1,000 words because my trip to NYC was that awesome

12/15/2009 at 12:21 pm | Posted in Friends, Travel | 7 Comments
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Where do I begin?

I could write an entire book on the food alone. The eating was that prolific. The shopping also was wonderful, especially after we stumbled upon two lovely little holiday markets. And, of course, the city was all decked out.

Which means I took about six thousand pictures.

Seriously, I deleted about 50 while I sat in the airport waiting for my flight home. And in doing so, nearly missed the final call to board the plane. Yes, I was that annoying person holding things up. Running across the slick tarmac, rain pelting my face, clutching to my chest a stupid suitcase whose retractable handle wouldn’t work. What I first interpreted as a friendly smile from the baggage handler, I now realize, was more of an amused grin. Like, there’s a crazy lady barreling toward me. Should I brace for impact?

At that point, I was cold and drenched, but it didn’t matter. The city was awesome, and as always, a loud, edgy, irritated host. But, New York, I love you still.

My adventure began with a visit to Mamaroneck, where I witnessed firsthand how VERY different little boys are from little girls. My friend Kristen has the cutest, sweetest kids. And, man, do they know how to play. The couch became “the nest,” a pillow fortress that provided hours of entertainment, and surprisingly, no broken bones.

Kristen’s husband Jim whipped up an awesome Mexican dinner (my favorite), and scored extra points by heating each quesadilla on a baking stone in the oven. Don’t even get me started on dessert. A delicious tart with loads of fresh fruit on top. Amazing.

We had a really nice time catching up, drinking wine and shopping around town. My visit ended with a pit-stop into an Italian bakery. I nearly missed my train into the city (sensing a trend here?) while agonizing over my decision. Cannoli? Eclaire? What’s a girl to do?

I made the train and sat happily in the last row eating my pastries and looking out the window. I was the only one not buried in a book or newspaper. Tourist.

Walking off the platform and up the ramp into the main terminal at Grand Central Station was breathtaking. I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face, especially when the laser light show started up on the ceiling. I considered lying down to watch, like so many children were, but thought better of it. At nearly six feet tall, with luggage and a grocery bag, I undoubtedly would have tripped someone and gotten my ass kicked.

Julie arrived minutes later, and we grabbed a delicious lunch on the dining concourse. Hale and Hearty soup for her, kosher hot dog for me.

Hotel check-in was a breeze. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Times Square for FREE. Because I’m a famous blogger. No, really, M and I earn points with our credit card and have a stockpile.

The hotel had just been renovated, and it was beautiful. Clean, modern and very comfortable. The pint-sized rooms made me feel like a bona fide city dweller.

We spent Friday afternoon in Rockefeller Plaza and ate dinner at John’s Pizzeria. Delizioso!

I’m not embarrassed to say that we were back in the room, tucked into our beds, snacking on Trader Joe’s cookies, by 8 p.m. that night. Now that I’m a mom, any vacation involving a bed and a TV is my idea of heaven.

Saturday morning, Kristen met us for more sightseeing/shopping around Rockefeller. Then, Julie treated me to Tavern on the Green. The brunch set ranged from kids in jeans to women in full-length fur coats. The restaurant was beautiful and surprising. Part Graceland (hall of mirrors!), part Gone with the Wind, it was a fun experience. We were seated in the main dining room, surrounded by windows. Julie ate a wedge salad and pumpkin bisque. I devoured an omelet with goat cheese and caramelized onions. With a side of bacon of course.

On our way to meet our friend Simone, we walked along the southern border of Central Park and directly into this little tent-town of shops and restaurants. Handmade goodies galore! YES. I knocked off a bunch of Christmas gifts.

With Simone, we cruised 5th Avenue. The windows were spectacular. My favorite was Bergdorf Goodman. I continued snapping away inside the store until a very intimidating security guard approached me. All he did was shake his head. Not a word parted his lips. But the message was loud and clear. Put the camera away or I break your knees. Yes, sir.

The adventure got even funnier when we noticed a little commotion in front of the Juicy Couture store. Two dudes dressed in kilts were posing for photos with passersby. Was I going to get in the middle of that? Hellz yeah!

