I’ve Moved!

Hi, everyone.

Just wanted to share that since I ended my New York semester, I’ve started up a new blog!

If you liked reading me here, you should check it out over at: MMWords.

Peace 🙂

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It’s Hard to Say Goodbye

Well, I’m on the way home with my dad and Joey. Car is about ready to burst with all my stuff. Why is it that whenever you come back from somewhere your stuff seems to have multiplied beyond reason?

It’s hard to see my experiences here as coming to a close. All summer I would talk about how I was going to New York. Then all semester I was living in New York. Now, it’s something in the past, something I did, which I still haven’t quite wrapped my mind around.

The whole week has been a string of lasts. Monday was my last class with Sheila Barker, who I’ve come to admire and respect greatly. Sheila was one of the teachers at BDC that I made an effort to take weekly. Her class was never easy, she constantly would be yelling “Meredith, breathe!” when my face would be flushed with the effort of her warm-up. Even though I wasn’t in a program at BDC, Sheila gave me feedback and encouragement. On Monday during warm-up, Sheila came to stretch next to me.

“Is this my last class with you?” she asked.

“Yes,” I answered sadly.

“Wahhh!” she groaned.

I really felt like I got her combo this week and the last time my group went all I could think about was how this was my last chance to dance Sheila’s choreography for a long time. I found myself lost amid the movement which was no longer steps and eight counts. After class, I gave Sheila a hug and she exclaimed how she’d miss me and how I’d better come back.

“You’ve gotten so much stronger,” she said.

“It’s all from you Sheila!” I know Sheila’s torturous persistence played a big part in helping me grow this semester.

Tuesday was my last Jim Cooney class. Jim was the choreographer of the Elf Yourself extravaganza I was a part of back in November. After working with him for that, I tried his beginner theater class, which I loved. He has been teaching an intermediate-advanced theater class the past couple weeks which I’ve been pushing myself in. His choreography both weeks was approximately the speed of light and he stressed the importance of performance…it was a theater class after all. After class, I told Jim I was leaving and his first question was, “When are you coming back?” I wish I had a more definitive answer than “As soon as I can!”

Wednesday I said goodbye to Chris Hale whose class I took maybe a half-dozen times. So many classes I tried later in the semester once I’d worked up the courage, which I regret. I should’ve thrown myself into those classes right away! As a result there were spectacular classes like Jamie Jackson’s hip hop, Ginger Cox’s jazz, and Chris Hale’s contemporary that I only got to take a handful of times.

I love Chris’ class because he is so anatomically conscious. His warm up always leaves me feeling so centered and strong. His choreography resonated with me from the first time I danced it and I made sure to let him know that I wished I could take his class every day.

Thursday was my last dance class of the semester with Chio. I have a special place in my heart for Chio because she comes to teach master classes at my home studio in CT, so I knew and admired her well before I came to New York. It was only fitting that I’d wrap up my semester with her.

The class was terrific. I went through the now familiar warm up and absorbed this week’s choreography quickly since I’ve gotten used to her style. When we danced in groups I was to the point where I didn’t need to focus on the steps, my body knew what it was doing, and I could really just dance. This was it, my last BDC class of the semester, and I was savoring every second of it.

But of course, noon came and class ended. When I said goodbye to Chio she insisted I not say it was my last class.

“You have to come back!” she said. She urged me to keep in touch via Facebook, wished me luck, and gave me a hug. When I walked to the locker room I still didn’t let myself register that next week I wouldn’t be coming into Sheila’s class, readying myself for another week of dance.

Thursday night, my painting career also came to a close. We had our final critique in the painting class I’ve been taking all semester. It was great to see everyone’s work up on the wall but I found it frustrating trying to say so much about each piece. Couldn’t we just look at them and enjoy them? I like letting each person develop their own interpretation, rather than having the artist explain what they were going for. But, I still shared my inspirations and talked about each of my paintings and listened as the rest of the class offered compliments and critiques.

Let’s be honest, I probably gave Picasso a run for his money this semester.

NOT.

My goal this semester: slow and steady improvement, which I think I achieved! But when you look at that first painting…yikes, there wasn’t anywhere to go but up! Anyway, here is my work for you to see for yourself!

