A Manhattan Love Story | Day 4

Now to be completely honest, up until this point I was not in love with New York.  Don't get me wrong, I was having a great time, but I just wasn't in love.  

Part of me had been hoping that I would either love or hate the city right away.  I was expecting an instant decision that my heart would notify me of.
Yes or no.
That way I could have an idea whether or not I needed to prepare my mom for a potential move to the East Coast in the next 5-10 years.  (My mom's the type of person that you need to give plenty of notice.)

But it didn't happen.  I enjoyed the city, and I was loving exploring, seeing and experiencing new things, but I felt like I was just visiting someone else's city. A tourist doing touristy things.  I was tired of Times Square, tired of all the people everywhere and ready to see something different.

So on the morning of day 4 I woke up with the idea of exploring an area on the southern tip of Manhattan.  I had struck a friendship with a lovely couple who sat next to me in the theater the day before.  They were from Pennsylvania and had a tradition of driving to the city every other month to see a show.  They always use TKTS, so they never know for sure what show they'll be seeing.  They gave me some great pointers on scoring discounted tickets and how to avoid the lines and crowds. Tip #1 was NOT using the TKTS booth in Times Square.  There are two more booths that fewer people (aka tourists) don't know about that have short lines and steeper discounts for tickets.  So that's where we headed!

When we popped up out of the subway in Wall Street there was an immediate different feel to the area.  There were far fewer people on the sidewalks, many more cabs on the streets, and everyone walked with purpose.

And the buildings.

Oh my word, the buildings are massively tall.
I immediately turned to Hannah and said, "now this is New York."

We started at TKTS, and I was super excited to see Idina's show If/Then on the discount board. Hannah was interested in seeing Avenue Q which was on the board too.  Both shows were going to run us about $80 each. Hannah wasn't interested in If/Then and I've seen Avenue Q twice already so we each bought a ticket to our respective show and planned to meet up and debrief after.  Easy-peasy!

I was sooooooo excited to have a ticket in my hand that would allow me to see Idina Menzel!  I almost couldn't believe it!  I immediately called the two people I know who could fully appreciate how exciting this was for me and squealed for a full 10 minutes.

Having our evening planned out (the shows didn't start until 7:30 that night) we headed out on foot to fully explore the area for the day.  I purposefully stayed off the map app on my phone and we just walked to see what we'd discover.  My phone could have easily led us to well known areas or monuments, but I just wanted to discover the area naturally.

At one point Hannah and I popped into a cute little marketplace to grab something to drink and eat. We stood outside chatting and eating and when I turned around to leave, BAM, there it was.  Nestled perfectly between a row of buildings lining the street on both sides, was the One World Trade Center.


We quickly took off toward it.

There's an unmistakable buzz around NYC.  There's a high energy and a purpose in the air.  The city just feels electric.  But that buzz was unmistakably missing from the area around Ground Zero.  It made sense, of course, but it was such a stark difference that it was almost eery.  Hannah and I spent quite a bit of time walking around the area, looking at the building, reading names on the memorials and just watching people taking it in.  Looking around at the many business buildings and apartments that face the area, it's impossible to be there and not think about how many lives were affected that day.

It was a very somber afternoon.

After taking in Wall Street and Ground Zero we headed back up to the apartment to get ready for Broadway!

First we stopped at Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka's house.  They live less than a block from where we were staying, and I was secretly (ok, not so secretly) hoping for a chance encounter each time we passed their place. This particular time I was brave enough to stop for a photo...

We made a quick costume change, posed for a selfie, and headed out for Broadway!

I was stoked to see this sign!

While waiting outside for the doors to open, I struck up a conversation with one of the security guards.  We talked about where I was from and how far I had traveled to see New York and experience Broadway.  He was impressed with how far I'd traveled and told me he'd always wanted to see the West Coast.  Then he let me in on a secret. He showed me the door the actors use to exit the theater and where I could wait to get their autographs.  A lot of people know this about Broadway, but the secret was when to leave the show (without missing any of the show) so I could be in front of the crowd.

Photography isn't allowed inside the theaters and the ushers take it very seriously.  However I couldn't help snapping just one pic as the actors all wrapped up their final scene.  I was as stealth as possible, and therefore wasn't able to line up the perfect moment, but this snapshot will give you an idea of just how close I was to the stage!  (Idina is in the blue jacket on the left side, walking away)

I quickly headed outside at the exact moment the usher told me to, and waited patiently.  The energy of the crowd was very high, and everyone was excited at the possibility of meeting the cast.  After 20 or so minutes the cast started to exit one-by-one to greet the fans and sign autographs.


Idina was the only one who didn't come out, and while it was a little sad, it was also understandable - it was her 5th show for the weekend, it was freezing, it was well after 10:30, and she has a young son at home.

But OMG.

I got to meet the rest of the cast, and they were so nice!  It was super exciting to meet Anthony Rapp (Rent) and LaChanze (The Help).  I told them they were amazing in the show and which numbers were my favorite.  They were very gracious and told me thank you.

It was an amazing experience, and one I'll not soon forget.  In the grand scheme of things having someone's autograph doesn't equate to much more than ink on paper, but the memories made when getting that autograph are just about as permanent.  There's something special about standing face-to-face with someone so full of talent and having them see you, even if it's only for a few seconds.

Hannah and I found another great pub and stopped in for drinks while we chatted about our Broadway experiences.  We both were pretty energized from the night and not at all eager to have it end.

I may not have realized it yet, but I was slowly beginning to fall in love with Manhattan.


  1. OMG OMG OMG OMG this post literally gave me goosebumps - the freedom of exploring a new city, the sheer height and symbolism of the One World Trade Center, Broadway AND autographs!! I am breathless and buzzing just reading it!

  2. How exciting. I've never been to New York or Manhattan before but your pictures make me want to go.

  3. Look at you! You totally took Manhattan by storm! The way it should be :) I love that electric energy in the air there. You described it so beautifully.

  4. This sounds so so fun! What a good day. I haven't toured NYC, but really need to go visit my Aunt that lives out there so I can!