50 Days of 50 Adventures

Let’s just get this out there: I had the summer of a lifetime. I feel so incredibly fortunate every time I think about the fact that I got to spend my summer in basically the coolest way ever, and I can’t help but tell you about it!

First of all, I spend the month of June at Middle Tennessee State University as a counselor at Tennessee Governors’ School for the arts, a summer program I attended as a rising junior in high school. It was so incredible to return four years later and get to support younger students in their artistic journey. For most of these students, this is a sort of first look at what majoring in music could look like, and for many of them it’s the turning point when they decide that music is what they want to pursue as a career. And obviously that’s incredibly special to see.

However, what I wasn’t expecting so much was that I also would experience many turning points. I went in knowing a few of the counselors already, but was very focused on making sure the students had the best summer ever. I was not at all prepared for the fact that I would make such great friends myself, or the fact that I wouldn’t want to leave at the end of the month (much like how I had felt as a student four years ago).

That being said, I was extremely excited for the rest of my summer, because I was going to New York City to work as an intern at iTheatrics. I helped directors and music directors, and served as a sort of camp counselor to hundreds of students. We workshopped five shows in six weeks, and I’ve never experienced anything so full of learning opportunities in my life. From sight-reading to learning choreography to helping build a giant face out of cloth and pool noodles, I was definitely kept busy at work.

BUT. I tried so hard to keep myself even busier after work. As a matter of fact, I made it my mission to have an adventure every day. After all, I was in the greatest city in the world, how could I let any of it go unexplored?? Here’s everything I did.

  1. I explored Riverside Park.

  2. I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

  3. I saw Songs for a New World as part of the Encores Series.

  4. I went to Redeemer Presbyterian’s Jazz Service.

  5. I had my first day of work!!

  6. I went to the American Folk Art Museum.

  7. I had 4th of July Dinner with my family and my godparents.

  8. I sat in the pit of Anastasia.

  9. I saw Smokey Joe’s Cafe.

  10. I attended a masterclass led by Georgia Stitt and Mary Mitchell Campbell (so informative and inspiring)!

  11. I SLEPT IN. (Sometimes naps are adventures enough)

  12. I walked the entire High Line.

  13. I went to the 9/11 memorial.

  14. I saw Gone Missing as part of the Encores Series (in preparation for the UR Production I was about to Music Direct)!

  15. I ate rolled up ice cream. SO GOOD.

  16. I went to Magnolia Bakery (BANANA PUDDING BANANA PUDDING BANANA PUDDING) and Chelsea Market.

  17. I had a picnic with my Eastman friend Luisa!

  18. My brother arrived in the city for the first time!

  19. I had a picnic in Central Park (my favorite sandwich from Pret of course).

  20. I went to Schmackary’s Cookies.

  21. I had dinner with some friends from home who happened to be in the city.

  22. I went to the Brooklyn Museum.

  23. I saw Gettin’ The Band Back Together.

  24. I went to the Roerich Museum and saw the original designs for the Rite of Spring AND I went to the Guggenheim with Luisa. A two-adventure day!

  25. I went to the Tenement Museum with my family.

  26. I walked the Brooklyn Bridge and sat in the Brooklyn Bridge Park.

  27. I went to Strand Bookstore and Union Square.

  28. I saw The Play that Goes Wrong with my family.

  29. I went to M&M World with my brother AND my boyfriend Bryce got to town.

  30. Bryce and I went to Mel’s, my favorite burger place, saw Waitress, and hung out with some of our friends from school.

  31. I had some of Bryce’s friends over for Brunch, took him to the Museum of Modern Art, Strand Bookstore (because apparently I didn’t see enough books four days earlier), and the High Line.

  32. Bryce and I went to One World Observatory for the most AMAZING view of the city, walked the Brooklyn Bridge and Park, went to the 9/11 Memorial, went to the Redeemer Presbyterian Jazz Service, had the BEST hummus with our friend Ben (Vish Hummus near NYU, can’t recommend it enough), and went for a walk in Riverside Park before he had to hop on the Megabus back to Rochester. Obviously a packed weekend… I’m still trying to convince him that he’ll thank me later. :)

  33. I went to Sakura Park.

  34. I had dinner with my family and one of their colleagues, and got to chat about the industry.

  35. I went to Shakespeare in the Park and saw the musical adaptation of Twelfth Night!

  36. I had another dinner with another of my parents’ colleagues (who also happens to be a UR alum), before sitting in the pit of Frozen.

  37. I met Stephen Schwartz. Adventure enough.

  38. I saw Once on this Island and ate at Becco with my parents.

  39. I had brunch with yet another of my parents’ colleagues… I just was really anxious about life after college I guess.

  40. I went to Battery Park.

  41. I took my dad to Vish Hummus. The owner gave all the leftover hummus to a homeless man outside. Such a great place.

  42. I went to Chelsea Market with my dad and had THE BEST French food I’ve ever had in my life.

  43. Saw Drum Corps Prelims in theaters with my dad. Because even New York City can’t take me away from childhood traditions.

  44. Last day of work :( I hung out with the whole iTheatrics team and said my seeya later’s.

  45. I saw the Frick Collection, went to Walt Whitman Park, and sat in the pit of Mean Girls. Really wanted to cram those final adventures in on my last week. :(

  46. Yet another dinner with my parents and yet another colleague, also my last Mel’s burger of the summer.

  47. I saw Gettin’ the Band Back Together again… on opening night!

  48. My parents and I holed up in our apartment and watched Waiting for Guffman, a movie my dad has been trying to get me to watch for YEARS.

  49. I had to spend the whole day packing because my day 50 adventure was…

  50. Going home :(

I definitely wish I had had more time, but I really wanted to make sure I didn’t look back on my time in the city and have any regrets. I can definitely say I saw as much as I could, and I hope that the next time I’m there I can say the same. Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day :)

Reagan Casteel