So, our adventure starts at Oakland International Airport, which isn't actually IN Oakland, but this apparently isn't that odd as I have been told. Nothing spectacular. I check in my bag, I have my carry on, we do the whole check in thingy, eat at Chili's Too (don't recommend, but if you MUST eat something, it didn't suck... more on a sucktacular airport experience MUCH later), and then eventually board the plane. We're in the last row, and there's nobody in our row other than the two of us, so I am able to move over and give us a little extra room. Perks of Jet Blue include more leg space and a television for EVERY seat. I am able to watch TV, which, hopefully, will lull me to sleep. It does not. I got no sleep at all on the plane. Sucked, so much.
Saturday morning in New York City. Stop by Jamba (Pink Star in New York,bitches!), grab our shit, get a cab, get to the hotel. The hotel is able to check us in, which is a very good thing because by that point I had been awake for 21 hours or so, and my mind was mushy and not happy. Sleep until 11, a whole three hours, get up and GO!
First stop is Central Park. Beautiful. Found TWO spots that were part of the That's How You Know segment of Enchanted. The plant covered bridge and the building that looks like an old school house. Also saw cosplayers... reasons why? Unknown. More walking around before we're finally like 'too much shit to do! MOVE ON!' Ask where the Plaza where the Nintendo Store is, on the way we see ice skating in the Plaza and they are playing I'll Be There! Awww, baby MJ! So cute! Watch people skate for a bit (nobody biffed it! SAD!) before moving on... AND IT IS THERE!!! THE NINTENDO WORLD STORE!!!!!!! With the exception of SM New York, the Nintendo Store was THE thing I wanted to do the most in New York. Long have I dreamed of traversing its halls and engaging in fanboy glee. Fanboy glee did I experience... but also fanboy expectations being TOO high. The Nintendo World store, while undoubtedly awesome, was not the super epic happy fun times that I wanted it to be, and quite frankly NEEDED it to be. Still, it had nice merch for me to procure (a paltry amount compared to what I WANTED to blow there), and I could at the very least at long last check that locale off the list of places I needed to visit before I died.
Our next destination was the Disney store in Times Square. We walk and walk and walk and then eventually get pestered by two fellows trying to hock me their wares. Being a nice Californian, I interact with them, but when they ask for money we're leaving and the CD they CLAIMED was free was then revealed to NOT be free. These cretins were mere doors from the Disney store, but I did not notice it as I was too busy trying to FLEE from them. So, I was Disney blocked. I sensed Black Pete's vile hand in these events. Aimlessly walking further into the heart of Times Square and further away from our destination, we happen upon the Toys R Us. We venture in, and then we move away. Initially we intended to ride the Ferris Wheel, but upon seeing the line for both the tickets and the wheel, decided against it. We did, however, soon realize that we walked BY the Disney Store, and thus backtracked.
The Disney store in Times Square is much like the Disney store in San Francisco. Basically, the same as any Disney Store, a bit bigger, with pretty designs. But NOTHING OF MERIT TO BUY. Sad. Again, I am denied the opportunity to engage in my materialistic ways in the manner that I desired. My inner 80s child is becoming dejected. Upon leaving, we ask where Midtown Comics is and we make our way towards it.
Midtown Comics is quite possibly the most famous comic book store in the country. Surely, I could find something worth procuring while I am within its fabled walls, yes? WRONG! NOTHING! Rage!!! Hearing that there was another comic book store near the Empire State Building, we venture towards said building. Very nice. Don't find the comic book store and instead head towards another comic book store that comes up on the GPS, while looking for THAT comic book store we see ANOTHER and go THERE. I buy a trade, nothing spectacular, but New Warriors Classic volume 3 is nothing to be ashamed of! Then we start getting closer to the first store. Or so we think. Turns out, the store on the GPS is gone and replaced by a deli. Sad.
3 hours of sleep begins to ware on us, and we're also hungry. Desiring a nice New York meal, complete with table service, we stumble upon an eatery called Rosa Mexicana. We eat there and it is FABULOUS. Wonderful food, wonderful atmosphere, wonderful service. Very happy. Leave a big tip for the waitress. And, by that point, we're basically spent and we return back to the hotel, ready to sleep and PREP FOR SMTOWN NEW YORK!!!!!! Before we make it to the room, though, we end up getting a probably non-licensed cabby, who almost hits someone, and makes us fear for our safety.
