I spent day 2 in NYC traveling around the city with my book, The Travelers, it’s sidekick Jane Bennet (see yesterday’s blog as to why we brought her along) and my daughter’s dance company (aka, a group of teen and preteen girls obsessed with dance). It was a day filled with an interesting mix of nostalgia and discovering things about NYC I never knew!

The day started out in our hotel, called the Affinia New York Manhattan. (This is an important point, remember this. It will come back later.) The girls peppered me with questions about leotards and tights, which I know nothing about. The Dance world is all new to me. All while I tried to help their dance teacher order breakfast and, most importantly, all before I had coffee (that never leads to anything good). So it was a little chaotic.

Finally, we managed to get everyone out the door and to our first destination – Steps on Broadway on the Upper West Side. Now, here was where nostalgia met discovery. This, apparently very famous dance studio, is just a few blocks away from where I used to live in NYC. In fact, I frequented the Citarella and Fairway stores just below it.

The place had creaky wood floors, tall and wide windows overlooking the street and beautiful architectural details. It looked like how you imagined any dance book that takes place in New York.

As the girls took a “floor barre” class, I spent some time finally drinking coffee (sweet nectar of the gods) at the cute cafe attached to the studio. The Travelers and Jane joined me.

Then I took a walk around my old neighborhood. I visited my old apartment. (Sort of) I stood outside, peered in and took some pictures. Creepy? Maybe a little.

I also snapped a pic of the corner store where I used to get breakfast nearly every day. (It has a different name now, but looks the same even many, many years later.) The Travelers and Jane enjoyed the visit too. (Side note: This is what I love most about New York. You can walk around taking pictures of a book and a doll and no one looks at you like you’re crazy. Best place on earth for us strange, goofy people like me!)

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After my jaunt through the Upper West Side, I picked up the girls and we went to the Shake Shack. The girls kindly took pictures with The Travelers and Jane to document our meal.

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After lunch, the girls took a Bollywood dance class, that they loved. With a wonderful, warm, encouraging teacher named Katie Homer who taught them more than just dance. She taught them about Bollywood history and gave them sagely advice. (The girls would highly recommend taking her class!)

“Dream but be open…” Katie, Bollywood dance teacher at Steps on Broadway

After that we jumped on the subway and, of course, took more pictures of my old subway stop!

We went down for a quick visit to Times Square (very quick because I find it very overwhelming). But, we did visit the M&M store, which was more fun than I thought it would be, and got Juniors Cheesecake (yum).

Of course, we’re talking about a bunch of girls who love to dance and spent the 2 days pirouetting from one dance class to the next. So, we had to squeeze in a visit to a fancy dance attire store. That store was called Yumiko. One of the girls literally cried with joy when she bought her leotard. It was adorable.

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We stopped briefly so my daughter could look longingly at the Hamilton billboard. (She listens to the soundtrack constantly.)

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The skies grew darker and time was running out for us to get back to the bus. We hopped in an Uber that pushed slowly through the clogged streets. It dropped us at what we thought was the intersection for our hotel with not much time to spare.

It felt like a clown car as we popped out of the large SUV one-by-one. Then, we started walking in the direction of the hotel. (Remember from the beginning of the blog, it’s name, the Affinia.) Beautiful lights twinkled all around in the darkness. We stopped short. The hotel wasn’t there. In it’s place was a hotel called The Stewart. We all looked around in confusion. Were we crazy? Did we get out in the wrong place? I was thinking I’d gone completely nuts. I knew this area. What was going on? I was convinced someone was gaslighting us.

Then one of the girls noticed the sign was moving a little in the wind. And we realized, in the time we had been away from the hotel, they had re-named and re-branded it! We had a good laugh at ourselves and the situation, breathed a sigh of relief, then quickly grabbed our bags and rushed to the bus.

As the bus left the city, through the fog stained window, Ella and I watched the Manhattan skyline disappear. We both felt happy and lucky to have been involved in such a wonderful excursion where we got to visit old places and have new experiences. (My daughter is very lucky to be part of a dance studio that would organize such an amazing trip – Go Ms.Stacy and C4 Performing Arts!)

Now, we’re planning our next trip. Maybe this time we’ll bring my husband…

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