A few weeks ago I was blessed with the opportunity to spend a long weekend in New York City with the Writers Guild of America- East, sponsored by the Wounded Warrior Project. I joined 29 other wives of wounded warriors in NYC for one of the most amazing weekends I have ever had.
I’ve been slow in sitting down to write about my experience because it just seemed way to much to reflect on at once. So, I’ve decided to break it down over a few posts. Bear with me as I try to not bore you with the details as I reminisce.
I’ll start by reflecting on my experience with the city. New York was everything I had hoped it would be- times ten. I was completely blown away from the entire experience. I grew up in North St. Louis County. I don’t know what a real city is. And I certainly wasn’t expecting the royal treatment! I never expected a driver in a black Cadillac to pick me up at the airport. I was expecting an airport shuttle bus and a guy named Aldelbah who didn’t speak English. I wasn’t expecting a $587/night room at the Marriott Marquis overlooking Times Square- all to myself! I was expecting a room overlooking the alley and a roommate I had never met. The whole thing was just way over the top. I don’t know that I’ll ever get over it. I honestly hope I don’t.
I would never want to live anywhere near Times Square. In fact, I would never want to spend a weekend anywhere near Times Square again but I’m glad I did this time. It was definitely an experience I’ll never forget. The jackhammers and sirens going all night. The lights on Broadway being so bright that even with the curtains drawn and my eyes shut, I could still see the lights flashing even though I had rolled away and was facing the opposite wall. Being able to walk across the street to any Broadway play, the biggest stores, the brightest lights. It was very surreal. All the things you see in the movies were right in front of me. I soaked it all in but I don’t think I’d want to do that again. It was way too congested. Way too dirty. Way too loud. And while the naked singing cowboys and the naked painted showgirls did draw a good size crowd, they really weren’t my thing. But after driving around, I think I could enjoy life in Soho or the Village or even Brooklyn- if I didn’t have a family. I can see how New York inspires artists of all kinds- from writers to actors to the guy who spray paints the NYC skyline on t-shirts. We took a two hour (turned into almost 3 hour) double decker, open top bus ride around New York. While I couldn’t hear the entire tour thanks to the noise of the city, I was really captivated by the stories I heard about the history of NYC. We saw the oldest cemetery in the US and learned about the Battle of Long Island. I enjoyed that just as much if not more than seeing Hugh Jackman’s $50,000/mo apartment. I guess priorities change as you age.
New York City has no shortage of things to do, places to go, or people to see. One’s senses cannot keep up with the sights, sounds, tastes, touches, and smells of the city. From 12 story tall digital billboards of supermodels on Broadway to the trash piled up on the street corners, NYC envelopes you in a way no other city does. Sorting out my feelings about NYC is next to impossible. All I can say is that I’m excited to be going back for Part II of this workshop in September.