I thought about posting this in our travel blog, but I’m not sure that a trip to a city that you spent less than 48 hours in is traveling. But I want to share the experience, so here we go!
A former professor who has the coolest contacts posted on our department’s alumni page that seatfiller.com was looking for people to fill seats for the NFL Honors Awards hosted by Fox Sports at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City. I have never been to NYC but thought it would be a neat thing to do for my brother Justin for his birthday. After calling him to see if this is something he’d be interested in (he’s not really a spontaneous traveler, so I wasn’t sure), and he was totally in!
We applied and were accepted as seat fillers, so the next step was getting transportation and lodging. My friend from work now lives in the city and she usually travels by MegaBus back and forth, so I thought that was a great option since it’s rather cheap. So, Sean drove us up and dropped us off at the Metro and mom picked us both up when we returned. So easy! Once on the metro, just head to Union Station for your MegaBus. It was a 4.5-hour ride to NYC and they drop you off in rather an odd area it seems, but you are only a few blocks from Penn Station. Until I can get settled, I’m not into trying to navigate public transit, so we used Uber thanks to Sean’s encouragement and a Groupon that got me $25 in credit for only $5! Used it from the bus, then to the bus. Very easy. Loved that no cash or tip was exchanged! If you want to try Uber, sign up and use my invitation code (ptxsz). You’ll get $20 credit and so will I!
We didn’t get to wonder around too much but we saw parts of 51st quite a bit. There was a cupcake place around the corner and a convenience store, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, and a bagel place around the other corner. Our hotel was Pod 51 and was pretty unique. We each had a single room that was really small, but all the space you need. The one strange thing was there were hall bathrooms. There were 4 for our area and there was a light above the inside of your door to let you know if the one you wanted was in use. I thought it worked rather well. They do have larger rooms that have their own bathroom, but hotels in NYC are expensive, so why bother?
We arrived Friday night and Saturday morning Justin and I headed out to see what we could see before lunch. We got to Times Square, took some photos, got a few souvenirs, saw the Vince Lombardi Trophy (Super Bowl Trophy…does anyone call it that?), then Justin and I separated for a bit. He got to go to Grand Central Terminal to get a few football player autographs and I went to lunch with my friend Sarah and her boyfriend Henry. It was awesome to catch up with her considering the new chapter in her life! Justin was excited to see a few football players over lunch, but little did he realize how close he would be to them that night.
After lunch we walked back to the hotel to chill for a bit, shower, and get ready for the awards show. We got to Radio City Music Hall around 2:20pm when the deadline was 2:30pm. The line was a block long! After waiting for about a half hour, we were taken inside, bags searched and sat down. The show didn’t start until 6pm, and people didn’t arrive until at least 5pm.
It was a pretty long wait with no cell phones allowed. Our section thought we just had to stay where we were, but the at the literal last minute our entire row was called down and I hopped over a former coach to get in my seat before the cameras turned on. Justin was placed a couple rows ahead of me surrounded by coaches and players he never thought he’d meet. Many people had to walk past him to get to and from the stage since he was on the end. Lucky. I was moved back to my original seat after the first commercial, the guests were just late. But then I was placed closer in a seat that nobody would be sitting in, and in between a bunch of Fox Sports execs who thought the idea of a “seat-filler” was cool and asked questions. After a few initial questions, they pretty much ignored me. That was just fine, especially considering I was about 40 feet away from Jennifer Garner, whom I think is AMAZING. So, that made me very happy. She seems pretty awesome from the way she interacted with everyone.
After getting a little dinner, we went back to the hotel and watched part of the show. It was ultimately a pretty relaxing trip. A big thanks to Dr. Pierson for posting that to our Facebook page! And Justin, I’m glad you had a good time, got a new jacket, and met some awesome people. Happy 19th birthday!