Let me just start by thanking the person responsible for me taking this trip of a lifetime to New York City. (He loves it when I post pictures of him like this!)
Hon, I can't thank you enough for this trip being possible financially AND for your willingness to play Mom and Dad for four days. I know that you are one of a kind and that I am the luckiest gal to have you. I love, love, love you! I went on this trip April 24-27.
It was supposed to be that my two sisters-in-law and I meet up in Chicago and then fly together to NY. Monica and I made it, but Kristy's flight had all kinds of problems and she didn't get to New York until a long, full day of airports and flying and being rerouted through Dallas. Monica and I had an enjoyable evening walking around Times Square and eating dinner. We ate at a yummy little Italian place called Da Marino Ristorante Italiano. I had a great tomato and mozzarella salad and some pasta with traditional sauce and Monica had some delicious Pollo Francese (chicken in a lemon butter wine sauce.)
This picture of the Empire State Building is all LEGOS, inside the Toys R Us store in Times Square. There were all kinds of neat, huge things built out of Legos. Some other Toys R Us pictures follow.
Kristy finally arrived around 9 p.m. Monica was also having a friend join us who knows New York really well. She didn't arrive until about 6:30 Friday morning. She took a red-eye from Utah and was exhausted. While she slept briefly, we went and ate breakfast. The four of us then went out and ended up walking through Central Park. It is a beautiful park--and huge!
There were probably 30 taxi's all driving by at once! Not just Central Park, but the whole city was beautiful with spring flowers all in bloom.
We met an old man who decided to walk with us and find out all about us and being a Manhattan native, had lots to tell us about New York and his life. He was on his way to The Boathouse for breakfast and we said goodbye to him there.
This is Marci and the man we met in the park.
We then made our way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art at which point, Monica and her friend, Marci wanted to actually go in and enjoy the art. Kristy and I were anxious to see the city. We high-tailed it back towards the center of town and bought tickets to ride the double decker bus for two days and get as much of the city in as we could. As we made our way back to Times Square, we went to FAO Schwartz Toy Store to check it out. Kristy wanted to play the big piano that was made famous by the movie BIG. We walked through Trump Plaza, went in Tiffany's and checked out the Plaza Hotel. So many famous places and it was fun to be there and to now be able to say "we've been there." It was all a lot of walking, but we enjoyed it.
After we got our tickets for the bus and were waiting for the next one to arrive, we met a man on the street selling baseball caps. He was an interesting guy, but we enjoyed talking with him and "playing along" with his strange views, etc. After he found out Kristy is from Utah and that we were LDS, he informed us that he totally believes in polygamy. We appeased him and made him feel that he knew what he was talking about, but defended ourselves well. This guy was happy to have us call him Patrick the Irish Polygamist. (He's not really a polygamist.) Here's a picture of Kristy with Patrick. We each bought a hat from him.
We finally hopped on the bus and enjoyed our time not walking, but getting to see so much of the city. We finally had a late lunch at a place called Riviera Cafe in Greenwich Village. The salads we had were beautiful, but not that great tasting, but that was the only place we ate at on the trip where we didn't really care for the food.
We walked around a bit, made our way back to the bus and enjoyed being toured back to our hotel where it wasn't long until we had to get ready for the big show--SPAMALOT. I was so excited!
After waiting at the theater for a short time, we were seated and enjoyed being there, talking about Clay, buying pins and buttons and playbills and talking to people next to us. Some ladies informed us, as I explained I wanted to wait outside the stage door to see Clay walk out, that he wasn't doing that the next week or so, but that they were collecting money for Broadway Cares for Kids and by doing so were letting people get their picture taken with Clay for a fee (100% of proceeds to go to the charity). Well, I was so excited about this and had to think about it through the whole show whether Kevin would care if I spent the money for that. Kristy and I decided that we would do it. Now we were even more excited--I was going to get to meet Clay Aiken! I don't know why these things are such a big deal to me, but I just love doing it. Kristy was just as excited as I was.
I cannot tell you how great the show was. Clay played three or four different characters, but his main one was Sir Robin. The show was absolutely hilarious! Five minutes in, my face hurt from laughing and smiling so much, and it stayed that way for the next two hours. You really need to laugh like that in life sometimes. Clay was, of course, amazing in his performances. He transformed a very southern accent (he's from Raleigh, NC) into an amazing English accent. And he sang as only Clay can sing. He fit right in with the whole humor of the show and seemed to me like he was born for Broadway. Although, he has so many talents--singing, now we can say acting and dancing (that's never been his strong point-the dancing, in fact, it's always been a bit of a joke at his concerts), and he's an amazing ambassador for charity, working with UNICEF and his own charity The Bubel/Aiken Foundation for children with learning disabilities. I did not want the show to end--except I knew at the end that I was going to get my picture taken with Clay!
So after the show all the cast members were on stage and Clay talked about the money raising for charity and explained the options for helping, you could get a playbill signed by all the cast for $20 and a few other things like that AND you could get a picture taken with Clay. I wasn't sure I should tell you how much that cost, but it's sort of part of the story. Let me just say that I don't think I would have done it without talking to Kevin if it wasn't for charity. Kristy and I lined up ready to go up on the stage and meet Clay and smile pretty. It was a whirlwind. They (the people) get you in and out very quickly. It was finally our turn. This is how it went. Kristy was on one side of Clay and I was on the other side. He said, "Hi, Ladies. What are your names?" Kristy said, "My name is Kristy." And I said, "And I'm Katrina." Short pause while the photographer is saying "smile". Then I said, "And we love you." Clay said, "Thanks." and as we walked off, Kristy told him his performance in the show was great. That was it. Next please. I was totally shaking.
So happy to get this picture--it's a Polaroid and we got to wait while it developed to make sure no one had their eyes shut or anything. I gave them my money, they enclosed the picture in a little paper frame that was signed by Clay and off we went. It was over way too quickly. And though I still questioned the cost, it was worth every penny of the $250! Yes, that's right, I did it and without consulting Kevin first. I did not even get to talk to him until the next morning. But knowing my amazing husband, I knew he would be alright with it.
We were hungry after the show and decided to eat dinner. We ended up at another Italian place that was also very good. It was called L' Allegria. While we were eating, it began to rain. It was supposed to rain all day the next day, which we were not excited about. We made our way back to the hotel pretty late and fell in to bed. (Thank you for the extra ear plugs, Kristy, and we'll just leave it at that!) Tune in for my next blog about our second day in New York and Kevin's reaction to the charitable donation!