Whew! Another whirlwind week-end in the books. I don’t even know where to begin. I guess at the beginning.
We left for New York City early on Friday morning. The weather in Richmond had been really fantastic as of late. Blue skies, rising temperatures — even though I had checked the weather forecast in New York, I was hoping that we’d bring some of that spring goodness with us. No such luck.
Rain, rain, rain and fifty degrees. Ugh, my wardrobe plans were shot, but whatever. The Hubs, Mo, Co and I were in the city. First stop? The American Girl Doll Store.
You know you’re getting close to the flagship store because all up and down teh surrounding blocks, all you see are little girls clutching little dolls to their chests. Big red bags emblazoned with “American Girl” hang off the shoulders of harried moms or the handles of well-used strollers. The three of us pushed our way through the revolving doors into all things American Girl. I have to admit, I think Co would have been content to just go around and around in the door like this:
But, we did get her out of the door and into the Pepto Pink carpeted grand foyer that was the store. The girls didn’t know what to do first. I think their brains had a moment of misfiring as they processed everything. Literally stopped in their tracks, I could see them re-booting and then firing on all cylinders. So, we walked around the first floor, looking at the dolls that you could design to look like you before Co was ready to get down to business. Up to the second floor, where the historical dolls were kept. To say free-for-all would be a gross exaggeration, but it was pretty close. Mo had her doll safely tucked under her arm and proceeded to fill a bag full of outfits and accessories. Co, who had already said she was going to get Addy, flitted from display to display, making sure she was making the right choice. It has actually taken me longer to write this than it did to have them in the store and then ready to go.
Once Addy became a member of the family and all of her accessories, as well as the ones for Mo’s doll, had been purchased, we set out into the city. The Hubs had been called away for work, so it was me and the girls, doing it ourselves. Thankfully the rain had stopped, and so I marched them down the sidewalk. We slid into a pizza place for some lunch and then walked a few blocks to the subway station to grab the train to Dylan’s Candy Bar.
My little country mice were in love with the subway. Sure, they’ve ridden the DC metro before, but the NYC subway is in a class by itself. As we were swallowed up by the sea of people and ingested into one of the trains, Co kept remarking, “It’s so clean!’ Yes honey, and why don’t you hand my wallet to that nice man over there?
Anyway, onto Dylan’s Candy Bar, which is basically Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory owned and operated by Dylan Lauren, daughter of fashion designer Ralph Lauren. We met up with my girlfriend @jnetty_ and then some of the family that had come to town for the performance, which was why we were in NYC in the first place, met us as well. I lost track of how much time we spent in the store, but suffice it to say, the girls were sugared up for quite a long time.
Miraculously, most of the candy survived the trip back to VA. I’m pretty sure the girls consumed their weight in sugar several times over the course the week-end. Friday evening (yes, this is all in the first day), the Hubs took the girls to see some family members for dinner, while I met up with a good friend whom I hadn’t seen in a few years. We all reconvened somewhere around 9, and then @jnetty_ and I hit up the Shake Shack (yummy!) before calling it a night.
Saturday morning was another gray day, but thankfully, no more rain. We had been invited to have breakfast at the Central Park Boathouse by another family friend.
Breakfast was delicious and we took a stroll around the park, stopping to see the Alice in Wonderland statue and promising the girls a return visit to sail some boats when the weather got better. By this point, we needed to boogie back to get the ladies ready as they were going to the matinee of Motown the Musical, where their uncle, Brandon Victor Dixon, was playing Berry Gordy. I may just let Mo do a guest post on here to give you her exact words on the whole experience. From what I understand, though, she and her sister practically upstaged their uncle with their manners and overall cuteness. Typical.
That evening, we all went out to dinner with one of the Hubs fraternity brothers who is a true New Yorker. He always knows the best eateries, coolest out of the way places, and where to go for unique snackybites. Sugar and Plumm was no exception.
I know what you’re thinking: more candy? I couldn’t believe it either. The girls soldiered on, getting ice cream they could barely finish. I have to respect that committment to sweets. As for me, I was happy to break off a piece of the Hubs cookie and call it my own. The sugar rush rose quickly and the crash that followed was epic. We were all out when the heads hit the pillows.
