Sunday, September 8, 2013

My New York Firsts

     I've been in New York for a few days now, and it still doesn't quite seem real. I don't think I'll start to feel fully adjusted until I've got a job pegged down. I often return from the city at night and start panicking about not having a job yet... I'm not usually the type to let stress overwhelm me like this, but luckily I have friends that are skilled at calming me down and assuring me that I will find something.

     When I'm not busy worrying, however, I find myself overwhelmed with excitement at my surroundings. I've only been down to Manhattan two days, but already I feel like I've crammed in so many New York experiences. This blog entry is dedicated to a few of them.

My view of the Hudson on the train ride.
     On my initial venture into the city, my main goal was to try to navigate the public transit without getting miserably lost. Thanks to some phone apps and explanations by friends, my adventure was pretty successful.

     I must have at least looked like I knew what I was doing, because five different tourists asked me questions about the subway system during my trip. Unfortunately for them, I was just about as clueless as they were.

     My dad assured me that I must have looked like a New Yorker because I looked pissed off which may well have been true. In my defense, I had managed to sit next to the crazy person in the car, and it was difficult to look chipper while he was yelling at a Levi's ad the whole time. (Check that experience off the NYC bucket list.) Fortunately, I mastered the art of ignoring strange characters on public transit in Duluth, so this time it was just a normal commute.

     So I made it to my destination unscathed and free to explore for the afternoon. With my bagged lunch in hand, I set a course for Central Park. The weather here has been ideal since my arrival, hovering on the border between summer and fall. The cool but sunny day had drawn crowds of people to the park, but it was still enjoyable to wander and lounge in the shade.

     I have been informed that I barely made a dent in Central Park that day, but I already have plans for further expeditions. (Don't worry. I'll be sure to take plenty of pictures when I do.)

     After my transient lunch, I headed over to Lincoln Center to discover even more crowds of people. This time, however, they were all fabulously (and sometimes strangely) dressed for Fashion Week. I found myself interrupting all kinds of mini-fashion shoots as I walked across the plaza. Who knows? I may be making an unintended appearance in the background of some fashion blogger's latest post at this very moment!

     The highlight of my first Manhattan afternoon, of course, was getting a backstage tour of the Met! I had more fangirl moments than I care to disclose. Hopefully I didn't embarrass my guide too much. I've warned him many times about my tendency to nerd out, so he was prepared for probably much worse.

     I can hardly be blamed for my giddiness though. I've never been to the Met before, so it was an exhilarating experience! We even stumbled across an orchestra rehearsal being conducted by James Levine. It's like this big, beautiful maze full of gorgeous music!

     My most starstruck moment, however, was when we slipped into the theater and watched Mariusz Kwiecien and Anna Netrebko rehearse the last scene of Eugene Onegin. I tried to squee as quietly as possible. And yes, I did manage to restrain myself from rushing the stage and tackling Mariusz or throwing my panties at him. I do have some self-control...

     It was amazing! It was so inspiring to watch them rehearse, even the little moments when they would mess up the staging and Kwiecien would awkwardly scoot them across the stage as Netrebko giggled. Sometimes it's easy to build them up as the idols in my mind, so it was refreshing to see them having fun while they worked but still being utterly committed to performing. I definitely hope I can see the production in full.  With such beautiful singing and the stunning set, I'm already enamored.

     Later that evening, I did make it to Times Square. I'm already getting annoyed by tourists there, so I'm adapting to some aspects of the New York lifestyle quickly. I can't deny the energy and excitement of the area though. It can be a little overstimulating. I still refuse to do the prerequisite Times Square selfie, but I did manage to take one decent photo without a tourist's head in the way before I made the trek back to Grand Central to catch  my train.

     My second evening in Manhattan covered less ground but was equally jam packed. Perhaps the most important first milestone in my NYC experience happened yesterday: MY FIRST AUDITION. I thought I performed admirably. They were running at least twenty minutes behind, so I only ended up singing for about two minutes tops. Hopefully I made those two minutes count!

     After my audition, I was rewarded with Indian food and a Broadway play. The Glass Menagerie is still technically in previews, but I would highly recommend it to anyone. I've always loved the play, and this production was brilliantly performed. All four actors were incredibly strong in their roles, and the production was intimate in the best ways.

     Although this was not technically the first Broadway show that I've attended, I did manage to check another New York first off the list at the play. I had my first celebrity sighting! Just two rows ahead of us was Andrew Rannells of The New Normal and The Book of Mormon fame. I couldn't remember his name at the time though, so I just kept pointing at him and babbling, "It's that guy!" I suppose technically you could count Zachary Quinto as my first sighting, but as he was starring in the play I was attending, I don't think that really counts. Still, I'm sure I made a few friends jealous that I got to see him in his Broadway debut.

     Even more important than all the firsts I've had in New York thus far, I treasure the reunions with old friends. It's been great to see familiar faces in this foreign place, and I look forward to catching up with people who are dear to me that I haven't seen in awhile. I also want to thank my New York friends for their incredible generosity and helpfulness as I am adjusting to my new life. Without them, my stress may overwhelm me completely.

     I have exciting news to share with you very soon, so keep an eye on this blog! In the meantime, I've got some practicing to do.

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