I’m back from vacation! And while I’m still up to my eyeballs in kitchen renovations, it was very nice to get away from it all for a few days and head off into Someplace Different. The vacation was, overall, a success, though of course there were some highs and lows. Among the lows was the reminder of just what it feels like to be around that many people. There were a lot of people in the city over the weekend. I’ve never been a huge fan of crowds to begin with, and I’m out of practice, which has only made that worse. Still, I made do.
Here’s a quick rundown of what we did and how it went:
- Wicked: Seeing a Broadway show again was a blast. I had seen this production back with the original cast, but it was still fantastic, and a great introduction for my kids to Broadway. MC has been listening to the music ever since, and they all really enjoyed it. The sets, the costumes, the production value: all of it top notch. (Though again, the audience was a bit of a different story. There was a kid a few rows away from me who was sniffling loudly, constantly. It’s not a fun noise to hear at any point, and even worse in a pandemic.)
- Restaurants: We went to three. First was Tony’s Di Napoli for Italian. It’s right in Times Square, and it’s delicious. Family-style, with huge portions. Next was Thanksgiving dinner at Beauty & Essex, which was a bit of a ways away, but very cool. (You enter through a pawn shop, and it has a very speak easy sort of feel to it.) The portions were very small (because it’s that sort of restaurant), but the food was fantastic. Daniela loved it. We also had kebab at a chain restaurant called Naya’s. It was good as well. Oh–and we got bagels at a place called Joe’s Bagels, down by the 9/11 Memorial. Yay for eating different food. Especially good food that didn’t have to be made in my “kitchen.”
- 9/11 Memorial: Speaking of which, this was my first time making it down that far in Manhattan. We didn’t do the museum, but the memorial itself was very touching.
- COVID precautions: I loved how NYC was handling everything COVID-related. Anywhere you went that was inside, you had to be masked and you had to provide a picture ID and vaccination card. And they didn’t just wave you through. They checked each and every card and ID. I didn’t see anyone object or throw a tantrum. It all worked smoothly, and it helped me not mind the crowds as much.
- The parade: After much thought and consideration, we skipped going in person and watched it on TV instead. Warmer, and definitely more comfortable. Plus, we were already doing a ton, so I think adding that on top of everything else would have been a bridge too far. I’m at peace with the decision, and I think we made the right one for us.
- Empire State Building: We went Thanksgiving afternoon. We got down to 34th street soon enough after the parade that everything was blocked off to traffic still. I was surprised by how few people were around then. The streets were fairly empty, and the line for the ESB wasn’t bad at all. (Not sure if that’s because you need reservations now, or just because it was Thanksgiving afternoon.) The views were fantastic. It was a clear, sunny day. I was surprised to find that I’m much more averse to heights now than I remember being. I wasn’t a huge fan of being that high up, and I had low level anxiety the whole time. But I still had fun.
- Night Cruise: We went on a 2 hour boat tour around Manhattan on Friday night. This was very popular with the whole family. Great views of the city, and a great tour guide. We got there early enough to be one of the first ones on the boat, so we had very good seats. Definitely recommend it to others.
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Good as always, though I’ve decided if we were to do it again, I think it would make more sense to split into smaller groups. It’s hard when some people want to breeze through a display and others want to meander. And then later on it’s the opposite. Smaller groups would alleviate that problem.
- Walking: We did a ton of it. 11 miles on Friday. My feet and back were very unhappy with me. That was less fun.
- Central Park: The first time I’d been through the park in a long time. Fun, but see my earlier comment about walking . . .
- Driving: We had traffic both ways down, which wasn’t great. It actually took about 9 hours for me to get home on Saturday. (It didn’t help that I got pulled over for speeding, which is another story.) Still not a fan of traffic, but who is?
- Hotels: The stay in Jersey City was great. I preferred the Courtyard, simply because it was so close to the PATH train. The Doubletree was maybe a bit nicer, but a farther walk. (And full size beds instead of queen size.) If I could have found a place that slept 5 for a reasonable price in downtown Manhattan, that would have been better, but this worked well.
- The Subway: Easy peasy. No problems at all. On time and straightforward. I’d been a bit worried about riding it with kids late at night, but my fears weren’t justified. Definitely a great way to get around the city.
Overall, a fun time was had by all. I hope your Thanksgiving was a good one, too. Now, back to kitchen renovations . . .
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