I’m not kidding when I say that my whole birthday was one giant song and dance for me. Ask the girls how often I broke out into “Give My Regards to Broadway.” Frequently, given the fact that we walked several miles up and down Broadway, walked through Herald Square at least twice, and visited my friend on 42nd Street. “…that I will soon be there…”
When we had last spoken about my magical birthday, we were about halfway done with our day and were heading up Broadway. We enjoyed the snow and the several hundred Santas who passed us, and we took in the shop windows and the crowds. When we arrived in Herald Square, we paused to see the Macy’s windows – and I most likely sang some George M. Cohen.
Since we weren’t sure what lines might await us once we got to the theatre, we decided to keep walking and come back to Macy’s later. I had convinced myself I wasn’t going to run into Mr. Gailey or Maureen O’Hara, but I still wanted to see the biggest store in the world. (Funny story — when we wanted to go back to Macy’s, I said out loud, “What street is it on?” trying to figure out how far south we had to walk. Oh. Right. 34th Street.)
One of the items on my bucket list
is was to see a Broadway show. While planning the trip I went back and forth about what show to see, but I decided to stick with an oldie-but-goodie… Phantom of the Opera. I’ve been singing Phantom songs for as long as I can remember, both in the car and in show choir. I highly recommend the book (although I haven’t read it since high school, and I suppose I could be remembering everything incorrectly) and highly don’t recommend the 2004 movie. If you want to see a good version, watch the 25th Anniversary Edition from Royal Albert Hall.
While I had seen the show live before, I had never seen it on Broadway.
We had decided to go to a matinee, and I was pretty surprised that the house was packed. This show has been running for 25 years, and a matinee on a snowy Saturday afternoon was packed. Pretty impressive.
The theatre was beautiful, and it was incredible to simply experience the place. (A few weeks later I heard on a little “on this day…” segment on the radio that the Majestic was the first theatre to have female ushers – and I said out loud in my car, “I’ve been there!”) The show was stunning, of course, although our Phantom was a third understudy and seemed a little nervous. That was the only drawback to knowing the show so well… I think I knew a few of his cues better than he did. But Christine was incredible, and really, when you think about it, Christine is the star. She’s in almost every scene, and if she fell apart, the show would be pretty unbearable.
If I had the ability to have everything I wanted on my birthday, I would have cast Ramin Karimloo as Phantom, Hadley Fraser as Raoul, and Sierra Boggess as Christine. But I’m still quite content with what we got. : ) (and now that my birthday is over, Ramin comes to Broadway in Les Mis. Oh well.)
It was pretty exciting to cross that off my bucket list. And it gave my head some new songs other than George M. Cohen.
It was also nice to take off our coats and snuggle into a warm theatre for two hours. When we emerged, the streets were more crowded and the snow was still falling. We had a good amount of time until our dinner reservations, so we were faced with something I hadn’t considered: free time.
We decided to walk over to Bryant Park to see the Christmas village that we had seen from John’s office windows. That meant crossing through Times Square again, which meant walking by several large Elmos- who scared us far more than the plethora of tipsy Santas that seemed to be multiplying.
Did I mention it was still snowing?
As we rounded the corner to head to Bryant Park, the Empire State Building was peeking out through the snow-laden air, and at that moment I was just speechless with its beauty. I stopped in my tracks to just take in the moment. Magical.
I asked Trena to take a picture, although fully knowing that a photo would never do it justice. I post it here almost reluctantly, because the sight was ten times more beautiful than this. But I wanted to remember that moment — the snow, the wind, the fact that we were together in New York having fun.
As we stood in cold Bryant Park, the snow gathering on our shoulders and in the crevices of our purses and scarves, Trena’s feet sopping wet, our noses numb… Bing Crosby began to sing “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentleman.” We stood and watched the ice skaters skate, we let ourselves be serenaded by Bing, and I knew my birthday wish had come true. It was a magical day with friends. Exactly what I had wanted. We just stood there, in silence, taking it all in. And it was perfect.
I almost didn’t post that picture, because that neon man kind of ruined it, but I think it kind of summarizes the day. I’m standing there, completely content, covered in snow, oblivious to the parts of New York I don’t want to think about, and just taking in the moment. My memory of that moment in Bryant Park is pure Christmas spirit -not random men in neon green coats.
Oh, and I had no idea she took that until I was looking at her pictures a few days later.
No matter how magical the moment was, we couldn’t stand in Bryant Park for the next two hours while we waited to go to dinner. Christmas spirit doesn’t keep you that warm. Nor does it keep your feet dry — Trena needed some dry socks.
Guess who sells socks? The largest department store in the world. We decided to go check out Macy’s.
I don’t have many of pictures of Macy’s, mostly because inside it just looks like a ginormous department store. I’ve never seen so many women’s shoes in my entire life. Goodness gracious. You could probably clothe an entire nation with the merchandise in that store.
I did take a picture of the escalator, because they were the original wooden ones:
I think we killed about an hour in Macy’s — the only drawback was that there was no place to sit our weary bodies down. (there were a few people sitting on the beds in the linen section, but that seemed a bit tacky to us…) Trena bought socks and we used the restroom and I thought bad thoughts about materialistic America. We went up to the top floor to see Santa, but just like in Philly, you had to stand in line and go into another room to see Santa. We had the time, but we weren’t sure if we had the patience to stand with two hundred children at the end of a long day (both ours and theirs), so we passed on sitting on his lap.
The strangest thing, though, was the size of their women’s sock section. No joke — they had fewer socks than your average Macy’s. Remember, this store is eight stories tall and stretches an entire city block. Don’t you think their sock department should at least be more than three racks? It was quite bizarre. A few floors down was the men’s sock department, and they had more kinds of athletic socks than I could count. I guess it means New York women don’t wear socks. How odd.
After killing time in Macy’s (I’m sure we could have found a more exciting way to kill time, but give us a break, we were a teensy bit cold and tired), it was time to cap our day with dinner. So we headed back into the night… which had turned quite windy.
And did I mention it was snowing?