Why I saw Times Square at night & watched a Broadway show alone

Times Square at night, July 2015

As much as I love the outdoors, one of the items on my bucket list had been to see Times Square in New York City at night. I don’t know why… It wasn’t until I first visited the Big Apple in 2012 that witnessing all the light pollution emitted from Times Square made it on the list.

It must have been because my family and I walked past it – although we were a couple of blocks away from it – one time. I saw all the lights in the distance, but it was already late and we were tired from walking all over the place, so I figured I would just throw it onto my ever-growing bucket list.

Another item was to walk/jog the Brooklyn Bridge.

In the week I spent in New York in July (which was primarily because my friend was getting married), I had a few days to myself to wander around NYC. But on one of the days, I came down with a fever and a cold, and that was frustrating.

I stayed at a hostel for those few days in a four-female dorm. Two of my roommates were from Canada and the other was from Colombia. (They all checked out before I did, and before I left, I wound up with a German roommate.) Everyone had their own itinerary, though, and given the brevity of my stay, combined with the cold I caught, I didn’t spend much time socializing in the kitchen – my favorite place to chat with new people.

Although I’m nearly certain I could have pushed myself out of bed and battled the fatigue on the day I came down with a fever, I decided against it, particularly because I knew I would end up much worse. And didn’t want to be that person on the flight back who made everyone else sick (something I did when I flew back from Quebec to LA two years ago).

It kind of sucked, but sometimes, you just have to listen to your body.

After spending one whole day in bed, I got up the next day feeling much better, albeit still recovering. It was my last full day in the city, so I had to decide what I wanted to do most.

Shy snapshot of how far away I was from the stage for my first Broadway show.

Well, I’d always wanted to see a Broadway show, and I learned about discounted tickets at the TKTS booth at Times Square. So I went to stand in line and eventually handed my credit card over to the teller who gave me the best seat available at $100-ish and swiftly swiped my card through the machine.

Yikes. $100. Maybe that was a little impulsive…

But when would I get the chance to do this again? It was a goal I had set in 2012, and three years later, the door was finally wide open.

I did think about how watching alone might be sad and pathetic, because who goes to see a Broadway show with me, myself and I?? But I came to terms with my fleeting worry being mainly about how it would look to others when I was the only one finding my seat without a companion or two – or a few – and how it would be better to see it with a friend who also wanted to see a show.

Why was I worrying though? Who cares that much if someone is watching alone? Who says you need to watch Broadway with a companion to enjoy it? It’s something I wanted to do, and it was totally fine to do it solo – just like it’s fine and fun to travel solo 🙂

After the actors took their bows and the audience stopped applauding that evening, I couldn’t help but smile a little because I thoroughly enjoyed the performance all by myself, a reminder that it is possible to have fun alone.

My smile grew even bigger when I walked out of the theater because I forgot that watching the show meant I would also get to see Times Square at night!

I stood at various places – near McDonald’s, near the red steps – and just took in all the lights for a few minutes at a time. I didn’t even bother snapchatting or tweeting about it because I didn’t even want to share the moment at the time.

I realize Times Square at night is a common sight for many, a sight that doesn’t captivate people as much as it captivated me. And a lot of people probably get to see Broadway shows like regular movies. But at the end of the day, we all have our own varying goals and dreams.

Sometimes, opportunity opens its doors so they’re suddenly attainable. And sometimes, you get to fulfill those goals solely on your own.

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