Hey everyone it’s Alysia Kepa’a, back at it again with another blog talking about my amazing trip to New York with NPAC. I was very fortunate to go the second time, if it wasn’t the help of my family members and the Kitsu family.
Going to New York City for the second time and seeing the city again was an amazing opportunity. Though going to New York the second time was different than the first. But since I already did some of the things we did the first time, I kinda knew what to expect. Though to me that’s a good thing because now you can see it in another way. You get used to the fast paced walking and being focused to where you are trying to go. It can change the way you feel about New York.
On the first day, the very first day we landed in Newark we had gotten in New York City and we ate at Fogo De Chao which is a Brazillian Steakhouse, their steaks, chicken, pig, lamb, etc. Tasted all amazing.
NPAC meets Juilliard again. That tour was great, I know that I don’t have to attend to Juilliard to have my BFA or MFA in their school. Because there are other great schools that also have great opportunities. Seeing Juilliard again made me starstruck, but I know that maybe Juilliard isn’t the right place for me. Lincoln Center would probably be another highlights of this trip. Seeing all of those beautiful auditoriums. Had me like, wow.
On Wednesday we wear pink…. well when we seen Mean Girls, it was on a Thursday night. The show was amazing. I enjoyed it. I think that I enjoyed it more because when I’ve seen the movie, read half of the book and listened to the entire broadway soundtrack. It’s even more amazing. Seeing Taylor Louderman on stage again and killing the role of Regina George, gave me chills. Meeting and seeing Erika Henningsen was amazing. Special Thanks to Aunty Loretta for making it happen. She was so nice, sweet and kind.
The plan for the second day was to go to NYU but we didn’t get the chance to go because we missed our tour several of us waking up late. I was super bummed out because my best friend Chloe wanted to do the tour. Though it didn’t stop us from kinda ruining the day. We continued the plan. We went into Time Square and did some shopping. We went inside the M&M store. Then ate at Olive Garden which was good, but I prefered Fogo De Chao. After we ate, we went into the Line Store. After that we went into Madame Tussauds and Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not. In the afternoon we had got to do The Ride, that was so fun. Our tour guides were hilarious. They made it so fun. We had got to do the New York “Ball Drop or Countdown” it was so funny. They had their performers dancing on the street. They were singing. It was all a blast.
The third day was 9/11 memorial and museum. To Never Be Forgotten. The Memorial was so heartfelt. Seeing photos, interviews and videos of when it happened was just so sad. Having that loss of so many, it was just crazy. After 9/11, we went to eat at Shake Shack which was amazing. They have the second to the best milkshakes. But their french fries are off the hook. It’s so good.
We also went on the Ferry that goes to Staten Island. So we got to see Lady Liberty. We went to the Rockefeller Center were I got to Build my bear Benny, in FAO Schwarz/Build-A-Bear. That’s also where I got to play on the giant piano.
On that Saturday night, that’s when we got to see Ain’t Too Proud, it was spectacular. The choreography, music and singing. Amazing. But their acting, that is what blew me away. During the whole show I was singing and dancing in my mind. It’s too great to pass that up. After the show we got to see two of the cast members Saint Aubyn and Jarvis B. Manning Jr. With the help of Aunty Loretta and her friend Daniel May. Saint and Jarvis were so kind and very cool to talk to.
Sunday was the NBC Studio tour. Which was fun. Because we got to see where SNL shoots “Saturday Night Live”. We got to see the famous late-night talk show “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” His room can fit up to 200 hundred people and the carpets are red so that the audience can feel like they’re walking on the “red carpet.” We also got to do a fake late night talk show and that was fun. I was in the band again. But instead of the guitar, I had the cowbell — it’s an inside joke. After the NBC Studio tour, we went to the Top of The Rock, where we’d seen the view of Manhattan. We got to see Central Park, The Empire State Building and much more. They had this pride photo booth area, which I thought was super cool, so we got to take photos over there.
In the afternoon we got to see Dear Evan Hansen, I’m gonna admit. I teared up just a little bit. All the musicals that we’d seen was absolutely amazing. Dear Evan Hansen was amazing. When the song “Does Anybody Have a Map” came on. Oh my heart dropped. Because that’s my favorite song in the entire musical. We got to see Andrew Barth Feldman at the stage door, and he signed all of our playbills.
Schmackary’s has been one of my top places to do and eat in the big apple. Hearing about the reviews of the place and seeing photos online of what their cookies, brownies and shakes look like. Eating the cookies had exceeded those expectations. They had so much to offer. Though they may not have some of the cookies that I would have gotten, since they didn’t have them on display. But the other cookies that were on display had satisfied me.
