Yesterday was great. After a late breakfast my sister and I walked down Broadway to Rockefeller Center, where we admired the tree and lights and such. It was mobbed. Actually, the whole city was basically mobbed! Christmas in New York....well, the Saturday after Christmas.... Completely packed with people. Interesting, usually I hate crowds, but there's something about being in the city, on vacation, on a holiday; it didn't bother me. It was exciting and urban. It was New York. It was how it was supposed to be.
After Rockefeller we took 5th Ave down to Lord & Taylor and Saks, to see their window displays. Once again swarming with people, but we found we could see the windows much more easily if we looked at the stories backwards, "Memento-Style".
Then we headed over to Macy's. We figured as long as we were in the city, we'd do a bit of shopping. Catch the sales, see the famous store. My office's dress code is becoming a bit less casual, so I need to find some slightly-more-professional clothing. Macy's was also packed with people, but we headed up to the 5th floor's petite section. Reducing the crowd to "mostly women under 5 foot 4" helped a lot. I found a couple of nice professional-looking jackets, and some light sweaters to wear under them, all great deals. Yay! Now I just need some nicer pants.
I like this picture I took of St Patrick's Cathedral... the pattern on the steeples is light coming from the sun glancing off an office building's windows.
After Macy's we took the subway back to my aunt's place. We stopped to get a couple of birthday cards, because we were celebrating 2 cousins' 30th birthdays that evening. Then we changed into nicer clothes and waited for the family to gather. Everyone was late, but the timing worked out: the cousins arrived last, so we all were able to yell "Surprise! Happy birthday!"
(They actually both knew all about it. It was supposed to be a surprise but we did not really try very hard to keep it one. Still, we felt that we should still yell surprise even if they knew what was going on. It's just more fun that way. Made it more festive.)
After cocktails and conversation, we walked to a very nice restaurant, Compass. We had our own room, which was great since there were around 16 of us. We were able to spread out, mingle, and generally enjoy ourselves more; we didn't even have to worry too much about letting the baby (my nephew) crawl around and explore some.
The dinner was very tasty, and we hung our at the restaurant until after 11pm. Then the majority of the family members wanted to call it a night. We walked back to my aunt's place to help my brother and his family gather their stuff. A comedy of errors ensued, where my brother and I actually missed each other three times by passing each other going opposite directions in the two elevators in the building. Finally all of the possessions and family members were gathered, and we bid them goodnight.
Then my sister and I walked back to the restaurant, where we met up with our cousin again. He also lives in Manhattan. He took us to a nearby bar he liked, called Shalel Lounge. It was in a cellar, and felt like it was in a cave. Filled with candles and pillows, the ambiance was great. We had a few drinks and talked for a couple of hours. It was really neat, because I very rarely hang out or have conversations with this cousin. The thing about my extended family is: they all live several states away. We have seen each other on an average of once a year our entire lives, which means we don't really know one another very well. It's a shame, because I have some neat relatives. I enjoyed chatting and getting to know him better.
We made it back to my aunt's before 3am, and we went straight to bed. Unfortunately for some reason I couldn't sleep though, so I got back up and sat in the livingroom reading until around 5:30. The 8am alarm clock came way too soon!!! But we had an 11am flight to catch. We safely flew to and from NYC, aka Terrorist Central, during the Orange Security Alert with little delay or incident. In fact, the only problem we had was that I accidentally squished my pinky finger underneath my suitcase while putting it into the overhead compartment. Don't worry: it's better now.