It’s been oddly quiet on my Bloglovin’ feed lately with all of my favorite bloggers resting up on holiday (including myself). I finished Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte over my break–both books have been on my reading list for quite some time and have enhanced my resolution-making for 2014. I took away from Happiness Project the importance of maintaining a checklist for goals to encourage follow-thru. And from Desire Map, I used Danielle’s structure of starting with the feeling you’re trying to achieve first and from there, identify the goal. Fantastic. But today, to my relief!, everyone appears to be back. I’m enjoying the yearly summaries and look-backs from the bloggers, artists, and ladies I adore most.
I’m a week or two late posting our yearly trip to NYC for Christmas Eve dinner at Patsy’s; one of our most cherished traditions that we look forward to and talk about throughout the year. This was our fourth Christmas Eve there: in 2010, we had only been dating 3 months; in 2011, our baby Judah was 1 month old; in 2012, Judah had just turned 1; and this year–he’s 2 years old.
Each year our trip gets better as we refine our itinerary, get suggestions from friends, and plan the trip slightly more expertly than the year before. The weather in NYC around Christmas is usually very, very cold, so there is only so much walking to do outside, especially with bebe in tow. There are a few stops, however, that never strayed from…
Our free monthly chocolate courtesy of my Rewards Membership status at Godiva.
Or two. Plus a little bag for later. And a few boxes for gifts.Because Judah was old enough to understand where we were this year (“in the BIG city!” as he called it), we planned a stop at FAO Schwartz. We arrived at 9 am to see the live toy soldier open the store and next year, I’m going to try to book breakfast with a toy soldier (apparently the spots fill up fast). It was incredible how many kids–hopped up on a toy high–were running around that store on December 23rd. There’s someone else making tons of money off kids at FAO Schwartz. It’s the guy selling Xanax to parents as they exit FAO Schwartz with their screaming child(ren).
As you may guess, our time at FAO looked a lot like this (see also video at the end of this post):
A must-stop after FAO is Todd English’s Food Hall inside the Plaza Hotel right across the street. The space is reminiscent of the European-style eating halls with dozens of vendors in a single space like DC’s Union Market or Mario Batali’s Eataly in NYC and Chicago. We make a stop for a slice of the layered crepe cake and sit at the French bistro’s counter to sip on champagne and talk.
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not (we happen to be Jewish), it’s spectacular to witness the whole city dressed up for the holiday. Even though we’ve seen it several years in a row, I’m still in awe. Unlike almost every city in the U.S., on Christmas Day in NYC, everything is open and everyone is out and about (with the exception of shopping stores). As someone who doesn’t like to fly because I can’t get Starbucks when I feel like it, I love this fact. So, we stay in Midtown for easy access to all of the classic NYC festivities–5th Ave., the Macy’s windows, Rockefeller Plaza, and more. NYC friends scoff that our trip is “touristy.” Yes! That’s the point. We also visit our favorite hotels to check out their holiday decorations, which change year to year. If it suits, we’ll grab a couch in a lobby and order hot chocolate or champagne. I get an influx of design ideas from this inspired process that I use throughout the year.
On Christmas Eve, we headed to the Upper West side for a visit to the Children’s Museum. Not only was this a new find, but so was Cafe Lalo across the street (pictures are at the beginning of this post)–a quaintly European and darling coffee shop across the street (which I later discovered is also the location of Meg Ryan’s rose scene in You’ve Got Mail).
The museum was 4 floors of nirvana–children’s exhibits, play areas, and pint-sized props–including an entire floor devoted to Dora the Explorer, an “ice-skating rink” (see video), crafts, and scheduled classes and activities throughout the day. Someone had a ton of fun. And my son really liked it too. The Irish coffee at Cafe Lalo helped. Note to FAO: add whiskey onto your menu at the Schwartz Sweet Station.
This was the art class.
If you introduce your 2 year old to a place where a whole floor is dedicated to Dora the Explorer, leave your day open. We headed for lunch around the block at Artie’s (I sooooo miss living across the street from a delicatessen) and then stopped for an afternoon movie (also around the block)–Frozen 3D–before heading back to the museum for a few more hours.
And, for the grand finale that evening, we doned our Christmas Eve outfits and sat down for what we had really come to NYC for: the sweet carol of Patsy’s. The restaurant is family-owned, and, if the owners are there, they will actually tell you about the days when Frank Sinatra came in, where he sat, and what he ate on the menu.
In the course of scouring my videos for 2013, I put together a short clip just over a minute of some fun scenes from NYC this year. Be prepared for a surprise at the end (which occurred toward the end of our drive to NYC with a musical credit going to Yo Gabba Gabba’s There’s a Party in My Tummy…)
Happy New Year to You and wishing You all the cheer that 2014 will most certainly bring.
Thank you so much to my wonderful readers, for whom I am so so grateful, and all of the kind words of support and encouragement that I have received on the blog in 2013. As I explained to a friend on New Year’s Eve, I love blogging for its own sake, even if no one reads it. But connecting with readers who get excited about the same things I do, brings my blog to another level and creates a synergy that I cherish each time I click Publish.