NYC for the Holidays – 2021

We finally had planned to spend the holidays in NY to be together with family. This was technically a Park Christmas, but my mom would be with Jen and the Haus would all be around. I hadn’t been to NY since Eemoh’s 80th birthday over three years ago. We planned to spend the first half of the week in Manhattan. Grace wanted to minimize walking, so we stayed at the St. Regis vs. the Essex House or Mandarin, which are more towards Columbus Circle.

We met Dave for dinner on the first night. My mom came down from Jen’s to hang out with us on Monday. We went to Rockefeller Center to check out the tree. It was pretty crazy down there. We had our first celebrity sighting when Olivia noticed Gaten Matarazzo from one of our favorite shows, Stranger Things. I told her to ask for a photo, but she hesitated. My mom was the most aggressive in getting close to him and in the end Liv wanted one, but we missed our opportunity.

We had a late afternoon snack at the St. Regis before heading out to go skating in Central Park at Wollman Rink. It was a bit of a zoo down there, but we had fun and no one got injured. We had dinner at Quality Italian with Dave, Jeanah and my mom. The last time we came here together, my mom took a really bad tumble on the last couple stairs and broke her knee cap and wrist. We rode the elevator this time.

On Tuesday, we went to the MOMA with the kids. They weren’t really in the mood for a museum and were being very teenagery. Grace did a little shopping on her own while the kids and I had another snack at the hotel. All the food and service there was excellent by the way, especially breakfast. That evening, we had dinner with Zoë and Jeanah. We hadn’t seen her since SJC.

By Wednesday, things were getting a little crazy with COVID-19 in Manhattan. Our Christmas plans were becoming very uncertain and it looked like we weren’t going to see extended family, including my mom, and Grace’s parents, who didn’t even come in from Michigan. Although the kids were very sad to miss spending time with Cameron and Dex at Addy and Charles’s house, we decided to head home early on Wednesday.

We took a PCR test before we left, got home safely, and all received negative results. We survived and Luna was especially happy to see us arrive home early vs. being gone for two weeks straight. We were supposed to fly directly from NY to Colorado, so those plans had to be rearranged.

Until next time, NYC!

Empire State Building with the Crowthers

We spent the first day in NYC with the Crowthers, who were also in town for Thanksgiving with family. Although they see each other every day, it was fun to go on a field trip together. We met in the morning at the Empire State Building. I’m sure I’ve been up to the top before, but it was likely close to 40 years ago (and possibly traumatic), so it was like the first time for me, too.

It was a little brisk up on the observation deck, so we didn’t last too long outside. After a final stop on the 102nd floor, we descended to street level to take in some holiday windows at Macy’s nearby. We walked over to Hillstones and had lunch together with Jen and my parents.

Grace’s Birthday Trip – Part 3: NYC

On Friday, March 30th, we had an 8:30am flight from Charles de Galle. This was the only leg of the trip that Grace had not guessed. The last leg was partially guessed because she checked into a flight a few weeks ago and saw our final flight home from Florida in her itineraries. Therefore, when we checked in for a flight to NYC, I’m sure she was a little puzzled. It was a nice flight back and I urged her to try to get some rest and also not eat too much before we landed, which gave it away a little.

Even after we gathered our bags and got through customs, I said, “Okay, where’s Air Canada?,” and she started to head to the connections desk, but I finally told her we were heading to the curb to get a cab. I only gave the address and after a long ride through heavy traffic, we arrived at The Four Seasons. It was our first time staying there and only upon arriving did I realize the Joel Rubuchon restaurant was located inside. Grace asked if that’s where were eating, but I said no.

We couldn’t check in right away, so we decided to have lunch. Grace was craving asian food, so she played that card. We went to momofuku má pêche. During our meal, two people sat down next to us and I heard “Jason?” It was my good friend, Ole, who was in town from London on business. Even though he moved from SF only a couple years ago, it had been a long time since I had seen him, so it was a great coincidence.

We shopped a little around mid town and then went to the hotel to settle in. Grace had made a spa reservation for the afternoon, but decided to move it to Saturday morning. She napped (which was good) while I went out to run some errands and do some shopping. I decided it was too much trouble to do laundry on a tight turnaround, so I just bought some essentials.

