Saturday, March 4, 2017

2017 International Red Hat Convention in NYC

February 15-20, 2017

Over 500 Red Hatters converged on New York City for the International Red Hat Convention held at the Marriott Marquis on Times Square February 15-20, 2017. This was a much smaller attendance, mainly because people were concerned about the weather in February in New York. They needn't have been because the weather was spectacular with no snow, cool breezes in the evening and sunshine every day.

Thursday, February 16, 2017 we took a cruise in the bay while enjoying a delicious lunch. A lively DJ provided music for dancing and we had a wonderful view of the Statue of Liberty. Thursday evening, I was supposed to attend the "Dinner Belles" dinner and/or attend the Broadway show "On Your Feet". Having created a conflict for myself, I gave the ticket to the show to my room mate. We both laid down for a nap and slept through both events.

Friday morning, February 17, 2017 attendees dressed in their finest Holly Golightly costumes to attend "Breakfast at Tiffany's" which was a delightful event. We were treated to an interesting dissertation by a gentleman from the Metropolitan Museum of Art talking about sex in art. We were also entertained by the Red Hat Glee Club ably directed by Christine Lozinak, after which, we all followed them out to Broadway to sing "New York New York". We can now honestly say we sang on Broadway in NYC!

Friday afternoon, I took a "New York City Highlights Tour" on a bus with many other Red Hatters and the gentleman narrator did a wonderful of job of describing everything to us. At one point, as our bus driver was turning right, a little black car ran up on his right side and would have been squashed had not the bus driver hit the brakes. Our narrator, who was standing up, inadvertently did a back flip into the stairwell. He appeared to be okay, but he opted to sit down after this for the rest of the trip. I was disappointed that we didn't stop to walk around at the World Trade Center, but it wasn't that kind of tour. It ran from Noon to 4:00 PM and we talked the narrator and bus driver into stopping near a deli so we could at least grab a sandwich and a drink.

Friday evening, I attended a dinner at Ellen's Stardust Diner on Times Square with the "Time Tramps" group. What a grand time we had. If you are ever in NYC, you must make time to go dine at Ellen's Stardust Diner. The wait staff are actors, singers and dancers awaiting their big break on Broadway and some have actually been in productions on Broadway. The entertainment by the wait staff is the best and the food is excellent. Later on, there was dancing in the Broadway Ballroom at the Marriott from 9-11pm.

Saturday morning, February 18, 2017, was the "Broadway or Bust" breakfast where everyone came dressed as their favorite Broadway character. I opted to photograph the proceedings and it was a long line as they paraded across the dance floor. Our own Esteemed Queen Mother Sue Ellen and Vice Queen Linda Murphy came as Rizzo and bad girl Sandy, respectively, from "Grease" and they were so adorable in their costumes. We had a marvelous speaker, Joan Anderson, author of "A Year by the Sea", and she is a comedian, whether by design or accident, I don't know, but she kept us in stitches the whole time. I bought her book and will be reading it as time allows.

I had some time in the afternoon so I hailed a Taxi to take me to The World Trade Center where I got in line, bought a ticket ($37.00) and rode the elevator to the top where I shot some great pictures of New York City. Even got a stranger to take one of me sitting in the window. Afterwards, I visited the fountain and paid my respects to the people who died here. It was a very somber moment for me.

From 7-10PM, we enjoyed our "Hats in the City" banquet with dancing afterwards. You may wonder at this because there are few men to dance with, but Red Hatters just get up and dance like nobody's watching and have a good time. #ChooseFun is our motto this year and we lived up to it in NYC.

Sunday morning from 7-8AM, I attended the "Good Morning Goodbye Event" where everyone exchanges coffee cups, mugs, teacups, etc. This is an event led by Queen Too Too (Linda Knight Theroit) and Joann (Purple) Miller and I saw Christine Lozinak working hard bagging up door prizes donated by attendees as well. A "Left and Right" game is played passing the bags containing the cups around the table and when it's over you get the cup that winds up in front of you. I received one from England that is adorable. The handle is a double-decker bus, red of course, with painted on buses all around the cup.

Then, it was on to the "Social Butterfly" event where we dined and are taught more about phone and computer technology. Many of us who have been around for awhile are not as tech savvy as we might like to be and this is a great learning opportunity. Emily Yost is our tech guru.

Sunday evening, those of us who are members of the "Wenches Gone Wild" pirate chapter of the RHS, donned our pirate costumes and made our way to Times Square and the Blue Fin Restaurant for our final event. We had to wait outside (there was a non-violent protest going on for Muslims) and many tourists must have thought we were part of something else going on, evidenced by the sneaky way they took our pictures. We had a grand time in the Blue Fin and they went out of their way to make sure we were happy. The food was outstanding and the wait staff quite professional. What a great way to end this delightful Red Hat Convention in New York City.

The next one is in New Orleans, August 2-5, 2018 and I'm already registered. August is my birthday month (August 10) and I will be 80 so what better way to celebrate than at a Red Hat Convention in New Orleans! I am already thinking about red ensembles and purple hats as we reverse our colors during our birthday month. In fact, I bought a beautiful purple Luke Song hat just for this occasion. Hope to see you next year in New Orleans!

