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East Rutherford, NJ

The train was parked behind the Secaucus train station this week.
It'll be there when we're in Brooklyn, too.
Nice easy access to NYC :)

I wanted to go into the city on Monday, but got called for the elephant walk so did that instead.
It was nice and sunny but with a pretty strong chilly breeze.
The walk itself took very little time, but we weren't back at the train until about 4:30.

On Tuesday I had a little time to explore NYC again.
First tried looking for a music store with trombone duet books,
and after having no luck at three different stores, gave up the hunt. I'll try again in Brooklyn.

Instead I went down to see the new 9/11 Memorial.
The last time I was in New York, the fountains were almost completed
and the tower was pretty much nonexistent.

They're up to the 104th floor!

I was lucky to get in at all. You're supposed to pre-order passes.
Fortunately it was late in the day and they had some at the door.
There are many rules for viewing the Memorial, too.

Security was similar to an airport...empty your pockets and whatnot into a tray and go through a scanner.
Once you are in the courtyard, you can get close to both fountains, view the Freedom Tower a little closer, and see the ongoing construction of the 9/11 Museum.

There are many better pictures of the Memorial out there. Just wanted to share what I saw that day.
The courtyard is done in gray granite, with maple trees spaced throughout.
The spacing of benches and trees does make one think of a graveyard.

I'm glad to have seen it in person.

After that I got back up to Penn Station and met Katie, Bubba, Gold (all train crew), Jessie (vet tech), and some more folks for dinner at a Thai place, then we traveled back to the train together :)

The band has a new trumpet sub who's here until April, his name is John and he's a pretty awesome player.
I'm looking forward to playing the New York shows with him!
He usually subs for the Big Apple Circus.

Speaking of! We went to see them on Friday!

Big Apple is very different than Ringling!
It's a much more intimate setting...one ring, and the tent seats maybe 1500 people.
The theme this year is "Legendarium", and the acts follow the timeline of the circus with
an especial focus on New York.

The tent

We're inside! (with Brett and John)

The ring

I got popcorn!

The show was great. All of the acts were top-notch.
My favorites were the hand balancing and the slack wire :)

I was also lucky enough to have a family of three sitting behind me, a mom, dad and daughter.
Their commentary was almost as entertaining as the show!
The dad was really getting into it; he cheered for all the acts, yelling stuff like
"Yeah man, awesome!" and "Fantastic! Great job!"

During hand balancing I heard the little girl say, "Mommy, YOU do it!"
"Mommy" laughed for a long time, then said, "Not on Mommy's best day, honey. Ask your grandma."

She's shooting a balloon...with her FEET. Wow!

Every time one of the female circus performers came out to start an act, I heard the daughter ask,
"Is that a princess?" and unfailingly the mom or dad would answer, "Yep, she's a princess all right!".
At the end of the show, I heard the daughter declare, "I want to be a circus princess!"

Afterward we got to go up into the bandstand to meet the musicians!
(I don't have good pics of this because everything I took came out blurry or dark :P )
They have seven musicians, three of whom are women (ladies represent!).
Most of their musicians double on other instruments...for example, Andrea (another chick low brass player, w00t) doubles on trombone and euphonium.
The woman on saxophone also plays four other instruments throughout the show!!

Going along with the show's theme, their music is made up of traditional medleys including Sousa marches, Rhapsody in Blue, Armenian Dances, some patriotic themes and other recognizable stuff.
I wouldn't mind subbing in for them, just once ;D

The ring as seen from the bandstand:

"Behind the scenes" shot: the Big Apple portal

We grabbed dinner with some of the band at a Costa Rican restaurant.
It was delicious!
Andrea and I split some fabulous flan :)
All in all I had a great time and made some new friends!

We had a show to play that evening. I watched our acts go by with a different perspective,
noticing all the differences between our circus and theirs.
In my opinion, our circus sets out to create more of a spectacle as per Ringling tradition :)
I think Big Apple is more concerned with presenting a traditional one-ring circus complete with sawdust floors,
enigmatic performers and an intimate atmosphere
with no one in the audience sitting less than 50 feet from the ring.
Both kinds of circus are beautiful. I would recommend comparing them if you can!

If you can't make it to Big Apple's shows, they have a documentary, you should check it out!

On Saturday we had three shows. Nothing unusual about that,
but after the first show we saw this sign posted in the hallway:

Sugarfest is an annual event presented by the Circus Fans Association of America.
Circus fans from across America come to a show and bring us a dessert buffet!!

What a super thoughtful thing to do! Thank you so much, CFAA!!

Let's see, what else happened this week?
On Friday we woke up to about four inches of snow in the yard!

Circus kids making snow angels and building snowmen:

(photo courtesy Olesya)

The snowy yard:

Also on Friday, my friend Steve Dillon and his wife Lynn came out to a show.
I didn't get to meet up with them, but it seemed like they had fun!
Thanks for coming out, you two!

Next up is Uniondale, NY!