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Day 23 – New York – By Lauren Fanger

Finally! Today was the day we’d arrive in the king of all cities, New York City. We woke up especially early (6:30) so we wouldn’t catch the insane New York traffic, and we arrived in the Big Apple around 1:30.

After dropping our things at the hotel, we headed to the New York Historical Society through the subway. There, we perused a presentation on HIV and AIDS in New York for the first five years it spread throughout the country. We talked about the sexual revolution, which I was unfamiliar with, and how it affected people’s views on the gay community when AIDS spread. I was especially interested in the four H’s (Homosexuals, Heroin addicts, Hemophiliacs and Haitians), who were scapegoated during the time when AIDS was sweeping the nation. We also talked about how the virus’s mysterious qualities made people wary of doctors and medicine, who’s job was to cure and they were failing. After interesting discussions and gaining new knowledge, we left the museum with our heads considerably fuller than before.

Next we had free time to explore my favorite place, Times Square, and grab dinner before we saw the Broadway show Pippin. A couple of us went to a cute deli a couple blocks away from the theater and had good burgers, BLTs, and salads.

We then returned to the theater, where Billy explained why we were seeing this show in particular. Not only had Pippin won a Tony award for Best Musical Revival, but the story was about a boy Pippin trying to find his purpose in life, trying to make his life fulfilling. In the end he realizes that being himself is enough, and it’s okay to be an ordinary person.

Billy connected Pippin to Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks and Elvis Presley, explaining that they each did what they knew—MLK preached, Rosa Parks sat on the bus, and Elvis played the guitar. We then headed into the show, and I was extremely excited. I love Broadway shows more than anything, so seeing Pippin I knew would be a highlight of the trip.

The show was full of acrobatics and dance, and great music, but the finale was truly my favorite part. Pippin decides in the end that instead of listening to his cast mates and the Leading Player, he’s going to do what makes him happy, which is being an ordinary person. After the amazing performance, we made a quick stop at the Hershey and M&M stores, and then made our way back to the hotel on the subway, all of us sufficiently tired. This had been one of my favorite days on the trip, because it was in my favorite place, with great people, hot weather and a great show.