On Monday morning, we were up early and in the rehearsal hall to check the girls out from their chaperones. After checking them out, we headed to the Statue of Liberty as a group.... A group of over 600!! Spirit of America does a great job of managing such a large group, but its obviously a little slow pace. We made our way to our first subway of the trip. It turned out to be a memory I won't soon forget. Since we had a huge group, we were literally stuffed like sardines onto the subway. Our group of 20 was terrified of getting separated on the subway, so seeing us move when the doors opened to hop on was quite comical. We stuck together and moved as one unit. The common people of NYC were probably not too pleased with us, to say the least. We made it to the Statue of Liberty Harbor Cruise and waited for a little while to get on our boat. The wait was cold, but we survived. Whenever we got on the boat, we claimed a park bench outside in a place where the wind was blocked. Some of our crew got inside where it was warm. I think everybody enjoyed seeing Lady Liberty.
Whenever we got off of the boat, we went to the 9-11 Memorial with a smaller group from Spirit of America and then made our way to Macy's.
On Tuesday morning, some of our group was up at the crack of dawn to go to the Today Show. Mom and I decided to wait since "Today Show" was on the Spirit of America schedule for the day and we thought it may be super crowded. Turns out the majority of the girls opted to sleep instead of doing the Today Show at 6am. After the Today Show, we went to McDonalds for breakfast and everybody did their own thing. Beccy, Morgan, Lisa, Jaden, Jenn, Hanna, Kea, Mom and I went to the Brooklyn Bridge. Figuring the Subway out stressed me out a little bit, but I had good help. The Brooklyn Bridge was probably my favorite thing from this trip. It was something I hadn't seen before and it was so, so pretty!
Wednesday morning, mom and I got up early (starting to see trend here?) and walked passed the Today Show to see Al and Matt. We were planning to go back on Friday morning, but Al & Matt are off on Friday after the parade on Thursday. We walked by a few times and got some pictures of them, and then went and got breakfast at a little cafe behind the hotel. We took our breakfast to the rehearsal hall where the girls had started a dress rehearsal for their parents at 8am.
We got the boys and headed to Macy's to shop a little. I lucked up because all of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade stuff was half off by Wednesday. Score. We ate at Sbrarro and then found a good place to wait on the rest of the group to make their way over to go to the Empire State Building. By this time, I think everybody was completely exhausted and starting to feel the lack of sleep. We have seen the Empire State Building at night before, and I think it was prettier!
We took the well lit streets back to the room and got in bed as quickly as possible. Every minute of sleep counts when you're getting up at 4am. Thursday morning, we were on the road by 5am. Whenever we walked out of the Hilton we saw quickly that we were not going to get a front row seat on our side of the road. We crossed the road and gave up the luxury of a restroom for the next 6 hours to have a front row seat for the parade. #worthit We spread out blankets on the side walk to save spots for the rest of the spectators in our group. Most of them were still helping the girls get ready whenever we made it out to the sidewalk!
The parade started at 9 and was in front of us around 9:30. It isn't quite as magical as it is on TV with all of the background music and such, but it is still pretty awesome. Whenever the Spirit of America groups passed us, everybody lost their mind hollering and acting crazy. Since we were in front of the Hilton where everybody was staying, that is to be expected. We spotted a few of the girls, but I don't think they saw us. We didn't make it back into the room in time to catch their performance on TV. We may have if we had not been across the road! After Santa made his way by us, we went inside to thaw out and thanked the Lord we were safe because there was so much hype about terrorism during the parade.
There was a lot of adrenaline going in the Hilton whenever the girls came back from performing and then they started to crash.
After we ate and about half the girls fell asleep in the restaurant, we found the Subway to the 9-11 Memorial. Subway Selfie!
Friday morning, we got up early once again. A crew of us went down to the Today Show where we were second in line shortly after 5am.
We all met in the lobby of the hotel and the bell man helped us each get taxis. The trip to Penn Station was much shorter and cheaper this time than when we arrived, which nobody could figure out. We were at Penn Station super early. After we got our luggage checked in, everybody left their carry-ons and went to get food nearby/shop at Macy's for a few hours. I stayed with everybody's stuff for awhile and then mom and I went to get something to eat on the train ride home. I think we all felt a little relief as we waited for our train to arrive to take us home. I did one thing on the way home- sleep. I don't think I've ever been so happy to see my house. It was a fun trip, but I felt like I had been gone for half a month! I really cannot say enough great things about this group! They were a lot of fun and I would do it all over again!