I first visited New York in 2008 with my good friends Jarrod (Above left) and Matt (Above Right). Jarrod is a huge Muppets fan, and in the lead up to the trip we had discovered that some friends of ours were working with a Muppeteer, this got him a little excited, and after we made contact with them he began to wonder if it would be possible to visit Sesame Street.
Unbeknownst to Jarrod I had told our friends and contact overseas to stop discussing a potential visit to Sesame Street with him. I wanted to organise the trip as a surprise. So one night whilst in New York, when Jarrod had probably become resolved to the fact he wasn’t going to see the famous street of our childhood, I said this:
“What are we doing tomorrow?”
Jarrod replied: “Nothing, why?”
“No, we’re going to Sesame Street.”
There was silence. No whooping, or shouting, or screaming. Just silence.
Jarrod would later apologise for his lack of response, but I knew the stunned silence was a true representation of his excitement.
We took the Subway out to Astoria. On the way I texted my Mum back home. It would have been about 5am, so the text would be a shock.
“Have got on the subway. Can no longer see the city. Have no idea where we are…”
She was flipping out. This was my first international trip without them. Her baby was off overseas, and here he was suddenly in trouble.
“…Oh it’s ok. I see Sesame Street up ahead.”
Yeah, I got in trouble for that one.
Once inside the studios we got a little tour, backstage and then into the smaller studio where they do some green screen work and set pieces, then onto the main studio, which of course houses the Street. There we were visiting Oscars Trash Can, and seeing the Sesame Street Sign, and sitting on the stoop outside the 123 Sesame Street Brownstone. We even poked around Hooper’s Store where all the product labels have been updated because of HD filming.
Then our Muppeteer friend, Matt Vogel, came over and introduced himself, and to some of his friends. And yes, by friends I mean Oscar, Bert, The Count and the furry little monster himself, Elmo!
After posing for a photo with Elmo, he wondered if we were going to get trashed that night.
We had to teach Elmo about being underage.
Bert told me my camera had his favourite amount of Megapixels.
This was crazy.
I had grown up watching this show as a kid, and even occasionally still as an adult, and here I was. Conversing with the characters that had guided me through my ABC’s.
We were incredibly lucky, and it’s an experience I will never forget.
And now I can tell you how to get to Sesame Street.