Actually, although this was on my "list of things to do", it definitely is not on my "list of things to do this weekend". I've been terribly negligent with that second list. I've been spending a lot of time curled up on my couch, watching movies on television. I can turn into a real wimp when I'm sick....or more accurately, I find I use it as an excuse when I'm sick and I have stuff I need to do that I don't particularly want to do. I did get up this morning and go see the Warren Thanksgiving Parade! That was cute, fun, and freezing. I then required a good couple of hours curled in blankets before I warmed up again. Now I'm nice and cosy warm, but still not interesting in getting things done around my house, so I'm (finally!) writing up my NYC trip report.
We left Friday morning. The flight was fine, uneventful, and we took a cab to my aunt's house in the Upper West Side. Dropping off luggage and looking over maps, we decided to brave the subway system and head to the Second Avenue Deli for a late lunch. This Kosher deli is known as "the best deli in New York, and therefore the world", according to my aunt's restaurant guide. We each enjoyed a bowl of "cold-curing" matzoh ball soup (darn, I wish I had some of that now!!), then we shared a corned beef sandwich, "the best anywhere", according to our waitress (who may have been a bit biased, but that was some incredibly good corned beef, even so!). They cure their own corned beef.
Next, we walked around East Village, which was fun. It started out cloudy then turned to rainy. Fortunately we were both wearing hats. Even so, when the rainwater started puddling up inside and then pouring out of our hat brims, we decided it was time to duck into the nearest store for a bit. We'd thought it was just a shoe store, but it turned out they sold men's clothes as well. We stumbled across a really nice dress shirt for C, plus we dried off, so it was worth it.
Next we headed back 55th street to meet up with my family for dinner at da Antonio's. Quite a cute restaurant with good food. Two aunts, two uncles, two cousins, and my grandmother all joined us for dinner, which was wonderful. I've seen more of my extended family this year, what with all the weddings plus this trip, then I have in probably the last 3 years!
Friday night, after going back to my aunt's place to change, we went to The Culture Club around 11pm, for dancing. Although I visit The City almost every winter, I'd never before sampled the city's nightlife. When you visit with your parents, you tend to do different things. Anyway, we only had one night, so we just tried the one dance club. It probably wasn't the best available, but it was definitely entertaining. Very crowded. The music was all from the 80's, which is when I went to high school, so I just love 80s music. I knew almost every song they played, and most of them I could sing most of the words to. It was fun!
Unfortunately something between the rich dinner, two drinks, and the bouncy cab ride over had upset my stomach, so I felt too sick to dance a whole lot. Even so, I danced some (albeit mellowly), and I also had fun watching the crowd. One part of the club had risers you could sit on, so you could see the whole place -- excellent for people-watching.
Saturday morning, after sleeping in, we took my aunt and uncle out to brunch, to thank them for their hospitality. We went to a really nice local place, whose name I have completely forgotten unfortunately. They had very tasty breakfast food, and they were willing to serve it to us even though it was after noon by then. I had some concoction with eggs, spinach, and hashbrowns that was wonderful.
After brunch, we went for a walk in Central Park. It was a beautiful autumn day, cool but sunny. I love Central Park; I just think it's such a neat thing to have lakes, trees, boulders, and everything, right in the middle of the city. I love the variety of things to do and look at, and the way it's full of life. It was nice to be able to share that with C. I taught him how to not get lost, even though none of the paths go in straight lines. (When you're in lower Central Park, you will see trees with buildings behind them to the East, West, and South. To the North, you'll just see trees. It's easy to get turned around, but you always know which way North is.)
We walked around a small lake, admired the ducks swimming in it, climbed boulders, took lots of pictures of each other, played on playgrounds, and I conquered a tree. I tried to lure C out onto the tree with me. "Doesn't it just cry out to you," I asked him? "Come, climb on me, play on me!" But he said that no, the tree was only calling to him, "Come, fall off of me, into the lake!" So he stayed with his feet planted firmly on the ground.
It was a relaxing way to spend the afternoon, plus it was nice to get some exercise. We did a lot of eating while there! I kept thinking I ought to buy C a street vendor's hotdog, because it's Traditional and all, but we just had too many fancy food appointments to be able to waste our appetites on hotdogs. Oh well, next time. The good thing about having family in Manhattan is that I am able to visit fairly cheaply.
