In December of 2016 I had the opportunity to visit “the greatest city in the world” with the greatest traveling partners in the world.
Meet the crew, known as “Future Everything”. We consist of a high-strung photographer, a diabetic closeted artist, a Broadway-crazed wannabe, and an obscenely blunt future Harpers Magazine writer.
The high-strong photographer, known by some as the alias: “Meg”. Traveling the world with a camera in hand, we wouldn’t have any indications of the trip were it not for her. We also probably would have seen more if she hadn’t stopped us every five feet for ‘one more picture’.
A diabetic closeted artist, or “Tanner”, who always keeps us laughing, threatening to ‘walk up the hill’ if we didn’t stop arguing in the next three seconds. Tanner kept us from standing still for too long or sleeping in too late and has since decided that he ‘strangely misses New York’. (Also ‘closeted’ refers to his hidden talent of drawing. Shh, don’t tell anyone he’s good at something other then making jokes about how he truly feels).
A Broadway-crazed wannabe. While we all love NYC, Emily is the city re-incarnated as a human. If it weren’t for her, we probably wouldn’t have been third row at “Jersey Boys”, laughed at “Oh Hello”, or sat in awe at “Hamilton”. (Who am I kidding, I would have gotten into that show if I had to pull off my own toes and eat them). She kept us grounded and still lead us in dreams of our future home in the city we love.
And lastly, Me. The Obscenely blunt future Harpers Magazine writer. Somehow I became the most mom-friend reckless explorer ever. I threatened to get us all arrested by opening doors that were meant to be closed and ignoring the roped off areas. (After all, there would be a locked gate if they really didn’t want us to go back there.) Also I would probably still be lost in New York if it weren’t for the rest Future Everything. (I visited Coney Island on accident the first time I road the subway by myself.)
We are all lead by our fearless leader, the man who made the entire trip a possibility, Andy. I could never thank him enough the most amazing present I have ever received. The appreciations will forever be ‘Non Stop’.
Now that you have met the crew, let us revisit the trip. Close your eyes, lean back in your chair and imagine…
Wait. You’re reading. Keep your eyes open, but imagine.
It’s December in New York City. Slush covers the ground and snowflakes brush your cheeks. The cold air snakes up your coat as you chase your friends through the petri dish of angry New Yorkers. The horizon of bright lights would be beautiful…
If you weren’t so freaking cold.
You rip open the door and instantly relax in the warm air. Your traveling partners follow your lead and soon you all have a steaming cup in hand. You decide on your next location and brace yourself for the long walk in the cold. Maybe take a cab? No. You’re tougher than that.
Ready. Set. Repeat.
Okay, open your eyes. You have now directly experienced about 70% of what our trip was. But the other 30% could never truly be explained through words.
The most life changing moment was our first night in the city. We dressed up, took to the streets and sat in a famous theater for three hours, shaking, crying, laughing and singing silently under our breath.
The greatest musical of our time.
It was happening live, before our eyes, music loud and breaths all around the theater held as we sat forward in our seats, soaking in every wonderful second.
Emily and I had been dreaming of this moment for months. We know every word, the story behind them, and the people singing them. We know the creator like he is our own father even though we have never seen him in real life and we love him more then we can bear.
When we finally sat in those coveted seats, our lives changed.
It was better than we could ever have imagined.
I AM NOT THROWING AWAY MY SHOT.
Setting Broadway productions aside, my favorite moments of the trip were the following: our trip across the Brooklyn bridge and our night in the McKittrick Hotel.
Brooklyn, it turns out, has an eclectic, laidback feel that
Manhattan jealously sneers at. Like your family. While Manhattan is your rich aunt that takes you to Northpark, Brooklyn is her little sister that hikes the same mountain every day.
You love them both, but one of them speaks to your heart a little more.
For me, that one was Brooklyn. As soon as we stepped foot on the bridge I felt the magnet pulling me. I dreamed of balancing on the beams as I walked down in the sea of people, staring over the side and listening to the cars angrily honk at each other from below. I breathed in the brisk air as it pushed at my coat and tangled into my hair. It was as if I was walking into a dream, aware that I would wake up soon, but not willing to let it go just yet.
That night, my sister and I explored a small corner of the city, taking pictures of the skyline and discovering the “Humphrey Loft”. I was tired and freezing but I would choose the edge of those docks over a warm bed almost any day.
A few days following, the high-strung photographer and Broadway wannabe introduced me to the back road nightlife of New York City by taking me to the McKittrick Hotel. We dressed up in our chicest dresses and took a cab down back roads until we were in line for the famous ‘Sleep No More’ performance.
For those of you who don’t know, Sleep No More is a theatrical production which “adapts
the story of Macbeth, deprived of all spoken dialogue and set primarily in a dimly-lit, 1930s-era establishment called the “McKittrick Hotel”: the website of which claims it has been recently “restored” but is actually a block of warehouses in Manhattan, transformed into a hotel-like performance space. Sleep No More‘s presentational form is considered promenade theatre, in which the audience walks at their own pace through a variety of theatrically designed rooms, as well as environmental theatre, in which the physical
location, rather than being a traditional playhouse, is an imitation of the actual setting. It is also best described as immersive theatre, rather than interactive theatre, because although the audience may move through the settings, interact with the props, or observe the actors at their own pace, their interference has no bearing on the story or the performers except in rare instances.” Every guest is to wear these white masks and make their own way through the set, making their own choices. You may follow a specific character, stay in one room, or simply explore to your hearts content. The actors perform a series of dances and go through the play three times in a span of three hours, finally ending with all the guests in one room. You are then ushered back into the bar area where you may stay until last call.
The experience was unlike any other. If you have the opportunity to visit New York City I highly recommend attending the Sleep No More production. The speak-easy like bar creates such an interesting eerie ambiance and even the bartenders and waiters are in character. I give the overall experience a 100%.
New York City. The greatest city in the world (WORK).
Future Everything. The greatest crew in the world.