Freedom. Truth. Beauty. Love.
I rounded out August and started September right by spending the holiday weekend in New York, the big apple, one of my favorite cities in the whole world.
This specific trip started with a $1 bus ticket and banter about my next trip to New York with Tori (a friend that I met studying abroad). We went to New York in April and one day this summer, she texted me about another musical she wanted to see. I picked a random date and sent her a screenshot of my Megabus ticket.
I was ready to play it off as a joke, but we decided to go.
We wanted to see Hadestown, one of the most popular shows on Broadway right now. I knew a possible way to get tickets, but it involved getting in line as early as we could: the earlier we got in line, the better the chances.
Uncoincidentally, my bus left from Philadelphia at 2:00 am. I would be in New York by 4:00 am. I could be in line by 4:30 am, seven and half hours before the box office opened. Tori would join me via the first New Jersey transit train that morning. Freedom.
I would be in New York by 4:00 am. The blog started writing itself in my head as I thought about how beautiful the moment would be. A quiet street. The city that never sleeps, at the only time that it almost does.
I got out of work at 2:00 pm on Friday and tricked myself into falling asleep by 7:30—a miracle induced by an early dismissal for the Labor Day holiday weekend. I woke up at 12:30 am feeling ridiculously refreshed and lively (note: I’m usually still up from the previous day at that point). I turned my key to lock the door at 12:59 am, walking onto the sidewalk at the exact time I wanted to leave.
I hiked my way through West Philly, passing a film set (and possibly Jason Segal, based on the buzz going around) and Penn students celebrating the end of the first week of class. I arrived at the Mega Bus station exactly when I wanted to, apparently more punctual in the wee hours of the morning than any other time of day. I was ready to relax into my reserved seat (last time I didn’t reserve and ended up on the upper level with no air flow and threw up in the bathroom and it was not a good experience for me in every way possible…). Anyway, I was ready to relax into my reserved seat and nap until I opened my eyes to the New York skyline, still illuminated and not quite ready to start the day.
The bus arrived in Philadelphia 2:30 am. Megabus was not going along with the “Julianna is really punctual in the middle of the night” vibe.
Through a series of very vaguely explained events that included a group of people leaving the bus and Ubering to Brooklyn, good ole’ Megabus got to New York at 6:00 am…only two hours late.
I essentially jumped off the bus when it pulled up outside of the familiar stop by FIT (the Fashion Institute of Technology), hurtling myself uptown, nearly running towards the Walter Kerr theatre.
I ended up getting in line at 6:15 am (still first to get there) and made friends (I guess?) with a music promoter who was charging his equipment.
I explained the line that he saw form nearly everyday but couldn’t explain.
In exchange, he told me exactly how long his hoverboard and speaker and good speaker lasted before they needed to be charged again. 3+ hours, 1 hour, and 45 minutes respectively, in case you were wondering. Then he asked me to watch his equipment. He came back two hours later. Truth.
Soon after my new friend left, my old friend arrived. We unfolded my red picnic blanket and had a quintessential New York picnic: bagels and six perfect hours of catching up. Our picnic wasn’t in Central Park though. We sat on the sidewalk, watching and waiting for the box office to tell us it was time to buy standing room tickets. Finally, we entered the theatre, one at a time, before reuniting to squeal in celebration.
A few hours later, we made our way back to the theatre for our matinee, settling into our standing positions at the back of the orchestra seating. When you stand and look out over a completely sold out theatre and realize what you did to be there and share in the experience, somehow it all means a lot more. For you, the theatrical experience started hours before the curtain rises.
You leave the theatre filled with joy and light and music and…Beauty.
Sunday morning we did it all again…well, the waiting in line that is, just for a chance to buy Moulin Rouge tickets. If you give a mouse a cookie (read: if you let Tori and Julianna go to New York together, they go to see two shows instead of one…)
The only good picture of us from the weekend includes a foldable picnic blanket that we begrudgingly carried around all day. We shared it atop a questionable (urine?) ground-stain with a stranger that morning, she waited for three hours before we even arrived. We chatted with the couple behind us and wondered if we’d run into each other at the Met. Later, during intermission, one of them guarded our purses with the dedication of faithful watchdog. We all reassured the girl leaving the next day for her semester abroad. Love.
We might have been tired. We might have stood. We might have waited for literal hours not knowing if we would even be able to buy tickets. We might not have laughed when the man told us, from his $399 seat, that he thought it was funny that he spent $140 on champagne and we spent $50 to stand.
The thing is, Moulin Rouge (and my New York) is all about freedom, truth, beauty, and love.
Yours in adventures and observations,
This post is part of my 1:1000 series of blogs composed of 1 photo and exactly 1000 words about it.
The pictures that I use for 1:1000 are the ones the photos that truly take a full thousand words to understand. I’ll be sharing snapshots that even after a thousand words might make you wonder how I could have possibly made a sane and conscious decision to post them. I’m posting the silly snapshots that often seemed like they wouldn’t mean anything in the moment, but in reality encapsulate the spirit of a minute, a day, an entire trip.
These pictures aren’t always pretty and posed. They might be framed awkwardly. It’s possible that the lighting will be uneven. Forgive me for that, because that’s the thing: they’re still worth a thousand words.
Learn more about the series or read the first post!