How Do You Get To Carnegie Hall?
This past weekend my wife Frankie, daughter Bailey Bee and I headed north to New York City for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards at Carnegie Hall where Bailey was to be honored with a American Visions Medal. It was a heady experience peppered with strange coincidences that began with the license plate of the rental car:
Well, we headed North after Frankie got out of work on Wednesday and spent the night in the Shenandoah Valley after a terrifying trip surrounded by meth-crazed truckers. The next morning it was off to the Big Apple (with a stop at Roadside America..story on that later) and into the city to get our tickets and Bee’s Medal for the ceremony on Friday.
After navigating the treacherous streets of New York City, we headed north to the Saw Mill Parkway to the lovely town of Mt. Kisco and the home of Don and Ann Mortimer, old family friends of Frankie’s folks. Wonderful people and a cold beer awaited us. Ann had cooked us a nice dinner and we had a great visit, planning our big trip into the city and figuring out what we could fit in before the 3:30 drop-0ff at Carnegie.
In the morning we were off to the train station. It was unusually hot so we brought Bee’s ceremony dress in a backpack. She dressed glamorously anyway (so what else is new?) …Don and Ann said she looked like Audrey Hepburn when she arrived at the breakfast table. Bailey’s teacher, Pam had given Bee the dress she’d worn to her prom back in the 70s for the Carnegie Hall stage. I thought that was pretty cool.
Our first stop was to be MOMA but we were sidetracked by beauty everywhere. The place was crawling with stuff to see. We initially dropped in St. Thomas’ and soaked that in. Amazing. The St.with the keys: Gold Keys? Scholastic?? The second “sign” appeared in the elevator of the MOMA: At one floor four little children poured in, giggling and surrounded Bailey as we headed up to the next floor. Out of the blue, they began chanting “Pickle! Pickle! Pickle!” Now, this was weird because Bailey just got a scholarship to the NC School of the Arts…whose mascot is the “Fighting Pickle”. Hmmm.
After the MOMA we stepped back into the heat and were assaulted by the “second sign” : the Peter Pan Bus! You see, Bailey and her roommate, Zoe had christened their dorm room “Neverland” and worshiped Peter Pan at the UNCSA high school. Spooky?
Now we were off to Times Square and then Carnegie Hall for the ceremony. We wanted to stop by Times Square so Bee could get a shot of herself with the Scholastic screen behind her. Carnegie was surrounded by construction platforms and there were hundreds of parents dropping off hundreds of kids. We chatted with other medal winners as we waited for Bee to get in the stage door entrance.
While Bee was inside, Frankie and I wandered into Central Park. God Bless you Mr. Olmstead. It was really hot though, so we headed back out after a while and found a bar populated by other proud parents. Then, it was in to the Hall for the ceremony! Just befpre Michelle Obama started things off, a woman walked in front of us with a photo of Audrey Hepburn on her dress (another “sign”!) and then the Senior students appeared on stage. We saw slides of work, heard poems and speakers Sarah Jessica Parker, Zac Posen and Usher spoke words of praise. It was a lot of fun, all the parents were so proud. Then…it was homeward bound towards Grand Central (with a little shopping thrown in).
The next day (Saturday) we were off to the city again, this time with Don and Ann. We were going to try to soak in some of the MET and then head to the Scholastic Shows. Don and Ann were great traveling companions and we were able to meet up with Bailey’s cousin, Chris at the fancy Madison Ave. shop he was working at (Caroline Hererra). When Bee saw Chris, she ran across the street and jumped into his arms. It was great. The MET was HUGE. I can’t put it into words…I could spend a month there and not see everything.
After we blew our eyes out, we caught a bus down 5th ave to the shows. Bee’s American Visions show was a separate affair and nicely laid out. The Gold Key show was very crowded and loud but held some great work. After that it was back to Grand Central and a beer before heading back to Mt. Kisco.