I love New York!  I feel a connection to the city so I was extremely excited to visit with so many people I love!  Mike, my mom and I were all traveling together.  My Aunt Melissa and Uncle Elliott were going to be meeting us in NYC.  My best friends Megan and Ashleigh and their husbands were all going for a few days as well.  See?  So many people I love!!  This was also Mike’s first time visiting New York so we tried to plan a good mix of tourist activities and leisure time to just explore.

Our trip got off to a rocky start when we got delayed in Chicago for over 3 hours.  It was a frustrating situation because we couldn’t really get any answers or updates and then I met this angel on Earth, Linda.  Linda works for United Air Lines and she was beyond helpful.  She got us guaranteed seats on a flight leaving shortly after this picture was taken.  Big thanks to Linda and her magic airline skills!  If you are flying through Chicago and happen by the United Air Lines Customer Service desk, tell Linda I say hello!

Due to the delay, we didn’t get to our hotel until around 9pm.  Our hotel was right next to Times Square so we went to explore for a bit.  Honestly, we were all pretty tired and we had an early appointment to tour the 911 Memorial so we went back to crash for the night.

Our first full day started early with a tour of the 911 Memorial.  It’s a beautiful and sad dedication to those whose lives were lost on that day.  We decided to do a guided tour.  It was difficult to hear the stories of those who risked their lives without hesitation and to hear about the innocent people who were killed  This was a sad and thoughtful experience but one I highly recommend.

This is the final pillar taken from ground zero.

Mike seeing the reflective pools for the first time.

After the 911 memorial, we decided to go to Little Italy to an Italian restaurant my mom loves.  I was excited about eating some authentic Italian food and also finding a cannoli.  Mom and I shared a pizza and Mike got a meatball panini.  I loved every second of the food and ate until I was stuffed – not too stuffed for a cannoli though, obviously.

Here we are post pizza, panini and sangria!

Found a baby cannoli at Caffe Palermo.  The owner is known as the “Cannoli King.”

Next up was getting changed and meeting our friends at Gallow Green for dinner before attending the musical ‘Hamilton.’ Gallow Green is the restaurant on the roof of the McKittrick Hotel where the interactive theater experience “Sleep No More” is held.  I’ve gone to “Sleep No More” before and it’s possibly one of my favorite theater experiences ever.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for SNM this trip so I was excited to get to eat at Gallow Green – sometime I’d never done before.  The food was delicious but the company was even better.

Back: Sleiman, Mike & my mom
Front: Jesse, me, Megan & Ashleigh

Next up, HAMILTON!  This is the reason we’re all in New York in the first place.  I got lucky when a new block of tickets went on sale for the show and got us all tickets to see a Friday evening performance.  I had been obsessed with Hamilton for quite a while when I started telling Megan and Ashleigh they needed to listen to the music from the production.  They were just as hooked as I was once they listened.  Here is my PSA to tell you to download the music from Hamilton immediately.  You won’t be sorry.

                  

Saturday meant the addition of my Aunt Melissa and Uncle Elliott and it also meant Megan, Ashleigh and their husbands were heading home.  Those of us that were still in New York had tickets to see ‘Mean Girls The Musical’ that evening but nothing planned during the day so we decided to walk around and explore.  We went to a flea market in the Hells Kitchen neighborhood and then we went to Bryant Park where we came across a juggling club that was set up.  My Uncle Elliott knows how to juggle and it was also his birthday so we were all encouraging him to participate.  He was hesitant so I decided to juggle with him.  Fun fact: Elliott taught me to juggle when I was a kid on one of my many trips to visit them in Wisconsin.  We can both juggle three balls at once so we decided to learn how to juggle together.  We actually did really well and it was a lot of fun!

                  

My stance is strong when it comes to juggling! haha.

Saturday afternoon meant meeting up with my aunt and uncle’s longtime friends, Suzanne and Roger.  They had dinner with us then we went to see ‘Mean Girls The Musical.’  Suzanne and Roger’s daughter, Taylor, plays Regina George in the show and she’s fantastic!  The whole show was hilarious and fun!

After the show we got to go backstage and see Taylor’s dressing room.  We also got to go onstage and see all the props used during the show.

Here we are with Taylor on the ‘Mean Girls’ stage!

The trip so far has been fantastic but it got even better!  Check out Part 2 of our trip to read what New York baked good I brought home by the dozens and how we ended up at a party with Tina Fey.

 

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