A Star is Born

A Star is Born.

Well, that is a catchy blog post title if ever I saw one.

Actually the star to whom I refer was born 20 years ago, and has been shining ever since.

IMG_7252Georgia 1930s gal

This is my daughter, Georgia Belle, and I’m writing this post to alert the world (or anyone who might stumble upon my blog) that she is madly saving money for her lifetime adventure – to study acting in New York.

She auditioned for the prestigious Stella Adler Studio of Acting  and was accepted into the 2 year Conservatory Program.  Naturally this was thrilling news but now we just have to work out how to get her there and keep her there whilst she studies.

She will be living in New York on an Australian student visa and under this arrangement she is not permitted to work to earn a living for herself which is frustrating to say the least.

So she was prompted to set up a GO FUND ME page to help raise some much need funds, and here is the link to her page:

https://www.gofundme.com/georgiastellaadler

I am astounded by how many people request funding through various platforms, but I am also astounded by how many generous and kind benefactors there are in the world, who have the time, interest and money to donate to someone who is trying to achieve their goals and make their dreams come true.

I thought I would post this to help her along her way, and it is true that every dollar helps.

I thank you in advance and so does my gorgeous, young rising star.

I left my child in New York city (part 3)

Every parent tries to do their best when raising their children, from the very first night they are brought home from the hospital right through all those school years and into young adulthood. Depositing them in a strange country, over sixteen thousand kilometres away (or just over ten thousand miles) may seem akin to throwing a baby into a pool to see if they can swim, but it seems that when I left my child in New York city it wasn’t the worst thing I could have done as a parent; she survived the ordeal and has now safely returned home.

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Before I left my child in New York city though, I stayed with her for a week to help her settle in (i.e. cleaned her dorm room and purchased everything she would need for her stay) and I got to see a little of New York before leaving her all alone in the Big Apple.

 

During her stay in Brooklyn Heights she did discover some flaws in her skill set that could be improved upon before she heads out into the world again.  For example, she found was wasn’t overly enthusiastic about using a laundromat (coin laundry), nor was she confident in asking for directions, and she definitely wasn’t keen on cooking in a communal college kitchen.

Important as they may be, these skills can be practised at home – she was in New York and set about making the most of her time there.  When she wasn’t attending classes at the Stella Adler summer conservatory course she went to as many Broadway productions as time and money would allow, and she squeezed in extra stage door photos with a who’s who of American talent.

Life in Camelot - I left my child in New York city

Georgia with Ramin Karimloo

 

 

One Broadway star, Cheyenne Jackson, took pity upon my poor child, (all alone in New York city) as he clearly did not want to let their meeting pass into the history books unrecorded,  so he took selfies of the two of them and threw in a special kiss.

When not kissing Broadway stars she still found time to dine out at local establishments and go to class, which was the purpose of this stay in New York.

Then it came home for this little chicken to fly home so she boarded a plane at JFK and 24 or so hours later, after flying thousands of kilometres, she arrived home with very tired wings.

She had survived by herself in the Big Apple.  She had worked as a student, grown as a person and lived the dream of every budding actor and actress in the modern western world, if only for a few months.  She had been immersed in ‘musical-theatre nerd’ heaven.

She returned a little bit the same and a little bit not, but it was all worth it.  So if you should ever require any parenting advice regarding your teenager, don’t forget to ask me about the time…

I left my child in New York city.

I Left My Child in New York City (part 2)

After several earlier inadvertent attempts at abandoning my daughter in the Big Apple, this year I nailed it and finally left my child in New York city.

Life In Camelot, I Left my Child in New York city, The Big Apple

As she is a budding actress, it wasn’t too difficult to lure her back to New York –  the mecca of acting – where she was accepted into the prestigious Stella Adler Studio of Acting to undertake the intensive summer conservatory course.  It then just became a matter of logistics (and enough money) to get her there and leave her there for 10 weeks of her young life.

Life In Camelot, I Left My Child in New York City, Stella Adler

In order to ‘leave’ her in New York I had to travel there with her so I purchased 2 seats on a United Airlines flight from Melbourne to LA, through to New York.

But we were forced to cancel our reserved flights the evening before departure due to the fact that her passport, complete with US Student visa, had not returned from the US Consulate in time.  Luckily our travel agent arranged replacement flights (that cost yet more money) scheduled to depart 24 hours after the original flights, in the hope that the passport would be with us by then.

