A Super Shot of NSYNC NYC Nostalgia

While I waited outside the Good Morning America studios in Times Square almost a year ago to stake out a pre-work Jason Bateman sighting as he promoted the final season of Ozark, I had a lot of time to myself and my thoughts during those wee morning hours.

As I listened to Smartless to set the mood (obvi) and took in the surroundings of an almost quiet, still dark Times Square, I noticed that I was essentially across the street from what had once been the home of MTV’s Total Request Live studios. If you’re not familiar, TRL aired weekday afternoons from 1998 to 2008 with the day’s Top 10 music videos, industry news, celebrity guests, musical performances and more.

Seeing that studio brought back a barrage of memories. Back in the day, my sister Julie and I would get home from school and immediately gather around the TV with Graham (and many days, my BFF Shanna too) to watch as Carson Daly (the show’s first host) let us in on where our faves landed in that day’s countdown. I can still remember the great Korn vs. NSYNC battle of 1999 like it was yesterday. Team NSYNC forever.

I’m honestly super nostalgic for that time in my life. My entire family and best friend all joined forces as NSYNC mega-fans…we watched interviews, award shows and every performance together, complete with snacks and commentary. We each had our go-to boy bander – my Mom and Shanna shared JC, Graham and Julie shared Justin, my Dad took a shine to Joey, and I had my heart set on Lance (hindsight’s 20/20 here, folks).

This week has me especially deep in my feels because exactly 23 years ago, Shanna and I flew to NYC for the release of NSYNC’s No Strings Attached album. It was March 2000. NSYNC was doing the talk show rounds in anticipation of the album, in addition to a Meet & Greet at the Times Square Virgin Megastore (RIP). And we needed to be there. That’s right, I’ve had this spontaneous tendency all my life…and back in my high school and college days, I had a partner in crime in these madcap adventures.

Shanna and I arrived in Manhattan on a mission. We literally spent our time in the city going from one line to another, waiting with hopes of sitting in the Regis & Kelly studio audience (nope), joining the TRL studio audience (nope), or having the chance to buy the album and return to have it signed during the Virgin Megastore Meet & Greet (nope, but keep reading).

After waiting outside with hoards of girls all night in the freezing cold for the Virgin Megastore to open for album sales, the doors opened to the most chaotic and unruly scene I’ve ever witnessed. Crowds were rushing the line and the doors. Scaffolding was shaking to the point of looking dangerous. We had to get out of dodge. So we retreated back to our hotel, which was close enough to actually see this mess and the TRL studios; but in a supremely ironic plot twist, did not actually get MTV on the hotel TV.

Completely out of character, college-aged Jaime was so disappointed in the disordered management of the crowd and event that she called the Virgin Megastore to complain about the experience upon returning to our hotel room. Silver lining, Shanna and I were sent signed copies of the album from the store event. Obviously not the same as standing next to NSYNC while they signed it, but better than no signed album…and most definitely better than being knocked out on the street by falling scaffolding or trampled by throngs of frenzied fans.

This trip was a momentous life milestone for me. It was the first time I’d flown or traveled so far with a friend and no family or school group. It was also the first (but not the last!) time I traveled to see and support an artist I adore and admire. And even though it may sound like the trip was kind of a bust, we had a blast and loved every minute of it! I’m reminded of that trip all the time, especially now living in NYC, and it always brings a smile to my face.

I often wonder, though, how differently my life could have turned out if, instead of having such a laser focus on NSYNC, we took some time to explore other destinations in NYC. Would I have fallen head over heels in love with musical theater and gotten here sooner if we’d decided to pop into the Minskoff Theatre, which was home to Saturday Night Fever at that time? We’ll clearly never know, and I really do believe everything happens as the universe intends…but I know Shanna and I would’ve totally loved a night of Bee Gees hits on Broadway!

One thought on “A Super Shot of NSYNC NYC Nostalgia

Leave a Reply