Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

NYC: Why are we even here?

So the background -- shortly after Christmas last year, we learned that Billy Joel would be performing at the casino in Niagara Falls (aka very close to us) and Chris really wanted to go.  I've never been a big concert person - I'm happy enough to go if others want to, but very rarely do I seek them out.   However, I figured for his birthday, in February, that'd be a good option.

And I, being a planning type, figured out when they were going on sale and got myself in virtual line...  And was like 1,000th when it opened.  It moved reasonably fast - going by memory here, but I would've only been able to block an hour from work and it didn't take anywhere near that.  15 mins maybe?  But there were no reasonably priced tickets left.  Nothing under $500/ticket.  C agreed that wasn't reasonable and we dropped it.

Fast-forward a couple weeks and I clued in that if it's a tour, perhaps there are other locations we could visit...   Some restrictions:  C is a teacher, so has no flexibility on when he takes his vacation, and cost...  Found a date at Madison Square Garden (MSG) on a Saturday in April.   Checked how long a drive it'd be - doable in one day as long as we spent the night there and came home the next day.  Even better - tickets were super-cheap to fly out of Buffalo.  And it was plausible I could book tickets early enough in the day that if there were flight issues, we could still drive in time.   All good.  Except when I was doing my last minute checks, I found a warning on the MSG site that that concert could be moved due to hockey playoffs.  Frig.  Did some googling about where in the playoff timeline we'd be on that date and it was super-early, like first or second round.  Not a risk we could take.

So I started looking at other venues, but as I was finding the tour dates I clued in, there's one a month at MSG.  I'd never been to NYC before (other than to drive through it between airports) and Chris had only been once.  Seemed kinda odd that the dates wouldn't all be together - wasn't till tonight I realised that he lives on Long Island ;).  So I flipped through till I found a date that would work for us - it was WAY out in the summer, but, that'd remove any vacation restrictions for C, and fortunately my work is pretty flexible on when we take ours.  Also, I traditionally don't take summer vacation when there's a conflict to allow those with kids to do so, so the once in a while I decide I want it, they tend to accommodate it.  

Managed to secure tickets to that one that even with the exchange rate was cheaper enough than seeing him here that it almost covered the cost of flights too.  Sweet.   Was through a reseller so I was a little nervous - even having done all the due diligence possible - so was relieved when less than 10 mins after hitting "purchase" the tickets were in my inbox.

This is what I very quickly crafted to go in C's bday card ;)
E-tickets don't exactly print well!

Since this was now going to be a surprise for Chris (given he already knew we weren't going to the one at Niagara), I couldn't ask his preference on trip length and made the executive decision that we'd at least plan on 2 nights because I had just found the most awesome use for the Christmas money my parents had generously given me: night two would be a Broadway play.  Found a play I wanted to see and got us tickets to that in a comparable price range.

Decided though that I'd hold off on flight and hotel till after C's bday so the rest of the decisions could be joint.  So once he knew - and was pretty excited about :). Bday win for sure!  We could plan the rest.  We each had a couple key things we wanted to do and had decided on a Mon-Fri-ish trip.  Mon-Thurs would've worked, but we wanted to fly with carryon only, and C wanted to take advantage of the improved beer options in the US to import back home, which meant our flight had to land in Buffalo with enough time for us to run some errands before stores closed.   So I added the extra night hotel and an early morning flight.   I was slightly annoyed that by this point the prices of flights had gone up significantly, but by now we were pretty committed, so sucked it up.  While long road trips are fine, neither of us wanted to drive actually in Manhattan!   And future us was very glad of that decision.

So when we left we had flights there and back (on different airlines from different airports???), hotel booked within walking distance of both Broadway and MSG that came with a real breakfast each day (lesson learned from FL trip!), and tickets to shows Mon and Tues night.  The rest was ours to use as we saw fit - a great combo of schedule and flexibility.

And here we are :)


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