The next morning prep we do. We first enjoy the free breakfast provided by our hotel. Nothing worth noting, bagels, yogurt, muffins (the muffins were the best of those options) and then we're off to Madison Square Garden, where we find a line that is pretty short. This isn't surprising. After all, we are 5 hours early. Turns out, it was the line for the people who paid for the sound check options, and, as such, is not OUR line. OUR line is AROUND the block, and we go around the block, where the line is MUCH longer. Not horrible, mind you, but not ideal.
Thus begins the 5 hour line journey. We meet some VERY cool people in line, find out that merch (MERCH!!!!!) goes on sale at 3 PM, and a few of us make our way back AROUND the block in order to procure our goods. BoA has NO MERCHANDISE AT ALL!!! I am LIVID to say the least, but nonetheless happy to have merch to purchase. 300 dollars later (YAY! MATERIALISM SATED!) and I have much merch. Back to the line, where the Korean media is going around and we watch people make fools of themselves. One of our line buddies (you make line buddies very quickly in these situations) dances to Shinee and GETS A FREE AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THEIR CD! Shaking and crying commences for her, and we are all very happy (Shinee, however, remains basic).
Finally, we're allowed in, and we're able to get in the back of the ground section where we have tickets, leaning against the railing nearest the catwalk with a pair of twins. Again, cool people. We share our glow sticks with the twins and a group of youngins up further (for one of them, it was the first concert she ever went to. Certainly a worthy cherry popper if there ever was one!) while we have an AGONIZING LONG wait for the show to start. But start it DOES!
There was a rumor that Queen BoA herself would start the show that was being stated in the line earlier, but these rumors proved false (much to SMNY's wisdom, as I would have rioted if they dared disgrace the Queen in such a manner) as it was FX who started the show. The crowd in NYC goes batshit crazy for Amber. Apparently, they love them the short haired Asian-American. After FX, Kangta comes out and the granddaddy does what he does best; BELT OUT THE BALLADS!!! During his final song of his set, I see Jong from Shinee sitting on the steps near the catwalk. Yes, I am close enough to SEE him, and I even take some pictures. Jong is my favorite member of Shinee, after all. Not that this is much of a claim, but it is valid nonetheless.
Shinee begins the first of too many sets, and I eventually realize that Jong is wearing a WOLVERINE SHIRT. This enrages me, and I boycott taking pictures of Jong for the rest of the night. Take that, Jong. TAKE. THAT.
Girls Generation and Super Junior also come out, to our collective delight. I try and get people to pay attention to me as I am very tall and they should notice me, but alas, none of them look AT me when they are looking at the ground crowd. Very sad. I continue to snap pictures like a crazy person, though.
THE QUEEN COMES OUT AND I GO APESHIT!!!! Her first song is Look Who's Talking, which is followed by I Did It For Love (featuring a special appearance by Key), and then she if off and the other stars come back. I nonetheless snap many pictures of my beloved, but I attempt to get her attention as she is near me at the catwalk. Alas, she does not acknowledge the ground crowd at all. I CHOOSE to believe that she felt my love radiate to her like a shining beacon of worship, though.
I take many more pictures of the stars as they continue to do their thing (no more Shinee, though. Jong, you should learn to check your wardrobe), and constantly lament the fact that Siwon is not in attendance due to his commitment to filming. If there was ever a reason for the divine to teleport someone across the world, entertaining me in New York is it. Alas, it does not happen. Siwon, it's time to stop worshiping. God did you dirty. The groups play a lot of the songs that I enjoy. Girls Generation pops out with Oh, Genie, and some SUPER CUTE SONGS that I don't know the names of, but damn they were infectious and adorable. Super Junior comes out singing Bonamana and some of their older stuff, to my delight.
THE QUEEN RETURNS!!!! I GO APESHIT AGAIN!!!! She starts off with Eat You Up, and then FINALLY goes into singing a Korean song, Copy and Paste, before returning to her English discography and singing an EXCELLENT live rendition of Energetic. She then retires yet again and TVXQ makes an appearance.
Last year, TVXQ's stunt of being lifted up into the air on wires was a high point of the show. This year, however, all of the boy groups had done it AT LEAST ONCE (Shinee TWICE!!!), so it did lose a bit of its appeal. Not to say that U-know and Max didn't show the others how it was done, just saying, by that point it was a bit played out. And you don't want to play out something that TVXQ does, you let TVXQ remain bad ass. They sing a medley, then do some of their other songs. Good times.