Geometric, black and white still life

Monochromatic still life

Personal still life

Exterior landscape

Interior

Self portrait #1

Self portrait #2

Marginal improvement…but improvement none-the-less!

After class I headed back up to the house and grudgingly started packing. No sooner had I started however, than the phone rang. It was Joey.

“Hello?”

“Hi, can you come let me in?”

“What?”

“It’s really cold outside.”

I very nearly sprinted down the stairs and ripped open the front door. There was my boyfriend in the Bronx, outside my front door, grinning madly. This was only part of the surprise though. Joey informed me we’d be going in to Central Park and taking a ride in a horse-drawn carriage as part of my Christmas present. Now I couldn’t stop grinning.

The ride in the park was wonderful. I listened to the soft clip-clopping of Phoenix’s hooves on the pavement in the park and felt as though we were the only two in the city.

When we disembarked from our carriage ride, we were right on 5th avenue, so naturally I had to bring Joey to see the tree. That makes it five times for me! It doesn’t get old people! It just doesn’t get old!

By the time we made it back to the house it was past midnight, but all the interns were still up in the common room enjoying our last night all together.

Waking up at 8:15 this morning was a little difficult after how late we all stayed up, but the adrenaline of it being my last day made it a little easier. I spent the morning packing, and then set off to BDC for my last day at the office.

The day went along pretty normally with everyone (especially me) lamenting over the fact that it was my last day. Around 2:00pm, April asked me to go upstairs to the 8th floor and help Aubrey with some retail stuff. I counted some inventory and brought a few packages downstairs, then grabbed a sweatshirt out of the store and brought it back up for her.

“Great!” Aubrey said. “April just said she needed you downstairs again, so I’ll head down with you.” So we hopped in the elevator, went back down to the third floor and walked into the office where the entire staff was waiting and Mitchell was holding a plate of vanilla kreme donuts with candles in them (we all know my obsession with vanilla kreme donuts).

Hawaiian Christmas music was playing as April placed a silly purple straw hat on my head and everyone cheered and hula danced. I was so shocked I could barely even say anything! Everyone was smiling and laughing at how surprised I was. Then April said, “You have to open your present!”

In a black BDC tote bag I found super BDC sweats (which I’m currently wearing) and two gift cards for free classes at the studio (incentive to come back! As if I needed any). There was a card from April which I opted not to read right then, since I already felt tears welling up, and a large white envelope.

The front of the envelope had a picture of a group of dancers with the staff from The Pulse, only April had cut out pictures of my face and posted them over each dancer’s face so there were a bunch of goofy looking Meredith’s posing in the picture.

“You have way too much time on your hands if you did this,” I laughed.

I opened the envelope and pulled out a certificate.

“It’s for The Pulse,” April explained. “This entitles you to attend one of the cities on the tour!”

I was absolutely stunned and couldn’t manage to say much besides “Oh my, gosh,” and “Thank you!” I’ve always wanted to attend The Pulse but it was always way out of my college student budget. Now I’ll actually get to go! I can’t wait to be taking class with Mia Michaels, Wade Robeson, Chris Judd, and the rest of The Pulse staff.

By this point the tears were really flowing and I used the hand that wasn’t holding a donut to wipe my eyes before I really became a mess. I couldn’t believe all the trouble everyone had went to just to make my last day special. I got hugs from everyone in the office then April declared we were going out to Starbucks for my exit interview.

Those of you who’ve read along as I’ve written these posts (you guys rock!) can really appreciate how many doors opened for me while I was here. I danced as an elf at the New York Stock Exchange, I danced next to Radio City Rockettes, I watched auditions for Madonna, I met so many amazing students from all over the world who I’ll be happy to count among my friends even after I’ve left the city.

I’m so grateful to everyone at BDC for welcoming me into their family and helping me to get the most out of my time here. Everyone was so kind, which meant so much to me when I first started and was so intimidated by the world-renown status of BDC. I quickly found that even though we welcome students from all corners of the globe, BDC is such a tight-knit community. Teachers learned my name, I met and befriended students who I took class with every day, and I joked around with everyone in the office.

