Category Archives: New York City

NickJ and the Admin: A New York State of Mind-January 7, 2010

Hannah and I took the Megabus to NYC this morning. If you are going to Manhattan for the day or a few days, you can’t beat it. Reserving the bus in advance on-line and traveling during some of the off hours gives you the best price. Total cost for the two of us $56.50. Add in $8.00 for the metro (subway). (

My daughter, Mary lives in NYC and we come here several times a year. When we arrived today, we hopped on the subways and easily found our stop.

When we emerged from the subway, I had a feeling of familiarity. I stopped and looked around to let it sink in. This is the area I came to several months earlier to buy food for Mary’s wedding. It was a beautiful October day. I had traveled by subway with Mary’s soon-to-be brother-in-law, Santi. He and I had chatted on the subway and the few blocks to the Fairfield Market. It was a great time of getting to know one another.

With grocery list in hand, we had been sent on a mission to find the rest of the food for the 30 gourmet picnic baskets we were all creating back in Mary and Jesse’s New York apartment. One of the bonuses of coming to New York early had been the opportunity to get to know Jesse’s family. I had waves of joy, as I thought back to that day.

Now, I was on another mission with Hannah. I was in search of the hotel and a place to drop off our bags. Hannah in search of the Beacon Theater and to do some Nick Jonas stalking.

I checked in at the hotel into room 705 which happens to be the name of a Jonas Brothers song.

Hannah stayed outside the Beacon Theater until she was rewarded with a photo op with NickJ after six hours of waiting. I spent the afternoon walking and exploring the area. I reflected on the memories and feelings I had from my daughter’s wedding. Then, I discovered new things I hadn’t seen that day. The Italian patriate statues, the architecture of the churches that lined the street to our hotel, Alice’s Tea Shop, and the falafel and hummus sandwich at Cafe 71. This experience deepened the memories of the first visit here and now it had a new richness, a deeper connection and intimacy.

And that is what it was like watching Nick Jonas tonight. I have watched Nick over 70 times in person. Seeing him on the stage of the Beacon Theater had a familiarity, the feeling of having been here before. And it was time to add in a new experience. Kevin Jonas was standing at the side with Mama and Papa Jonas surrounded by friends. Everyone was watching Nick in this intimate venue. Nick has surrounded himself with wise, seasoned musicians to bring his talent and songs to a new level, bassist/producer John Fields, drummer Michael Bland and keyboardist Tommy Barbarella — who both logged time with Prince in the New Power Generation — and guitarist Sonny Thompson.

Before the show began, I had conversations with several young women who had seen the show in Washington, DC, the night before. They were telling me that I wouldn’t recognize him, that he owned the stage and took it to another level. They couldn’t believe he could do this!

As I watched him tonight, I thought that anyone who was surprised that he could do this has not been watching him onstage. As part of the Jonas Brothers, he is the one they look to when there is a glitch onstage. He is the one who starts and ends the songs. He is the one who sits alone on the middle of the stage singing, “A little bit longer,” and “Black keys”, and who delivers a message of inspiration that is so powerful you can feel the audience and the stillness.

Maybe it is because when I watch Nick Jonas, I see one of the great leaders of this generation who inspires people of all ages with his wisdom and words at the age of 17. I see him. I know he brings music and heart to the world right now. He is sharing more of his inner world with us on this tour through his music.

Yes, coming to New York today, I posted the words from the Jay-Z and Alicia Keys song, “An Empire State of Mind: These streets will make you feel brand new, Big lights will inspire you, let’s hear it for New York, New York, New York.”

He left us with his inspiration for this year: 2010- The Year of No Fear. And encouraged us to all join together to heal the world. Once again, NickJ, you inspired us!

Concert 21: Uniondale, New York

Thanks to MaryAnn McNeely for sponsoring the blog this week.
She makes beautiful jewelry and is a life coach.

