I must say my trip was incredible despite the flight. After I got off my plane into NY, I waited in the airport for my mom and aunt to arrive (which was about an hour after me) so we could ride the shuttle to our hotel together. We meet up gave hugs and were ready to get our first taste of New York City. Supper Shuttle picked us up from the airport and took us to the Grand Hyatt. As the driver was putting our luggage in the back of the van, I asked him how he was doing (just being polite) and of course he ignored me. I am 100 percent positive he heard me because I was standing right next to him. But I figured whatever, just continue to put our things in the van, asshole.
The shuttle was pretty full. We dropped off the first set of people to their hotel and continued on our way to everyone else’s destinations. A woman sitting next to my aunt asked the driver where our next stop was, and he completely ignored her. My aunt asked the same question and he gave the same no response. I told the two of them that I believed he was ignoring them. The lady proceeded to ask the driver again, and got the same results (nothing). My mother yelled from the back of the van in her kind yet sarcastic voice “It’s not polite to ignore people.” And once again the man said nothing. I began to laugh hysterically, at this point I didn’t see a need to get an attitude with this man or even cuss him out. I just found it hilarious to witness how rude this man was being to us. It was as if we were infringing on his evening. I thought to myself “Welcome to New York!”
We made it to our hotel which was located right next door to the Grand Central Station. The hotel was very nice and there was a nice black guy at the check in counter. I approached the counter with my mom next to me and asked if the hotel was full. He said no, and I asked if he could give a complimentary upgrade especially since we were staying there for three nights (I can’t help it, it’s the will and dealer in me). He happily obliged my request and put us in a junior suite and I asked if he could send us a bottle of champagne (yes, I am stilling asking for hook ups); he agreed to send us up some amenities. We headed off to our room and checked out the scenery. I was very impressed the view was decent considering the hotel was surrounded by tall skyscrapers. About ten minutes later we had some chilled wine with cheese and fruit delivered to our room. Now this is what I am talking about (show a girl some love). We decided to find a little chill spot in the neighborhood to eat. We ran across a place on 42nd street called Scotty’s. It’s a cool 24 hour diner (it was around 10:30pm at this point).
Friday morning we woke up early and had breakfast in our hotel’s restaurant. We had a great table overlooking Lexington and the busy worker bees heading to work. We looked at our menus and noticed the prices for their buffet which ranged from $22 to $30 per person. The host another nice looking black man came over to our table and introduced himself. He also offered to give us free vouchers for any breakfast buffet we chose. So breakfast ended up completely free. He also gave us some for Saturday morning as well. With the three of us, we could have easily spent $130 per day for pancakes and eggs. I love hook ups!
After breakfast we headed towards time square. It was amazing! I was totally in awe especially with the billboards/advertising, especially since this is an area of interest for me. I also got a chance to see the Hilton hotel in that area where Bill Clinton was having his Global Initiative event. I saw MTV and ABC studios (at least the outside). We didn’t really want to go inside. The treat of the afternoon was Macys. I was in heaven, now I thought I had seen a few large Macys before (but nothing beats the mother of all Macys). I was completely overwhelmed. That store in itself, is a day activity. My mother and aunt bought a pair of walking shoes immediately. I must say the walking was hurting a girl’s feelings. (I am so out of shape) We took a tour of the Empire state building, the views were spectacular.
We came back to the hotel to get ready for the color purple play that evening. We had dinner in another restaurant in our hotel and I must say the food was incredible. I had the best crab cakes I’ve tasted to date (pappadeaux was my favorite). It was now off to the show, we arrived in a town car and the line was already long at 40 minutes before show time. It was nice to see so many black people in one place. I was quite excited. The show was amazing! I highly recommend this play to any and everyone. I left with such a huge sense of pride for being an African American after the performance. This show is unbelievable. I want to see it again. After the show, we headed back to the hotel to change and went to an area called the village. My mom and aunt didn’t find it too appealing, LOL.
Saturday, we took the subway to Harlem. On the subway I sat next to the cutest little boy. He was with his father and he was absolutely fascinated by me. In fact, my mother and aunt were laughing at how he was just staring at me. I then raised my arms out to hold him and he actually came to me. His father made a comment about how he never does that and how he doesn’t even go to his own mother or grandma (didn’t ask the story behind that). But he even cried when his father took him away from me, when their stop came. He truly made my day. So our stop was 125th street. It was every bit of a colorful environment; we were surrounded by the pulse of the city. Not the theater, time square or central park backdrop; but the real everyday people.
Our first stop was the Apollo Theater, which was great. We had a cool tour guide who was very knowledgeable about the building and Harlem. Evidently Apollo is going through a major renovation and has already begun a lot of remodeling. They had a completely new stage and dressing rooms now. We first went into the theater (which was much smaller than you see on TV). He then told us a few fun facts and asked for volunteers to come up on stage and do a mock amateur night. I went up on stage (mind you I have no performing arts talent). But I wanted to at least say I was on the stage at Apollo. There were five volunteers and I was number 5 to perform. I noticed some construction hats sitting back stage and decided I would sing the Village People’s YMCA, there was another black woman in front of me and a lady from London in front of her and we decided to merge our acts and sing the song together. Especially since I didn’t know all of the words. Our tour group was totally surprised and loved our creativity. But it was fun despite the singing.
After Apollo we went to a soul food spot called Amy Ruth’s. The food was no doubt the best. At this point I was full and completely exhausted. So we headed back to our side of town. That night I didn’t do anything. My mom and aunt went walking around again. My feet wouldn’t let me do any more walking that day.
Sunday, my final day in New York. We woke up pretty early and took the subway to the financial district. I wanted to see the New York Stock Exchange. (I had to see where America’s money is made). Before we got there, we stopped by the African American Burial grounds located next to city hall. They’re building a memorial for the black slave’s bones that were recovered in that area. I also stopped by ground zero. After the stock exchange visit we headed back uptown to prepare to leave NY. We decide to grab a bite to eat at Scotty’s since it was where we started our adventure in New York.
My overall impression of New York, I am still trying to find the words to describe that place. I will say there is no other. New York is completely unique and there’s no other place like it. The taxi drivers are fucking insane and I don’t see how people do it everyday. I say the most common accessories New Yorkers have are: headphones, cell phones, and cigarettes. Everyone is completely tunnel vision and stays in their own world. New York living is like living life in a fast forward motion. While L.A. is very busy and spread out, New York is very fast paced and jammed pack. It’s a great city to visit, but I couldn’t live there. I do plan on going there annually to see plays. I love Broadway, next play will be Chicago. It was a great start to my new year!!