I especially need to thank April, the most amazing supervisor that ever lived, for taking me on as her intern. April, you were so patient when teaching me how to do new things and you opened doors for me that I didn’t even know existed. You taught me so much while I worked for you and you trusted me enough to let me take on lots of responsibilities. When I left today, I knew I wasn’t saying goodbye to my boss, but to my friend.

I’m going to miss so many things about this semester.

First and foremost, my new home, Broadway Dance Center. I’ll miss the way the front desk greeted everyone who came out off the elevator or up the stairs: “Hello, welcome!” I’ll miss the hordes of students eating, napping, reading, stretching, speaking in foreign languages, and rehearsing outside studio four. I’ll miss watching endless classes from the observation windows and being in awe of the talent that surrounded me daily. I’ll miss coming into the office and sitting at my “desk.” I’ll miss April coming over to the coffee machine 372 times a day. I’ll miss my classes and all the amazing people I met while I was here. I’ll miss the daily challenges I faced in my classes as teachers demanded more from their dancers and the way I was inspired by the dedication of the other students; they moved me to work harder at dancing than I have in a long time.

Then I’ll miss everything about the city. I’ll miss the way the subways seem to sigh just before the slide into motion. I’ll miss the sudden appearances of break dancers on the train and the people who play guitar and don’t ask for money, playing just for the joy of playing. I’ll miss the way I always knew I came up the right set of stairs in the Bronx when I smelled the Italian place on the corner. I’ll miss watching flurries softening the harsh sky-scraper landscape. I’ll miss the friendly faces I met at my favorite lunch places. I’ll miss how amazed I was whenever I took a taxi and I got where I was going in less than 20 minutes. I’ll miss being able to give tourists directions and taking group photos for people by the tree. I’ll miss the ridiculous way Times Square never gets dark and Rockefeller and even the absurd crowds that swarm there on the weekends. I’ll miss cheesecake never being more than three blocks away. I’ll miss the almost palpable sense of holiday spirit that lingers among the crowds on Fifth Avenue.

I’ll even miss the Bronx and how the bus was never running according to schedule. I’ll miss the grungy D train (but not the rats that scurried along the tracks). I’ll miss the security guard on our street who always waved, the kids who stayed out all hours of the night playing on the fenced-in pavement and the Spanish music that is perpetually playing out of the building behind us. I’ll miss hanging out on the roof and cooking oatmeal every day for breakfast.

I know when I get home, everyone will ask, “How was New York?”

What am I supposed to say? This blog post is already obscenely long and I haven’t even come close to describing what it was like to be there.

Another question I know I’ll get is, “Will you go back?” or “Would you want to live there?”

That one’s easy: Yup. No doubt. I’d love to go back, with a few small changes…but that’s still far off. There’s school to finish up first and that’s enough to worry about.

I’m now 48 minutes from home according to the GPS in the car and I feel like I can finally start looking forward to everything I missed about home. I can’t wait to have a big bed again and a room that isn’t always either stifling or freezing. I can’t wait to see my family and friends from home and do everything that the holidays bring. I can’t wait to only be fifteen minutes from Joey and see each other every day instead of every three weeks.

I also can’t wait to see my school friends, who I’ve missed unbelievably this entire time. We’ve been scattered all over the world and we’ll finally, finally be reunited this weekend (barring cancelled flights due to snow…fingers crossed). That’s a reunion I can’t think about without getting that excited knot in my stomach.

So, folks, I think that about sums it up.

This blog was meant to be a personal account of my four months in New York, and driving home now brings that to a close.

With that, I bid you farewell. Thanks for reading and commenting and encouraging me to keep writing, I had an absolute blast the entire time.

Peace, Love, and Happy Holidays 🙂

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BDC’s ProSem Showcase

Broadway Dance Center has several super programs. The training program, the summer intern program, international student visa program and the professional semester are just a few. In my four months at BDC I’ve met a lot of the students in programs and they always have amazing things to say about their experience. I take class with students in these programs daily and they’re all stunningly talented. I’ve also gotten to know a few of the students in the programs and I can say that they are not only dedicated dancers, but really kind people as well.