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Concert 21: Uniondale, New York
July 21, 2009

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. – Carl Jung

It was the first really rainy day of the concert tour. The vendor buses and trucks were there with one lonely Burger King Apple Fries cart. People were crowding into the ticket box area or they were huddled together looking for shelter.

Hannah and I did not have tickets and we were both sort of freaking out. This was the day I had agreed to help Jesse, my daughter Mary’s fiancé, return stage lights and a ladder. It involved a variety of stops. First we drove from W. 140th Street and Broadway to the Richmond Shepard Theatre at 309 E. 26th Street (@ 2nd Ave.) where ACTion Ecuador, a Dramatic Adventure Theatre production, had performed for four days. (The performances were phenomenal, by the way.) We loaded the huge spotlights after shuffling suitcases and the ladder to fit everything into the car. The drop-off spot was Hell’s Kitchen around 9th and 40th. It was a really cool building. I could imagine the 1920’s and The Silent Film era when Broadway was booming.

All of this was in Manhattan… in the rain.

With all of that handled, we drove to Queens to the home of the lighting designer. We were returning the ladder. As I drove through the tunnel and paid the toll, we realized the computer directions were missing one key element. The only way to reach the exit before crossing the bridge was to be all the way to the right at the toll booth. There was a barrier and we couldn’t get over to the exit. It took us another 45 minutes to get back to Queens. All of this was in crazy rush hour traffic and did I say…in the rain.

When I am in NYC, I usually park the car and we take public transportation or an occasional cab everywhere. But, the estimated public transportation time to Long Island was 3 ½ hours. The original plan according to the computer was that the errands and the drive to the concert location would take 90 minutes. Driving to Queens was on the way to the concert in Uniondale on Long Island. It took 3 hours, it was raining, we didn’t have concert tickets and we were freaking out.

At 6pm, we stood in line and saw the people in front of us buying the newly released, precious front row seats. We were really stressing on each other. The weather, the lateness, and the disruption of our routine and shortage of money had us stressed and taking it out on each other. (These are not my proudest moments, but I want to be honest with you. We were not very nice to each other today.)

We had to pay more than we wanted to for my ticket. The only tickets available were the top price. Hannah got a front row corner seat. I was on the 200 level, but still the same price.
After we got our tickets, I decided to walk outside in the rain. An unexpected gift appeared. Jen, the woman who works at some of the venues with Burger King was here. We met in the Midwest and now she had been here for the three shows on Long Island. I was shocked, excited, and thrilled. The last time I saw her was in Chicago where she lives and works.

She had been at the tour at these really pivotal moments. After hugging her and hearing a few of her life details, I talked with her about the stress and the frustration and my desire to open to the next steps. As usual she gave me hugs and encouragement.

I don’t know what is going to happen. We are going to the Full Moon Crazy Show tomorrow night for Honor Society and then back to Baltimore. We are at the end of our money. Is this the end?

I have found that when I am frustrated and stressed, I attract more frustration and more things that require patience. Long lines at the women’s bathroom, people arguing around me, and rainy, damp days. When I can see my life as a spiritual practice and switch my focus to curiosity and wonderment, everything shifts.

I decided to enjoy myself. I was in the building now with a ticket. If this was the last show, I wanted to be awake and alive in this moment. I walked around the concourse and looked at the food. (Maybe I will publish this someday. A list of different food at the booths at the arenas around the country)

I looked for the sponsor booths to see if there was anything new. I saw Jen and she waved to me. She had called me on my cell phone but I hadn’t heard it ring with all the noise from the crowd. She called her husband Antonio, the guy who runs the Burger King events at all of the concerts this summer. He asked about my tickets and presented me with upgraded tickets.

Something shifted. Or had I already shifted my attitude and that opened me to this moment? Hannah had a front row seat so I only needed the one ticket. Antonio and Jen sat by me that night. It was the first time they had seen the show. They took pictures at the concert and watched with wide open amazement.

I watched the concert as if it were my last. Savoring the atmosphere. Dancing every song. Feeling the gratitude of this moment. Not knowing what is next.

Every day there has been something pulling me into the dream of this adventure. Is it time to turn back or move forward?