Lovely Bella May Funk  aboard the Spirit of New York

Patricia Peebles and Carla Kerr
Patricia, Emily Yost and Barb Lesiak
Non other than Marilyn Cresci, one of our Hatters of the Year (HOTY)
Our Lady Liberty in all her glory
Some of our British Red Hat Sisters with Barb Lesiak in the middle
Marcy LaSalle in her lovely Holly Golightly "Breakfast at Tiffany's" ensemble
Ellen Wentzel on left with two other table mates
Marcy was so busy gabbing with us that she lost her place so this is the beginning of a costume change at breakfast
Marcy has donned the choir robe and is now adjusting her scarf
Hat on and now for the shoe change
The rest of the Red Hat Glee Club beautifully directed by Christine Lozinak

Marcy is fourth from the right
Esteemed Queen Mother Sue Ellen Cooper and Vice Queen Linda Murphy amazed at what is coming up the aisle
It's a Dixieland Jazz Band from New Orleans revealing that our 2018 convention will be in New Orleans, Louisiana
That is Queen Too Too (Linda Theriot) with her green and yellow umbrella leading the parade. She is from Houma, Louisiana.
This is the arts district as seen from my tour bus
This is a section of Central Park. I couldn't resist taking this picture with the skyscrapers in the background.
This is the women's section of Bergdorf Goodman only. They had to move the men's section across the street to make more room for women's necessities!
We went past NBC with a poster of The Tonight Show and Jimmy Fallon in the window
The One World Trade Center as seen from the bus
Red Hatters living our Motto: #ChooseFun at the Time Tramps Chapter in Ellen's Stardust Diner
Marcy LaSalle with sister Red Hatter
Nancy looking lovely as usual
Lynn and Marilyn
Queen Too Too and friend
Look at those smiles! #ChooseFun
Barb Lesiak, our Chicago connection
Cutie pie Betty Shelton from Arizona and friend
Vickie Holz, that is definitely a "statement hat".
Janet Gross always smiling and Brenda Marshall caught off guard
Carla Rae from Canada and my friend since the San Francisco convention. We Carlas' must stick together!
Here is Carla Kerr in her 50's costume. Thanks to whomever took this shot.
Janet, Carla and Brenda - There's that Brenda smile!
Peggy Cingle and Marcy LaSalle in the Broadway Ballroom at our Broadway or Bust Breakfast
Table mate Pamela

We begin the parade of Broadway stars with none other than "Mary Poppins"
From "Grease" we have VQ Linda as Bad girl Sandy and QM Sue Ellen as Rizzo. Adorable!
They must be from "Cats"
This whole group is the teacher and her students from "The King and I"
A section of New York City as shot from the top of One World Trade Center (OWTC)
A tourist kindly took my picture sitting in the window of OWTC
A view of the river and another section of the city
The bridge on the right is the Brooklyn Bridge
The museum by the memorial fountain. Just breathtaking in its beauty.
Just a few of the names of the deceased on the wall around the fountain
Supremely talented Sharon Osbourne on the left created this cross stitch portrait of Deb Granich (our CEO) and presented it to her at our "Good Morning Goodbye" coffee cup exchange Sunday morning. I think everyone was in tears, it is just so beautiful.
Pink Hatters flanked by Joann "Purple" Miller on the left and Queen Too Too (Linda Theriot) on the right
L to R: Patricia Peebles, Joann Miller, Deb Granich, Linda Theriot, Sue Ellen Cooper, Linda Murphy and our 2017 Red Hatter of the Year (HOTY) Sue Nicholson
These be pirates and members of "Wenches Gone Wild" chapter of the RHS. On the left is Bonnie and her daughter and me mind has wandered for I well know the lass on the right but the name escapes me now.
Barb Lesiak be a lass to #ChooseFun. She be everywhere at this here convention along with her lovely friend.
Now, she be the lass atakin' the doubloons and such and she be fearless
Here be me mate, Carla Rae, with two other fierce lookin' mateys
It seems some soul purloined me camera long enough to steal this shot with me lovely mateys
I cn' say this one be such a delight with her flute (Indian flute) as well as tellin' some history about it. She'll not be walkin' the plank with talent sech as this.
Some random shots walking back to the hotel from the Blue Fin Restaurant and our pirate interaction
Isn't this amazing and it is this way pretty much 24/7
See the area just over the hood of the car? You can climb up there and be videoed and it will eventually show up on the huge screen behind the bleachers in the center back of the photo. Looked like too much effort to even get up there to me!
And here we are back at the NY Marriott Marquis on Times Square. Time to pack and head for home.
I also attended the "Gutsy Gal (those traveling alone) First Timers" event, the "Ambassador Gathering", the "Royal Court of Queens Gathering" and the "Social Butterfly Social". It was definitely a packed schedule, but still had time for shopping in the Hat District where the vendors display their absolutely to die for merchandise!

If you are a Red Hatter reading this and you have never been to an International Red Hat Convention, you need to go to at least one before it's too late. I promise you won't be disappointed. Our next one is August 2-5, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana and as everyone knows, that town knows how to party.

This is all I have to say for now.

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