Tonight was the holiday showcase for BDC’s Professional Semester (ProSem) students. Their program ends this month and the showcase is an opportunity for them to perform both their work and the choreography of faculty at BDC. I wasn’t planning on going to the showcase, even though I wanted to, because I’d heard it was sold out. I was informed however, that because I was staff (look at me, part of the staff) I didn’t need a ticket and could just come!

So after class, I ran out to get some white paint (of course I ran out mid-project), then made my way back to 42nd Street Studios where the showcase was being held.

I managed to get one of the last seats in the audience and eagerly awaited the start of the show.

From start to finish, I was absolutely blown away. The eighteen students in BDC’s first semester of the Professional Semester were beautifully trained and wonderfully talented. I loved that the showcase allowed the students to perform their own choreography and it was so exciting to see the students I dance with every day performing their own work for the sold-out audience.

I would get into my favorite pieces but then I’d have to describe the entire program. The dancers showed such versatility; so many styles of dance were represented. It was clear that everyone in the program was going to go on the have a very successful dancing career, and some of them have already begun!

At the end of the program, one of the students took the mic to thank the director of educational programming for all her work. It was so touching to see how strong of a bond all the dancers had formed with the staff and with each other during their semester. I’m hanging on to my program so that I can remember all the names of the dancers…I’m positive they’ve only just begun to take the dance world by storm.

It’s just another example of what an unreal opportunity this semester has been for me. Even though I wasn’t in one of these programs, I still was able to take classes with the dancers in them. I am honored to have spent so much time surrounded by the high level of professionalism, dedication, and passion in the dancers at BDC.

Congratulations to all the ProSem students graduating, you were all wonderful tonight!

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West Side Story

As promised, here’s the post about the rest of my Saturday after the Rockette Experience in the morning!

After the workshop, I called up my friend Matt who was coming in to the city for the day with a few of his friends! Matt took the bus down from our school in MA and I was eager to see some familiar faces! We met up at Burger Heaven on Madison and 42nd where we caught up over some deliciously greasy food. When my stomach was no longer growling, we made our way down 5th avenue, admiring the decorated buildings and groaning over how ridiculous the crowds were on the weekend.

Of course, we saw the tree, but I told him he had to go back later when it was dark and he could really appreciate it! As we made our way towards Central Park we stopped to see some amazing street performers! They were obviously well rehearsed and very funny! They had a lot of great tricks, but I managed to get my phone out to tape their grand finale!

When they asked for donations, I happily whipped out my wallet and dropped in what I could. I explained to Matt, “Got to support the fellow performers!”

When the crowd had dispersed, we continued down fifth ave and into Central Park. We all agreed that it was nice to be in the park but still see the skyscrapers of the city. We went to the skating rink, but only to watch as there was a huge line!

Matt and I in the park!

Behind us you can sort of see how packed the ice was!

After a long walk through the park with Matt and his friends, I had to get some shopping done! I left the boys at Columbus Circle and hopped on the train to head back to Bryant Park. The park was so fun, filled with vendors surrounding the rink and a Christmas tree decorated in blue and white. While I watched the skaters on the rink, I heard a group of girls asking someone whether that was the New York tree. As he explained that, no, this was Bryant Park, not Rockefeller, I imagined how amazed the girls would be when they finally saw the real tree if they thought this one was impressive!

The tree at Bryant Park

I browsed through the vendors looking for gifts for my mom and my sister…but I couldn’t find exactly what I had in mind. I knew to get my sister what she really wanted, I’d have to head down to Canal Street, so I made my way there.

After a very long and complicated process, I found a great gift for my sister…but seeing as she might read this, I’m not giving anything away!

At this point, I was really getting wiped out. Battling through weekend holiday crowds in the city is exhausting! I was getting really tired of being pushed and shoved around and decided it was time to get some food before going to meet the other interns at 47th and 7th to see West Side Story!

I stopped for dinner Europa Cafe, ordered chicken soup and some cheesecake, and took a seat at the only open table, which was a table for four. It was wicked crowded in there, and sure enough, two women asked if I minded if they sat with me. I of course didn’t mind, and invited them to sit down. One of the women had on elaborate makeup, false lashes, huge hair, and rings on every finger. I should have guessed where she was from before I asked: Vegas.