Monday morning we ate at Ellen’s Stardust Diner, where they had their waiters and waitress sing a-long as they are serving your food to you. They had confetii being blasted into the diner, after a hardcore number. After Ellen’s we went to the Natural History Museum. It was huge. When walking into the doors, all you can see is the huge Dinosaur, which was pretty awesome. I got to take photos with the Moai Statue or “Easter Island Head”. But that was really cool. I also seen our Hawaiian spears in the museum, I thought that it was cool that people from New York kinda know our History.
When we were done with the museum we walked over to Central Park. The park was so huge and beautiful. We got the chance to climb up on the rocks to take some photos and in the background you can see some huge buildings. I seen squirrels, heard a lot of birds and seen some ducks. The whole park was a maze. We had to use google maps to get our way to the Bethesda Fountain. When we got to the fountain it was packed. There were so many people that wanted a photo and just like them we wanted one too. We also recreated a scene from the movie John Wick 2, where the two guys were looking at John Wick. It was so cool.
Then it was time for us to eat, we caught an Uber to Black Tap Burgers and Shakes. The wait was long but it was worth it, their food was amazing. The burgers were huge and so was the onion rings/french fries. But the best part about that restaurant was their shakes. Me and Alexis shared a Cake Batter Shake. Surprisingly it didn’t taste like cake batter, it was vanilla. I think the reason why it didn’t taste like cake batter was because they had a huge slice of funfetti cake. That made it so good.
When it was time to leave to go to the Evening Skyline Private Bus Tour that takes you to New Jersey to see the skyline of Manhattan and Carlo’s Bakery. I was getting tired because their chairs were so comfortable and soft, just thinking about makes me wanna sleep. But the view of the skyline of Manhattan was so pretty. We got to stop by a couple of places to take some photos of the view and some group photos. Then on the tour we were in New Jersey, and there was this place called “The Empty Sky” which stands for the Twin Towers. The piece was created from the perspective of how the people in New Jersey would see the Twin Towers from Manhattan. In front of the replica of the Twin Towers had parts of the Twin Towers. When the sun starts to set you can see this reflection that looks like a circle. It represents “ The Circle of Life.” On the walls of the memorial there were the names of the people who had lost their lives that were from New Jersey, it was just so heartfelt.
When we arrived at Carlo’s Bakery the line wasn’t long. I had gotten a piece of their strawberry cheesecake that tasted great. Though I didn’t get a cannoli because I’m not a huge fan. But my friends said that it was good. We headed to our last stop of the night Hamilton Park. The view of the Manhattan Skyline at night was so beautiful. Seeing the way Times Square can light up the entire block was just so breathtaking. When the tour was over we headed back into our hotel.
The second to the last day had come. In the morning an alumna from NPAC Susan Bowyer had taken her time to come and spend the day with us. When we first saw her we had got to ask some questions about her experience in New York, how she likes it and some questions about her experience in the performing arts. After the questions and answering our questions we went to Starbucks Roastery, and it was huge. They had so many coffees to offer. Right across the street was Chelsea Market that we got to walk around. After that we went to the Highline and saw a lot of unique buildings, then took some photos of the scenery. Afterwards we saw the Vessel. It was so huge and it had a lot of stairs. We went inside the mall next to the Vessel and ate at Shake Shack. Which across of it had a tiny version of Dylan’s Candy Bar and I brought a lot of candy for my brothers which they loved.
Then we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our final broadway show Be More Chill. Amazing. After the show was over we had got to meet Jason Tam who played the SQUIP, special thanks to Johnny Pastor and Aunty Loretta for making it happen. We also got to take Pictures with Jason, and asked him a few questions. Then we took a group picture with George Salazar. Who played Michael. But when we were on the stage I seen Emily Betts Rickards who played Felicity Smoak and Colin Donnell who played Tommy Merlin in The Arrow. I was in a state of shock. It was so cool to see them five feet apart from you. When it was time to leave we said our goodbyes and headed out from the back entrance and Mr. Kitsu said that we could scream now, so I did. It was such an amazing opportunity. We ate our last meal at Juniors. Which was great. We talked about what we enjoy and what we would do and see again.
The next morning was the day we leave New York City. We went back on the Shuttle to Newark. That was the moment when it would be awhile for me to go back to New York. Throughout the whole trip in New York was fun, I made new memories with my friends. I learned a whole lot of information of things that I didn’t even know. I saw new things. Thank you so much to the Kitsu Family and to my Family for this wonderful trip. Until Next time.
Me (Dear Evan Hansen reference lol)