Taking a bite out of the Big Apple

You’ve heard some of us Riders talk about our recent trip to NYC and the RWA national conference (Yea to Helen again for her huge Rita win!!)  All of us have stories to tell and photos to post and I’m no exception.

I really did NYC this trip, folks.  I mean – really.  I saw two shows (Spiderman was great! BTW), went to Chinatown (thanks to Jennita Low for introducing us to Dim Sum!) took a helicopter ride over the city (thanks Kylie for going with me on that big adventure).

Saw Lady Liberty from above:

Got up close and personal with 2 of NYPD’s finest and bravest!

Had an Elvis encounter:

Saw this beautiful bride and her adoring groom in Central Park near the boathouse:

and generally ate my way through the city.  Amazing restaurants!  Amazing!!

By far the BEST New York moment, however, (and I know Kylie will attest to this because she was with me) was in Central Park, not far from Strawberry Fields, a memorial to John Lennon, beneath the shadow of the Dakota Hotel where John and Yoko lived (where Yoko still lives because she says she will always feel John’s presence there).

Kylie and I were walking back from the Bethesda fountain and right in the middle of the square was this piano.  We both were wondering how the guy playing it got a paino into Central Park (I’ll come back to that later), when the man standing by the piano motioned us over.

“Ladies … we can’t remember the words to this song,” he said with a huge smile.  “Please help us out.”

So the piano man started playing. I looked at Kylie and she looked at me and we both got shivers and started singing along to – are you ready? – Imagine, by John Lennon.  It was a magical moment.  4 strangers, all singing in the sunshine in Central Park, not caring that they didn’t know each other, only feeling the presence of a genious and incredible song writer and story teller.  I still smile when I think about it.

Oh – and how DID the piano get in Central Park?  It seems the city of New York has instituted a ‘pop up piano’ program.  They will place a piano somewhere – Central Park, Time Square … whereever – and just let it sit there, inviting someone to sit down and play and sing and generate a little love.  It’s a wonderful way to spark a sense of community … as 2 Iowa out of towners found out. :o)

What about you?  Have you ever experienced an unexpected magical moment?  Care to share?  How did it make you feel?  And if you had been Kylie and me, would you have stopped when a complete stranger motioned you over, not having a clue what he wanted?


WITH NO REMORSE – July 19, 2011

“…Sinful…action packed with so much sizzle it should come with a warning…on the edge of your seat suspense and a hero who will melt readers’ hearts…a bookshelf keeper!”  Nocturne Romance Review of WITH NO REMORSE


About cindygerard

Cindy Gerard is a New York Times best-selling author of action packed romantic suspense novels. Learn more about Cindy at http://www.cindygerard.com
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27 Responses to Taking a bite out of the Big Apple

  1. Wow! You gave me goose bumps! Thanks for sharing that experience….now I want to go there!! :o) The Grand Canyon always feels magical to me. I can’t explain it…it’s just a feeling. And yes, if I were with you, I would have stopped for the piano man….of course I would have kept you in front of me! Hahahaha! I am so glad you had such a great time in NYC!

  2. Gail Chianese says:

    Cindy, what a wonderful experience and thanks for sharing it. I saw the piano, but it was in Times Square. There was a lovely and talented young woman playing and when she was done she jumped up and turned all red from the applause. Since I had the wonderful hubby with me, yep, would have made him stop for the piano man – not sure if I could have remembered all the words though. :0)

  3. Leanne Banks says:

    Cindy, what a wonderful, amazing moment! And since you have a great voice, that makes it even better! That’s one for the books! Can’t wait for your book! xo, Leanne

  4. cindygerard says:

    Dianne – the Grand Canyon IS magical!! Especially AFTER you’ve hiked it and gotten out alive :o)

  5. cindygerard says:

    Gail – I’m thinking that in a city the size of New York, they probably have several spots where the pianos pop up. I think it’s just so clever and wonderful! Music is a bridge the connects people, no doubt about it.

  6. Hey Cindy, that was a great blog. I got goosebumps reading it too. I really need to visit my hometown as a tourist more often. Maybe next time. You really took a bite out of NYC. You should go back and take another big chunk out of it…lol!!!

    I would have stopped if a complete stranger, in NYC, asked me to come over, especially since it was daylight and there were tons of people around. I love Central Park. Not sure I’d remember the words to the song though. Actually, if I knew the words, I’m not sure I would have been brave enough to sing it.

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

    • cindygerard says:

      Paula – I have found that everyone in New York City is so kind and helpful! Doesn’t surprise me but it does surprise me when people I speak with about it are surprised. Some people think that New Yorkers have ‘attitude’ LOL. Again, I found everyone so helpful. And I love the city!

      • We NYers do have some ‘tude, and people rarely see the side you do. Some of them come to NY with preconceived notions, which hinders their ability to see the kindness of strangers. So glad you had a great experience. Wish I’d seen more of you, Helen and Kylie while at Nationals.

        Your write up here makes me want to go back right now, find those pianos, see the strawberry field, take helicopter rides and see bride and grooms. Must go back before summer ends.

