August 26, 2009 - 9:00 PM
Today will go down in history as one of the most epic days of my life. Today was another day that was jam packed with excitement and events. We crammed a lot into today, but I might be getting ahead of myself a little. Let's go back to yesterday.
When we arrived back at Penn Station from Boston yesterday, we couldn't help but notice an incredibly enormous poster declaring that the one and only Britney Spears would be performing her Circus tour at Madison Square Gardens on August 26. Now, I happen to be a big fan of Britney. I've had her back through it all - umbrella vs. car, head shaving, K-Fed, etc. Therefore, the opportunity to see her was exciting enough, but at Madison Square Gardens?! Dream come true! Yentl and I quickly went online to see if there were any more tickets available and we ended up scoring two floor seats. Therefore, all of today's events were heightened with the excitement and adrenaline of knowing that at 8:00pm, we would be seeing the amazing Ms. Spears in person. So, now, back to the pre-show.
Since returning from Boston, we have been staying at a different hotel. This hotel is located down in the Financial District near Wall Street. It is a really interesting change from where we were before. When we were staying in the Murray Hill area, we were relatively close to Times Square and many other happening places. Therefore, it was always alive with people no matter what hour of the day it was. At our hotel near Wall Street, it is very different. This part of Manhattan is definitely the commuter area. It becomes busy during the day as people hustle and bustle their way to and from work and fill the delis for their twenty-minute lunch breaks. At night, it becomes very quiet with few people on the streets and those who are still in the area congregate at fancy, high-end restaurants and bars.
Since we were so close to it already, we started today by walking over to Wall Street, the home of the New York Stock Exchange. The streets of this area were lined with American flags, quite cool actually. It was endearing to see so much pride and love for country. Men in business suits and ties and women in the most beautiful skirts and blazers I have ever seen walked in and out of office buildings. We stopped at Tiffany's just to see the glitter. So many diamonds. Oh my. Walking along further in a different direction, we ran into the stock exchange's big bull statue. Tourists flocked around it to get their picture taken. I joined them. The next stop I definitely had to take a pause from the hurried streets for.
Ground Zero. It was such a trip to be standing right there where the events of September 11 had taken place. Right in front of me was a huge city block of nothing, surrounded by fences. It was a space where construction workers stay around the clock, all day and all night, trying to rebuild what was and what will be. I tried to imagine being there the day that it happened. To have something that huge falling all around me. I thought of the lives that were left in that space. I thought of all of the emergency workers who risked their own lives to help. All around this place of such intense devastation, life went on. People walked the surrounding sidewalks, moving on with their lives, despite the gaping hole of a reminder right beside them. This happened in my lifetime. I took it in, feeling the space, and unsure of really how to feel.
After some intense reflection, my day, like those of the New Yorkers walking around Ground Zero, went on. Yentl and I headed to the Brooklyn Bridge. It was a fairly short walk from where we were staying. I was very excited for this part of the trip. I thought it would be so nice to finally just walk with no real place to go. We would just be walking for the plain enjoyment of walking in a beautiful space. And beautiful it was. The scenery was amazing. I loved watching locals zip by on their bikes and people from around the world stopping for a picture. Artists shared their work on the bridge and entrepreneurs sold cold bottled water and small tubes of sunscreen. Once in Brooklyn, we walked the park along the water and had some lunch before returning to our hotel to prepare for Britney. We had walked A LOT, but I did not feel tired, only reenergized. I had to be. Britney was still to come!
After changing, we jumped onto the subway and headed to Madison Square Gardens. Madison Square Gardens is big. Since we had floor seats, we had to enter through an entirely different door and then walked through a maze and up and down many flights of stairs and then - there it was. We were standing on the floor of Madison Square Gardens, looking up at all of its seats and looking at the stage that was directly in front of us. We were jumping with joy and excitedly taking pictures and smiling about everything. The crowd began to fill in as the opening acts started. The crowd was a mix of tweens with their moms, first generation Britney fans (us), clusters of gay men and women, and oddly placed middle-aged men. Kristina DeBarge, One Call, and Jordin Sparks all performed before a big screen appeared with a twenty-minute countdown until the "circus" would begin.
Finally, it started and I will never forget the first time I saw Britney. I was so excited! She put on quite the show. I can't say that she's the most talented musician, as she did lip sync the entire show (very well though, I must add). Also, they don't let her talk much. If she hadn't have stopped for the two minutes she did to say, "What's up, New York?!" I would've kept wondering if perhaps this was just a Britney-looking robot. However, she is an incredible performer. The dancing and the skits and the costumes and the lights were all amazing. It was so flashy! Her final song (before the encore, of course) was "...Baby On More Time." I could not have been more pleased. I was wondering if she would sing some of her old school songs, so I screamed like a little tween when this song started. It brought me back to fifth grade. After her encore performance of "Womanizer," sparks flew and confetti flooded the stadium as Britney finally left the stage. Completely content, Yentl and I followed the crowds out of the stadium and over to the Tick Tock Diner next to Penn Station for dessert. I enjoyed an extravagant root beer float before we headed back to our hotel.
I will go to sleep tonight with so many amazing images from today dancing through my dreams.