When I woke up on this particular morning, I expected sunlight to stream in through my hotel room window. Instead, the sky was overcast and shadowed. Rain pounded against the concrete rooftop of the shorter building next door to us.
Sure enough, a steady rain followed us for the entire first part of the day.
We walked to Times Square. I'm sure I looked very much like a tourist, holding my black and white umbrella and gaping in awe at the tall buildings and brightly-lit signs all around me. I sure wasn't in Texas anymore.
A dense fog covered the top of the tallest skyscrapers. Rain poured down all around us. Amy and I were the only ones who remembered to bring our umbrellas. Since I love rain and don't see much of it at home, I actually didn't mind the rainfall, as long as I could stay sheltered. I'm sure my family thought otherwise.
Where we're from, the worst occasional smell is "the smell of money." But pollution and body odor from over-crowding rarely occur in our small Texas town.
We saw subway performers as well. Some had great talent; I don't know how they haven't been discovered. Others were terrible and I don't know how they weren't arrested for causing a public disturbance. Some blended in to the overall atmosphere of the subway and became background noise. People hurried by without even noticing the performers.
Escaping from the subway was a relief. We visited Central Park soon after this and were able to see the green beauty of the trees and rolling hills. Central Park was much, much bigger than what I ever imagined. And although we saw many people jogging and walking around, there was still plenty of space.
Central Park was a sanctuary in a concrete jungle like New York City.
My biggest wish for the New York vacation was to take a carriage ride through Central Park, so that's what we did. It was perfect timing, since right as we climbed into the cushioned carriage, rain began to pour harder than ever before. We smiled apologetically at soaked and miserable passersby. The park was beautiful and peaceful, despite the heavy rain.
Amy, Ali, my mom, and I all rode in one carriage. My dad, Luke, and Grandma Rhonda rode in another. Our tour around Central Park took a little less than an hour. It was so relaxing and lovely. This was probably one of my most favorite parts of the entire trip.
I love peaceful moments like these.
I love the scent of rain and earth and grass.
The restaurant was called Ellen's Stardust. It's a pretty popular attraction... and for good reason. This was one of Ali's very favorite parts of our trip. Talented actors and singers who dream of making it to broadway take jobs waiting tables at Stardust. In between serving meals, they perform broadway songs. They're so talented and the environment of the restaurant is so much fun. The food is pretty delicious too.
We also went to visit the M&M and Hershey stores. The M&M store was several stories tall and filled with everything M&M you could possibly imagine. It was so much fun. Hundreds and hundreds of styles and colors and sizes and shapes of M&MS lined the walls of the store. I even found my favorite color.
The Hershey store was smaller and a little less impressive, but it was still amusing. And we were each given a free Kiss.
After taking a long walk back to our hotel and then resting for a few hours, we all dressed up to see our first broadway show. You've probably heard of it. The show was called Wicked. It was very popular, very packed, and very well-made. I'm not much of a theatre person. Shows like that don't usually hold my interest, but there is no denying the talent and effort put into Wicked.
Overall, it was a fun experience.
Ali, Amy, and I sat on the second row... unfortunately, we were so far on one side, it actually made it difficult for us to see everything! But I don't think we missed out on too much. Amy had actually seen Wicked two times before, so she made sure to fill us in if we ever got too confused.
By the time we returned to the hotel for the final time that day, we were all exhausted, but happy. The day was a success.