New York City – the place of Broadway shows, fabulous food (especially dessert!), and constant tourists. Since graduating college, I have been to New York about a dozen times. After all, my best friend lives up there, so not only do I have a place to stay, but also a really good reason to visit an amazing city! Because I’ve been to New York so many times, I tend to avoid the touristy things that involve waiting in crazy long lines. This summer’s trip was a bit different as I went to New York with a friend who had never been. And we decided to do some New York things I’ve never done… which meant we ended up waiting in lots of long lines…
Today Show. Each summer the Today Show puts on a free summer concert series in Rockefeller Plaza with pop heartthrobs like Usher, Maroon 5, and of course Justin Bieber. This summer I was determined to finally make it to one of these concerts as I tried and failed in the past. A few summers ago, I spent a month in Brooklyn leading a youth group mission camp with TEAMeffort sharing God’s love with the people of NYC. That summer, my staff and I wanted to take advantage of the Today show freeness, so we planned to wake up crazy early and go to the Fray concert. Little did we know that Michael Jackson would die the day before and our concert would be canceled in lieu of a MJ tribute. 😦 This time around the Today summer concert was Kenny Chesney and I love me some country music! To ensure that we would make the free Chesney concert, we woke up at 3:15am and were in line at Rockefeller Plaza by 4:30am. There were already a ton of people waiting in line and a waffle/coffee truck serving yummy treats (major win). Around 6:30am, they started letting us into the concert area… and we waited… and got to see Kenny do a sound check… and waited some more. While waiting, we had plenty of celebrity sightings with Matt Lauer, Ann Curry, Natalie Morales, Al Roker, and some random Olympian from back in the 1970s walking right by the left side of the crowd (where we were tipped off to stand). The actual concert started after 8:00am and luckily, Kenny certainly is a Rock Star, making the early morning and crowded line worth it. Sweet summertime.
Jimmy Fallon Show. After the Chesney concert we walked over and hopped in line for Jimmy Fallon standby tickets since we were already at NBC headquarters. We got standby tickets #86 and #87… it didn’t look hopeful. The NBC officials told us to come back that afternoon once all the ticket holders checked in to see our standby status. After much rain and more waiting, we queued up in a line of standby ticket holders who desperately wanted to see Jimmy read one of his thank you notes. I asked an NBC officials if we should just leave and he jokingly replied, “You might make it in. Just wait it out. And I like seeing the disappointment on people’s faces when they don’t make it.” At that moment we knew it wasn’t going to happen for us, especially since almost all of the 85 standbys in front of us showed up. In the end, they left 6 people in. Six. We had long accepted that we didn’t have a chance, but poor standby #7! Helpful tip: You must get in line early to get Jimmy Fallon standby tickets and not just walk up post Today show concert. Otherwise you will end up with a standby ticket and no show to see.
Broadway Show. Broadway shows are notorious for expensive tickets and long lines. To avoid waiting in yet another line to see a show, we decided to forgo the long line that comes with the TKTS discount tickets. Instead, we went straight up to the box office to get a discount. Most Broadway shows will give a student price of about $27 or $28 with a Student ID. These seats aren’t the best, but certainly worth the cheap price if you aren’t a high roller. Since I am no longer a student, we went for the next best discount – limited view seats. We got $32 tickets for Mary Poppins – Box Seats! Unfortunately, we couldn’t see the bottom right corner of the stage, but it was significantly cheaper than the normal priced tickets and well worth the price if you are on a budget.
Statue of Liberty. The Statue of Liberty is another huge line tourists are bound to get caught waiting in. We weren’t sure if we could handle waiting in a large crowd again, so we headed to the South Ferry subway stop to take the FREE Staten Island Ferry. The ferry runs every 30 minutes and even more frequently during rush hour. Also, it’s a large boat that allows a ton of people to get a great view of the Statue of Liberty and Financial District skyline. Talk about a win/win – free ferry, no line, great view of the Statue of Liberty. Definitely can’t go wrong with that AND you can save up your money for more delicious desserts in the city!