I actually had a really nice time sitting and chatting with two strangers over dinner. They were both from Vegas visiting for a few days and they were happy to tell me about what they’d done in the city, as well as hear about what I do in the city.

“Is it always this crazy?” The woman with the huge hair asked.

“It’s a lot worse on the weekends, and since the tree was lit it’s just been mass chaos,” I explained.

At 7 I had to bid my new friends goodbye. They wished me luck with my dancing and waved goodbye.

Full of warm soup, I happily made my way to Times Square, a little more tolerant of the pushing and shoving. I met the other interns at the theater and we followed the usher’s direction to our seats way up in the third mezzanine. I was almost dizzy as we took our seats, we were so high up!

Way up there...

The play was, of course, really amazing. From way up there I could really appreciate the formations and the intricacy of the choreography. There were some really amazing dancers in the cast, and the actress who played Maria had a spectacular voice. Now I really understand what my teachers mean when they say you have to perform for the entire theater, even the audience up in the mezzanine. When the actors were looking straight out at the orchestra level, I felt like I was just observing from above a play that I wasn’t really invested in. It was when the actors projected their characters all the way up to us (which is very difficult) that I felt included in the story.

I had seen West Side Story back when my high school did it one year, but it was a whole different experience to see it on Broadway. The entire cast was extremely talented…obviously…they’re on Broadway! I forgot how sadly the play ended. When the curtain fell I was definitely left feeling the heavy message the play was trying to send.

The whole way home the interns couldn’t stop humming I feel pretty, oh so pretty, I feel pretty and witty and briiiiiightttt!

When I finally fell into bed it was 18 hours after I had left it that morning. After a long day of dancing, walking around Manhattan, shopping, and battling the crowds, I spent today in my pajamas, eating Oreos, and getting odd jobs done in preparation for my last week in the city! I can’t believe it!

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Rockette Experience (part 2)

Yesterday was such a long day, I’m breaking it into two posts. So stay tuned for another post later today!

But I’ll start off with my second weekend working as a Rockette Assistant at Radio City!

After last weekend, Barbara (who works as BDC’s liaison to the Rockettes) came in on Monday and stopped by my desk. She came over to say that she was so proud of how well we all did last weekend. I was so excited! She went on and on about how impressed she was and how she thought she was seeing things when she saw us up front assisting with the mock audition! It was so great to hear good things from Barbara, and it made me more confidant going into this weekend!

This week, I did not wake up late. Thanks to my alarm (that I triple checked the night before) and my boyfriend, who was up working on projects until 5:45am (he’s becoming nocturnal), and texted me making sure I had woken up. Thanks, Joey 🙂

I donned my leotard and tights and made my way down our deserted street at quarter to seven. Seriously, if you ever want to see the Bronx when it’s quiet…any time before seven it’s like a ghost town. I got to Radio City a little bit early, but still went up to the rehearsal space with one of the other assistants who was there as well. As we set up the room and arranged the chairs neatly, I asked her about her audition experience. She’s auditioned several times and always gets all the way to the end, it’s just a matter of time now.

When girls audition for the Rockettes, there’s a lot of factors in play. Not only do you have to make it all the way to the end, through several cuts, but once you get there they take measurements. See, in order to join the Rockettes, you have to fit into a costume of a girl who is leaving. So if the only girls that are leaving are on the shorter side (5’6″ is the minimum height) and you’re 5’10” like me, your torso is probably going to be too long for their costumes. Even if you’re the best dancer there, if you don’t fit into the costume, someone else will the get the part. That’s why girls audition over and over…they’re just waiting for someone their size to leave!

The other assistant talked me through her audition process, which was very insightful and definitely something I’ll have to keep in mind before my audition in April (hopefully!!).

After our chat, it was time to get the day started. My job was to stand by the elevator and direct the dancers taking the workshop to the rehearsal space. In between groups of dancers, I peeked into the nearby rooms. There were real Rockette costumes all over the place! I couldn’t help but admire them up-close. I’d pick up one of the headpieces and pretend like I was wearing it, but put it down really quick as soon as I heard the elevator bell ring!

