For my last birthday, my husband gifted me a trip to New York. Our trip was planned in less than a month (right from applying for the visa to making Airbnb bookings), but it turned out to be one of the best trips of my life!
Ben, my husband, and I love travelling. One of the reasons we love it is because we have rules – no fighting or discussing marriage issues. So when we travel, we end up spending time with each other like best friends. This New York trip took our friendship to another level.
Here are my top 3 experiences tales from my time there!
Late Show with Stephen Colbert
New York’s talk show hosts are pretty popular. I’m a huge fan of Stephen Colbert, so I thought to myself what better way to experience New York than to get us tickets to his show. So we managed to get tickets and it's safe to say I was was as excited as a child on Christmas morning! On the day of the show, we got to the Ed Sullivan Theatre, where the show is taped, and there was a long line waiting to get in. After about an hour of waiting (I overheard a tourist say that New York is the city of lines, which is true, there’s lines everywhere!) we finally got seated inside the hall.
This was the most surreal experience my husband and I had. Right from the stand up comedian picking on the Indian couple in the front row (asking them if their marriage was arranged) to the music of Stay Human (incredible!) to Colbert’s answering fan Q & A, his opening monologue, to the suave manner with which he interviews his guests (his guests on that particular day were Chris Noth and Larry Wilmore) were brilliant. The entire experience of being there, seeing Stephen Colbert and Stay Human was amazing! This was my favourite experience for obvious reasons – we got a chance to get the flavour of how New Yorkers think and laugh, and got an opportunity to watch my favourite talk show host – Stephen Colbert.
Once the show was over, we found a food truck to buy a grape soda for me. As we stood there, drinking my grape soda, trying to figure out what next to do, we saw Joe, the drummer of Stay Human walking past us. So I screamed out (because I’m shameless like that) – “Really enjoyed the music, we watch the show from India”. He actually stopped by and chatted with us. My husband then gave him his card and asked him to email if he ever planned on coming to India. If you’re reading this Joe – COME TO INDIA!
Cats: The Broadway Musical
The next day was also exciting as we had tickets to Cats, a musical I had been waiting to watch since I was 8 or 9. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats is probably one of the longest running Broadway musicals. It tells the tale of Jellicle cats and how the leader of the tribe has to select one cat to be reborn to a new life. The musical introduces the various cats, who try to win an opportunity to be reborn through song and dance. The musical is also known for the incredibly popular song Memories. I sang this along with several of my graduating friends in school, so I couldn’t wait to go and watch this! The live performance also featured the singer Leona Lewis as one of the cats who sings Memories. I cried when she sang Memories! I loved the musical, it was as magical as I had hoped, with impeccably perfect performances (seriously perfect singing and dancing). Everyone’s dance moves were so perfectly executed it was almost surreal. After the play, I was so incredibly thrilled at having spent my time watching this play.
Kayaking and Lunch with Jeff Daniels
We got a chance to go Kayaking on the River Hudson! Though the water was choppy on account of the gloomy weather, we enjoyed ourselves and the view of New York from the river. I loved doing this with my husband – kayaking in the middle of the river. We took a single Kayak, so I had to follow my husband’s instructions on whether to paddle forward or backward and in which direction. It was a team effort and I absolutely loved it! I was a bit nervous because of the water, and because of the boundaries we had to stick to. His calm demeanour in the midst of the choppy river navigating our route, made me fall even more in love with him.
Once we got done, we decided to grab a bite to eat at a well rated Lebanese joint nearby. We got there and ordered a platter and sat down to eat. Since the restaurant was a tiny joint, we grabbed a seat next to a group of people seated on a bigger table. We continued eating when it suddenly struck me that the man sitting next to my husband was the Dumb and Dumber and Newsroom actor Jeff Daniels! He was bearded, but that voice, oh that voice, which I remember from numerous Newsroom episodes. I knew it was him. So after we ate our meal and we left the restaurant I told my husband, who decided to purposely walk past the restaurant to get a glimpse at him.
We did a whole bunch of other fun things from roaming around Fifth Avenue post-midnight and picking up 2$ paintings, attending a Jazz gig, walking through the entire city hand in hand (seriously we would’ve walked a good 10 KM every day!), taking the local subways to get everywhere (did not take a single cab), went to the MET Museum, the MoMa, the New York Public Library, the Juilliard School, the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty.
Whatever we did made me fall more in love with the city of New York and also made me appreciate Mumbai even more. It reminded me so much of Mumbai – with fast paced movement of people, the lines and the crowds! Despite the cold and curt attitude of the city, I am in love. New York's fit men and women, with their impeccable sense of fashion made me want to live in this city just for a little while, so I could steal their sense of fashion.
When it came to saying bye to New York I was depressed. When we got back to India I actually cried about how much I missed that city. But, this was a visit that opened my eyes to how cities are so similar, yet so different. Whether it is Bangkok or Singapore or New York or Delhi or Mumbai, each city is so different from the other in its personality and characteristics. But like other cities, the big city life can tend to drive you into your own space and corner. The cities leave you longing for more, driving you to be better at who you are, regardless of the cost.