I am both exhausted and energized as I sit in my Jet Blue Airplane, waiting for take off. I have had the amazing opportunity of spending the weekend in New York City; one that I will never forget. I felt like Carrie Bradshaw from the television show, “Sex and the City”. Just like Carrie, here I was tapping away on my Mac computer, writing witty and ironic stories of my time in the “big apple.” To make this dream come true, I would be having brunch with my three closest friends, sharing stories of single life, falling in love with Mr. Big, and oh yes, my obsession with Manolo Blahnik shoes. But that was Carrie’s life, not mine. And although I do not have a television series, here is my story, “Parkie and the City”.
After a long day of travel and a three-hour time difference, I arrive at my hotel in New York Times Square at 11pm. With the excitement of arriving and the need of food, I stare at the massive billboards that lit up the street of Broadway with my mouth open. I had never seen anything so amazing, pictures do not do it justice. I walk towards the entrance to the hotel staring like a deer in head lights at the huge marquis. My attention is broke by a man saying “Uhhhh, Miss, Miss….you forgot your suitcase.” I look back to a man pointing at my suitcase in the middle of the road, right where my cab used to be. Feeling stupid, I quickly turn around and grab my bag, while a group of men laughed at me. Perfect way to start off my trip!
“The city that never sleeps” was hopping as I grabbed a greasy piece of cheese pizza at a shop next to my hotel. I had to resist tearing into the bag and devouring the pie before getting into my hotel room. I had one of those hungers that are best to fulfill behind closed doors, seeing as I might frighten people by inhaling my food. I get to my room, shove the card key into the door and roll my monster of a suitcase behind me (yes, I know I was only in NYC for a weekend, but a girl has to be prepared for anything). I maneuver, very ninja-like, kicking my shoes off, throwing my pants to the floor and shoveling the cheese slice of pizza into my mouth. I walk over to the patio and open the curtains to see the beautiful glow of Times Square. With oil and crumb residue from the pizza all over my face, I see something in the building across from my room, so I squint my eyes and lean in. I could see movement, but my tired eyes couldn’t recognize what I was looking at. Then it came clear as I see a group of people waving their arms. I thought to myself, “Now that is odd……what are they waving at?” Then it hits me, I am standing in front of my patio, in my skivvies, at night, with the lights on behind me….well you get the point. I quickly duck behind the curtain and crawl over to my garlic knots sitting on the coffee table. I giggle and say, “Welcome to New York!”
I was scheduled for a photo shoot for Medtronic (the company that makes the Deep Brain Stimulation Medical Devices) the following morning. I had never done anything like this in my life, so I was unsure what to expect. As I arrive at a studio in the meatpacking district, I see my name and my picture and above it the words “The Talent”. This was hilarious to me, so of course I milked it for every drop. Stand back people, the talent has arrived! I was escorted over to hair and makeup, to get dolled up. Then a lady approaches me and says “Miss Allison, I am Tiffany from wardrobe, could you try these on?” as she passes clothing to me. I was doubtful that the pants would fit, but she knew exactly my size and body type just by looking at me.
Now that I was glamified, it was time to do the photo shoot. I had visions of super model Gisele rolling around on the floor in sheets, with a smirk. But the reality was totally different. I stood in front of about 15 people, who are all staring at me; some behind Mac computers, others behind big computer screens. They were waiting for me to do something amazing, but I could tell based on their comments that I had a lot to learn about modeling. The photographer would take a few pictures and then come up to me saying things like, “you look beautiful, but……..” or “you are doing great, but……”. Hair and makeup followed me around retouching my beauty while sharing encouraging words. Trying to do many repetitive movements while making small adjustments to my pose or smile was way more challenging than it looks and all while I sweat under hot lights…..or maybe I was sweating from the pressure, who knows, but Gisele has my respect!
As I was finishing up the shoot, I was informed that I could keep the shoes that we used that day. I swear, I almost peed my pants, but that would ruin my modeling career before it even got started! They had ordered me a blacked-out SUV to get back to the hotel and I was escorted out to the street. Walking to the car, with my glamifiedness, carrying my shoes, wearing dark sunglasses, I notice a small cafe next to the studio where people had gathered for lunch. As I walked past the outdoor tables, the people dining froze with forks mid-air. Then I realized they were staring at me and all my glory. I hear, “Who is that?” and “Is she that girl from that show you like?” I didn’t look back, but instead walked like I was on the runway with my SUV waiting for me. I was Carrie Bradshaw for that one moment…..The talent had arrived. I smiled, and got into the car.
Stay tuned for Episode 2 of Parkie and the city: Parkinson’s Unity Walk in Central Park