“We are not giving you the advice to start smiling at everyone you meet in New York. That would be dangerous.”
Researcher James H. Fowler in yesterday’s New York Times
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We had a marvelous, wonderful holiday visit with my parents. The highlights were Thanksgiving and Davy’s eighth birthday, both with all the trimmings.
The trip trimmings included a variety of entertainments (opening night at the New York City Ballet’s annual Nutcracker, at Lincoln Center; “The 39 Steps” with Sam Robards, very clever and eminently suitable for children; and Cirque de Soleil’s “Wintuk”, which had Davy at the edge of his seat all night) and sights/sites. We made it to the New-York Historical Society (where the Grant-Lee Civil War exhibit didn’t quite make up for the dearth of Audubon bird prints), the Museum of the City of New York, the Museum of Natural History, and the Metropolitan Museum. And South Street Seaport, Battery Park, Little Italy (where Davy discovered a leftover $20 bill in an ATM), and Chinatown. Also Santa Claus at Macy’s, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (viewed from the height and relative comfort of the Time-Warner Center at Columbus Circle), Davy’s birthday celebration of visits to FAO Schwartz and the Times Square branch of Toys R Us, as well as Brooks Brothers for big boy ties. Rockefeller Center and the tree. For Laura, pilgrimages to the American Girl temple and the Tiny Dollhouse shop on East 78th. Skating at Wollman Rink in Central Park on what turned out to be the warmest, sunniest, calmest day. The kids watched candy being made at Papabubble in Little Italy, and ate cannoli. We came home with our bags full of Zabar’s blend coffee, a couple of Zabar’s coffee mugs ($1 each!), escargot dishes and escargot shells for our family fixation, chestnuts. And then there were the six small duffle bags each packed with 50 pounds of publishers’ checking copies of children’s books (many library press books, but also dozens of back issues of Cobblestone, Calliope, and Kids Discover magazines, a puzzle, and some CDs) from my parents’ office, a historical picture library.
The view from our hotel room window, Fairway Market on Broadway between 74th and 75th, and its rooftop,
The view on the street, near our hotel on the Upper West Side,
We stayed at The Beacon, which isn’t cheap but definitely reasonable by NYC standards, especially since the room had a kitchenette, which we put to good use with staples and the occasional treats from Zabar’s, H & H Bagels, and Fairway right across the street.
The first morning, we walked up Broadway to my parents’ apartment, stopping along the way for provisions for our first lunch together — bagels at H&H, French ham and pepperoni from Zabar’s, pickled herring in cream sauce and proper fruit leather from Murray’s Sturgeon Shop. On the way we passed this poster for a different Nutcracker (which we missed because it doesn’t open until tomorrow),
We had a quick dinner of dim sum that evening with my father and family friends at Shun Lee Cafe near Lincoln Center, then hopped on the subway to see Cirque de Soleil’s “Wintuk”. Highlights on the way home included Daniel’s first Norway rat sighting and my first dead tree Sunday New York Times in four years.
Sunday morning, we set off for the Historical Society a few blocks away. On the way, we stopped off at the flea market between 76th and 77th on Columbus, where the vendors were all ready for Christmas,
We arrived a bit early at the Historical Society, so Tom and the boys decided to investigate the VIP seating for the parade later on in the week,
This tour bus reminded us of the Radio City Christmas Show which we saw with my parents on our last trip four years ago,
Davy’s birthday began with a quick trip to Zabar’s to pick out a cake (there it is on the lower right, the Chocolate Lover’s cake, with the hand coming to put in a box),
On the way home with the cake, Davy and I watched city workers decorating the trees on the traffic island in the middle of Broadway,
The kids in front of big Christmas lights on Sixth Avenue, on the way from Times Square to Central Park,
Davy and Daniel with a lifesize Lego Batman at FAO Schwartz,
At least they didn’t make me wear a jacket that says “TOURIST”,
After the toy stores, Davy had planned for us to meet my father at Wollman Rink for ice skating in the park. But somehow, despite all my planning and printed out pages, I overlooked the fact that on Mondays and Tuesdays for some inexplicable reason the rink closes at 2:30 in the afternoon. We arrived at 2:20. Great big silent tears fell, and fortunately I remembered that the carousel was nearby, and promised that we’d go skating in a few days,
The birthday boy enjoying his dinner of spareribs at Shun Lee West,
The Chocolate Lover and his cake at the hotel room,
The kids’ new Schleich acquisitions, gleaned from Toys R Us and FAO, enjoying the view,
To be continued…