Sunday morning, the change in the temps and the late nights caught up with me. I felt like I was swallowing lightening. My throat was killing me and all I could think was “NO! Not today!” Sunday was the premier of the show, the whole reason why we had come. I couldn’t be sick. So instead of accompanying the Hubs et. al on their morning run of activities, I crawled back into the bed with some Aleve and Dayquil, and slept myself well. By the afternoon, I felt better, well enough to go grab a bite at the Todd English Food Hall at the Plaza (my absolute favorite), and then go on a hansom carriage ride with the girls through Central Park.
The girls had spent the morning at the park sailing boats with the Hubs, and then had a huge family reunion style brunch with the in-laws and extended family. I’m really bummed that I missed that, but not even the Hubs knew the brunch had been planned. Still, I needed the rest because it was getting close to curtain. Yes, I will talk about the show and all the celeb spotting I did, but I do have to show you what I wore, dahling! Oh, and the army candy that accompanied me, too! Debonair, isn’t he?
Anyway, we get to the theater and on the red carpet, I see Tracee Ellis Ross, Jesse Jackson and Evander Holyfield. Once inside, I see S. Epatha Merkerson, Gail King, Gladys Knight, Kathie Lee and Hoda, Debbie Allen, Spike Lee, and Clive Davis. Seriously, it was amazing. I mean, you see these people on TV and in movies and truly you don’t know them, but you want to run up to them and be like, “Hey! I know you!” My mother-in-law finagled the tickets so that we ended up in the front row. We certainly didn’t miss anything, let me tell you.
A portion of the show involves some audience participation, and when that time came, the actress playing Diana Ross (whom we’d never met) came to our side of the stage. She called to a man three rows behind us, but he flat out refused. One of the ensemble perfomrers helping her pointed to a man behind the man with the glasses, but she said, “Oh no, he’s been undressing me with his eyes all night. How about this piece of chocolate, right here?” And sure enough, she pulled the Hubs up on stage with her to sing a few bars of “Reach Out and Touch”. I mean, seriously. BVD and the Hubs, brothers, with practically the whole family in attendance, both performing on stage? Classic.
The show lasted three hours, but it flew by given the material and the music. At the end, the ensemble took their bows, then the principals took their bows. As I said, BVD was playing Berry Gordy, who wrote the book and produced the show. They brought Mr. Gordy up on stage and as the emcee said, “Ladies and gentleman, Mr. Berry Gordy,” there was a kind of kerfluffle from the wings. This woman with all this glorious black hair, dress in black and with a yellow feather boa, swooped on in.
“Ladies and gentleman, Diana Ross is in the building!”
And the crowd went nuts.
As if that wasn’t enough, other members of the Motown family started getting up on stage. Smokey Robinson, cool as a fan, slid on up, followed by Suzanne DePasse, and Martha Reeves. It took five people, but they got Stevie Wonder up there, too. Incredible. The curtain fell to them singing “Dancing in the Streets”.
People started filing out of the theatre at that point, but the Hubs and I stuck around with his cousin Sitota, trying to figure out what to do next. At some point, Sitota and I noticed how empty the theatre was, the Hubs off talking to someone, and that, “Hey, isn’t that Smokey Robinson over there?” Grabbing her hand, I pulled her after me, through some seats, up the aisles, where I just clapped my hand on his shoulder and said, “Hi Mr. Robinson, I’m a huge fan!” That earned me a hug and a photo op!
The truth is, it’s my mom who’s the huge fan. I really wanted to get him to say “Hi” to her on my phone, but I hoped she’d be okay with the photo. She told me not to wash the hand that touched his jacket. Straight comedy.
The rest of the evening was a blur. Sadly, I didn’t get to meet Diana Ross, though I did pass her on our way into the afterparty. That hair is a force unto itself. We stayed at the party, congratulated BVD again and again, along with other cast members that we knew or met for the first time. We bid our goodnights before turning into pumpkins and thoroughly crashed to catch a enough ZZZZs before we hit the road back to VA.
And so here we are. The cold caught up with me for real, now that I’m back on my turf. My throat is tender, but my stomach is all kinds of knotted up. I even skipped the gym today, and cancelled a lunch appointment. I feel that bad. The only reason I’m writing now is because my stomach hurts to much for me to sleep!
Ugh, it was worth it!