New York City 2009
Michael and I made our second trip to New York, September 24-26. We fought our way from Kennedy Airport in Queens to Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan. We again ferried to the Statue of Liberty. The Statue is a National Monument. They were taking only 200 people a day to the crown and were booked til January. We headed for Times Square and the Portland Square Hotel where we checked into our room and prepared for Kristina in Concert. We had time but had to keep moving. The hotel is located at 132 West 47th Street. Phone: 212-382-0600. We used my AAA card.
Kristina in Concert was at Carnegie Hall for two nights, and Michael and I saw it on Thursday, September 24. The main characters lined up to sing their parts in front of the orchestra. It was nearly three hours. The melodies were beautiful and full of emotion. Even though it was the English version, it was still difficult to pick up the lyrics. Of course, I knew the story. I pitied those who did not. Leaving the theater, Michael asked me what I thought. I told him it was an accomplishment, an achievement. And that is what it was, that I managed to see it with my son! We sat high in the balcony, close to the edge. A dangerous spot. Benny and Bjorn were in the audience (I figured they would be) and came to the stage at the concert's end. The song getting the biggest ovation was The Gold Turned To Sand. Carnegie Hall was built by industrialist Andrew Carnegie in 1891, and is located at 57th Street. After the show, Michael and I went to a karaoke bar at Times Square, and I sang Dancing Queen. I told him I had made it on the "big stage."
We walked from Times Square all the way to the Financial District. We entered the New York Life Building. Michael is an agent for them and sells their products. We had a tour scheduled at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and were taken to the Gold Vault underground to see $190 billion in gold. Michael reminded me that one bar weighs 20 pounds and is worth $118,000. I kept biting my nails, and he asked me if I were nervous. I guess it was all that gold! We returned to the charging bull and got pictures. Michael rubbed the bull's balls for good luck. There were more people than last time probably because of activity at the U.N. I told Michael he might be doing business on Wall Street during a future visit.
We took the subway to the Bronx and 161st Street to the new Yankee Stadium. It sits right beside the old one and cost $1.4 billion. It is Steinbrenner's legacy. The Yankees played the Boston Red Sox, the greatest rivalry in all of sports. The Yankees won 9-5. This is four times we have seen them and the second time they have won. The Stadium is the star, and we walked all around it, viewing the game from different angles. There are huge pictures on the walls of great players from the past: Ruth, Gehrig and Mantle. I nearly choked up as we entered the new cathedral. Being among Yankee supporters, I felt like we were among friends. Michael spotted 9/11 mayor Giuliani in the crowd.
Our last day, we found Rockefeller Center and the NBC Studios. We saw the statue of Prometheus, and I told Michael about the Greek myth, how Prometheus brought the gift of fire to mankind and was punished by Zeus until Hercules set him free. We strolled through the NBC Experience, a gift shop, and saw a funny picture of Conan with his hair sticking up.
Our trip ended with a ride through Central Park. We came to the John Lennon Imagine Mosaic at Strawberry Fields, and Michael took my picture giving the peace sign. Everyone else was flashing the sign, so I did. The Dakota was nearby, and I told Michael how Lennon was shot by a guy named Mark David Chapmen in December, 1980, and how I called Karen after seeing the story on the front page of the Tennessean as I was going into Shoney's for breakfast. She always said I cried, but that was not true. Chapman did not try to escape. He sat on some steps and waited for the police. Our driver said that Yoko still lives on the top three floors of the Dakota. Michael and I heard several Beatle songs while having breakfast at Starbucks.
Flying back to Nashville, I told Michael how I was feeding him a bottle in the back room at the house in Lebanon and thinking of New York. Reading about Central Park, I learned how it got its name, by being in the center of Manhattan. Michael said that it was his dream to go to New York. Now he has been there twice. We took it further and deeper. These trips are a few of the many ways I am helping my son.