Last week I had the delight of my second trip to New York City and the city did not disappoint!
My first trip was a couple of summers ago, and to be honest, I didn’t get it. I didn’t see what the big deal was. My husband loves to razz me, by recounting how my assessment of New York was that “It reminds me a lot of Winnipeg, Manitoba.” It did! He still cracks himself up over that one.
Well, let’s just say this time it only reminded me of Winnipeg a little and the rest was some cross between Vegas and Disney Land. I had a blast!
I was in the city for a Hay House Event called “Movers and Shakers.”- I was excited to spend a weekend with 150 other speakers, authors and coaches who had dreams of touching the world and who were ready to take it to the next level.
I arrived in the city around noon and was promptly accosted by a limo driver who invited me to share a ride to my hotel with three lovely women from Prince Edward Island – a mom and her two grown daughters who were in the city for a girl’s weekend. I loved the conversation and I gotta say I was tickled that I was in town as a “mover and shaker” and I got to ride in limo to the hotel (let me tell you, it doesn’t take much to get me excited – this made my week!)
I arrived at the W Hotel in Union Square and was taken by its energy and beauty. When I walked into my room I let out a big happy sigh as I took in my lovely room, and moved in for the weekend. Any hotel where I don’t have to call down for a robe because there’s one already hanging in the bathroom is a happy happy thing! After putting my socks in the drawer, toiletries in the bathroom and books on the nightstand I felt settled in and ready for an adventure.
I grabbed a map from the concierge and set out to take on New York! It was 2:00. I had 2.5 hours to travel the 1.6 miles to Rockefeller center for a 4:30 meeting with a client so I just started walking in that general direction.
I set out towards 5th Ave and was first taken by the quaint sitting areas created by partitioning off whole sections of road. Little café tables with chairs and umbrella’s created a park-like atmosphere in the middle of the street, complete with planters filled with decorative cabbages (gotta love the decorative cabbages!)
As I continued to walk I passed little juice bars and coffee shops and restaurants, each with its own charm. The kind of places I would want to check out for a meal or an afternoon, just taking it in, watching the people. I had this sudden thought that I could spend months here and find a new place to eat every day. I was beginning to get it.
And then of course, it happened. I am sure that anyone who has ever been to the big apple and taken in her flair has found themselves in this oh so cliché moment when you just can’t help it…
“start spreading the news….”
“I’m leaving today…”
“I want to be a part of it (BAM!) NEW YORK NEW YORK!”
Yep – it was my sound track for the entire weekend. But don’t worry, I kept the singing in my head …mostly.
Then, without warning, I suddenly found myself in a somewhat less quaint area filled with discount stores and people selling perfume on the street. It was an interesting place full of some really good smells (street vendors selling uncommon and exotic foods ) and some not so good smells (you name it – I smelled it.) The energy was totally different here and I was suddenly grateful I was doing this walk in the day time.
It was in this particular part of my adventure that I was stopped dead in my tracks by a hoard of pigeons that had taken over the side of a building. I took a picture to send to my husband because we have enjoyed the company of pigeons at our home for the past couple years – first there was “Tic” and “Tac” and then they had “Toe” and “Tic Junior” who had “X” and “O” and I was beginning to realize that if we didn’t do something about our expanding family we might be in for a similar scene at our place.
When I turned around and realized behind me there was another 80+ birds lined up on the other side of the alley, I actually started giggling with how overwhelming the scene was. Note to self – find a new home for Tic and Tac!
Emerging out the other side of the somewhat unnerving several blocks I was right back to quaintness and stumbled upon one of my favorite guilty pleasures. A LUSH store!! For those of you who have never been, it is a natural beauty store where everything looks and smells so yummy you could eat it. They cut soap off of “cheese rounds” and package everything up in deli wrapping.
After buying a little “I should coco” for Jeff and “snowcake” for me, I continued on only to be stopped in my tracks by the most amazing window display! Children were entering their wish lists into an automated system in one window- then in the next we saw their letters swirl around and around and disappear into the distance. The next had funky elves reading the letters and making the toys. I had arrived at Macy’s!
They don’t make Macy’s like this in Cleveland – let me tell you! It was so beautiful I had to take pictures!
Everything is bigger and flashier In New York! Standard stores you would see in any mall were transformed into destinations by flashing lights, over the top décor and window displays that looked like you were entering a dance party at a trendy bar, not a retail shop! Even the Walgreens took up 3 stories. I was beginning to see that we were not in Winnipeg anymore.
The one thing that was a little underwhelming was a particular famous statue that I walked by on the way. She looked much smaller in person than she does on TV ;-).
Just as the sun was starting to set I walked abruptly into the middle of a neon wonderland! Everywhere I looked there were flashing video displays. A woman dancing in a white dress, a winking 40 foot M&M. Even a gal from Thompson, Manitoba knew Time Square when she saw it.
It was awesome. Truly. I was beginning to think that New York was more fun than Vegas and Disneyland put together ! And just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, I was grabbed by an adorable singing toilet and I realized my fun was just beginning!
I was lured into a building and sent up a set of stairs where I found a line of people in the shiniest prettiest bathroom you have ever seen. There were dancing bears on tv screens singing a catchy toon “Cha-a-ar-min… Enjoy the go!” and a guy on a microphone was entertaining the crowd with “potty humor”. I had stumbled into an interactive promotion for Charmin Toilet paper and I cannot remember the last time I had so much fun!
The practical side of the event was the public restrooms for the holiday shoppers. The whimsical side included a video confessional where you could go into a glass booth and share how you “enjoyed your go”, stalls with touch screen displays where you could graffiti on the walls that would then be displayed on screens around the room, and of course a 6 foot toilet photo-opp that I could not resist.
I won’t even go into the Duracell display upstairs but let’s just say they have cell phone charging stations, more fun photo opps, X-box’s and a projection of a talking virtual sales rep who’s eyes follow you wherever you go (It was really creepy.)
I checked my watch and the fun had to come to an end, It was quarter after 4 and I realized that somehow I had ended up on 7th when I had to be on 5th so I started booking it towards Rockefeller center, eyes on the look-out for the 75 foot Christmas tree.
Even with minutes to spare, New York did not disappoint. I jogged passed the Radio City Music Hall and moments later came face to face with the tree, the throngs of people, and the skating rink and all I can say is – I was in awe.
I made it to my client's just in time and I got a view of the Ice rink from 20+ floors up as the receptionist pointed out Saks 5th Avenue and told me that they “play their windows” by flashing lights in time with holiday music (it just doesn't end!)
After a wonderful meeting over a glass of wine, my client and her driver Rudy drove me to the hotel in her private car (talk about movers and shakers) just in time for me to drop off my coat and head down to the opening night reception for the main event.
As I walked through the room I saw so many bright smiling faces, Cheryl Richardson was connecting with participants, I recognized Reid Tracy CEO of Hay house who would also be presenting, and to my surprise I noticed a quiet white-blond haired angel in the room who I suddenly realized could only be Louise Hay herself.
The weekend and my interactions with the "movers and shakers", the learning that occurred and the way it shook up my world, will be a story for another day but while the wonder was still fresh, I had to share my fabulous trip to New York!
As you go about your day – remember that adventures are around every corner, ready to scoop us up, bring us joy and make us feel alive. We just have to be open and be willing to say “YES!” when life gives us her invitations to dance.
Here’s to wanderlust, new experiences and embracing unexpected delights.
When I arrived home Sunday night my husband surprised me with a fridge full of food, his patented stir-fry and home-made cookies (notice his angelic glow below.) Life really doesn’t get any better. XOXO