Heading to New York City

Since we moved to Maine, Denisa and I have typically gone down to the Philadelphia area for Thanksgiving to spend time with family. As part of that, we’ve often headed into the city as a couple to go see a show and grab a bite to eat. However, we’ve never brought any of the kids in with us. Growing up, I went into New York very regularly. My parents had an office there, and my brother and sister and I would go in and spend time there. I can’t remember how often we went, but it was often enough that I always felt at home there, if that makes sense. When I think of a city, Manhattan is always the one that really means “the city.”

Since this is Tomas’s last year at home, we thought it would be good to at least get him into the city once, and as long as we were taking him, why not take the whole family? It also helped that we had a few free Marriott nights to burn through. With the way our schedules our, Thanksgiving was really the only time that made sense to head down.

So we’ll be doing something I really never planned on doing: spending the holiday actually in the city. It’s been a good long while since I planned anything with a complex itinerary, and this was seemed more complicated than many I’ve done before. How long did we want to stay in the city? Where would we stay? What did we want to see? What was the most economical way to see those things? I did a deep dive into the interwebs, and yesterday after a marathon session, I’ve got our plans more or less in place.

We’ll be staying just across the river from Manhattan, in Jersey City. It’s significantly cheaper there, and we could also find rooms that fit 5 people. (Not the easiest thing to do in a city). I actually had to really accelerate my planning because I discovered the hotel I wanted to stay at was losing availability quickly. I had procrastinated making the actual reservations, and when I went to check again, some of my dates were no longer open. So after some frantic finagling, we’ll be staying four nights: two in a Marriott, and two in a Hilton.

I’m notorious for planning too much to do on a trip, so I’ve tried this time to rein myself in. On the agenda? A Broadway show was a no brainer, but I wanted to pick one that would be good for the whole fam. There are the Disney shows, but I wasn’t too keen on going Disney for their first intro to Broadway. Instead, we’ll be seeing Wicked. I think they’ll love it.

We’re also planning on going to the Thanksgiving Day parade, perhaps against my better judgement. It had never been high on my list of Things I Want to Do, mainly because I don’t really love crowds, and I worry there are going to be hordes of people there. That said, the parade route is very long, so I imagine we’ll be able to find some place to watch some of it without being too overwhelmed. But since we were going to be in the city on Thanksgiving, it didn’t make sense to skip the parade or just watch it on TV. (Plus, there aren’t a whole ton of options for things to do on Thanksgiving Day, you know? We’ll also be going through Central Park, going up the Empire State Building, and eating dinner at a nice restaurant. It won’t be Thanksgiving-themed, though. Trying to get a “real” turkey day meal in the city was going to cost an arm and a leg. Some places I was looking at were charging $125/person. Some were “only” charging $55. We’ll have a nice holiday meal when we get back home.)

There are a ton of other things to do in the city of course. I wanted the kids to see the Statue of Liberty, but having been before, I don’t really think it’s that necessary to be on the actual island to see it. Going up inside is always a madhouse, and I believe it’s closed right now due to COVID. So the initial plan had been to just take the Staten Island Ferry for free to go by it on the river. However, after checking into other options, I decided to go with an evening river cruise instead. We’ll get to see much more of the city, it’ll be at night, and it should be a lot of fun.

Other than that, we’ll be going to the Met, the New York Public Library, Rockefeller Center, the 9/11 memorial, and eating at a couple more restaurants. I’m sure there will also be pizza, bakeries, bagels, and goodies galore.

I’m excited for the trip, especially now that all the planning is done and the reservations are in place. The kids are super excited to be going, and it’s good to have something to look forward to. Knowing me, I’m sure I’ll be less excited the closer we get to actually going, but then once we’re there, it’ll be a great break. There are COVID notices for everything I booked: vaccinations are required for anyone 12 and over, masks are required for everyone, and for Wicked, MC has to have a negative COVID test before we can go. So there will be a lot of COVID protocols, but that doesn’t bother me at all. (I just hope no one makes a scene around us about not wanting to mask or be vaccinated. The signs have been very, very clear. I tend to think New Yorkers aren’t going to mess around with objections. This is NYC, after all . . .)

Anyway, that’s it for now. Guess I’ll go back to obsessing over my kitchen renovation for the time being. What are you going to be doing for Thanksgiving this year? Going anywhere interesting? Got any fun plans?


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