        Peace and love,
        Paula R.

  7. Kathleen O says:

    Great post… I can’t remember having a shiver moment about some place I have visited. But I will tell you one of the most profound moments was when I visited the Arlington National Cemetary and the grave sites of JFK and saw the changing of the guard at The Tomb of the Unknown Solider… It was all so very moving and heartfelt.

  8. stephanie h. says:

    Hey Cindy — wonderful post! I’m so happy you enjoyed your time in NYC — next time cross the bridge to Brooklyn — where we have pianos too, and soooo much more. Magical moments? I have lots — but one of the sweetest was once I was on a subway going home from work, and there was a young girl holding a crinkled up wedding dress wrapped in plastic from the dry cleaners and she kept trying to smooth the wrinkles while fighting back tears. You can imagine people tried to look at her (without appearing to look!) and she was trying so hard not to cry and hand no tissues. I reached into my bag and gave her some tissues and she just looked at me for a while then took them, and then the older man next to her patted her shoulder, and oh yeah, then a lady gave her a bottle of water. Pretty soon, I thought people on the train would start crying! She never said anything but “thank you” over and over again until I left the train for my stop. But it was one of the sweetest moments on the subway; where people came together for someone who was hurting. Thanks for the post.

    • cindygerard says:

      Oh my goodness, Stephanie. That is so very touching. Poor thing. She must have felt a great measure of compassion from everyone on that train. I have no doubt that even years later, she will remember the kindness of those strangers. Thanks for sharing that story!

  9. Liz Selvig says:

    What a wonderful post. I didn’t have time to do NYC as thoroughly as you did. My magical moment this trip was a nighttime carriage ride through Central Park. Our driver had the most lilting Turkish accent and the ride was somehow one of the most sensual (not sexual) experiences I’ve had in a long time. Your “Imagine” story is definitely goosebump-worthy, however. John Lennon would have been so happy to see something like that happen with one of his songs at the center. That whole Strawberry Fields area is special anyway. Thanks for sharing the story. And, I add my congrats to fellow MFWer Helen for her truly emotional Rita win.

  10. cindygerard says:

    Hey Liz! yes – we love our Helen and are so proud of her!! And a carriage ride … big sigh. How fun!

  11. loisgreiman says:

    Does seeing the Naked Cowboy count as a magical moment? 🙂

  12. cindygerard says:

    LOL Lois. I think so – although seeing the Naked CowGIRL, does not. Yikes. Not a pretty sight.

  13. Oh, Cindy, I got chills imagining your “Imagine” encounter. And, yes, I would have done exactly what you did. (How dangerous could a person playing a piano in Central Park be?) And I would have sung along. So would my son. So would my granddaughters. I wonder if John would be surprised that Lennon and McCartney are classics.

    Remember the scene in “My Best Friend’s Wedding” when somebody starts singing “I Say a Little Prayer For You” and everyone joins in. I can shrug off the rest of the movie, but I’ll watch it for that scene. It makes me smile every time. People coming together spontaneously over a wonderful song. What joy!

  14. MaryC says:

    Glad you had such a great time! What did you think of the Dim Sum?

  15. cindygerard says:

    Mary – Dim Sum was wonderful. Gennita explained that Dim Sum means – ‘sharing a piece of your heart’. It made it all that much more special. Because she knew what was what, she ordered wonderful little bites of ‘stuff’ off the traveling cart, so we tasted things we never would have tried. It was great!

  16. I was at the Imagine John Lennon memorial too! Very lovely place, shady, and with lots of benches. Many people were sitting on them being contemplative.

    As to places that give you shivers…yes, me too, on many of the monuments in D.C.

    And yes, I probably would have done a little singing with strangers, despite having a bad voice!

    I’m glad you had such a good trip.

  17. cindygerard says:

    I’m thinking we all had a pretty good trip, Christie! Loved seeing your big smile every time our paths crossed.

  18. Kylie Brant says:

    It truly was a trip of ‘moments’ this time round. Every day was packed with not to be missed experiences. I also got to see Jersey Boys (FAN-tastic!!) and rode around in a limo drinking champagne pre-Harlequin party. Oh, and Cindy forgot to mention our breakfast at Ellen’s Stardust Diner where all the wait staff (Broadway hopefuls) perform in between or during their other duties. And each was more talented than the next!

  19. Heather says:

    When I saw the Vietnam Memorial for the first time. I had the most amazing experience there that has forever impacted the way that I view that war.

    I also had a moment last year when a certain author sat down at our table and talked her books with us for a special breakfast, okay I admit I dominated the conversation 🙂

  20. cindygerard says:

    Kylie – you’re right. The Stardust Diner was phenomenal! All of those kids were amazing!
    Thanks again for being brave enough to go on the chopper ride with me!

  21. cindygerard says:

    LOL Heather. You couldn’t have dominated the conversation. I was there :o) I’m always the one who can’t shut up :o)

    And yes. The Vietnam Memorial is profoundly moving.

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