After wandering around the park and the adjacent streets, we headed back to my aunt's place to change clothes yet again. This time, we got all dressed up for our Night On The Town. I wore the fancy dress I got in Maryland. First, we went to The Rainbow Room, which is located on the 65th floor of the Rockefeller Center. The dining room is surrounded by windows, and it was a clear night with a gorgeous view of the city lights. Unfortunately my efforts at taking pictures through the glass didn't really turn out, but it was spectacular. The food was delicious, also. Note the luscious deserts we have in front of us in the photo!
After dinner, we walked to The St James Theatre in order to see the real purpose to our entire trip: The Producers! The whole reason we'd come was because I gave C tickets two months ago for his birthday. The show was simply wonderful. We had great seats (6th row center), so we could see everything, even the expressions on the actors' faces, really well. The music, dancing, sets...everything was great. Outrageously funny! We even got to meet a couple of the performers after the show, as they were selling stuff for a benefit.
Did I say "walked"? Well... "hobbled" is more like it. I must confess: my beautiful new shoes were not really up to all the walking that NYC requires. It was only about 12 blocks from dinner to theatre, and we thought it would be a lovely walk. It was, in fact, a lovely walk. The problem is that I'm not accustomed to wearing shoes with such high heels. Okay, I've never worn shoes with quite such high heels. So maybe I'm not a Real Girl. Sometimes I try to pretend to be, and sometimes it doesn't entirely work out. My feet started out fine, but within a couple of blocks they were killing me!! I got a blister on one toe (which still hasn't fully healed a week later!), but really it was the balls of my feet that were hurting. All of your weight is balanced on a completely different part of your foot than normal, a part of my foot which is unaccustomed to being walked on! I hobbled my way to the theater, gradually growing to hate my shoes more and more....but we made it, eventually, and I was able to (blessed relief!) sit in my seat and get my weight off my poor toes.
After the awesome show, we ducked into Sardi's, since it happened to be right next door. We were told it was a famous "after-theater" place for both actors and show-goers to hang out. The bar was packed, and we were too full to eat anything though, so we didn't stay. Then we decided that we should walk to Macy's and see their Christmas window display, since we'd been told it was up and very nice this year.
This seemed like a grand idea, and an excellent way to round off the evening. Except, of course, that the word "walk" was very uncomfortable to me at that point. So I took off my shoes, and walked along in my stocking feet. I thought this was great, and it felt so good on my feet! Unfortunately it was completely distracting C. He could barely look where he was going, so focused was he on looking for broken glass, nails, and whatever else he feared I might walk on. I tried to explain that the streets of New York are like a pebble being polished smooth in a streambed: they are much too well-traveled to have any bumps or debris on them. He wasn't buying the argument though, and it wasn't more than a half a block before he could stand it no more and made me put my shoes back on. So we hobbled our way to Macy's, me clinging to his elbow. At one point, he decided he could carry me faster than I could walk, so he carried me for a couple of blocks before I got embarrassed and made him put me back down.
Finally, we made it to Macy's! I took my shoes off again, and we admired the windows. They were pretty cool, some with muppets, and some with Miracle on 34th Street displays. By then it was after midnight, and we decided the night was perfect enough -- we didn't need to go anywhere else. We hailed a cab and headed back to my aunt's....I let C take a picture of me in the Evil Shoes before I took them off though! They do look nice, don't they? You can't even tell the cruelty that lurks within. (See me trying to put on a brave face?)
(Oh yeah, and check out my reflection in the glass door behind me. Ooooh, artistic!)
Sunday was nicely mellow. We slept in (but only a little this time), and then my aunt made us breakfast. We packed, said our goodbyes, and hit the streets. We had just enough time to stop at Balducci's, which was an excellent little food market right near my aunt's place. All kinds of neat things to buy there...it was all about the worship of food. We admired the chef carefully slicing of slivers of lox from an entire smoked salmon fish in front of him, we bought edible Christmas ornaments, and 2 chocolate crossents for the plane ride. Then we caught a cab and headed back to the airport then home. (I, of course, had to be home in time for skating practice that evening.)
All in all, a wonderfully full weekend!!!