Then we received a text from United Airlines to say our new flight from Melbourne to LA was cancelled due to ‘airport maintenance’.

Life In Camelot, I Left my Child in New York City, cancelled flights

Several more hours on the phone to our diligent travel agent resulted in alternative flights on the same morning that would take us to Sydney with Qantas, where we would then catch the connecting United flight to LA and change there for the flight to New York.

How this travel agent manages to do her job every day without any obvious alcohol abuse remains a mystery to me.

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The passport eventually arrived and so the following day we awoke at about 4.00am in order to catch our 6.00am flight to Sydney that was inexplicably delayed in leaving Melbourne.  Approximately 2 and a half hours later we did take off and, you guessed it, we missed the connecting flight to LA, along with 19 other angry passengers.

Life In Camelot, I Left my Child in New York City, cancelled flights

Neither Qantas nor United Airlines seemed terribly repentant and both blamed the other for the stuff up.  Consequently, we spent the entire day inside Sydney’s international airport before boarding the next United flight to LA that left at about 5.40pm.

We made the most of the day by duty-free shopping, eating and making plans for our stay in New York, including booking our first Broadway show of the trip on my iPad.

Life In Camelot, I Left My Child in New York City, flightsLife In Camelot, I Left my Child in New York City, flight

We finally arrived at our Brooklyn hotel around 1.00am, almost 36 hours after leaving Melbourne.  You could say we were tired.

After a few nights in that hotel it was time to check into the student accommodation.  This concrete room in the old St George Hotel in Brooklyn Heights was to be my daughter’s home for the next 2 and a half months while she experienced the life of a New Yorker.

I kept myself busy for that week in New York whilst my daughter settled into her new home and her new school.  I walked, watched and wondered at the marvels of Manhattan and I even got to catch up with my friend, Michelle, whom I’d met on my European backpacking adventure, 29 years earlier.

I didn’t want to leave this town but the day arrived when I had to fly back to Australia, and this time I really left my child in New York city.

See what happens next in Part 3 of I Left my Child in New York City…

I Left My Child in New York City (part 1)

There is a delightful and wistful old song called “I left my heart in San Francisco” that many of you may remember.  It highlights the joys of San Francisco in contrast to other cities.  Included in those lyrics are these:

I’ve been terribly alone and forgotten in Manhattan

These lyrics could have been penned by my daughter; let me explain:

I love America and so does my daughter, now 18 years old, and we have travelled there many times.  But on my most recent journey, I simply left my child, (alone but not forgotten), in New York city.

I confess it’s not the first time I’ve tried to leave her in New York.

When she was just a baby, before her first birthday, we travelled on an extended family holiday to Las Vegas, New York, London, Paris, Florida and San Francisco, all 7 of us – what were we thinking?…

Life In Camelot, I left my child in New York City

In between flights

Despite the logistics of travelling with 3 adults, 3 children and an infant, (don’t even get me started on finding places to change a baby and where to sterilise her bottles), we enjoyed visiting all the tourist spots in New York city.  We saw the sights and shopped whilst the winter winds whipped through the corridors of skyscrapers above us.  My daughter was pushed around in a stroller for most of the journey but she was clearly born to travel and took to it like the proverbial duck to water.

Life in Camelot, I left my child in New York City

Ready to take the town by storm

Life In Camelot, I left my child in New York city

Just hanging in Central Park with Dad

The other three children took turns pushing her around the town as we tried to keep warm but were determined to see as much as possible.

Life in Camelot, I left my child in New York City

Outside the Late Show on Broadway

On one of our long walks, from uptown to downtown, we stopped to browse in the souvenir stores on 7th Avenue and left a family member outside with the baby in the stroller.  As we all left the store and headed off to explore some second-hand bookshops one of the children asked the question no parent ever wants to hear: “Where’s the baby?”

That was my first attempt at leaving my daughter behind in New York city.

Life In Camelot, I left my child in New York

Born in the USA (well, not really)

It didn’t dampen her enthusiasm for travel or for America though, as you will see.

Life in Camelot, I left my child in New York

This baby loves to travel

The second time I tried to leave my child in New York city was when she had just turned 13 and we were travelling in America in winter, again.

