It’s been a week since Christmas…almost a week since I went to New York City and a whole new year has come along since we returned from New York! I’m only kidding – sort of….and I’m not trying to be cheesy, it just happens sometimes.
My family and I went to NYC for a pretty quick thirty-six hours last week – we left early (I got up at 3:45) from Union Station in DC and rode the train through Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey before cruising into Penn Station in the heart of New York around 10:30 to adventure through the city.
We stayed at the Renaissance Times Square – it was a fabulous location and the views out the window were incredible…thank goodness for thick curtains once it was time to get some shut eye, ha-ha! The rooms were very spacious; especially for being so close to the center of the city and the lobby was excellent – filled with chairs and couches, a really nice place to relax above the bustle of the city!
Once we checked into the hotel, we made sure we had all the things we needed to walk around the city – including hats, scarves, gloves…the temperature on Wednesday was a brisk 24; with the wind chill it felt like 17! We walked a quick two blocks up to Ellen’s Stardust Diner and managed to jump in line just in time to catch the break between breakfast and lunch – we only waited in line about fifteen minutes! The food was your typical diner food; the fries were delicious, but the real draw here is the singing wait staff! They were amazing and there’s certainly a reason that so many of them go on to star on Broadway!
Our waitress performed and was incredible – I think she might have had the best voice we heard the entire time we were there! The diner also passes around “Fill-up” the bucket; the money collected is split between the servers and the money has to be used for vocal lessons, dance lesson, etc… and this is the reason that Ellen’s Stardust Diner produces so many Broadway stars! The practice was started by Ellen years and years ago when the diner was first opened and (obviously) is still going strong.
The number one reason we went to NYC this year was to see Downton Abbey: The Exhibition – I took almost 100 photos from the exhibition; it was pretty fantastic, if extremely crowded. I’ll share those photos in another post…because; hello, there are just so many!
We spent a good two+ hours in the DA Exhibition and then headed back to our hotel for a bit… My sister and I stopped at a Starbucks on the way to grab coffee and snacks for everyone and as we crossed 57th street, we spotted a building on fire! Yikes! The smell was horrible and we discovered once we’d returned to the hotel that our hair smelled like the smoke – even though we’d only just walked past the street the fire was on! Thankfully while watching the news later in the evening, we found out that it was an industrial building and no one was in danger from the fire!
We walked about ten blocks up to Trattoria Dell’Arte to have dinner – the restaurant was across from Carnegie Hall and the food was delicious! Our waitress seemed to be having a bit of a scatter brained night but she was still an excellent waitress and the food; well it was divine! I got the Burrata Mozzarella Ravioli with Pomodoro Sauce…oh man – I wish I had some right now! I also got a divine Limoncello cake for dessert and (as our waitress said) it was like a key lime pie and a cheesecake had a baby – perfection!
We walked (quickly) from the restaurant over to Rockefeller Plaza to check out the tree – we stopped every so shortly outside Radio City Music Hall to snap some pictures
… And then we took a shortcut through Rockefeller Center to warm up a bit – and as I emerged from the building onto the plaza, I announced “oh – this year’s tree is a GOOD one!”
The tree was full and gorgeous – it looked MUCH better than last year’s tree, ha-ha! Of course, there were people everywhere…so we snapped some pictures and fought (not literally) our way through the crowd and over to the street to walk up to 5th Avenue…
I honestly think Saks has won the Christmas window display(s) for the past two years. Granted; I did not see Macy’s this year, but the whole light and music show that Saks also puts on just takes it over the top! It’s spectacular! This year’s window theme was celebrating the 80th anniversary of Snow White & the Seven Dwarves and yet again; I took so many pictures – I’ll share those later in the week, ha-ha!
And of course – before we made the chilly walk back to the hotel – we had to take a few more pictures of the Rockefeller tree, the giant strand of Christmas lights and more…because hey, why not?
After a good night’s rest, we headed out even more bundled up – the high on Thursday was 19. You don’t really want to know what the wind chill was; I’ve blocked it from my mind! We popped into a Pret A Manger to grab breakfast; we’d intended to head to a sit down cafe location but it was so cold and this place offered warmth and food, so in we went! The main objective for Thursday morning was Tiffany & Co. My younger sister and I received gift cards and so we went to pick out something sparkly and shiny…
We also checked out the windows at Cartier – so much shiny and sparkly and…expensive. The prices were (of course) sometimes enough to take your breath away. They are sure nice to look at though, right? A girl can dream…
After perusing the store windows (check back with me for Saks & Snow White) we grabbed some lunch from Potbelly at Rockefeller Center, went back to our hotel’s toasty and comfy lobby to eat and then made our way to back to Penn Station via Uber (loved that black escalade we rode in…hello!) and hopped onto our train home.
The ride home was uneventful – although I did capture some pretty great photos of my entire family – completely lost to the world. I’m not sure why in the world everyone fell asleep; I guess the trip was tiring?
I’ll pop back in this week to share the pictures from the Downton Abbey Exhibition and the Saks Fifth Avenue windows – easily two of my favorite parts of what was a wonderful trip!
Have you ever been to NYC at Christmas? If so – what’s your favorite thing about the city during the holidays?