiday angels and people ice skating.

 The famous tree in Rockefeller Center didn't get lit until a week after our trip so we saw a pre-lit tree.
It was a great birthday! My mom and I split the cupcake after we got back to our hotel and I haven't stopped talking about the whole day with her since.

Susan "I looked everywhere for Jimmy Fallon" B.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

New York City Birthday Day 1

I had a SPECTACULAR 40th birthday! My mom and I went to New York City and crammed in as much tourist sites as possible. The weather was chilly but not unbearable which I am very grateful for. One of my coldest moments happened in New York City on New Years in 2001, in the middle of Time Square. This visit was a bit warmer.

Last time I went to NYC, it was December 2001, three months after 9/11. The city was still in shambles, there was debris in the streets and a thin layer of ash coated some of the city. The parking meters were melted and broken and ground zero looked like a construction site haunted by a solemn spirit. One of the first places my mom and I visited was the Memorial. It was breath taking. Absolutely.

Freedom Tower
Skylight of the World Trade Center
Freedom Tower

Our first day was spent on a hop-on hop-off bus tour. I highly recommend utilizing these tours in any city. You get to see a lot and learn about it and someone else does the driving.

  Here is the Wall Street Bull, aka Charging Bull. It's a little hard to see through the bus rails.
Trinity Church
It's near the 9/11 Memorial. The first time I saw Ground Zero, I had to stand in a line that wrapped through the streets and passed by this church. It has an old Gothic cemetery on the grounds.
 The Washington Bridge
 Smith and Wollensky Steakhouse
 Flags at Rockefeller Center
 Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center pre-lighting ceremony
Madison Square Garden
 LDS Temple
 The Apollo
 The Metropolitan. Can you just see Blair eating yogurt on the steps?
 Carnegie Hall

Susan "Concrete Jungle" B.