It has been a long time since I wrote a blog. And a VERY long time since I wrote the previous installment to my tales of The Big Apple, which means that many of you most likely don’t even remember what this whole series is about. So for those who want a reminder, you can head on over to Life in a New York Minute: Prologue and work your way back to the present (and I promise, apologetic and explanatory blogs are on their way).
However, for those of you with the memory capacity of an elephant, let’s begin.
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That following morning we would be found trying (and failing) to navigate our way through the metro system, in search of the Statue of Liberty. I was eager to get there, not so much for the statue itself, but because, quite simply, this didn’t feel real yet. I needed to be slapped around the face with something so undeniably ‘New York’ that I would finally get it and stop feeling like I was in some kind of helter-skelter dream.
It was a cloudy day, fog choking the New York skyline, the waters of the East River and the Hudson a metallic, surging green. But over there, in the distance, you could just about see the proud figure of Liberty, one arm lifted to the skies, holding light to guide the way.
‘Eeek, there she is,’ trilled Ma, reaching for the camera.
We boarded the ferry and stood on the top deck, letting the wind whip our hair back from our faces. The closer we got, the more photos we took, the bigger she got, the more real this whole place became. Behind us was the beautiful, iconic skyline of New York; in front was the Lady Liberty herself.
We spent HOURS on that Island. We circled the statue, climbed half way to the top, wandered around the museum, and ate lunch in it’s shadow, our necks cricked the whole time, straining to see her face. I loved the aura of the place, the atmosphere of grandeur and of expectations met. The sun came out in full force around noon and the brilliance of the green of the statue reached all the surrounding shores.
With reluctance, we crossed back to the mainland, donning our Liberty headbands and acting every inch the tourist, as was our duty.
That afternoon we ventured back into the heart of the city and found ourselves in Grand Central Station. It’s not a place that immediately comes to mind when you think of New York, but it’s one you HAVE to see. It has witnessed the birth of so many memorable film scenes (my favourite of which has to be the scene between Julia Roberts and Dermot Mulroney in ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding), and the whole place is just dripping with elegance and beauty.
We went in search of ice cream – any kind, any where, as long as we got it now. The food court in the basement is incredible: noodles, soups, meals, pizzas, desserts towering high in chilled counters…and a gelato bar. Yes please.
Words cannot describe how incredible that double scoop of chocolate and vanilla was. No words. Just…oh my.
There wasn’t long to sit around however, as we had tickets for that night. Tickets to go and watch THE LION KING on BROADWAY. So us girls hurried on back to the hotel, chucked on our fabulous outfits, whipped on a bit o’ lippy - and paused for a second to take a shameless photograph – before rushing out the door to go and watch Simba rise to the challenge of becoming King.
Well. There’s not much point in me telling you it was a fantastic show. You already know that. The whole world knows that, without even having seen it. The thing that sets it apart from everything else I’ve ever seen is the intricate, masterful, mind-blowing and tribal puppetry. It’s a Disney classic, a timeless story, but it is MADE into a world famous show because of the skills of those working backstage. Just incredible.
Out of the theatre and back onto the streets of Times Square for a meal at Applebees. The place had the same rush and thrill of the day before with an added intensity. It was such a dazzling place, lights blinding and eye catching, and throngs of people surging in and out of shops at midnight, with no thought of sleep. I wasn’t so much intimidated by it that night as enthralled by it. I weaved through the crowds easily, moving with that determined pace that seems ingrained on all New Yorkers.
And as I lay in bed that night, with the ‘Circle of Life’ playing over and over in my head, I smiled. It had crept over me, and I hadn’t even noticed. I felt it.
I was here.