Surely there is nothing left to be said about New York that has not already been said. If I was to have a shot I would say this: imagine you had a painting on your wall and you looked at it all the time and then one day it swallowed you up and you found yourself smack bang in the middle of it. That’s what being in New York feels like. Totally foreign, yet somehow familiar. You find yourself making navigational decisions based solely on things you’ve seen on TV. Like when we first got here, Ryan and I were debating (read: arguing) about how to get up to Harlem. Ryan wanted to get a cab but it was raining so I figured that it would be a nightmare getting a cab. And then I caught myself; how on earth would I know that? My good friend Carrie told me, of course.
So we began in Harlem at the Apollo Theatre (and for those of you keeping score we caught the Subway: Mel 1 – Hoffy 0). A friend had tipped me off that the Apollo was a great night out and it was. It began with a 10-year-old from Pennsylvania singing Home. Here I am, generally feeling skittish and excitable simply by being in New York City and sitting in the audience of Harlem’s most famous theatre, and this ten year old is onstage in the spotlight belting out a tune like she’s channelling Judy Garland. Unbelievable.
On Thursday night we saw Avenue Q, which is a puppet musical and it was as good as everyone said it would be. Incidentally, I also heard a bunch of words that I never thought that I would hear during in a musical including ‘schadenfreude’, which apparently means ‘joy in the misery of others’. That one understandably never came up in my German classes.
And just when I thought it couldn’t get any more silly, on Friday night we saw The Book of Mormon. I fought tooth and nail to get tickets to this show because it has won 9 Tony Awards (good for me, the musical buff) and because it was written by Matt Parker and Trey Stone of South Park fame (good for Hoff, the South Park fanatic). And I am so glad I did. I can’t ever remember laughing so hard at anything, let alone a Broadway musical. And the words I heard in that musical put schadenfreude to shame. I can’t repeat them here because I’m pretty sure my Dad prints these blog entries and shows them to my Grandma.
And as if politically incorrect puppets and singing missionaries were not enough, on Saturday at midnight I finally achieved a lifelong dream and dragged Ryan and Carlie off to see an audience participation version of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Hurrah! I donned my fishnets and my special RHPS shirt (yes, I have a special RHPS shirt, please don’t judge me) and we did our best to keep up with all the dressed up crazies shouting lines and singing along. Hoff even got an up-close-and-personal demonstration of the time warp dance (with special attention to the pelvic thrust) from a lovely young gentleman dressed up as Rocky. Some people have all the luck…
So after an all-singing, all-dancing and some-fishnets start to the week, on Sunday we injected a bit of testosterone back into the proceedings with an outing to New Meadlowlands Stadium in New Jersey for the New York Jets v San Diego Chargers. It was a glorious day for football and the first thing I noticed was how weird it was to be going to the footy with Ryan. Usually I go to sporting events in my #1 Ryan fan capacity so it was nice to actually enjoy it with him. And honestly, I’ve never seen him so excited. Except perhaps when we got married (or so I like to believe). And best of all the Jets won and we all got to give random stranger high-fives to the people sitting around us. Love it.
And for those of you that are understandably concerned that this trip might have all been about me feeding my serious musical habit with one brief respite of an NFL game, fear not, we did all the usual touristy things too – the Statue of Liberty (she’s green), the Empire State Building (it’s high), Wall St (not an actual wall), and so on. We also ate extremely well – burgers, Vietnamese, Cuban, Italian and a very interesting food tour of Greenwich Village, which included authentic New York pizza – I am happy to report that I have been perpetually full.
The last thing on our agenda was a hike out to Long Island for a NY Islanders v Pittsburg Penguins ice hockey game. We left it to Carlie to organise these tickets and boy did she come through with the goods – it went ice, bench, us. Unfortunately the home side didn’t come through for us on this occasion but nonetheless we had a lovely time speculating as to how exactly those players can actually stay upright doing what they do.
So now I’m sitting in our little apartment, surrounded by my bags and wondering how I am going to fit everything in my bags and feeling a little melancholy at the prospect of leaving this amazing city. Fear not – off to DC tomorrow so we can get our American history on… Goodnight from the city that never sleeps!