…the fall that feels like summer, but whatever.
We are mainly recovered from our NYC trip last weekend, save for a gross cold that I blame on airplanes and not sleeping. It was the BEST TRIP EVER, although I say that almost every time I come back from New York. This particular trip was for a brand new tournament that the company I work for just launched, but my sister also just moved to Brooklyn so my mom came with me. We had 2 days of hanging out and sightseeing, one looooong day of show stuff and a super duper fun afterparty, then a trip home that can only be described as delirious, we were so tired.
Thursday! We got into the city before 9am, so we grabbed breakfast at a diner and started what would become a 25,000 step day. We visited the 9/11 memorial which is gorgeous and so special to see. We didn’t go into the new tower or see the museum, but the whole space is just wonderful. We went into the oculus, which is a complete optical illusion because it looks like a sculpture but is really a dang mall. I don’t know if I’m blind, but it looks so small on the outside compared to how massive it is on the inside.
We walked through Eataly because nothing screams “never forget” like overpriced Italian imports (?), and then left the financial district and walked all the way down to The Battery, where we decided on the fly to go see the Statue of Liberty because why not? My mom and I had never done it and it was early enough in the day + not a weekend so it wasn’t mobbed, and we loved it. There is some definite cattle herding that happens getting people on and off the ferries which takes some time, but walking around the statue is fabulous because, again, it’s so big, and the Ellis Island stop was fabulous. The museum there is so informative and it was so cool to see how and where the first Americans flooded the country (and to think about how so many are still doing the same thing for almost the exact same reasons). The Statue of Liberty itself is kind of touristy and there isn’t much to do on that island, but Ellis Island made the entire experience more than worth it.
After our ferrying and selfie-ing we headed back to Manhattan for lunch, which turned into not having lunch and doing an happy hour because it was LATE and we wanted to check into our hotel before heading back out for the evening. On our walk we stopped in Trinity Church cemetery to visit the Hamiltons, which was weird and cool and special and felt so millennial all at the same time. Eliza’s grave is very pretty, in case you were wondering. I couldn’t locate Angelica, so I’ll have to go again. We stayed at Sohotel, and I can’t say enough good things about this hotel. The staff was great, the rooms weren’t terribly expensive, the decor and design was suuuuuper cool, and the neighborhood was great, not too loud, and full of tons of great bars and restaurants. We had a lot we wanted to do on the trip so we didn’t get to try as much in the immediate area as we’d have liked, but I definitely plan to make it a point to stay in the Nolita neighborhood and surrounding area in the future.
Thursday evening we trekked to Brooklyn to see Julianne, my youngest sister. She moved for her first job about a month ago, and appears to be loving it so far. We walked along the Brooklyn Bridge to get there, which was gorgeous but full of tourists, so I’m not sure how often I’ll be repeating that walk in the evening. We met Julianne for dinner at Extra Fancy, which was delicious and super cool and exactly as overpriced as you’d expect. We visited her apartment which is magical: completely redone and complete with a manicured roof setting for wine-drinking and life chats. It was like every young professional in the city movie you’ve ever seen, and I have every intention of living vicariously through my sister for the years to come via several visits per year. After a summer of job hunting, it seems like she’s landed exactly where she’s supposed to be.
Friday brought more walking and shopping and eating. We visited the High Line, which I’d never walked on before, and luckily had fabulous weather for it. I didn’t realize how long the park was (it’s a walkway above street level with plants and trees on either side built on old train tracks), so it was fun to walk on the edge of the city and feel slightly fresher air in our lungs. We had a bagel at Katz’ Deli which made me want to stay and wait in line for a massive sandwich, something that is on my list for a future visit. We ate lunch at my favorite Korean BBQ place Gyu Kaku, somewhere I try to eat almost every time I’m in the city, which I know some people hate given that there are so many killer options in New York.
Friday night and Saturday were dedicated to Varsity Vocals; a few of us cooked dinner together at my friend’s awesome apartment, then met some of the other staff for drinks and catching up. The interesting thing about working with people you love who live nowhere close to you is that talking has to happen fast and furiously when we do get together. Spending time together on Friday night before the work of the show started was one of my favorite parts of the entire weekend, I’m so lucky to work with these people. Saturday had us to Carnegie Hall by 9am, and we spent the day celebrating the show that was happening that evening, crying over soundchecks, and catching up on the “real” lives we lead when we aren’t doing this work. The show featured all types of a cappella groups, different from our spring tournaments that are only for college and high school groups, and the talent and variety of performances was just staggering. The show sold out, Pierce Brosnan was there (!), the best group won (an all-female group that sings world music flawlessly while being kind and warm and full of grace and humor), and the after party featured some of my favorite people from all around the world.
I always come back from these trips exhausted but inspired by the city, the work I’m so lucky to do, and the artists that work so hard to put on amazing performances. This time I also came back with some kind of germ that is currently making my throat feel like it’s on fire, but that’s neither her nor there.
Until the next time, I’ll be dreaming of crowds and music and overpriced drinks in cool bars.