This week we had not one, but two Rockettes! The five assistants lined up in the front alongside the real pros. I couldn’t believe I was dancing next to two of Radio City’s Rockettes! After the warm-up we went into choreography.

I was surprised when we started learning a routine that was not what we learned last week. I figured the whole point of us standing in the back the first weekend was so that we’d know the choreography for this week when we were up front. I must have figured wrong because there we were learning three routines I’d never done. But this was a good thing! Now I had an even larger repertoire of Rockette choreography!

The jazz number was a lot slower this week which required an even higher attention to detail. The tap routine was a lot trickier as well, but I got it by the time I had to do it on my own! The kick routine had lots of the famous eye-high kicks, so you can bet I’m sore today.

Once we’d learned all the choreography, we arranged the 45 dancers into nine groups of five for the mock auditions. We took turns standing off to the side in pairs in front of the group of dancers “auditioning.” The Rockettes watched as they danced and it was our job to do the choreography so that if the dancers forgot, they could look at us, which, as I said last week, put the pressure on us! I think I was most nervous when we were doing tap, because the other assistant didn’t have time to put on her tap shoes (long story) so my taps were reverberating off the walls of the rehearsal space…they had to be perfect!

Once we were done with all nine groups doing all three routines, our duties were finished. Before I left though, I had a question to ask of one of our Rockette teachers. One of our teachers was busy doing the Q&A but the other was seated with the assistants. I sat down next to her.

“So, any advice for an aspiring Rockette?”

“Take a lot of classes,” she said. I nodded, knowing I’d taken the most classes I’d be taking for a while during my four months at BDC. “The hardest part for me was the strength required in every move.” She went on to talk about the precision, and how important attention to detail is. “In the audition, that’s what they’re looking for. How many details you can pick up on. So if their head is tilted like this, you tilt your head like that.” I listened really closely as she gave advice because she definitely knows what she’s talking about since she’s been a Rockette for nine years!

After my chat with the Rockette, it was time to go meet some Stonehill friends for a little time in the city! But more on the rest of my crazy Saturday later…

Christmas Countdown: 13 days!

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Chocolate Heaven and David Letterman

Last night, the program that helped the interns find their internships took us all out to for dessert to celebrate the end (is it already that time!?) of the semester. Everyone was going and it was free dessert…I was obviously in.

The program chose Max Brenner’s as the location for dessert, which sounded vaguely familiar when I looked up directions. After my dance classes I met up with two of the other girls and we hopped on the Q train to Union Square (note I hadn’t actually had any dinner and was going straight to dessert…typical). We easily found the restaurant and after a little confusion, met up with all the representatives from the program as well as other students in the program from Australia!

From the moment we walked in, I knew I was going to like this place. It had a light, not overbearing, aroma of chocolate and a warm, cozy atmosphere which was a pleasant relief from the constant cold. Upon closer inspection, I noticed the chocolate pizza…that’s right…chocolate pizza, on display. While we waited to be seated I looked through the restaurant’s chocolate shop which only worsened my craving for chocolate.

We were finally seated when everyone arrived and were handed dessert menus. Page by page, my stomach growled and my eyes got bigger and bigger. How was I ever going to decide between the Melting Chocolate Truffle Heart Cake & Shake and the Chocolate Creamiest Cheesecake & Shake? Not to mention the Banana Tempura Fondue and the The 100% Pure Chocolate Chocolate Experience Ice Cream “Max-Wich.” Obviously I also had to get some hot chocolate which meant choosing between their fourteen variations on the winter-y classic.

What’s a girl to do!?

“What are you getting?” I asked Brian, who was seated next to me.

“Just a fruit smoothie I think.”

“No dessert?”

“Nah.”

“So, you’re going to get the cheesecake and let me have it.”

Brian sportingly agreed to my plan…after all, he wasn’t paying for it. So when it came time to order, I got the Swiss Whipped Cream Chocolate and the Truffle Heart Cake mentioned before and Brian got the cheesecake.

