EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part two of Marilyn Secco’s column on her adventures in New York City. This week’s column picks up with Marilyn in NYC with her daughter and granddaughter preparing to go to a concert.

Radio City Music Hall was several blocks away from the hotel, and the wheelchair would definitely be needed to get there.

By then we had learned that the lightweight transport chair with four small wheels that I had rented and brought along, was not going to work on the rough sidewalks and curbs of the city. It would only have been ideal on level surfaces. So, resourceful Lisa found a place in the city to walk to and rent a regular wheelchair with the two big back wheels, and even that got hung up on some of the rough curbs and pot-holed roads. Let me assure you that the world certainly looks different when you’re seated in a wheelchair! I could see the potholes up close and personal before we hit them, sometimes at pretty good speeds. I don’t know where Lisa got the strength to push not only me, but Violet’s extra 40 pounds when she became too tired to walk and crawled on my lap!

When we arrived at the venue, there was a crowd of very vocal protesters holding signs and yelling. They were protesting having to show proof of vaccination before entering. This was not a last minute requirement, but had been specified in advance when tickets were purchased. Since Violet is too young to be vaccinated, we had to have a COVID test done on her within 48 hours and show proof that it was negative. We actually appreciated the fact that they were requiring those safeguards, as well as masks, and I was relieved when we were in the building away from the protesters. We had to submit to security checks just like at airports, and all cellphones were locked into sleeves before they were returned to us. This concert was being professionally recorded for television, and no cell phone usage was tolerated. The phones were unlocked for us as we exited the concert hall.

Lady Gaga appeared before the packed house first, and in spite of never having heard her sing before, I could recognize her amazing talent as soon as she sang a few notes. She was resplendent in a gorgeous sequined white gown topped by a wide, white feather boa. She didn’t sing any of her own songs, but sang Tony’s songs as a tribute to him. I found her to be very humble, sincere, and appreciative of the members of the orchestra, whom she introduced and obviously knew. Every song she sang elicited a standing ovation, and when Tony Bennett was introduced, she actually bowed to him before she exited and let him have the limelight. I had read that he’d been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and I silently prayed that he wouldn’t forget any of the words to his songs, which he DIDN’T! When he sang “The Shadow of Your Smile,” it brought tears to my eyes. “The Way You Look Tonight,” was sung with such feeling that I had goose bumps! He proved that he still has the charisma and charm and talent that he’s always had, as evidenced by the standing ovations after every song. And talk about being able to hold those notes! He was simply amazing.

Lady Gaga joined him for some duets before the end of the nearly two hour concert. In all, she wore three outfits, each one more stunning and tasteful than the last. She introduced and hugged her parents and her sister in the audience and pointed out that her sister had actually made the third outfit she was wearing.

Lisa and Violet were seated in a different area, closer to the stage, but I could see Violet clapping her little hands and enjoying every minute of the concert. She wasn’t disappointed that Lady Gaga didn’t sing any of her own songs, so enthralled was she to just be seeing her idol in person. I had also thoroughly enjoyed the entire concert, and was glad I hadn’t missed this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

On the way home we all were talking about our favorite parts of our visit to the Big Apple, and when we asked Violet what hers was, she surprised us all by saying, “Riding the subway!” We had a good chuckle about that!

Many thanks to my daughter Lisa who did indeed take good care of me, treating me to everything and making me feel like the queen herself!

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Marilyn Secco is a retired teacher and author of the book “Front Porch Tales.” She has 2 children and 5 grandchildren and lives in Kersey with a temperamental cat named Tidder. Contact her at mbsecco@windstream.net.

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