Big Lights Will Inspire You

Part II

Since we spent all day Friday waiting in line for tickets and then sleeping off hangovers and sleeplessness, we planned Saturday as our “tourist” day – waking up pseudo-early and finding Carrie Bradshaw’s Greenwich Village apartment, then finding the “Love” statue, buying scarves and hats, walking down Fifth Ave and into Times Square, armed with cameras and stopping in stores along the way.

It’d been about six years since I’d last been to New York, so the paving over of Times Square was new for me… and what a good idea! Too bad TRL and it’s consistent blocking of the roads died (and with it, the last music videos of MTV), but it’s still a madhouse of people now, rather than cars.

By pure chance, we happened on the Discovery Center’s Harry Potter Exhibition and knew we had no choice but to cough up the $25. Despite the line to get in, and the overpriced photos that photoshop you in front of Hogwarts, once we entered pure joy overcame me.

The exhibit starts by walking down a hallway lined with movie posters of each Harry film, and then into a room of numerous television screens, where they play a Harry Potter tribute, with different images on alternating screens. Watching the montage of the last ten years, I jumped up and down with giddiness and couldn’t stop smiling. Next, everyone was ushered into the next room, where a witch with a Sorting Hat was waiting, and she asked for volunteers to try their luck with the Hat. Naturally, I raised my hand, but it being a “kid’s” exhibit, I was beaten out by three boys who all chose Gryffindor. Fail.

And then, a walk into the World of Harry Potter, with the Hogwarts Express steaming and props and costumes from the movie out in the open for all to see and admire. Let me tell you, I didn’t care about all the people crowding around me, I was lost in the world, and wish I could’ve spent hours there, reading and examining every little detail… but sadly, the line had to keep moving.

In the gift shop, however, I did finally buy my wand… Hermione’s (naturally), and resisted the urge to drop $200 (that I definitely don’t have) on a Gryffindor Robe and $100 on the Gryffindor sweater… one day…

And then came time to prepare for yet more waiting. We made our way back to Broadway around 9, where we staked our claim at the front of the barricades, entertaining the crowds as they slowly filled in around us… and making fun of the teenage girls who had “VIP” access inside the barricades but outside the door, who brought Hershey’s Kisses (with a note) for Dan. Gag.

We met John Larroquette and other members of the cast, and then… Daniel came out, amongst a mix of screaming and hushedly-excited girls. Autograph-hounds asked him to sign DVDs, and he ignored the item, claiming, “Not when you’re selling it, Dude.” The girl behind me complimented him, telling Dan he was awesome, and in a dreamlike state, I echoed her, hearing his bumbling thank you, and as he did so, he glanced upward and did a double-take, telling me, “Nice hat, by the way”.

The rest of the night was spent in a giddy stupor, calling everyone I know (only one person picked up, and the others told me later they were glad they didn’t) and reliving that moment. It’s become my “Happy Place” at work when Jellyfish screams an inch away from my face, and I ordered a frame for my signed Playbill.

I know he’s just an actor and not actually Harry Potter, but seeing as how the “real” Harry is a fictional character whom I have no chance of ever meeting in this world, Daniel is the closest I can come (besides maybe J.K. Rowling), and that moment will live on, next to the framed Hanson autograph and photos, my two passions hung neatly, side by side.

Like I do everytime I see Hanson live, I’ve been bitten and have already begun planning a return trip this summer.

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These Streets Will Make You Feel Brand New

Part I

Bestie and I had been planning a trip to New York for a few months – ever since we heard Daniel Radcliffe would be opening the role of J. Pierrepont Finch in the 50-year revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. After some confusion and restructuring of dates, we finally both were approved for a personal day from our respective jobs and bought our tickets to the Big City.

We arrived separately Thursday night and met up outside of a karaoke bar where some of our college friends were participating in Britney night. I made my karaoke debut here – where better than New York – with a duet of Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now”, Bestie and my Roadtrip Jam. So you can imagine this correctly, neither of us are particularly strong singers, and we were belting out a deep-lunged Diva while intoxicated. Oh, karaoke.

The plan was to stay out all night, rather than take multiple cab rides to Greenwich Village and back to Broadway, and then wait in line super early for Rush Tickets for How to Succeed… On the surface, the plan sounded awesome. Except I’m a super lightweight who’d had an extremely long day/week/semester, and the Jameson I had on top of two Stella’s and a few Sangria’s did me in. We followed some randar guys we met at the Beer Garden to another bar close by, and it took me everything I had not to pass out and let some other randar take advantage of me. When it became clear I wouldn’t make it the 2ish hours until our planned wait-in-line time, I took a cab back to the super cute but tiny hotel, fought the spins, and passed out, leaving Bestie to fend for herself.

Around quarter to seven, my slumber was broken by the sounds of “mmmbop” and an unknown number, who turned out to be Bestie, calling from the phone of the guy next to her in line. She gave me the guilt trip (rightfully) about my absence, and I threw on clothes, took a cab to Broadway, bought two Vanilla Latte’s, and took my spot on the cold pavement.

The doors didn’t open until precisely 10:00, so we had a few hours of watching the line behind us grow and wishing we had had the foresight to bring books. When the doors finally opened, however, we secured our super-good Rush Tickets for $30 each, which turned out to be in the front row of the audience-right box, giving us a pretty damn good view (though the right side was slightly obstructed, but who cares about the secretary?), and right into the Orchestra Pit, where we would watch Dan prepare for the opening wire-work.

The rest of the day was spent sleeping off Hangovers and nights of sleeplessness, fighting back alcohol-and-colds-from-kiddos-induced nausea, and preparing for dreams to come true. 8:00pm, Bestie and I passed under the bright lights of Broadway and into the Al Hirschfield Theatre, taking our front row seats and preparing for the spectacle. Daniel Radcliffe, aka the boy who IS Harry Potter, was breathing the same air and was within jumping distance. We watched as he harnessed himself up in the Orchestra Pit for the opening, and then sang and danced like I had no idea he could, and the pure comedy and joy spread across all our faces. He was a delight.

After the show, they auctioned off his copy of How to Succeed in Business used as a prop, “full disclosure, it’s actually Machiavelli’s The Prince” for $2000 and was surprisingly funny during the entire event. “Sir, don’t touch your ear like that!”

Waiting to watch the auction we couldn’t hope to participate in (if I’m paying $2000 I better be getting him) cost us a good position at the already-packed barricades, meaning his stage-door exit an hour later meant lots of photos of his backside (not a bad view), but no up-close-and-personal photos or autographs.

No worries, we still had another night. And so we went home to the hotel, planning our next night’s stalking escapade.