Soon after, these beautiful masterpieces arrived at the table (taken on my phone because I wasn’t anticipating desserts that necessitated a camera…I underestimated Max Brenner’s).

Dessert #1

Dessert #2

The chocolate cake came with ice cream and a chocolate shot topped with whipped cream. The cheesecake also got a chocolate shot and came with a mandarin and mint salad that I let Brian have. And what’s in those mini shakers? Why, melted chocolate of course, which I used to douse both the cake and the cheesecake.

It wasn’t until Brian and I tried surreptitiously switching plates that any of the other interns noticed I planned on having two desserts. I gave everyone a bit of cheesecake which still left a very sizable amount for me, and though everyone else barely finished their desserts…yes…I finished two.

... and she licked the platter clean.

No one was really surprised.

Needless to say, I didn’t need dinner…that was my dinner and it was delicious. 5 stars for you Max Brenner. Or 4 stars…whatever…the best rating you can give a restaurant, Max Brenner’s gets it. We already made plans to go back this weekend for brunch…waffles with strawberries and chocolate sauce? Yes, please!

After thoroughly stuffing ourselves full of chocolate-y goodness, we agreed to stop by the tree at Rockefeller (this would be my fourth time seeing the tree…it just doesn’t get old!). Joey had never seen the tree before, and he’s from China  so we naturally had to make sure he had this classic American experience before our semester was up!

Half the house in front of the tree 🙂

 

After a late night with the interns it was back to work today, where April surprised me by asking if I wanted to see the David Letterman show with her! I said yes, obviously, and in 5 minutes we were bundled up and booking it down 45th towards the Ed Sullivan Theater.

Once we’d checked in, we had a while to wait, so we walked to Columbus Circle and browsed through the Christmas market where dozens of vendors set up booths selling everything from purses, to jewelery to food! April generously treated me to some Glühwein which was so warm and tasty! I’d never had anything like it before, but it had a great taste and definitely warmed up the hands.

We also took a detour and stopped by the old BDC location.

The sign was still there and everything, but the guy who bought the building is going to tear it down eventually, which stinks 😦 BDC has had to move several times before finding its current home on 45th street, but we like it there 🙂

When it was time, we made our way back to the theater. After the run-down on the rules, we were brought into the theater where the band was playing and the staff was enthusiastically clapping along.

The Stage!

The taping of the show was really fun. Dave was hysterical and we were told to laugh as heartily as possible because “you guys are our soundtrack!” My favorite part was when Dave asked who was from out of town…most people cheered. Who was from out of the country…a few raised hands. Who was a New Yorker? Me! Me! Me! I got to raise my hand and cheer along with April and the rest of our group, who, by the sounds of it, were the only natives in the theater.

The guest was Bill O’Reilly who was there promoting his new book, as well as Phosphorescent, the musical guest! I get to do the coolest things because of my internship! Lucky me 🙂

Look for me in the audience tonight on the Late Show with David Letterman because the guy behind me asked a question, so I’m pretty sure when the camera showed him, I got in on the shot as well! So famous, hahaha!

Christmas Countdown: 16 Days!

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A Very Ugly Weekend

This weekend, my sister, Michelle (aka Ugly…don’t ask) came to visit.

I patiently waited at Penn Station early Friday morning. When I met my sister, I gave her an obnoxious hug and when I pulled away we said together, “I’m hungry.” To Wendy’s!

Note, this will not dye your cookies green.

Some fries, chicken tenders, and a frosty later, we were headed back up to the Bronx. We spent Friday night baking cookies and watching our favorite Christmas story, The Polar Express on ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas. Does it get any better!?

We tried two new cookie recipes that I found here and here, but neither of them came out as planned. The mint chocolate chip cookies weren’t green because I bought what I thought was green dye, but was actually mint flavored decorating gel. Oops. I also couldn’t find mint flavored chocolate chips at the grocery store in the Bronx. Selection is a little limited, so we just went with regular chocolate chips. Even though they didn’t look minty fresh, the cookies tasted delicious!

We also made red velvet cookies…that weren’t red, because the red dye we bought wasn’t strong enough to overpower the cocoa powder. But, as with our mint cookies, the red velvet ones tasted great, even if they didn’t quite look the part. Soon the kitchen was swarmed with the other interns who could smell us baking!

