I didn’t plan to write about this trip for a few reasons.
1) It wasn’t a very long trip – just 3 nights.
2) We weren’t planning on doing much of interest to anyone but ourselves.
3) This is an Oklahoma-based PR blog, not a travel blog.
But as it turned out, nearly everything we were doing in New York this time had Okie roots, so I thought someone might find that interesting and started to write.
I’ll admit it doesn’t take much to get me to NYC. When my friend Debbie, mother of my goddaughter Sophie, a Classen SAS grad, told me that Sophie’s basketball team, the Brandeis Judges, would be playing NYU in February in the last game of Sophie’s sophomore season, naturally Charlie and I made plans to attend. (We did get to watch her play live for the first time in her college career and it filled our hearts with pride & joy!)
Once we made plans to head east, we called the illustrator of The Not In Here Story, David Bizzaro. As many of you know, he and I met in Oklahoma as he was moving to NYC. He is an extremely talented puppeteer who works at Jim Henson Studio. He is now the VP of the Puppet Guild of NYC. “I’m off that day so meet me at work and I’ll show you around.” We did and it was mind-blowingly amazing. We met some childhood favorites and learned some childhood-era secrets, as well. As we were walking to the train, my son told me it had been a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” He was extremely grateful, as was I.
That same night went to see The Prom. It’s fun and original and hilarious and there is so much talent on that stage. The entire sold out theatre laughed in unison at every joke. I also shed a tear or five because not only is it funny, it has a very important message. The Prom is co-produced by Laura Galt Snavely, an old friend from OKC who lives in Austin now. She also told me about another project she has in the works and I don’t know if I can tell you more, but I can at least tell you that it is also very Oklahoman in origin. #staygold.
So three Okie connections. Was that all there was to it? I took another look.
1) A high schooler from an IB program at a public school in OKC playing college ball.
2) An artist who moved to NYC, rose to amazing ranks in just a few years at his craft.
3) A friend who co-produced a Broadway show that is now getting rave reviews.
Upon second pass, it was easy to see that each of these individuals not only had Oklahoma in common, they also shared something else. They all had people telling them they were crazy to go for their dreams. But they did it anyway and they got there. I think that’s fascinating and I am thrilled that I was able to share that message with my 11 year old son. But then I remembered that I did it too. When I was trying to sell The Not In Here Story, some people close to me were telling me that perhaps it was time to give up. I don’t know if it’s just an inability to see clearly when you have your sights set on something, but thankfully I didn’t listen and made one of my own dreams come true.
So what started out as my cute “three coincidences” story has changed. It’s now a reminder that, much like Serena’s new Nike ad, your crazy dreams are only crazy until you make them come true. I hope these are all helpful reminders for you today.
And now for travel blog purposes, my hotel, other things to do, and food recs follow:
Where we stayed:
- Rooms are intentionally micro.
- Windows are intentionally open to potential creeping, so mind the blinds.
- Beds are comfy and cozy.
- Location is perfect (fly into EWR. It sits at the opening of the Holland tunnel, 1.5 blocks from Canal St. station)
- Micro version of Dylan’s Candy Bar in Lobby (plus great grab & go foods, other gifts, an actual barista, etc.)
- Common areas are very welcoming.
- Courtyard was filled with three “glass houses” for a popup experience staged as an arctic expedition camp. They were heated, too.
What we did:
- Central Park. We had gorgeous weather so the first thing we did upon check in was head to the park for some fun.
- The Met. It’s huge. I let Charlie guide me this time. I wanted to see two paintings and I did, then he led us through Medieval Europe and Egypt. We have a different experience every time we go and it's always inspiring.
- Um, what happened to Toys R Us? Good news, FAO Schwartz is open at Rockefeller Center. No ferris wheel, but still plenty of good times and good toys to be had.
- Also the Lego store. (See why I wasn’t planning to write about this trip?)
What we ate:
- Don’t be afraid of street dogs. I mean, I wouldn't eat one but you can feed your child for $3.
- Be sort of afraid of the basement cafeteria at the Met. We laughed at how depressing our food was (and we ate it anyway.)
- The Bodega at our hotel had grab & go sandwiches and snack boxes and those were quite handy and great quality.
- Harold’s at our hotel! We ate here twice. I loved the Shakshuka, Charlie loved the grilled wings and homemade fries. They even give you a free micro cone at the end of your meal. Ours was balsamic & watermelon swirl with sprinkles. And we both loved that.
- Five Senses in Koreatown. We went here with a group of framily. Loud. Full. Delicious. Surprising.
- The Ear Inn. My husband’s favorite spot with possibly the best history and the worst bar soundtrack. But they have delicious home fries and garlic shrimp. Don’t ask me why it’s good, it just is.
- Maison Kayser. My last two trips to NY I’ve had friends who live there suggest this place for our breakfast dates. It seems to be spreading and I wonder if it’s taking the place of Le Pain Quotidien? But that's just a totally unfounded observation.
- And sometimes you’re just lucky to find an extra granola bar in your bag so you can cram it into your mouth and keep going.