Way back in 2004, I moved from a little town in Western New York down to the Big City for college. I was as wide-eyed and eager as they come. Every time I took the 1-9 past 42nd Street-Times Square (yes, this was back in the day when the 9 train existed), my heart would give an excited little leap, as if to say: "YES! WE HAVE ARRIVED!" (Don't even get me started on how traveling below 14th Street automatically triggered a Rent sing-along.) For many of my acquaintances who've lived here for over a decade, New York City has become an annoyance -- the subways are always delayed, the restaurants are always crowded, and the rent is too damn high. Times Square must be avoided at all costs; Williamsburg has become the New York Times' favorite punchline.
But I still love it.
I still feel a sense of adventure every time I step onto a subway. I long for the hustle and bustle of my neighborhood Shake Shack. And while the rent really is too damn high, I wouldn't give up New York City's close quarters for anything -- even if my last apartment was a few square feet short of a walk-in closet. Times Square is still my favorite spot to spend an afternoon (some locals really do sit at those red metal tables). And I live in Williamsburg so come at me, NYT hipster jokes.
New York City is one of the greatest cities in the world.
And so it is with nothing but the utmost excitement that I get ready to welcome six recent high school graduates to New York City, some of them for the first time ever. At the end of this week, they'll be stepping onto planes in Utah, Indiana, Colorado, Florida, Vermont, and Texas and getting ready to embark on their first off-Broadway production. (The first of many! If there's one thing that I've learned working with our designers over the past few months, it's that these students really are the best of the best. It's only a matter of time before we see them on CBS, accepting their first Tony Awards.) They'll be greeted by NTSA staff at the airport and then brought to the New York Moore, which will be their home away from home for the next two weeks. They'll be staying in the East Williamsburg/Bushwick area where many of NTSA's staff members and alumni live -- an up-and-coming artistic hotspot in Brooklyn.
(This is Forrest Point -- the epitome of all things Bushwick in that it's way too cool for me. But that in no way stops me from going there.)
So join us on our expedition to New York City! We have a huge two weeks ahead of us, and we can't to share the adventure with you on this blog and our Instagram (@ntsatheatre). And if you're going to be in town on July 23-25, come and see the world premiere of Rae Binstock's Expedition at the Fourth Street Theatre! It's going to be one incredible journey!