Saturday morning was my Rockette Experience which ended a little later than anticipated. Much to Ugly’s dismay, I had to send a cab to pick her up because I wouldn’t have time to come back to the Bronx and get her before our dance class we planned for the afternoon.

Ugly is not a fan of public transport, even when it is as simple as getting in a cab and reading off the address I made her write down. She was very unhappy when I told her she’d have to take a cab on her own, but I stayed on the phone with her until she met the car on the corner of our street in front of White Castle.

Ugly arrived safely at BDC where we took Chio’s Jazz Funk class. I’m spoiled and get to take Chio’s class every week, but it was a real treat for Ugly who hadn’t seen Chio since she’d come to visit our hometown studio back in CT. When Chio saw Ugly she recognized her from our home studio and was pleasantly surprised when I told her she was my sister! We had a great time in Chio’s class…as usual!

The original plan was to grab dinner at John’s Pizza on 44th…but when we got there we were met with a huge line winding down the street.

Cue our battle with one of the busiest tourist weekends in NYC of the year. I forgot that this was the first weekend since the tree lighting and that the city was bound to be flooded with tourists.

So many tourists!

We made our way to a back-up pizza place, ate quickly, and made plans to try to see the tree. I knew Ugly would love it! We made it all the way to 48th and 5th before the crowd become absurd. For a solid 5 minutes, there was a whole lot of pushing and shoving going on, but then….the tree!

Even though I’d already seen the tree lit, it was still stunning. Ugly and I worked our way up to the ice skating rink and watched the skaters glide around the ice. Ugly has a particular sense of humor and thoroughly enjoyed the little kids falling. No one got hurt though, so it wasn’t mean to laugh! Even though the number of tourists was frustrating, I had to admit that I felt like one, too. Even though I’ve lived in the city for a few months now, I give in to my tourist instincts now and again. I whip out my camera, ask others to take pictures of my sister and I, and love it when others ask me to take pictures of their group. The best part though, is helping lost tourists who ask for directions. I love being able to answer when they ask, “Which way is 9th avenue?!”

Ugly and I being tourist-y

The highlight of Saturday night though was watching as the ice was cleared but for two people. A couple, clearly, had stopped right in front of the golden statue. The girl was admiring the statue, then turned around to see her boyfriend down on one knee. The entire plaza started cheering as she brought her mitten-ed hands to her mouth. He opened the little black box, and though I couldn’t see it from where we were, it obviously was a ring! Everyone watched as the couple embraced and cheered when they did a celebratory lap around the ice.

Thumbs up...she said yes!

Seriously, any guys reading this…take notes. Proposal on the rink in front of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree? A+ for you, sir.

Sunday morning, Ugly and I woke up to meet my parents on Arthur Avenue for lunch. They were coming in to the city because we’d be seeing Elf on Broadway! After lunch, we had time for a quick stop to Canal Street for Ugly to do some Christmas shopping, but no luck! Too many police officers around. Oh, well.

With just enough time, we hailed a cab back to midtown and hurried into the theater.

Our seats were great (thanks, Dad!) and the show was even better! It stuck (for the most part) to the movie, with only a few changes that I thought suited the theater. I laughed and smiled through the whole thing! They even had an ice skating rink on the stage at one point! Through all the humor, my favorite part was the very end when the whole cast donned brightly colored elf costumes and did a huge tap number! It was great!

When we left the theater, all I wanted was for it to be CHRISTMAS! Which I’m sure is what the cast was going for 🙂

My parents hadn’t seen the tree either, so for the second time this weekend, we made our way to Rockefeller Plaza. It was worth the walk! We got pictures of the entire family in front of the tree, and I got to be the tour guide 🙂

Mom and Dad by the tree 🙂

The whole gang together, that's what Christmas is all about, right?

After a belly bursting dinner at….you guessed it…Carmine’s, it was time to bring the weekend to a close. But seeing as this Monday morning began with snow flurries it’s shaping up to be a pretty good week, too!

Christmas Countdown: 19 days!

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