I recently took a week-long trip to NYC with my family. New York is an incredible city with extraordinary people, performers, shows and buildings. While I was there, I wanted to check out any music-related NYC landmarks and experiences that I’m always hearing about. Here’s some of the things I was up to!
Tori Kelly Popup Concert
I woke up one sunny, Monday morning in NYC and began scrolling through my Instagram feed. I stopped scrolling when I saw that Tori Kelly had been on Good Morning America just a few hours before. I freaked! I figured she was hanging out in NYC somewhere, so I went through her Twitter page and tried to figure out where she might be. After a while, I found out she was planning to do a popup concert in Union Square for dedicated fans that went through a scavenger hunt to find her.
Around 5 pm that day, I was standing less then 3 feet away from Tori, watching her belt out the lyrics to her latest hit “Nobody Love,” and a few others. Although it was super hot outside, it was so worth it to see Tori again!
Hard Rock Cafe
While my family and I were exploring Times Square, we made a stop at the legendary NYC Hard Rock Cafe. The place was decked out in all types of guitars, autographs, and outfits worn by famous artists on stage, such as Hailey Williams from Paramore. I was in a music lover’s dream. I picked up one of their classic T-shirts during my visit, and it’s pretty cool to wear it & say I’ve finally been to a Hard Rock Cafe! (Below is a picture of me wearing my shirt to work.)
Strawberry Fields (John Lennon Memorial)
On the edge of Central Park is a small, quiet area designed to be a memorial for the legendary John Lennon. The spot is directly across from the Dakota Apartments, where Lennon was shot in 1980. It’s surrounded by a green, plant/hill area called Strawberry Fields, named after The Beatles’ iconic song “Strawberry Fields Forever.” In the middle of the path to Strawberry Fields is a mosaic (that is supposed to represent a teardrop) with the word “Imagine” placed in the middle, which is the title of John Lennon’s most famous song.
The spot was beautiful, with so many people stopping to admire the design which was covered in flowers. Nearby, a busker softly serenaded the crowd with songs by The Beatles, including one of my favorites: “Let It Be,” which I caught a small clip of. It was so moving to experience this amazing tribute to John Lennon in person.
NYC buskers & street performers
All over NYC are buskers, street performers and young artists who are making a living by serenading crowds rushing by in subway stations & on NYC streets. I loved it, because pretty much everywhere I visited in New York I was surrounded by music. One of my favorite moments was seeing a man in Central Park who was playing the saxophone. I played the saxophone for about four years, so I always love watching others play.
Another one of my favorite moments was walking through Washington Square Park during the evening. It was so alive! Under the Washington Square Arch, people were taking turns belting out their favorite tunes, dancing and laughing the night away. It was so cool to see a group of complete strangers connect over music in that way. If you’re an August Rush fan, you’ll instantly recognize this spot from the movie.
In the middle of Central Park under a beautiful bridge, a singing group called Infinity’s Song filled the air with their incredible voices. People stopped immediately as the passed, drawn to the sound of their harmonies. The group switched off singing solos, then all together as their voices reverberated off the walls of the bridge, creating amazing acoustics. Check out my video of them below. (Fun fact: the day after I took this video, Tori Kelly found them in Central Park, too. She was intrigued by their voices, and ended up asking them to join her onstage the next night at her sold-out show at the Best Buy Theater in NYC. Incredible.)
Bleecker Street Records
Even while rushing around crazy-busy NYC, I still found time to stop and do one of my favorite things: browse through records & CDs at a record shop. I stopped in the famous Bleecker Street Records, which is located in the heart of NY in Greenwhich Village. I bought some cool stickers (The Who & R.E.M) for my laptop while I was there, and got lost in the store for a bit. Downstairs, I met a friendly (and fuzzy) record store employee who liked being pet. (See left!)
Bleecker Street Records was pretty cool, but it’s nothing compared to the amazing record store I work in, Music Millennium.
On my last night in NYC, I went to a Broadway musical at the Stephen Sondheim Theater with my mom! We saw “Beautiful,” which is a musical about singer Carol King’s life and music. It was absolutely amazing! The sets and costumes were incredible, the transitions were flawless, and the actors had beautiful voices. Carol King’s songs were weaved into the story of her life, which was so fun to watch and listen to. I would definitely recommend getting tickets to see this show if you are planning to take a trip to NYC anytime soon!