The Pittsburg High School Marching Show Band from Pittsburg, California, was the only marching band west of the Mississippi river to be accepted into the 2009 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Naturally, as a member of this band, and as a person who doesn’t travel too far from home, I was ecstatic to get the opportunity to visit New York City for what was sure to be memorable experience.
On our first full day, we went to the IntrepidSea, Air & SpaceMuseum in Manhattan. The museum itself is the USS Intrepid, which is actually a retired aircraft carrier for the Navy. The control rooms were available for exploration, an abundance of planes were parked on the deck for viewing, and there was some kind of film playing in a room within the hangar. I didn’t feel very fulfilled when I left, but that was only because my group was only there a short time and I spent a bit too long admiring the aircrafts. I would have loved a chance to go into the USS Growler, a submarine sitting alongside the Intrepid, but time was scarce and I had wanted to get to see the controls. It was a really interesting place to go, and it’s especially worthwhile for anyone who has militaristic interests. If you’re planning to go to the Intrepid, make sure you have a lot of time to fully explore everything available, or have a good sense of time management; don’t spend the majority of your time there just looking at the planes, like I did. I liked the aircrafts, but it would have been nice to squeeze in more.
We also had the opportunity to attend a Broadway production of The Lion King at the Minskoff Theatre. The costume and set designs, as well as the overall energy and soulful performances by the actors and actresses had me awestruck. I was amazed—mesmerized, even—by how this musical took my favorite animated film and transformed it in such a manner that you don’t really notice that there are people on the stage instead of animals. However, this isn’t something you want to go to if you’re extremely tired. If you go to NYC as a part of a group that’s doing activities with a tour company, like we did, it’s a bad idea to see an evening showing of The Lion King after being up since five o’clock in the morning and walking around all day. Half of our group fell asleep during it! I absolutely loved the show, and it’s something I would definitely see for a second time if I ever got the chance to go to NYC again, but make sure you’re not exhausted or you’ll lose out on an incredible show.
Obviously, we did a lot more than this in our weeklong stay in New York, but these two parts were my favorite, and they’re the only two I can offer real advice for. The bottom line is to try to see everything at the Intrepid, and to not be on the verge of falling asleep when seeing The Lion King. I would also encourage others to go in November for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade—a parade that’s probably more fun to watch in person than it is to perform in it. My final words of advice are to get to the streets early in the morning if you plan to see the parade; we had practice at one o’clock in the morning, and after we ate breakfast later on, there were already people getting good spots at five o’clock!
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