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The Big Apple - Day 1 by Leah Jean
Pat - several times been to NYC on business trips
Kelly - marathon woman
Lizi - another marathon woman
Lizi's mother - in her 60s and visiting LIzi from Puerto Rico
Hannah - another person who'd been to NYC several times for fun

Six of us off to see the Big Apple!

The bus was to pick us up out in some commuter parking lot out in the middle of nowhere. The weather was beautiful. But the bus was late. So a few of the group walked over to a somewhat
local MacDonalds to get a snack. For the rest of us though one of our group had brought a whole box of donuts and cookies. [Okay, maybe it wasn't so good for us but it was still something to keep our tummies from rumbling.] And since we didn't get to NYC until well after lunch time, a lot of the goodies got eaten.

We had to take a couple of taxis to our hotel ... each containing one person with NYC "experience". The driver we had was not only a maniac but also liked to get mad and snarl at the other drivers ... which is not that unusual in NYC. And you'd never think that gas was expensive the way they drive. They must all be ex-demolition derby drivers. Unfortunately our other group got taken to the wrong hotel. [We kind of wondered why they hadn't shown up at the hotel even though they had started off before us.] They had to walk with luggage in tow the few blocks from that hotel to the correct one.

The Hotel - had 18 floors, a spa, a few restaurants (one outdoors over-looking the Rockefeller Center entrance) but only 2 elevators. The elevator situation could be a pain because hotel personnel hauling serious amounts of luggage could tie up one elevator for several minutes and cause long waits for the other. The rooms were surprisingly small. But then it was a skyscraper so "room" is a premium. Our hotel was in a wonderful location though because it was not far from the theater district and the Rockefeller Center Plaza. The Plaza was a nice place to go if you just wanted to wonder about and look in interesting and expensive shops.

After getting settled in at the hotel, we were all starved so we found the nearest restaurant. It was a "cowboy" type place which even had a mechnical bull. After eating, a few of the women, Pat and Kelly, decided they wanted to try riding the bull. We'd already watched one (inebriated?) guy try to ride the thing and he hadn't lasted very long. But it was free to do ..... after signing your life away. And it did kind of look like fun. But I'd fallen off
enough horses to know that there can be consequences to such actions. Painful ones. And I certainly was NOT injurying myself the first day in NYC. Pat tried it first but she had some trouble getting on the bull since it does set up kind of high with lots of thick padding below it. Plus Pat is a bit over weight. She didn't last very long once the bull got moving. Unfortunately she hit her head on one of the horns when falling off so she had a bit of a
bruise and a headache afterwards. Kelly lasted a little longer but I think that the guy
controlling the bull's actions went a little easier on her at first. And Kelly is in very good physical condition. But still the bull did some serious up and down jerks along with 180
turns! We were all having a good time yelling and screaming encouragement though. I would
imagine the bull riding was free because it was so entertaining to the rest of the clientele.
Someone with a cell phone camera videoed the rides but it was awfully dark so you couldn't see
much afterwards. Pat was awfully embaressed by her actions though after the trip and forbade
any of us showing the video to anybody else, especially at work. [Tee hee] Apparently her
husband also got on her case big time too! So we agreed to keep the story quiet. What goes on
in NYC, stays in NYC! ;)

After that we all went and did our own thing until it was time to go to the Broadway show "Mama Mia". It was definitely much better than the movie with Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, etc. These big stars were not the greatest singers and dancers. Also the play really went for the comedic aspect with really wild disco-esque costuming for some of the numbers. The acting was good, the singing and dancing were good, and the comedic antics wonderful! We were all thoroughly entertained. The songs were very enjoyable since a lot, if not all of the them,
were from the Swedish disco era group Abba.

The thing I like to check out is how different plays use scenery. The good shows get pretty
inventive. Like in the play "Miss Saigon" a helicopter "landed" on the stage. In "Phantom of
the Opera" a large chandelier come sliding down from over the audience to "crash" on the stage.
For "Mama Mia" they had a couple of oddly shaped "walls" that they kept turning different
angles to denote different rooms or outside of the building. Other smaller pieces of scenery
kept sliding in and out while the "walls" rotated around the stage too. It was kind of fun to
watch that happening right in front of your eyes. Rather simplistic but creative.

The really fun part about the play though was that they gave us quite a good encore. Several
people came out and did at least 3 or more numbers all decked out in their wild costumes again. It was very rousing and and a lot of us were out of our seats dancing and singing along. In fact the play planners were annoyingly sneaky with one Abba number ... "Waterloo". There was a
small row boat that was used as scenery a couple of times and it was lettered with the name "Waterloo". So the 2 times it was on the stage I though, oh good, they are going to do that number. Well they didn't. So I was getting kind of annoyed because I really like that song.
Well, they finally did it in the encore. Very sneaky but very fun!

NYC can be lots of fun if you survive the taxis.



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