The show begins to wind down, with artists doing their final songs (Kangta: Breaka Shaka, FX... I don't remember, Nu Abo, maybe? Shinee Luficer, which the world goes Batshit crazy over and the song is the most basic thing ever... Super Junior sings the Rock version of U with a SPECIAL APPEARANCE BY JAY FROM THE TRAX!!!! AGAIN, I LOSE MY SHIT! Girls Generation sings Gee, TVXQ sings Rising Sun and the QUEEN CLOSES WITH HURRICANE VENUS!!! SLAYING YOUR FAVES FOR 11 YEARS!!!) before breaking into the final medley of HOT's Promise, which is beautiful yet again. I get a little teary eyed when BoA returns to the stage, singing in her beautiful voice, saying goodbye to me and another wonderful night that we share together. The concert ends, we get some food, and go back to the room, fulfilled in ways that are impossible to explain, but easy to understand. SM concerts, while sometimes making me question their design (last year, for example, BoA had 7 songs, this year, with less artists, she has 6? AND 2/3rds are in ENGLISH?!?!), never fail to make me happy to be in love with the company and their artists. Return to America, SM. I don't care where you go, I don't care when, if you bring BoA, I will go. If you go to California, even without BoA I will go.
Our final day in New York begins rather blandly. We wake up late, too exhausted to do much of anything other than get ready and check out on time. While I am packing I realize that my MP3 player is misplaced. I know I had it during the line, but no longer do. It either is in the bag with my clothes, or lost. No big deal. We leave for the airport, and realize that you can check into an airport TOO SOON. Who knew? So we have to kill some time. Thank God for laptops and free Wifi allowing to search the internet.
After getting our boarding passes, we check the lost and found for my Midnight Blue DSi XL, which was not in my bag on Sunday when we were prepping for the concert. I figured it either slid out of my bag during the flight without my knowledge, or that I left it at home. They say they have nothing, so we go to get examined in the line. As my stuff goes through the x-ray machine they ask for a bag check. Turns out that my 600+ page X-Men omnibus is suspicious, and the man checks it before letting us go. He is impressed by the omnibus, after momentarily pondering if I am some sort of mutant terrorist. I'm kind of sad that he doesn't go through all my SM merch, because I kind of wanted to see his face when he saw uchiwas with Siwon's face etc. Side note: people were JUDGING US SO HARD while we were in line for the concert. It was glorious. Haters don't understand. It was also funny to see a bunch of white meatheads rocking the pink soshified shirts and pink glasses. I kid you not, they had no shame. These white boys are my people.
Finally through the line, we're hungry and go to eat at this restaurant in NYC called 5ivesteak or something. Sarah ate there before, said it was decent, and a turkey burger was offered so why the hell not, right?
NEVER. GO. THERE. EVER. WORST. SERVICE. EVER. It takes a good 15 minutes JUST to be seen by these fools, and then it takes FOREVER to get our food, including the sides, which are overcooked in the case of the onion rings and undercooked in the case of the mashed potatoes. Also, the food that Sarah ordered was not available, so she had to change her order and they let her know as my food was coming out (my fries were cold, I presume because they were waiting for her food to finish not knowing it wasn't gonna happen). They give more food, which still sucks, screw up the replacement order for Sarah, ignore my pleas for the bill the first time, comp NOTHING for the worst dining experience ever, and finally give us our bill after 20 minutes more of waiting. Also, people who got sat AFTER us got their food BEFORE us. White people, mind you. Yes, I was with a white person, but just saying. Left a shitty tip and that was that.
The flight home sucked, too. The televisions flickered on and off for Sarah and myself as I moved my foot. Sometimes both would be on, sometimes neither would be on, more often than not only mine was. A full flight meant that we could not do anything about it. Horrible. Also horrible? An old as all hell Asian lady behind us probably made in her pants, because all of a sudden there was a FOUL odor that filled the air. I don't hate on the poor old lady for doing her thing, but it didn't make for an ideal time. My ass was dead by the time we got off the plane. Hell, by the time we were half way to New York my ass was dead. I need more junk in my trunk, clearly.
Finally back in California, we get home shortly before midnight, I do some quick checking of my room, no DSI XL. Farewell, my friend. Also gone, my MP3 player. A sacrifice to BoA, a worthy sacrifice.
So, overall, I will say that New York is a much more beautiful place than most people give it credit for. Yes, it's urban, so it's not natural beauty, but the architecture, the way the skyline looks, it's all gorgeous. I did not have the experience that I wanted to have, but I blame this entirely on my delusions of what the places I wanted to visit would be like. If I had stayed an extra day, I honestly don't know what I would have done, but I would have been annoyed.
None of that matters, though, because New York gave me a second night with BoA, and I will be eternally grateful for that simple fact. So, thank you, New York, thank you, SM, and THANK YOU, BoA! I love you more than I can ever say, and hope that we spend many more nights together.
Pictures may come at some point. I promise nothing.