Yes, I was in NYC to march in the 2023 Tartan Week Parade with BCR Fan Events. But – if you’re in New York – and you’ve only been there a few times before – you have to explore.
You didn’t know I was in New York? Catch up on these posts:
I flew out of Grand Rapids, Michigan with my friend Jan.
Upon arrival we caught a cab and were soon in the heart of Manhattan, driving right by Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.
We stayed at the Oyo Times Square Hotel, a budget friendly place less than a block from Times Square.
On one hand that was great because it was very close to anything you’d want to do in NYC. On the other hand, it meant that as soon as you stepped onto the sidewalk, it was busy with people and noise.
The lobby was beautiful, but most people passed through the area. I spent a bit of time sitting in the lobby and waiting for our third roommate, Maureen, to arrive from Pennsylvania.
There was a cool colored-glass wall hanging.
After Maureen arrived, we settled in for the night. Traveling is exhausting!
The next day, I walked a good 10 blocks south to meet the incomparable Sammy Davis of Vintage Boss Babes for coffee. Her Ultimate Manhattan Secondhand Shopping Experience is unparalleled in the city.
I really tried hard to get a group together for one of these experiences. Alas it was not to be, so instead, we met for coffee. We talked for more than an hour, and I can say Sammy is as authentic as it gets. It was a pleasure. I only wish I would have remembered to bring my phone so I could have grabbed a few pictures with her.
I walked back “home” to the Oyo and rested for awhile. Then, my roommates and I ventured off into the big city. We headed north from Times Square towards Central Park.
You have to take pictures of tall buildings while in Manhattan. Mostly we wondered what it would be like to live inside of one of those.
We stopped at Le Pain Quotiden near Columbus Circle for lunch. This place is what Panera Bread wishes it was: the ingredients are fresh and not reheated in a microwave.
I had the Smoked Salmon Tartine – an open-faced sandwich with salmon, avocado mash, scallions, dill, and more. I had a lot of salmon while in NYC, as you’ll soon see.
For dessert I had a monster-sized chocolate chip cookie. It was too big, too sweet, and too crunchy. Thank goodness my roomies helped devour most of it.
We crossed Columbus Circle and there, right in front of us, was the 843-acre Central Park.
We kept walking though, as we were heading to Strawberry Fields, the memorial for John Lennon. He lived in the nearby Dakota apartment building.
But we had a good 10 more blocks worth of walking before we got there. People were out celebrating the first real hot day of the year – it was over 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
The city streets were alive, the sky was blue and this was just a perfect way to spend the day.
Leaves were busting out on tree.
We rested along the way, and my roomie Maureen snapped this picture of me.
The daffodils were already done, and tulips were almost done, too. I loved seeing the mass planting of flowers. How many tulips do you think there are?
We finally got to Strawberry Fields and the Imagine mosaic. There was a guitarist singing and people all around. People took turns photographing the mosaic.
We walked around a bit longer, then decided we’d had enough walking. We caught a cab back to Times Square and rested for a while, then walked to Connolly’s Pub and Restaurant.
After all that walking during the day, I was really happy it was only a block or two away. And this being New York, you never know what you’ll see on the city streets.
We met with other Roller fans and had a fabulous time catching up and eating good food.
One of my roomies had the chicken pot pie. Just look at that crust.
I had Walnut Crusted Salmon. This Dijon dill cream sauce was amazing.
There were more than twenty of us…we took over this corner of the upstairs bar. This is just one table…there were three or four other tables, too.
Soon enough, though, dinner was over. My roomies and I walked back to the hotel and crashed for the night.
The next day I went to the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center. There’s a series of famous picture of the Rollers taken at the same place, so I knew I had to go. Here are the Rollers (I grabbed this picture from the interwebs.)
The skies were clearer and the perspective is totally different, but here I am.
It was a little hazy, but the views were still spectacular.
The fan gathering and parade filled the better part of two days. After brunch on Sunday, my roomies and I walked home. On the spur of the moment, I decided I had to see a play. I choose the musical Hadestown and was absolutely blown away.
I couldn’t have asked for a better seat. Can you believe I bought the tickets maybe a half hour before the show started and ended up this close to the stage?
The next photo was taken before sitting down.
Here’s the stage view from my seat.
Hadestown is a modern retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. That will spoil the plot for you English majors out there, but the story is told in a unique way.
And when the turning point comes in the third act, there are audible gasps from the audience. Everyone is stunned.
The show has won both Tony and Grammy Awards. If it’s coming to your town, run out and get tickets now; I want to see it again and again.
There are a slew of bootleg versions floating around on YouTube. Here’s a taste of the show with the cast performing “Wait For Me” at the 2019 Tony Awards.
After the show my roomies and I met fellow Roller fan, Rena, for dinner at local Italian restaurant Bocca Di Bacco.
I had salmon – again. This was the best. And you know it’s a good place if they add that little “hair net” onto the lemon to prevent lemon seeds from dropped onto your fish.
And chocolate ice cream for dessert. I mean, it was my last night in New York City after all.
I snapped a selfie just outside the restaurant.
Everyone else did, too.
And some passersby grabbed a picture of all of us. Then we walked back to the hotel, packed our things, and slept.
Early next morning, Jan and I grabbed a cab and went to LaGuardia Airport. We thought we were going to be home to Grand Rapids by noon, but nope. LaGuardia was blanketed in fog.
And so, we waited around for around six hours. Rena wandered by so we chatted the whole time…and took turns walking up and down the terminal. And soon enough, Jan and I got on our plane and were on our way home.
We left the sunny skies of New York, and returned to grey and cloudy Michigan. There was even a little snow and sleet on my drive home.
All in all, though, my trip to New York City to march in the Tartan Week Parade with the Bay City Roller Fan events felt like one big hug from start to finish. There are a zillion people I could thank, but let me mention a few quickly here.
Thanks to my roomies Jan and Maureen were wonderful. Even if they did like the air conditioner a little too much for my taste, the three of us had so much fun and I couldn’t have asked for better roomies. Thank you Jan for the exfoliating kit, and thanks to Maureen for that fab picture of me above.
Thanks to Simone from Australia for the beautiful bookmark. Every time I turn a page and see that bookmark, I’ll think of you and your daughter – and that long, long journey you made just to march in a little parade in New York.
Thanks to Rena who joined up with us for that delicious Italian dinner – and then also found Jan and I at LaGuardia.
Thanks to Laura and Suz and the whole team at Bay City Roller Events who made this experience possible. Keep On Rollin!