We made it home. Late last night our flight touched down in Calgary. Liseanne and C.C.s daughter M. have their next trip planned already. Along with our new duds we were all wearing big smiles -- we'd had a wonderful time! As Liseanne said -- lighter wallets, heavier suitcases and memories to last a lifetime!
New York. New York.
Favourite moments -- well, gotta admit they were all favs. We went to WICKED -- it was Wicked. Raced down 51st Street to get there on time. Our subway ride took longer than anticipated and we were behind schedule as the train pulled into the station. Picture five Canadians booting it down the avenue, two of them young women particularly anxious about not getting into the theatre. Fortunately, we arrived on time and spent two hours being amazed -- not just by the show. It was great -- but the costumes and stage -- WOW!
Talk about a small world. As we exited the theatre a woman came raising across the concourse, threw her arms around C.C. and gave him a big hug. It was his sister, trailed by another sister and cousins, all in town for the same wedding.
Later that evening J and C (my friends we were staying with in Brooklyn) met us for dinner at the Jazz Standard. Barbeque and jazz. Scrumdillicious. Step down off the street, through a small door and enter a room of low black ceilings, low lights and fabulous food. The Larry Wilson Quintet. Smooth jazz. Easy listening. That's me in New York. Small town girl with a big town attitude.
We left the club around 10 and started to walk back towards Brooklyn. I found a flower vendor with two dozen roses for $10. I bought them with the intention of giving them to C but Liseanne suggested we should give them away. For the next half hour Liseanne, C.C.s daughter M and I had a glorious time surprising strangers with a free rose. It was rather comical at first. No one wanted to take the rose until we remembered to start the sentence with, Free. We gave roses to a girl celebrating her birthday with friends on an outdoor patio bar. To a cab driver cleaning out his car. To four guys standing on the corner -- one of them took a course with a guy from Vancouver. He was okay, the man told me, kind of boring though. M gave a rose to a woman sitting on a patio at a wine bar. She looked surprised and apprehensive but graciously accepted the gift. When all the roses were gone M said, "Let's do it again!" It was a blast.
And it was. A blast. The whole trip. C.C.s neice was getting married in Madison on the Sunday but other than that, we had no plans. No organized agenda except for the matinee on Saturday. Monday morning, I left C.C. with his two kids in Madison so they could spend time with his family and I joined Liseanne in New York for a day of sightseeing -- and shopping.
One of the places we visited was St. Paul's Church, the place where the firefighters went to rest while working at Ground Zero. Living so far from New York, the events of September 11 had an impact -- it was stunning and horrific to watch the world change in those fateful moments when the Twin Towers were hit. Walking around that church however, seeing the pictures and the cards loved one's left as they searched for family and friends, seeing the prayer cards, and the cot where a firefighter slept, and the flag of Honour with all the names of the victims and all the other tributes to those who did not survive, was powerful. Standing in silence in that church that miraculously survived the onslaught took what was a tragic and horrific event and made it more real, more impactful.
This was the first time I'd been in New York since Sept 11, 2001. The evidence of change is noticeable. Security is a top priority. Signs of watchfulness are everywhere.
And yet, the beat goes on. The city continues to play and live and breathe. To beat its vibrant drum without stop.
New York. New York.
What an amazing place. What an exciting town. What a tribute to a nation of people who continue to challenge the world to live freely to claim their place in the sun with valour and pride.