I told Grace that her brother, Dave, was flying in from China that night (true), so would have lunch with him on Saturday. I said we were just meeting Jen for dinner (not true). We had to wait a while for a cab, which was good because it delayed us just enough. I only gave the address and I thought once we entered the restaurant, she would know something was up because we’d never normally eat at Morton’s for dinner. After meeting Jen at the bar, we were asked to be seated and just then, Patty walked in and I waved her off (which Grace subsequently told me she saw). As we walked toward the back to a private room, she knew something was up and she was surprised by 25+ of our family and friends, many of whom traveled from CT, DC and even SF! We had a great dinner together and I was really pleased about the surprise. Thanks to everyone who joined us for a memorable evening and especially to Jen, who helped a lot with the planning, flowers and details. Afterwards, it was raining, so we decided the afterparty would be at the bar next door. Dave, Sandor and Grace took advantage of the karaoke and there was a lot of yawning going on with the old people (JT). I felt good that we continued to shut down places wherever we went.

Saturday morning, we had a quick breakfast at the hotel and Grace went to the spa. I met with Jea and Eddie and we drove together to visit Bobby’s new baby son, Caden, and Ana, who wasn’t able to make dinner. He’s super cute and is already holding up his neck (he gets a strong one from his dad).

Grace played the asian card again and we went to K-town to meet Jen and Dave before Jea and Eddie had to drive back to DC. We did a little more shopping before heading back to JFK for the last leg of our trip. It was a quick and fun 33 hours in one of our favorite cities with many of our favorite people.

NYC

I took the redeye to NYC last Tuesday night to spend a few days in the city before Bobby’s wedding. I was a little pre-occupied with wedding details, but managed to get out and see some friends and family.

Never enough time…

Karaoke at Sing-Sing in the East Village

Everyone in the wedding crew was invited out to Karaoke, in lieu of a bachelor party for Joon. Grace took the kids back to the hotel after dinner so that I could go out for a bit (thanks!). The wedding party was delayed a bit from the rehearsal dinner, so Jen, Bobby and I had a drink. Jen headed home and Bobby and I headed downtown. This was the first time I’ve been out in the East Village at night. It was quite the scene.

I have to say I was impressed by the skills of the attendees, particularly Charles, who can belt out everything from Kid Rock to Jay-Z. David’s Milli Vinilli came complete with dance moves. There was no shortage of 80’s songs on the playlist.

Central Park Zoo

On Friday, June 4th, Charles and David came over in the morning before heading out to the wedding rehearsal in NJ. Jen also came over and we went to lunch at Brooklyn Diner. After lunch, we took the kids to the Central Park Zoo (who knew it was so close?). The only thing hotter than 86 degrees and 70+% humidity is going to the tropical exhibit in the exotic animal zoo on a day like that. It was suffocating. The penguin hall was a welcome change – I didn’t want to leave. Lucas never met an animal (or person) he didn’t like. He had so much fun feeding all of the animals. Olivia is a little more discriminating. She was bummed that there were no elephants.

Olivia second-guessed herself at the ice cream stand and changed her order to a sno-cone. Big mistake. It was a hunk of tasteless ice (I confirmed), so she got a do-over (Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake).

After three hours in the park, we were spent. What a great urban adventure!

Free Day in NYC

Okay, nothing in life is free. Grace had to work a full day in the NY office and I had places to go and people to see. So, my parents were nice enough to watch the kids during the day. The catch was that I had to drive them out to Tenafly where they were staying – normally no problem. However, on the way there, I was driving up the 9A and noticed that the entire inbound upper deck was standing still (mostly big rigs – none moving). When I got on the upper level, I could see people standing outside their cars, not a good sign.

Now I was worried about how I was going to get back. I got some navigation assistance from Eemoh and followed them, only to be diverted by the police with a roadblock, which sent me further west into NJ. Eventually I got off and meandered my way locally to a freeway that did dump me inbound on the lower level, but it was bumper-to-bumper and slow-going. After almost 3 hours, I made the round trip.

Highlights from my/our adults-only day in Manhattan:

  • Lunch with my long-lost college friend, Sylvia (aka, “Sly – she successfully eluded the camera), with whom I was reconnected by “the facebook.”  It’s been almost 17 years, since I’ve seen or heard from her, so we had a lot of catching up to do. She works at the Travel Channel, and sent me home with a bag full of tchotchkes. So great to catch up!
  • Met Bobby in SoHo for coffee (iced – it’s hot)
  • Rode the subway (just for sport) up to Grand Central and stopped by the Sugar NYC office at 275 Madison. It was late in the day, and thankfully, Gabby and Alexis were holding down the fort (and there to let me in!)
  • Coincidentally ended up at Saks where Jen and Grace were meeting after work
  • Had dinner with Sueann, John, Linda, Danny, Jen & Grace at Bar Americain. The last time we ate there together, Bill Clinton swooped in for a quick bite.
  • Excused myself early from dinner to make the trek back out to NJ to pick up the kids. Much less eventful on the return.

 

Great day! I need at least another week here.

© www.graceandjason.com 2022