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Monday, June 4, 2012

The City That Doesn't Sleep Part II




"The City that doesn't sleep" has made an indelible impact upon my heart. As promised, I will now write about  my wonderful adventure starting where I left off.  The flight to New York was almost perfect. Just a little bit of turbulence as we started our descent into New York. Like Linda, my twin sister and I said, "We will take it for team, John Mayer."  So here Linda and I are, for the first time in our life, landing in NYC. The great radio station, Cities 97 had called my name on the radio one morning at 8:20 A.M. I had actually won the John Mayer Fly Away to NYC.  As the winner, I could invite one person to come with me.  We would be guests at a private listening party with 15 other major city winners and their guests. I of course brought my identical twin sister with me. We would be put up in a chic boutique hotel called the Hudson Hotel just steps from Central Park. The flight and hotel would be paid for by Sony/Columbia Records.

Let me remind you about the powerful feelings  my twin sister Linda and I had for the city of New York and why. My father John Anthony Rogers lived in New York with some of his best buddies back before he met and married my mother. They all went into business together in New York but disbanded quickly.  My father John and twin sister and I were quite close, so close we called ourselves "The Three Musketeers."  He had shared with us at lunch one day at Lord Fletchers on the Lake that on the top of  his bucket list was to take Linda and I to New York before his death.  His ill health prevented this trip from ever coming to fruition, but we never forgot how excited my father would get just talking about it and how much he felt we would fall in love with the city.  I so miss my father, but knew some day my twin and I would visit that city and feel the love of dad there with us and enjoy the love of this city.

We start out our trip on Wednesday morning at 6:15 A.M. Our great family friends, Jim and Carol come pick us up and take us to the Minneapolis Airport. We hug and say our goodbyes and thank yous and walk fervently to our lane at American Airlines. Linda and I choose not to participate in baggage claim and had packed smart so as to miss any hassles over luggage.  Not having flown now since 2001, both Linda and I are shocked at the easy and techy way we sign in. Instead of dancing up to the counter, now one signs in at a kiosk and punches in flight details via computer.  Giggling and walking ever so fast now, Linda and I rush in ecstasy down to our departure Gate E.  Once there, we notice we are one of the first ones at the gate. Camera in hand, we start our memory photo book and click click click away. As bloggers, we know this trip is a bloggers heaven.

We board the American Airline airplane at approximately 9:05 A.M. We are pleasantly surprised as we are seated up front in  the fifth row. I take the window seat and Linda sits to my right in the aisle. We easily pack our one large garment bag in the over head and know we did the right thing. Only in New York one night we could pack lightly and smart and feel good about it.

Relaxing and joyous was our flight to New York, La Guardia Airport.  Camera happy as bloggers, Linda and I took many pictures from the air. The bloody Mary we had on the way helped set the tone for the trip of a life time. There it is, we could see the city scape from the air and squealed in delight. "We are in New York the pilot exclaimed over the speaker. Temperature in New York today, 72 degrees and partly cloudy. Enjoy your trip." As we landed we were like kids viewing the sign welcoming us to New York. "Here we are Linda, in the "Big Apple."  We both looked at each other at the same time grabbed hands and made our happy face.





It was a whirl wind walking into La Guardia Airport amongst the hustle and bustle of the travelers. The energy in New York even at the airport was palpable. Being the alpha twin that I am, I told Linda to wait at the ground transportation area and I would call our hotel for directions to our hotel for the Taxi Driver. Hotel address in hand, I ran to the street where Linda was waiting for me. The taxi line was long, but seemed to go quickly. As we waited we watched young teens skate board in front of us.  Now in the front of the line, we scored a cab. Our driver ran out, grabbed our bag and introduced himself. "Hi, I am John your taxi driver." Linda and I choked a bit on that one because we knew our dad was letting us know he was here with us. Talk about the perfect cab driver for two new visitors. John pointed out all the landmarks,stores, vendors and gave us tips on how to best get around New York. We shared that we were here to see John Mayer and he seemed genuinely excited for us.  We also told him of our dad and how he always wanted to take us here. He agreed with our philosophy that this trip was meant to be.

