We arrived at LaGuardia Airport on the 15th about 3:00 p.m. I flew in from Houston, my friend from D/FW. We had a bit of a challenge finding each other since we weren’t familiar with the airport – she was down, I was up. However, we finally connected. The information we thought we had on a limo was incorrect, but we found another limo service and were able to get into the city! I loved that ride! The driver was courteous and endeavored to let us know about the sites we were passing.
We settled into our hotel and planned our visit. Then, we acquainted ourselves with the area and noticed a nice café across the street – it looked like a really good breakfast place (and we did, three times.) My daughter’s choir arrived not long after we did. We were all in the same hotel, just across from Carnegie Hall. It was her birthday, and we had hoped to meet for a short time as the choir had a busy agenda. Fortunately, we did coordinate – we joined the choir at a New York pub for a delightful dinner. The next day, we found a nice neighborhood Italian restaurant within walking distance of our hotel and enjoyed at least three meals there – it was good, fast and convenient.
The choir was supposed to practice at least four hours a day before the concert, then students were free to sightsee. My friend and I had separate plans since we were to meet one of her friends who lived in NYC – he and his roommate met us on Saturday morning. Being in Lower Manhattan we were introduced to Chinatown, Little Italy, Greenwich Village and wonderful small shops – we treated ourselves to rice pudding from Rice to Riches and souvenirs from a marvelous little shop called Pylones. In that same afternoon, we accompanied the choir when they went over to St. Paul’s Chapel in Trinity Church and then Ground Zero. This was a subway lesson continuance with all of its challenges. It was fun riding with a group of youngsters. Local entertainers boarded the trains and serenaded the passengers (for a small donation). The subway, though, wasn’t as daunting as I had expected. If I could do the “T” in Boston, I sure could learn the NYC subway!
Snow covered the sidewalks and streets, but we slushed through with great abandon. The cold was fierce in comparison to what we were used to in the south – I loved it, even though my feet were frozen (in spite of the waterproof shoe/boots and wool socks I had worn.) After dinner, on our second full day, we took a detour to walk past a glistening white Central Park. We went past a building that had all of the time zones represented, Tiffany’s (we did not go in, it was after hours), and further up Fifth Avenue to Trump Tower. Finally we took our exhausted selves back to the hotel and collapsed. On the day of the concert, my companion and I visited New York Public Library, Rockefeller Center and the Empire State Building. All the years I had lived in New Jersey and visited NYC, I had not been to the Empire State Building. It was wonderful! The views, of course, were spectacular – the wind, mighty. We had an early dinner and then prepared for the concert.
Another dream of mine came true – a visit to a marvelous auditorium with superb acoustics, Carnegie Hall. More than impressed, I was flabbergasted by the sumptuous interior. Our tickets couldn’t have been better, middle tier, center. Of course, this provided us with a sufficient view of the stage. There was a private vestibule for the hanging of coats behind our seating area, and no more than nine seats in our box. The concert began. Dr. Julia Thorn conducted the choir in singing pieces from Mendelssohn, Orban, Childs and several other composers. It was engaging and enthralling, permitting me an opportunity to be lost in the lilting voices of that choir. I admit to pride – it was so beautiful. The evening was a great success. Although we were to travel the next day, the memories would never leave us. And so, the 19th dawned, our day to return to Texas. All of us were due to leave in the afternoon, but my daughter, friend and I managed to have a breakfast together. It was certainly a joyful time, one that we can never relive, but one that will always be remembered. I <3 New York City!