10 Things I Learned Whilst Frolicking In New York

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

1. I make really great company
Some people (including my grandmother) were shocked that I was going to NYC by myself. While Nan was concerned for my safety, it seemed like others weren’t sure I would know what to do with myself. Being on my own was so freeing. I had some amazing time with friends and have made some new ones along the way, but being on my own meant total freedom.

Not a single one of my friends would love doing everything I’ve done as much as I have. My vegan friends would love the restaurants, but may not dig the show lottery lines. My musical theatre friends would be first in line with me for shows but would hate all the shopping in Soho. When I came with someone last time, while he said he didn’t mind, I felt bad for leaving him as I ran off for trips to Whole Foods or to meet up with friends. It’s been so freeing to do whatever I want, when I want, and make my plan up as I go along.

2. Be careful what you wish for
After Irene shut down a lot of the city, my plans to visit some restaurants and see
Sleep No More were cancelled and I was pretty bummed out, especially about the show. I contemplated getting on the phone with Porter to see if I could change my flight to Tuesday in order to see the show Monday night. After spending 20 minutes on hold early Monday morning, I resigned myself to the fact that I was going home on Monday night as planned and would just have to make another trip back to see the show before it was scheduled to close on October 8.

Around 10am I got a phone call from Porter saying that my flight had been cancelled due to plane shortages and issues as a result of Irene, and that the earliest flight they could get me on would be Wednesday morning at 8:55. I think the customer service rep was shocked by my fairly happy reaction and said that not everyone was as excited by this news. A Wednesday morning flight gave me 2 extra nights in the city and more time to soak it all up and bask in every moment.  I managed to score a ticket to Sleep No More, try more restaurants and enjoy a stellar bonus 48 hours in the city I love so much. And I was perfectly ok with that.

3. Things will not work out as you planned. Go with it.
Irene definitely ruined my plans.
So I made new ones.

On Saturday I wandered in my neighbourhood. I spent some quality time picking out some new books at The Strand and enjoying a sweet chai latte while using the interweb at The Bean. I found amazing gluten free vegan pizza. I went for a mani/pedi. And had sushi. After the storm everything started opening up and I had a lovely afternoon frolicking in Soho, eating some of the most amazing vegan ice cream ever and spending the night in Williamsburg checking out a raw vegan restaurant and sipping drinks at a cute bar. Without the storm I wouldn’t have had these experiences and somehow they were highlights of my trip.

4. I love performing
Seeing brilliant theatre reminds me why I love to do what I do. I was so blessed to be able to see 3 great shows including seeing iconic musical theatre star, Bernadette Peters, in Follies AND experiencing probably the best piece of theatre I’ve ever seen (
Sleep No More). Being in the audience for great theatre inspires me to sing better, act better and work harder. I love that.

5. There’s no need to be afraid of the dark
Either in a hurricane called named Irene or in a while pulled into a closet with a witch in Sleep No More. Just breathe. The light will shine on the other side.

6. Food is amazing
NYC is kinda vegan paradise. I ate so much delicious food on my trip from unexpected ice cream on a Sunday afternoon to hickory smoked tempeh in a dark cafe to scrambled tofu at a diner to pizza in the rain or enormous salads with sangria on a sunshine-filled garden patio. So. Much. Goodness. Excuse me while I run for days and probably do a juice cleanse.

7. Sometimes it’s the things you see along the way

DSCN0422DSCN0303DSCN0429DSCN0428DSCN0421DSCN0350I’m terrible for tweeting, emailing, facebooking, texting, bbm-ing and being generally connected. This trip reminded me to look at the world instead of a screen. With your head down you might miss something incredible. Look up.

8. A smile goes a long way
I’m generally a pretty smiley person, but this past week you couldn’t wipe the grin off my face. I laughed. I giggled. I experienced moments of joy everywhere I went. Even in silly moments like when I sneezed on the subway and a huge ghetto-looking dude told me it was quite the sneeze and laughed about it. Or the man who told me he loved my shoes. And the flower in my hair. And the whole “production”. Moments like that are infectious and just keep the smiles going.

9. Vacations are necessary
I haven’t had a true vacation (outside of a weekend or two away) in a long time. It was refreshing. I feel rejuvenated for the fall and ready to accomplish a lot in the next few months. And if ever I’m feeling burnt out, I know that a weekend in NYC is super easy and that
St. Lucia keeps getting closer and closer.

10. Live to the point of tears
I am a huge advocate of living every moment fully and without abandon; This trip was a reflection of that. I cried on my way to the airport this morning because I was heartbroken to leave the city I feel so at home in. I know it certainly won’t be the last time I’m here and I’m over-the-moon thrilled for what’s to come.


Amanda said...

Ah! I can't wait to see you and hear more stories in person! It sounds like you had an awesome time but I always knew that you would. You make the best of things as well as anyone I have ever seen!

Yay for NYC!

mixueer said...

You're amazing Ash! Your positivity and energy are inspiring to me :D

- Mich xoxo

P.S. I agree with you about vacations alone; they need to happen some of the time!

LauraA said...

Wow! If anyone ever needed convincing to go to New York, they should be directed to this post. I'm glad you had such an amazing trip! Also I can just imagine your Nan's reaction to hearing that you were going to NYC by yourself...

Mary said...

You are such an inspiration, Ashley. There is always a silver lining in your view of the world. Great way to live.

Ashley Gibson said...

@Laura -- I so appreciate that you UNDERSTAND references to my grandmother more than anyone else.

@Amanda, Mich & Mary -- thanks ladies xo

Morgan @ Life After Bagels said...

ah this was such a delightful post, instant good mood :)

Mrs Whiffin said...

What a great post! I totally understand going to Manhattan on your own, its an amazing place.

I am feeling drawn to the city again now, its gonna be an expensive trip :)

Gabriel said...

Wow, it sounds like you had oodles of fun in New York! I would've loved to do so many of the things that you did. It's almost like a dream come true!

I adore how your constantly radiant smile and your eternally happy aura brings a smile to my face and instantly brightens the gloomiest of days. Your cheerfulness is completely contagious, Ashley! :)

Jaci said...

Hi Ash!

I'm new to your blog (found it through Bitchcake's) so maybe you've said this before, but maybe not. Have you considered moving to NYC? I'm (trying) to relocate there this Fall, so I'm always interested in hearing if others are as well.

Ashley Gibson said...

Thanks all for your sweet words. Glad I could bring some smiles. There will be more NYC posts to come! There are some pretty amazing food pics coming up, along with details descriptions of some brilliant shows.

jaci - would love to chat with you more about this! Send me an email wwleaderashley (at) gmail (dot) com. It's definitely something I'm working on...

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