Passing Central Park as we approached our hotel was surreal. Not anything Linda and I ever pictured. It was a park with multitudes of people going every which way. We told John we could actually feel the excitement and energy as if it were a living thing. "Just get ready girls, there is a lot more of this to experience." We parted ways and told him he made this trip from the airport to our hotel a delight.









Here we were, at the Hudson Hotel. A chic uptown boutique style hotel. As you walk in the diminutive door, a door man opens it for you and leads you up to the escalator. You step on the escalator and walk up into the hotel that looks as if you are outside. Quite a bizarre way to get into a hotel, but I love it, Linda loves it and we are up for the challenge, The New York Challenge. "Watch out New York, here come the Minnesota Twins."





As I checked Linda and I into the hotel, we were astounded by the artwork and architecture of the building. Each space of the interior had a story and artistry beyond our wildest imagination. The colors, lines, images were interesting to the point that I wanted to do research why they built this building as they did. That is a story for later. They definitely had a rhyme to their reason.



We head up the elevator to our room on the 16th floor. I had researched the Hotel before we went to NYC. Guests  feedback was to stay in the rooms at a higher level so as not to hear the loud city noise. We were impressed with the room. Clean, neat, diminutive and efficient. They tried to make the rooms feel as if you were in a cabin on a cruise ship. Charming indeed, we thought it was brilliant. The hallways also made you feel as if you were on a ship and walking down ship corridors.





Settling in our "home away from home" Linda and I turned the flat screen video TV on the wall to music. Unpacking was easy and left plenty of time for us to go tour the hotel. John Mayer came on over the music station and we sang and danced in our hotel room. After touring the hotel, we decided to go to the 15th floor to the well known hotel terrace that looked over the Hudson River.



Charming as the terrace was, Linda and I had to stay on task. Our goal here in NYC was to attend the John Mayers' Private Listening Party. Back to the hotel after venturing off, we showered up, put our faces on and high tailed it to the curb in front of the hotel where, "Yes, Linda and I hailed a cab." Not too bad for our first time and jumping in quick, we were off to see John Mayer. Peace, love and John Mayer we said as we told the cabby where to go, no pun intended.  Greenwich Village please and fast as we are going to see John Mayer. Wow, I was fitting in just perfectly in NY. Lippy and brusk felt fun in this energetic city. My twin and I nick named each other on that very cab ride. She named me Samantha from the show Sex In The City and I named her Carrie.

 The cab driver had no idea where we were going. I said "Are you kidding me, we are from Minnesota and you are asking me to tell you how to get to the Electric Lady Studio?" I had called my son Jacob just a few moments before. I told Jacob how excited Auntie Linda and I were and that we were getting taken to the Radio Studio in a cab at this very moment. Jacob laughed and could hear me yelling out the window of the cab asking a nice New Yorker if she could pull up the address of the Electric Lady Radio Studio on her smart phone. Excited for us out of towners' she was more than willing to help out after hearing our John Mayer story and wished us well at the Listening Party. I told my son I had to get off the phone since Linda and I were going to have to be hyper vigilant trying to get to our destination. That is when one of the important tips John the Cab driver gave us came to my mind. "Be careful of the taxi drivers that do not understand English. You may not end up in the right place." Ugh............... Oh well, this is an adventure and I,being Samantha would take control and get us to John Mayer if it was the last thing I did on earth.



I had to be obnoxious, really....... I kept telling the cabby that we were late and that this was a once in a life time gig. Rapido my man, Rapido. Let's just say, I don't think he liked my Minnesota attitude, but really? Finally we end up near the address and I told the taxi driver to just stop. I knew we were in Greenwich Village and heck if I was going to let him take us in circles all night to calm his ego or make him more dough. Either way, I made him stop. I opened my window and screamed out to the first person I saw. "Hey, were on the guest list to see John Mayer at the Electric Lady Radio Studio, are we near it?"  "Yes, please come this way, you must be the twins from the Twin Cities." OMG, not only did I score, but this handsome young man I found out later was a Columbia Records Staff Member for John Mayer. He pointed the way to the club and told us they were waiting for us. We walked up the stairs and met the promotional executive who escorted us to the cocktail bar and then into the legendary Electric Lady Studio. Yes, we were late, but were told that we only missed the first couple tunes that they cranked out in the studio.

