Thursday, May 20, 2010

New York; the city and the state

Before continuing to pack on pounds of food and observing the sights of our “Tour 2.0” we had some business to attend to in Springville, New York. Adam had booked a show there through a woman who he’d worked with before. This particular woman’s name is Jill, her husband’s name is Josh and they are both incredible. They run a camp called “Camp Vick” in the middle of nowhere in upstate western New York. Josh and Jill welcomed us into Springville with hearty slabs of pork steak and good conversation. Aimee and I opened up the concert that night and were followed by Adam Cappa. A message was shared and then Aimee, Adam, and I reunited to close out the night with some worship. Overall it was an encouraging night for us as bands to be so welcomed and blessed by Josh, Jill and their posse. The theme flowing throughout the night challenged people to live Christian lives that reflect an understanding of their being loved by God. Adam brought this theme to the forefront of the night by saying, “we say we love God with our mouths, but then we turn around and do the dumbest things we possibly can. So let’s not just say we love him with our mouths, but lets prove we love Him by the way we live our lives.” We understand that we can only live a life of love once we’ve received and begun to grasp the great love that He first had for us. We were blessed to have been a part of such an encouraging night in Springville. After spending the night in summer camp cabins at “Camp Vick” we shoved off for a long drive to New York City.
We only had one full day available in New York City, so we were eager to get at it. I know that there’s a lot to see there, and we didn’t get to see all of it, but I feel like we put a dent in it at least. Terrorists keep trying to blow the place up, which is really upsetting since it’s such an incredible city. We arrived a day after a car bomb failed to explode in Times Square, so naturally our curiosity led us straight to this advertising Mecca. No terrorist scare could keep tourists from pouring onto this chaotic square. We popped above ground at the Rockefeller subway stop and were streamlined into a sea of people. We didn’t know where to look first. Our eyes went up to the points of the buildings, horizontally to the endless shops and stalls, and then down to our pockets to ensure our wallets were still in place.
Adam Cappa transformed into the likeness of his sheriff father and acted as the enforcer of justice and preserver of all that is good and decent in this world. While we were in the city his head was on a swivel looking out for potential terrorist plots unfolding. He wore a stoic expression across his face throughout our entire first night there. It was amusing for us to see this fun-loving, outgoing person turn into Papa Cappa. We love you Adam.
We didn’t want to waste any time in NY, so after getting off at the Rockefeller station we put our legs to work and booked it all over Manhattan. We walked from Times Square all the way down to the Staten Island Ferry port. We wandered through Soho, the East Village, Little Italy, Chinatown, the Financial District, the World Trade Center site, and eventually ended our determined stroll at Battery Park. From this park we peered out over the Hudson River and were drawn to the faint glow of Miss Liberty’s torch. With our camera’s zoom we had a better look at her, and marveled at all of the history that had taken place under her constant gaze.
After we walked all that we could walk that night we headed back to our hotel in Queens off Jamaica Ave. This neighborhood felt more like Ensenada, or Tijuana than the U.S. We were the minority in this part of New York, and from every street came smells of Dominican, Caribbean, and eastern foods. We took advantage of the delicious offerings of the local food cart serving Halal gyros. There’s nothing more satisfying than a chicken/lamb gyro combo with extra sauce. Delicious.
Day two in NY began in Central Park. My imagination quickly strayed to the pigeon lady from “Home Alone” after seeing a bridge that may very well have been the sight of filming the scene where she saves Kevin from the burglars. I thought about what it might be like to hang out there at night and didn’t feel very good about it. This park put a huge green rectangle on the city’s map, and I was excited to trade in the city’s concrete for a leisurely stroll through some form of nature. Laurieann and I walked the entire length of central park and then popped out only to stumble upon Madison Ave. As we strolled the street our stomachs led us to “Famous Famiglia’s Pizza”. The pizza was awesome, but the entertainment among the employees was even better. We ate our pizza and nervously watched two fellow employees verbally brawl about some disagreement they had over pizza management and protocol. The accuser kept yelling “I’m calling Tony…you son of a b%#$ I’m calling Tony!” Laurieann wanted to stay and watch to see what would happen, but I was nervous that Tony might come packing heat, so we escaped the argument and continued down Madison Ave.
The highlight of my day came when I bumped into Matt Lauer from “Good Morning America”. I did a doubletake, became star struck, stared at him and then continued walking down the sidewalk. I nudged Laurieann and said, “holy crap that’s Matt Lauer!” I had her stand and pose for a picture, which was a cover up for my paparazzi zoom in on the man himself. I feel really lame for being such a pansy and not talking to him, but I’m glad that I at least got a decent picture as evidence that I saw him. Next time I see a celebrity type I’m going to be much more diplomatic, like “Oh hello there, might I commend on your excellence in broadcast journalism. Your dedication to delivering the news day after day has made this world a better place. I am grateful.” At this perhaps he’d let me come in to the studio, or say something like, “hey kid I like your spirit, we need more people like yourself in the industry.” I’d bashfully mumble an “ah shucks” and then carry on. Instead I secretively snapped a shot of him as he was picking his kids up from school. I’m a coward, I know.
There were apparently some other celebrity sightings within our group. Nick and Adam swear they saw Steven Spielberg setting up some camera equipment with his workers in Central Park. They also saw a film crew working on a scene starring Katy Perry in the new “Smurfs” movie. Oh yeah and some “New Balance” running shoe commercial was being filmed as well in Central Park. All in all we had a day full of entertainment and sights. We packed on the pounds later that night in Little Italy with plates of pasta. Plan “BETA” has been working out splendidly.

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