MISSION: To visit every state and territory in the U.S. For my mission a visit is greater than a stop over; I wish to explore the natural and cultural environments of these areas. Each of these locations has a story to tell, and I want to find it.

As of February 2018 I have visited all 50 states (and Puerto Rico and 2 island in the US Virgin Islands) at least once.

Monday, February 8, 2016

The NorthEast Had Some Snow, I Went to The Big Apple

Winter Superstorm Jonas hit the mid Atlantic on Friday, January 19th.  I had been planning a funfilled theatre weekend for that very weekend in New York; I had shows on my radar that were closing.  I figured I could get out of DC and head to NYC, where the snow count would be less significant and the city was better equipt to deal with the snow dump.  Well, a few things went wrong:  (1)  NYC ended up getting WAY  MORE than the 6 inches predicted and (2) because of the extreme snow the mayor shut the city down.  Yep, NYC was shut down on Saturday, and I was there to play.

I grabbed one of the last trains out of DC on Friday and headed north for a wild ride.  The train was standing room only as we headed into Penn Station  - looks like I was not the only one getting out of dodge.  And while is was only mildly snowing, the train was delayed and train doors froze shut in transit.  Every stop the crew had to pry open a few doors.  And even with all the drama we arrived in the Big Apple only 1 1/2 hours late... enough time for me to drag luggage through the city, to Times Square straight to the TKTS booth.  I wanted to see Allegiance before it closed February 14th and this was my chance.  And lucky for me the show still had some available seats.  I was able to grab a ticket, dash to my hotel, check-in, dump my luggage and run back out to the show.

Typically a musical about Japanese internment camps would not be my first choice for a musical.  I typically love my high flying dance numbers, fun stories and happy endings.  But this show has been on my radar.  The subject matter is timely - in today's political environment there is a lot of talk of people as groups, registrations and citizenship.  When you stop and think about it, there are many similarities to draw.  In this time of the gazillionth revival of LesMis and endless shows based on movies, such a daring show needed to be seen.  It is frustrating that the theatre community wants new material, yet, this show is closing after only a few months.  Come'on people Lea Salonga hasn't graced the stage in a while - she alone is a reason to see this moving show.  And if you need more, Telly Leung will blow you away.  Or you can see George Takei (yes, the guy from Star Trek).  The story is 2-fold: a moving portrayal of how a family was ripped apart by internment, and a wider discussion of internment as an answer to fear.  Again - you need to see this musical.  Its not the strongest new show of the season, but it just may be one of the most raw and real things on the stage in a long while.

After the show,  I left the theatre to snow!  It had caught up with me.  But a little snow does not stop NYC.  A friend met me for one of those awesome after show dinners - the kind of stuff that just doesn't happen in DC because nothing stays open!!!  Oh how I love heading home!  After a yummy meal, we parted ways at the subway, making plans for the next day - we had tickets to see Mathew Morrison's last performance in Finding Neverland... or at least we thought we did.

Woke up the next day to the city bustling in the blizzard.  Looking out my 42nd story hotel room, I could make out little people wandering the streets in white clouds.  My friend called to say that she was stuck and could not make it to the city - bummed!  More like, super bummed!  But the show must go on... so I bumdled up and headed outside and back to Times Square.  The sidewalks were clear, the road crews were staying on top of the streets... it was fine.  It was just the sheer amount falling so fast, BUT TKTS was still selling.  All the theatres were open.  Just to be safe, I hopped on over to the Lunt-Fountaine to make sure we were still on... and with that yes, I went to walk and enjoy the views.  The city looked so pretty.

Well, the snow kept falling and the mayor closed the city... that announcement happened less than 1/2 hour before curtain call.  No show for me.  No show for anyone that came to the city for that matter.   Didn't matter that the theatres assured everyone they would go on.  The mayor called it.  And with the announcement that all cars had to be off the streets, he created a playground for anyone willing to walking in Winter Storm Jonas.  So what is a New Yorker to do?  Well, you head to Central Park obviously!  Where else are you going to walk down an urban jungle into the vast park and see people sledding on pizza boxes.  I swear I love this city!  I wandered endless paths, always retracing my steps, because visibility was so bad, I did not want to take a wrong turn.  I mostly stayed on the upper end of the park but did walk to a playground, a picturesque bridge, Strawberry Fields, and down the opposite side to the zoo.  I froze my phone taking pictures of snow covering railings, benches, building and other park structures.    It was truly an iconic city winter moment.

And on my way back through the city canyon/wind tunnel (where you had to walk head first into the blizzard) - I stopped into on of the city's delis that stayed open to feed the masses.  Many cups of tea, the most amazing meatloaf sandwich ever, and some red velvet cheesecake fortified me to walk more in the storm and back to the hotel.

I left the Big Apple Wonderland the next morning - dragging my suitcase 21 blocks to Penn Station  and onto Amtrak.  After stopping many times to de-ice, we were dropped off at Union Station and find DC in worse condition than NYC.  That was to be expected.  I grew up in that region - and we just handle the snow better.  DC could learn a thing or two! 

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