A celebration of transformation with Dramatic Adventure Theatre

Today’s jonas watch is sponsored by Dramatic Adventure Theatre.

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Yesterday, I skipped a Jonas Brothers concert in Uniondale, NY to spend the day at the Richmond Shepard Theatre in NYC watching plays. The plays were a reflection of a year long project from an organization called Dramatic Adventure Theatre. My daughter, Mary, age 25 and her fiance, Jesse, age 28 are the creators and owners of this company.

A year ago, they decided to expand the organization to create a program for college students and theater artists. 75 people participated in this program. Groups of students and artists went to Ecuador for several weeks. It was a cross cultural program that included service projects, art workshops and the creation of a piece of theater that reflected something about the experience for them.

I watched nine short plays yesterday. Each one so powerful that I could barely speak without sobbing. The last two years, I watched Mary and Jesse perform a theater piece with several actors after visiting Zimbabwe and Ecuador. I always thought that I cried because I knew them and I could see and feel their transformation. I knew who they were before the trip and I saw how they had changed from going to the different countries.

Last night the tears came because I could feel the transformation that had happened for each of the groups. It was palpable. Transformation was oozing from their bodies as they relived their experiences by putting them into an expression of music, dance, and words.

I am still so moved by what I saw that the words of the experience for me are not fully formed.

In the beginning of this blog today, I said it was a year long project, but it was really a project that they had been preparing for all of their lives.

I can remember a night when I was really sick twenty years ago. A flu, high fever type of illness. I had worked all day, picked up Mary, age 5 and Liz, age 3 from day care and all I wanted to do was fall into bed. It was only 6 or 7 pm, too early for Mary who could barely settle down at 10pm (she is still a night owl!) I popped a video into the VHS player, Mary Poppins. I gave her some instruction like, let me know when the movie is over or climb in bed when the movie is over. Something like that. I was delirious with fever that night.

Around 3 am, I rolled out of bed to check on her. There was Mary in the living room. A stack of musical VHS tapes on the couch, some dress up clothes, an open umbrella and Mary with a huge smile on her face.

What can I say, the kid ALWAYS loved theater!

In high school, Mary was the President of Future Business Leaders of America. In college, she studied Theater, Business and Communications. In her last semester of college, she told me that she was interested in doing something with children’s theater.

Then, she met Jesse who had his own path of discovering creativity as a middle school student who thrived in the arts. He had a journey of overcoming shyness to step into a bolder role for himself in the world. He has an idea of traveling to different countries and doing theater with children. A discussion with a friend a few years ago, came back as a challenge to do it. He came up with the name Dramatic Adventure. And when he and Mary partnered, each brought the life experience and skills to make this happen.

Throughout their lives, both of their families traveled and demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit, a love of adventure, an openness to trying new things. We provided a “container or space” that nurtured this spirit in them. With their family in the audience last night, we cheered them on to the finish line.

Yes, we provided the container and they did the work. They combined their passions, interests and hard work. They made the phone calls, stayed up late at night, took the financial, emotional and physical risks. They had roadblocks, doubts, hurdles to jump over. They had inspiration, moments of perfection and the determination to work through every challenge. They DID it!

And in their willingness to leap, they have created a place of transformation and awakening to 75 people who now know more about themselves. They are now bringing that awareness back to their families, their communities and their work. It is a ripple effect.

As I travel with Hannah to Jonas Brothers concerts, I do not know what the impact will be on our lives in the future. But, I am aware that the people we are meeting through the blogs and at the concerts we are all touching each other, awakening something in us and leading us on a path to somewhere.

For each person, I have met and conversed with, I want you to know that the 5 minute conversations in line for the bathroom, the sharing of our stories in between sets, dancing together, and of course, the hugs, are touching Hannah and me. We carry you with us in our hearts, our conversations and into our experiences.

And as I watched Jesse and Mary last night, closing the evening with words of gratitude, I was moved by the infinite possibilities that await us all. One step at a time.