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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