I'm Back in Brooklyn, the Bronx, the Bottom, the Bowery, the Big Apple...



In our unabashed excitement, we're both going to explain why our upcoming NYC trip is a big frikin' deal.
Essentially, it's like this: though we've both visited New York before (multiple times, in fact), we've never seen it in this capacity - as an extended girlie-getaway. The mission (which we've accepted with gusto) is simply relaxation, inspiration, excitement, and supporting each other's adventures. Meredith wrote a wonderful vision statement in our Google-Doc, which I re-read whenever I'm feeling blah or bored. It's reads like the standard business mission statement, but with our own travel philosophy infused.
I've been to NYC twice before - once as a child, and the other as a teenager. Both were short family affairs (my parents, my aunt, a sister or two, and - for the teenage trip - my best friend at the time).

My NYC Debut
At ten, my family went to Manhattan for a Christmas getaway. If my parents were on a budget, I didn't know it. We stayed at The Beverly Hotel (since, renamed the Benjamin and refurbished), went to FAO Schwartz, the Empire State building, and the Holiday show at Radio City Music Hall. It was the type of magical, fantasy holiday tradition I hope to maintain when I have children of my own. I don't remember many other details, except cold temperatures, my little sister Tracee crying a whole lot, and my aunt cracking jokes.

The Second Time Around
The more recent trip was the spring of my junior year of high school. We went just as the city was waking up from winter. We were there for four days and did tourist-y stuff. That was a year before the much ballyhooed "Disneyfication" of Times Square. We went to some tourist traps, saw our first subway rat, and stayed mainly in our hotel's neighborhood. My mom let my then-best friend LaToya, whom I've since grown away from, come along and let us do big-girl things like walk around by ourselves and spend our own money.
I harbor a serious Broadway love affair, which was, at the time, stunted by my having never actually been to see a show. So, naturally, the focus of this visit was to remedy that. My parents took one night to see Chicago on their own. The next day, my mom took me and best friend to see an Annie matinee.
But the best show was once-in-a lifetime, something I feel fortunate to have experienced because of it it's uniqueness. I saw
Bring in the Funk, Bring in the Noise, with the singular Savion Glover, Jeffrey Wright, and Ann "The Voice" Duquesnay. I cringe knowing that no sentence I construct will definitively describe this tour-de-force masterpiece history of black hoofing (that's tap-dance, for the uninitiated). I still have my Playbill, soundtrack CD, and T-shirt. It's my crowning memory of that short trip and since then I've wanted to return and do more. I also mourn Funk/Noise and wish it would return. Where is Savion Glover anyway? According to his Wikipedia page, he's still dancing, working in film and choreography. I'm glad. I wish he'd consider reviving this amazing show..

Why do I ♥ NY?

You can't follow American pop-culture (or high or folk cultures, for that matter), without knowing that New York City is one of it's beacons. Despite the vapid TRL decade we just finished, when Times Square teemed with folks on the street screaming up to the funky-glass windows above, I still admire NYC. What draws me is the clash of grit and grime with elegance and excess. Some days this city is everywhere I want to be. It's not place I'd want to live in forever (the claustrophobe Southern Belle in me will never die), either. Sometimes I feel like a New Yorker, raised in Queens, with grandparents from Harlem, a Manhattan job, and a Brooklyn boyfriend.

I admittedly glorify this city, but I'm still open and aware of it's flaws and sprawling nature. I see the way it's children hanker to move away for open space, fresh air, and affordable lifestyles. They've recolonized Florida and have a good stronghold on North Georgia. But I also see why they never let the New York sensibility die and why my city (Atlanta) tries so hard to emulate it. The city is too much to love, then leave abruptly. New Yorkers take their city wherever they go.

So, Third Time's A Charm
This time around, I'm on my own dime, my own time, and with one of the coolest travelers ever. My hope is that I add new favorite spots to MY New York, and that I see it as an adult for the first time. I'm stoked to bite that Apple, again.
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