So I gave the camera to Simone and jumped in between the fellas for a quick pic. Keep in mind that the temperature was probably no higher than 20 degrees, with a wind chill that practically peeled my face off. These guys were in kilts. With dainty pink umbrellas. How could I resist?

We made our way toward the Rainbow Room for a drink with a view, but alas, it was closed. So we had the brilliant idea to take a quick peek at the tree. On a Saturday night. During Christmas.

BIG MISTAKE.

We had no problem getting into the plaza from the side, but when we attempted to walk ONE BLOCK to see the front view, with the angels and the skaters, we got trapped in a huge crush of people. Impatient, angry people pushing each other and ramming their strollers into my ankles. For a brief moment, I actually feared for my safety. An elderly woman got knocked to the ground right in front of me. Simone, Julie and I managed to stay fairly near each other, so at the first opportunity, we pushed through the crowd, crossed the street and didn’t look back.

Dinner that night was at Tony’s Di Napoli in Times Square. Three words (two words?): family-style Italian.

Simone talked us past the bouncer at the door blocking people from entering because they were booked up. Our luck continued, and we nabbed a spot at the bar. Two glassed of wine and an appetizer later, Simone had befriended the host and we were seated.

Our chicken parmigiana feast was incredible. The sangria was even better.

On Sunday, we took the subway downtown and hit Century 21. Then, Ping’s in Chinatown for lunch, where I thoroughly enjoyed my first Dim Sum experience, eating my weight in shrimp dumplings. The rain didn’t stop us from a brief walking tour of Chinatown and Little Italy. I understand now, that in addition to huge eyebrows and a hearty appetite, my tendency to over-decorate at Christmas comes from being part Italian. There were six-foot-tall wreaths, bedazzled Santas and lights as far as the eye could see!

On a quest to find Crumbs Bake Shop, we took the subway over to Greenwich Village and happened upon Washington Square. So beautiful and quiet.

Finally, with cupcakes, luggage and the spoils of our shopping in tow, Julie and I made our way to LaGuardia via the bus service out of Grand Central.

By that point, I was ready to get warm and dry. And, beyond ready to hug M and Small Fry.

But, man, what an awesome adventure. It’s hard to beat Christmas in New York.

(Click on the image below to see more photos from our trip. I promise I did not load ALL of them. You can thank Flickr’s space limitations for that.)

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7 Comments »

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  1. Oh honey, looks like an AMAZING time! I thought about you up there, snoozing and watching TV in peace! (among other things – best food, best wine, best friends, best shopping EVER!) The pics are GREAT and so love the pic with the boys w/ pink umbrellas! Did you know that Jonas Hanway invented the umbrella? Just a little random info the next time you run into two hotties with pink ones….

    Glad you made it home safe and sound – and the city is still in “never sleeps” mode! (Glad you were given a break in that department!)

    See you soon!

    XXOO
    a

  2. Awesome pics Sis! Hmmm, trying to decide what I could go more for at this moment…the Italian feast, dim sum, Italian pastries or cupcakes. All sounds a lot better than the formula and rice cereal I just licked off my fingers! =) So glad you had an amazing time…certainly well deserved!

  3. I had to laugh when you said how different little boys are from little girls. Looks like your trip was amazing. I have never been to NYC and it is on list of places to go someday! The pictures are great. You have some good shots in there. And here is a random side question – what kind of camera do you use?

  4. Oh how I love NYC in the winter. Little Italy is by far my favorite place to eat and people watch. Central Park is my favorite place to chill out. Next year – I’m going back for the holidays!

  5. It sounds like you had a great time in the city. You really can’t go wrong sightseeing in NYC. There are far too many things to do and see to get it all in.

  6. Thanks for reading this marathon post, y’all! There was just so much to do and see. I didn’t want to leave anything out! Already have ideas for next year’s trip …

  7. Such a fun trip!! Even with all the crazy tourists. It is very nice that you get together with a friend every year. It might feel like such a nice break to have a “girls” weekend!


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