Life In Camelot, I left my kid in New York city

Glad to be back in Central Park, NYC

She was so thrilled to be in New York city because she claimed not to remember her first trip when she was a baby, 12 years earlier…

Life In Camelot, I left my child in New York city

Living the high life in a New York limousine

We visited many tourist spots including Madame Tussaud’s, Central Park, Rockefeller Centre, the Empire State building and crossed the Queensboro Bridge via the Roosevelt Island tramway, and had a wonderful time.

Life In Camelot, I left my child in New York city

When in Rome…

Life in Camelot, I left my child in New York city

New York from the Queensboro bridge, Roosevelt tramway

And then one afternoon, we were travelling on the subway and became confused about which train we should catch for our destination.

My husband, his mother, our daughter and I stood near the open doors of the train and we needed to make a decision.

Someone decided we should board.  Then we jumped on and decided it wasn’t the right train so my daughter, being the youngest, alighted onto the platform first.

Then the doors of the train closed.

My beautiful, 13 year old child, was stranded at 42nd Street subway station, alone, as we zoomed away.

The last thing she saw was my husband yelling at her through the door of the train, ordering her to stay where she was.

Where not to leave your child, alone

Where not to leave your child, alone

I tried to remain calm but it was difficult.  We alighted at the next station, raced around to find the correct platform for us to return to 42nd Street and then jumped aboard the train to find her.  They were probably some of the longest minutes of my life… and hers.

Afterwards we did what all parents do after making an almost fatal mistake – we took her to Serendipity 3 and plied her with ice cream to make up for it.

Life in Camelot, I left my child in New York city

Will this make up for leaving you in New York city?

I think she forgave us because she has looked forward to returning to New York ever since, and as I mentioned at the start, she is there now, because:

I left my child in New York city.

Life in Camelot, I left my child in New York city

I will return to New York city

Stay tuned for the next instalment of:

I left my child in New York city.

Do you have any stories about leaving your child behind?

I happen to like New York (time travel to Tavern on the Green)

TAVERN ON THE GREEN TO CLOSE THIS WEEK – New York Times

Tavern on the Green – a restaurant in Central Park, at West 67th Street, Upper West Side.

A landmark of New York city, an 80s movie icon – seen in Heartburn, Ghostbusters, Wall Street and, of course, Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors and New York Stories.

I have been there – I loved it – even though it was in dire need of a facelift and a new menu.

I shared the experience with my husband, and wonderful British friends we met on board Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, doing the Trans-Atlantic crossing from London to New York.

From its humble beginnings in 1870 as a sheepfold, when it housed 200 sheep that grazed in the park, to its emergence as one of Manhattan’s signature restaurants (opened in 1936 during the Great Depression and revived in 1976) the Tavern on the Green has gamely evolved with the times, which explains its perennial popularity with both locals and visitors.

Until the new century however, when it became a little less stylish than its days of film fame.  And although tourists like myself still paid exorbitant prices for very ordinary food and service, the locals began to feel ashamed of what had become of it.  A New Yorker, upon hearing that I’d dined there for lunch, actually apologised to me for the state of the place and said that all New Yorkers hoped it would soon be taken over and looked after properly.

Sadly, the restaurant served it’s last meal on 31st December 2009 and became the Central Park Visitor Centre.  As the article from the New York Times says, it has now closed the visitor centre in order to commence the US$9.8 million renovation to restore the building to a restaurant, with nothing set in concrete as to who has won the bid to take over the 20 year restaurant and bar license.

The Tavern on the Green won’t be the same however, without the legendary Crystal Room, built in 1976, which was torn down last year.

I am very pleased I travelled to and ate at this little piece of New York history, took some photos and bought a couple of t-shirts to remember the event.

Do you have any wonderful memories of Tavern on the Green, or other iconic restaurants seen in movies?

THE AUTHOR AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE RESTAURANT

THE AUTHOR STANDING BESIDE THE WELL-WORN WELCOME MAT
FELLOW DINERS IN THE CRYSTAL ROOM
ANOTHER ANGLE IN THE CRYSTAL ROOM
THE AUTHOR AND HUSBAND BASKING IN THE GLORY OF THE CRYSTAL ROOM
A SCOTTISH ROSE, AUTHOR’S HUSBAND (feeling over-refreshed after lunch) AND THE AUTHOR IN THE CRYSTAL ROOM

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