Last week, I had the most awesome opportunity to go back “home”.
Where is home? NEW YORK CITY!
I was born and raised there and will forever call it my home. I have not been back to Queens in 30 years and the last time I visited Manhattan to see the tree was probably 25 years ago.
While it was a whirlwind trip, it was an amazing weekend that I will always remember fondly. My guy and I spent a ridiculous amount of time in the car getting there and while all was going well for the majority of the trip, we hit traffic in PA. After being awake for 28 hours straight, me nearly killing us on an on ramp in Newark, and a Chinese fire drill in front of the Lincoln Tunnel, we made it to Queens in 16 hours (shoulda been 12) – my old stomping ground!
We stayed there and took the train into Manhattan since it was easier and cheaper than actually staying in Manhattan.
After crashing for a few hours, we hit the subway and took the 7 Train into Manhattan to Bryant Park so I could visit the library. It was the coolest damn library evah! We hit Rockefeller Center & St. Patrick’s Cathedral that night AND again the next day - as well as The Flat Iron Building, Empire State Building & Top of the Rock. Monday was Central Park & the Museum of Natural History.
He had a helluva time getting me back in the car to go south on Tuesday. Let me tell you.
Best part? We ate our way around the city.
For the record, I have not eaten any animals with 4 legs in seven years. I only eat fish or fowl at the moment. I was vegetarian and vegan for a bit as well. So naturally, the minute – MINUTE - we get off the train and up to 5th Avenue I HAD to eat a dirty water hot dog. I will try to explain what it tastes like: the essence of New York City, mixed with questionable meat, and a dash of a debatable flavor you just can’t put your finger on (nor would you want to), hugged by a squishy white bun and doused with ketchup. I’m a purist; only ketchup may touch this mystery meat masterpiece. I inhaled it.
Next up was dinner at the Pig & Whistle near Times Square with a friend of mine I haven’t seen in thirty years. While we had “seen” each other on Facebook, we hadn’t really caught up. So we ate and chatted for hours then met up with my guy and we all strolled around Rockefeller Center at night. Just for the record, Rockefeller Center at any time of day in December is near impossible to get near or around.
Breakfast was at the hotel (included), but lunch and dinner?
Lunch on Sunday was PIZZA near Rockefeller Center. If you have never had NY pizza, go NOW and get some. There is no replicating it anywhere. The oil drips down your arm, the crust is amazingly flawless and almost burnt, sauce is divine and the cheese is so gooey… and I ate two slices with a Coke.
Dinner! Instead of going to a sit down place, we were pretty tired from walking seven miles around the city so we decided to have a drink at a pub and people watch, and then hit a deli on Madison Avenue to bring back on the train to Queens.
Deli in NYC is like the pizza, there’s nothing like it. We grabbed two HUGE sandwiches on crusty hard rolls, black and white cookies for dessert, and a bottle of wine. Walking back to the train station, it started to snow. We could hear the music from the Saks Fifth Avenue insane light show (YouTube video below) and it was snowing, and I was in Manhattan bringing deli back to Queens!!
It. Was. Perfect.
If I was the Grinch, my heart would’ve grown 10 times bigger at that second because I have been missing that kind of “Christmas feeling” in over twenty years. I felt like a child, with all the wonder and amazement and promise that a little snow and some perfect timing brought at that moment. But there was the whole "I'm not a kid anymore" romantic aspect to it, which made it all the sweeter, since I had not shared that with anyone before. EVAH! My awesome guy grabbed my hand and we strolled down Madison Avenue with snow falling on my cheeks…and I couldn’t stop grinning. Thank you, my love.
Monday we got up a little later, ate breakfast, and got on the train toward Central Park. We got off near Columbus Circle, saw the tents of wares and walked through a rather soggy Central Park. It was gloomy but there is no denying the happiness a little bit of zen in the heart of chaos that is Manhattan will give you.
We wandered through the park ALL THE WAY (totally exaggerating, it's not that far, we were TIRED!) to the Museum of Natural History and spent the day there. Afterwards, we were too exhausted to think so rather than try a sit down restaurant that would have bankrupted us, we went to a pub (again) for a drink and some serious people watching (some sort of manly sales meeting pre-game drink session -hilarious), and then back to the deli for sandwiches, pickles - instead of cookies - and, of course, wine.
The next day?
Sad face as I carted my cold ass to the parking lot where dude said we HAD TO BE THERE at 10am because it’s so busy. SO, badabing-badaboom we picked up the car, loaded up and headed back south. I wanted to airlift my kids and dog to NY and just stay for a while. I think I’ll be back in the spring…and I’m definitely bringing my kids to experience NYC in December next year. It’ll be their very first time!!!
I will post some info this week about Yule since it is on Wednesday the 21st!
Photos & video below. Have an awesome Monday!!!