"Hey, Kids, I heard on the news that an airline pilot spotted Santa's sleigh on its way in from New York City." ~Clark Griswald
Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love the lights, music and most of all being with family and friends. Every year I make an effort to watch all of my favorite Christmas movies because it helps me get into the spirit (as if I need any help.) Many Christmas movies are set in New York City including: Miracle on 34th Street, Elf and Home Alone 2. Because of this, I have always wanted to visit the Big Apple during the holiday season.
It only took 30 years, but I finally made my dream come true. Over Thanksgiving I went to visit my friend Mick in Baltimore. We spent a day exploring Charm City (Harm City as he calls it.) We visited the Inner Harbor, Fell's Point, stopped by the Clear Channel Radio building and then took in the memorable sites of Druid Park and the surrounding area.
On Thanksgiving day, Mick and I loaded up our bags and took a scenic six-hour car ride through Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York. We arrived at our final destination of Schenectady, New York just in time for Thanksgiving dinner with his family. I enjoyed spending the holiday with the Lee family. Our holiday was filled with delicious food, lots of vino, an intense game of Apples to Apples and then some hot tub action. With a belly full of food and a nice buzz, I retired to the guest bedroom to get some rest before our big trip to New York City the following day. However, I found it hard to sleep because I felt like a little kid on Christmas Eve. I was so excited because I was going to New York City the next morning...something I have waited my whole life to do!
We got up early the next day, enjoyed a nice breakfast with the fam, planned out our route into the city and then said our good-byes. I was very nervous about going to the city (part excitement and part fear that the city would eat me alive..or empty my wallet.) However, when we arrived I felt at home in a New York minute. We stayed in Mick's relatives' studio in Midtown, which had a nice view of the Chrysler Building.
Our first day in the city was filled with stops at every tourist attraction we could find...Rockefeller Plaza, Radio City Music Hall, Times Square, Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue and Madison Square Garden. We went to Little Italy for an amazing dinner and enjoyed a decent bottle of wine. We then finished the evening with a visit to the World Trade Center site.
The second day in the city was just as busy. My friend Liz met us in the morning for some sightseeing. We hopped on the subway and made our way to Central Park for a horse drawn carriage ride in Central Park. While we were in the area, we stopped by FAO Schwarz so I could dance on the giant piano from the movie Big. My friends were slightly embarrased, but I didn't care. I have been dreaming of seeing and doing all of these things since I was a little girl, so I couldn't say no to performing my own butchered verison of Chopsticks on the "Big" piano. Later that day, we took train to Newark, NJ. This was my first visit to Jersey, but it was a must since I am trying to visit all 50 states. We went to the Prudential Center to see the NJ Devils take on the Philadelphia Flyers. I enjoy a good sporting event, especially when the tickets are free! I was also able to see two friends that work at the Prudential Center...love my arena Jersey boys. That night we went to an amazing Peruvian restaurant called Pio Pio. I was so excited because my friend Lauren (former Disney roommate) and her husband joined us for dinner. We managed to consume massive amounts of sangria and order some amazing dishes to share. My trip to the city was amazing because it was filled with new sites and experiences, yet it included old friends.
The following morning we left the city and drove back to Baltimore. We passed through Delaware (check that state off the list), but didn't even stop because I was on a schedule and needed to fly back to Portland. I am not sure how many miles we drove, but I know that I traveled 5,870 miles in the air.
New York City was incredible and I am so happy I was able to share this experience with good friends. Over a couple days I grew attached to the city and left definitely wanting more. Thomas Wolfe once said, “One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” I couldn't agree more!