Linda and I were awe struck to say the least. Here we were at the studio that Jimmy Hendrix had built for him so he could focus on his love of music. Here in this acoustically advanced studio one was protected from the city sounds and continual chaos. John Mayers' "Born & Raised album played in the studio and sounded like choirs of  angels singing straight into our hearts. How did you know I was raised Catholic?

OK, so here is a twin factoid I will give you that gets, well, kind of old to us, but intriguing to those around us. My sister and I were bopping to the music and at the same time exactly, we would make the same face that said, "Yes, I feel like I died and went to heaven." Not only that, but later when we hung out and conversed with the crew of winners from the other radio stations, we would say sentences at the exact time, sigh the same, then say something like " I am so embarrassed, then do a mannerism with arms clutched in the exact same way.  Oh well, what is a multiple to do???????

Back to the studio scene. We bantered with  John Mayer. No Way..... Way!!!!...... What a trip.... in so many ways. What I thought may be 35 of us in that room in the studio with John Mayer, ended up to be only about 26 of us. We got to joke around, ask questions, and just plain old gab with John Mayer.  What a nice guy. He was adorable, approachable, honest, vulnerable, intelligent. I think my sister and I were genuinely surprised at how down to earth he was. At the end of the Q and A session all the winners got their picture taken with John. Yes, we are now on a first name basis, but then again he called us twinners as we posed for a photo with him. Hee Hee..........Isn't that cute though???

Out in Greenwich Village conversing and mixing with the recording studio staff and winners from each radio station in each 16 cities in the US was an absolute hoot. Van Gogh lived here it is said and wrote and painted here in this quaint town. After about a half hour each of us went our own way to seek out fun in our own personal definition. Our operational definition of fun..........?? Can you say Jazz Club? Yes, Linda and I found the most charming jazz club called The Garage. Then........... Pizza...........New York Pizza. I will never look at pizza the same again.












Well, after an amazing night out in Greenwich Village Linda and I hailed a cab back to our hotel. In Linda and Laura form, Linda crashed into the comfy bed at the hotel as I blogged and posted on Facebook. The next day we shopped and walked around Lincoln Center, theatre district, Columbus Circle, and indulged in the vendors sweet delights.










A fast paced trip that will last in our hearts forever. Thanks to the great radio station Cities 97, Sony/Columbia Records, Seg Travel and all the generous, kind and helpful folk in NYC. My father was right, once in New York your heart will continue to yearn to go back.

Oh, and  I saved the best picture for last.

To my father John Anthony Rogers and Steve Mohn, we know you kept us safe and sound in the city that doesn't sleep and helped the angels set up this divine trip for us. God Bless You Both. 


4 comments:

  1. How lovely and heartwarming that you conntect the big apple (yes, greatest city in the world!) back to your father. So glad you loved NYC, so do I! I felt for one year in my 20s, went to Boston, and quickly came back.

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  2. Wow, you live there. Do you live in the city or suburbs? Thanks so much for coming to my stoop.

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  3. Hi sis-Wow, loved looking at the pictures from New York. You put on way more than I did-Nice job!
    I will never forget the fun we had on that trip and all the John's we met which we knew was dads' plan. This trip was meant to be and the odds were against us to win it yet we did. Our dad (John) sure knows how to set things up for his daughters. This is one time I will thank you for being the alpha twin/aka Samantha. You were awesome hailing cabs and getting us where we needed to go. You were taking most of the pics while I just relaxed and took it all in. Your the greatest sister ever. I love you and can't wait to go back.

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  4. I LOVE THIS POST!!
    How fun. I'm jealous. Love John Mayer and LOVE NYC.

    Until I was downsized I worked in Manhattan and I live in DC. I took the Acela train to the city on Tuesday and stayed a couple days a week and then 'trained'it home.
    My husband tolerates it for me - so not his thing. But while I worked there I had so many wonderful, enchanting, exciting times. I miss it immensley. I lived vicariously through you for the whole post. THX

    Glad you had so much fun and I think your Dad had a hand in this - as odd as that may sound to you. :-)

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