I turned 42 this year. It’s entirely possible that I should be feeling old.
My hair is a little grayer. My eyebrows are more prone to sprout unevenly. My belly is a bit more, shall we say, insistent.
And yet… I still don’t feel old.
Maybe that’s because I hang out with younger people. Maybe it’s because I’m too belligerent to evacuate the dance floor and let the young punks strut about and have all the fun. Maybe it’s just denial. Whatever the reason, I still feel like I have lots of life left in me.
And I proved that once again on a four-day, jam packed, friend-fueled, sleepless birthday weekend in NYC.
Even before we left, we knew the weekend was gonna be anything but relaxing. It was planned to within an inch of its life. We had tickets to four shows, reservations for brunch, plans to go to a sing-along piano bar, and intentions to dance at least one night into oblivion (mission accomplished, by the way).
In fact, we wound up doing all of those things and more; and by “we” I mean Junkii, the four Ottawa friends we roomed with at our apartment in the East Village, the six other mostly-Ottawa friends who were staying nearby (including another birthday boy) and our NYC-based posse.
All four shows were brilliant.
- The New York Philharmonic playing Mahler’s 3rd Symphony was one of the best concerts I’ve EVER seen. They blow our local professional Ottawa orchestra out of the water every time I see them. Wish I coud get seasons tickets to the Phil.
- Cabaret with Alan Cumming was probably the weakest show of the bunch, but still wonderful – and one of my favourite musicals in general. Alan Cumming is a mad man, but stellar.
- Also stellar (although that word falls far short of the praise owing) was Hedwig and the Angry Inch with Neil Patrick Harris. NPH was riveting and basically keeps the audience enraptured, almost by himself, for the entire length of the show.
- Here Lies Love – an off-Broadway musical about the life of Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos – turned out to be the show I most want others to see. It’s set in a discotheque and not only is the music brilliant, but the staging is immersive and unique. It’s the show that stuck with me longest.
Walking the Highline – a reclaimed elevated rail track on the west side that’s been converted into public garden space – was another highlight, and a wonderful way to spend a day with friends.
And of course, simply hanging out in the East Village – a tremendous pleasure given the density of little restaurants and shops in the area. Always more food to try in NYC. We even got Bak Kut Teh – a favourite Malaysian dish that we just can’t find in Canada!
With all that plus late night activities, you can imagine we got very little sleep during our stay. I think we averaged about 4-5 hours a night. I paid the price. By the end of our trip, the cold I thought I had battled into submission came roaring back as soon as I arrived home. And it didn’t leave for another three weeks. In fact, I’m still battling a little bit of a cough.
Maybe it’s because I’m old. But thanks to my friends and a wild NYC weekend, at least I don’t FEEL old.