“It was like I had stepped out of a boring silent film and into the greatest musical of all time, with Radio City Rockettes kicking to the tune of Frank Sinatra’s, ‘New York, New York,’ while seven-thousand angels cried, ‘Kelly, you are home!’ …On midtown’s crowded streets, I felt electric, vibrant, and alive.” (Cutrone, If You Have to Cry, Go Outside, pg. 4, 2010)
Just pages into this book, it became clear to me that Kelly Cutrone and I were extremely similar people. Just like me, Kelly grew up in a small town with strict parents and never felt like she had a place there. Since my blog is about moving to and living in New York City, Kelly’s account of her first trip to NYC for her sixteenth birthday, reminded me of my first trip for my 13th birthday—the trip that made want to move to the Big Apple in the first place.
I’m not sure exactly how it came about but in my early teens, just like Kelly’s, I must’ve been watching MTV when I first decided I wanted to take a trip to New York City. On a whim, I mailed in a postcard requesting tickets for LIVE: Regis & Kelly and got an answer just a few weeks before my thirteenth birthday that my ticket request had been granted. My mom decided that my thirteenth birthday present would be a day trip into the city; that we would go see Regis and Kelly and do a little shopping and then head home.
The morning of, was a Friday in late October and I believe it was two or three days just before my birthday. Even though we “had” tickets for R&K the seats were not guaranteed and we had to be in line by six in the morning to make sure that we’d get inside. My mom dragged me out of bed around two-thirty in the morning and told me that I needed to “dress nicely” because people in New York City always dressed nicely. I wore a pretty sweater, nice jeans (against her judgment) and a pair of heels (big mistake). We left the house shortly after took the train from New Haven into the city around four. By quarter to six, we stood in the Columbus Circle area, where the studio is located waiting in line with tons of other crazy fans who had risen at the crack of dawn as well. Once inside, we received our seats, sat down and waited for the show to begin.
A noteworthy thing about the studio is that on TV the studio appears to be huge, but in person, it is tiny! The seating was comfortable and cozy and it made you feel as if you were sitting in a living room with them, just hanging out. During commercial breaks, Regis and Kelly get their makeup retouched and read through scripts, which is normal, but they also come through the crowd and shake hands and chat with their fans. Regis came through our side of the crowd but wasn’t quite near us so my obnoxious mother had to embarrass me and kept yelling to him to come over. He ignored her several attempts for his attention until she finally yelled that it was my birthday. (Embarrassing, much? Plus, I was only thirteen then) Regis finally turned around to see where the shouting was coming from and wished me a happy birthday.
As we were leaving, Kelly, who is about a foot shorter than me in a pair of 4-inch Manolo boots (I’m only 5’6) was hovering around the studio floor where the audience has exit. She was chatting and taking pictures, signing autographs and whatnot, when she actually ended up right next to me! I was too embarrassed from my encounter with Regis to do much more than smile, but my mother was intent on everyone knowing it was my birthday and immediately informed Kelly that it was my birthday. Kelly was extremely sweet, wished me a happy birthday and asked how old I was. When I told her I was thirteen she said, “Wow! You look much older! I wish I looked like you when I was thirteen.” She made my day. (I would later find out that my mom had gone through great lengths to tell everyone it was my birthday because she wanted them to announce it on air. Apparently, she had sent a letter and an email to the producer asking that they announce it since we would be in attendance. Thank God they never did. I would’ve been mortified.)
The one thing I explicitly remember is hailing my first cab. I watched a few people step out into the street and throw their hand out, which I had seen on TV before. Everyone had a different way of doing it—either by waving or putting their whole arm out—apparently anything could work. My mom mentioned we needed one and off I went. I jumped out into the street somewhere outside the Regis & Kelly studios and flicked my hand out. Before my mother even noticed where I had gone, a taxi had zipped over to the curb. She was impressed but yelled at me later on for “being so reckless.”
The rest of my day is sort of a blur. I remember walking miles and miles and miles through the city until I was in tears because my feet hurt so badly from wearing those high heels. (And by the way, no one really “dresses up” in NYC anymore than they dress up anywhere else in the world. Jeans and flats would’ve been more than acceptable, thanks Mom.) I finally convinced her to buy me a pair of sneakers at a shoe store we passed and despite the fact that I no longer had to traipse the city in those heels, the damage was done.
The other thing I remember, and hopefully this doesn’t gross you out, are the million and one restrooms I had to use. I must’ve consumed an exorbitant amount of liquid or my bladder hadn’t been well-trained enough because I literally had to pee every five minutes, everywhere we went. I vaguely remember a trip to Rockefeller Center and to Times Square, but I don’t have the slightest idea what we did there, other than the fact that I found bathrooms to pee in.
That night, on our train ride back to New Haven, I expressed my love for New York City, but my mom dismissed it, “it’s a fun place to visit,” she proclaimed. Just a few months later, I would drag her back there for another trip, which would include a romp with the Naked Cowboy and a $90 breakfast at Lindy’s.
That was the trip that I knew for sure that someday I would move to New York City.
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