Center of the Universe

Erin Shetler

One of my favorite songs from Rent

Starts by saying:

“New York City, center of the universe”

I have gone many times

And that is exactly what it’s like


It is a bit past 10 PM

I’d never guess it’s that late;

All of the blinding billboards surround me

Pleading for my attention

Trying to be as bright as the sun


My brain was still processing

The musical that I had just seen

I knew that tomorrow morning

I would be on the road again

Heading back to Lowell

But for now

I’m engulfed with emotions


I’m happy

I finally got to go back to NYC

Back to seeing shows

That I’ve memorized all the lines to


I’m nostalgic

Nearly four years ago

I was standing right here

Seeing the lights of Time Square

For the first time

As I head to the Richard Rodgers Theater


I’m overjoyed

I just got to see

My favorite broadway actor

Five rows away from me

I replay the moments in my head

Of all the scenes he was in

Wanting them to never fade


I’m nervous

When I came to NYC last

It was January of 2020

I had no idea

That the Gershwin Theater

Would be the last one I entered

For over two years

What if the Westside Theater

Is my last for a longer amount of time


But most of all

I’m grateful

Grateful to be able to come back

And see multiple shows

Grateful for the amazing Belgium waffles

That I had for breakfast nearly every day

Grateful that the amazing casts and crews

Have their jobs again and get to do what they love

Grateful that I’m able to go with my mom

She used to do it with her’s

And they would travel together

I’m grateful my mom and I keep up that tradition