Spring Break in NYC – Days 1 and 2 – Matilda and Nets Game

This year we spent Spring break in NYC for the first time. All the families got together for Dave’s birthday later in the week. We stayed in Columbus Circle, which was a convenient location and we had a great view of Central Park for the week.

My parents arrived the day before us and were staying with Jen. The seven of us went to see Matilda on Broadway. We stopped in Carmines about 45 minutes before the show for a very quick bite to eat. Everyone enjoyed the performance, especially the kids, who have seen the movie several times.

Afterwards, we all took the bus up Avenue of the Americas, which dropped us off right in front of Quality Italian. Dave joined us for dinner, which was one of the best meals we’ve enjoyed together in NYC. My mom was especially pleased with her lobster pasta dish. Lucas continued to perfect his stink-face for no good reason.

My cousin, Sandor, was just returning from Disney that day and couldn’t use some Nets tickets he received so he graciously gave them to us. My dad agreed to join me, so we headed to Brooklyn after dinner. It’s been a while since we enjoyed a game together and we had a great time with amazing seats. Thanks, Sandor!Spring break was off to a great start.

NYC For The Holidays – Day 10: Lunch with Jen and Heading Home

December 30, 2013

  • Spent the morning cleaning Dave’s apartment and packing. Lucas was a big help.
  • Met Jen for lunch at Serafina on Broadway for our last meal together
  • Flew home from Newark. If I have a choice, I’ll never fly United Airlines again. The planes have been upgraded, but a transcontinental flight should have video and/or wi-fi. This plane had neither. They also lost track of our bags on both legs.
  • The only thing that saved me was the same thing that will doom me: Candy Crush. I used to ask the kids, “how many games of candy crush has daddy ever played? … Zero.”  This was a practical and necessary decision on my part. We boarded the plane and I realized that Malcom Gladwell wasn’t going to cut it. Given the crappy cell reception, I knew downloading the first season of Breaking Bad wasn’t going to happen. So, in a media panic I attempted to download Candy Crush. I was alternating between my iPhone hotspot and my Verizon MiFi. Neither was working well on the tarmac and I had to restart the download once. I felt like I was on an episode of 24 trying to download that app. I may have violated and FAA regulation or two, but LITERALLY just as the pilot revved the engines for takeoff, the icon changed to “OPEN.”  That was the beginning of the end – perhaps the worst decision of 2013. I sat between the kids and they coached me for 6 1/2 hours. We’re like a Candy Crush team now.

Oh, Happy 7th Birthday, Olivia!

NYC For The Holidays – Day 9: Museum of Natural History and Olivia’s Family Birthday Party at Jen’s

December 29, 2013

  • We had a day to explore the city. I Googled best brunch in NYC and found “The Butterfly” in TriBeCa. It was just want I wanted (but not needed). Biscuits and gravy with a deep fried egg! Spicy honey-glazed fried chicken and biscuits!
  • The kids wanted to go to a museum. It was raining hard, so we decided the subway was the best mode (after abusing Uber a little too much on the trip). We got wet on the way to Canal street (and poor Lucas got a serious soaker). We popped out at 81st and it was raining even harder. People were taking refuge in the entrance to the subway and when we emerged, we saw a huge line to get in to the American Museum of Natural History. We decided to brave it and after some time, we were indoors. We had been there before, so we focused on the Dinosaur Hall before taking in the Penguin IMAX.
  • Everyone was a little sleepy, so we decided to head up to Jen’s early. She was hosting all of the family that was still in the city for an early birthday party for Olivia. She cooked an amazing meal of spaghetti and meatballs, eggplant parmesean, mac and cheese, and strawberry-filled cupcakes. It was over-the-top and we’re so grateful for her hospitality. There were then MORE presents for Olivia to open from all of her generous family. Finally, it was time to say goodbye to everyone, as we were all heading either back home or to another destination the next day.

NYC For The Holidays – Day 8: Brunch with Jea, Eddie & Friends and Celebrating Dad’s Birthday

December 28, 2013

  • Jea & Eddie were in NYC with Kat & Ken and Ashley and Jae (sans kids). At the risk of ruining their adult-only mojo, we met up with them and Bobby at Hundred Acres in SoHo.
  • Afterwards, Grace left to go “work” (possibly code for manicure). We walked around SoHo for a while. At the Samsung boutique, they use the devices to order your free coffee or cupcakes. The process was so painful, I would have gladly just paid. Using a tablet to circle, drag, resize, drag again, blah, blah, blah (with a stylus?) to order a coffee vs. saying “nonfat cappuchino for Jason” made me want to make friends with Siri.
  • I convinced the kids to see a movie (their first in a theater). We saw “Frozen” near Union Square. It was excellent and the kids loved it. The only bad thing was that their complicated concession order delayed us and we were left sitting in the front row. The front row, and possibly the 2-3 rows behind it should not exist.
  • We met my parents, Jen and my aunt at Del Friscos Grill to celebrate my dad’s 78th birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad!
  • Afterwards, we braved the crowds at 30 Rockefeller to take some photos and Grace, kids and I walked home from there.
  • I met up again with Bobby and the DC kids at Gahm Mi Oak (again???) for their late meal. Bobby and I were spectators.

NYC For The Holidays – Day 7: Visiting the Milano-Sessines in CT and Meeting Colin Kim

December 27, 2013

  • We drove out to Guilford, CT, to visit Jen, Mike, Zoe and Owen at their home
  • We had an amazing lunch of spaghetti and (local) clams – thanks for hosting us!
  • The kids played so well together while the adults caught up on the last year and a half since we last saw each other
  • On the way back into Manhattan, we stopped in West New York to visit Ana, Bobby, Caden and baby Colin. It was great to meet the little guy (3 weeks old!)
  • I dropped the family off at Dave’s place. Jen let us borrow her car for our little road trips, which was super helpful and generous. This was the best time to return it, so I dropped it off at her garage and took the subway downtown from 125th St. I had no idea what I was doing, but took the “S” shuttle from Grand Central to Times Square. It’s always amazing to take photos at night in Times Square.
  • I asked Grace if she needed anything and a six-pack of Stella and Vitamin Water were her only requests

NYC For The Holidays – Day 5: Brunch at Jen’s and Christmas at Haus

December 25, 2013

  • Jen hosted Christmas brunch at her place with my parents
  • Sam (the elf) mysteriously found his way to East Harlem to make sure Santa delivered all the presents to Jen’s
  • The kids received too many presents from Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Jen, and Santa
  • We went over to Liz and Clarence’s house to spend Christmas with all the cousins
  • The kids received even more presents from all of our generous cousins and eemoh
  • Grace won the speed poker tournament
  • Dinner was amazing and all my favorite holiday foods were represented
  • Our white elephant gift exchange was as dynamic as ever with a big group and a three-steal maximum
  • Sandor had the last laugh with his hodgepodge of crap (DVDs, books, crap) – there should have been a $100 bill in that bag of crap. But, there was at least a wrapped Kindle in there. Ha!

Thanks again, Haus, for hosting all of us. Merry Christmas!

NYC For The Holidays – Day 4: More Shopping and Christmas Eve Dinner

December 24, 2013.

  • Spontaneous trip to Shake Shack with Dave for lunch. It was great, but it’s a little stressful to get a table.
  • My dad graciously offered to come pick up the kids in Manhattan and take them back to Tenafly to play with their cousins (so Grace and I could finish our shopping).
  • We powered through it and even braved the Apple Store and FAO Schwartz again
  • Grace and I went up to Jen’s to wrap gifts and finish cooking food Jen was bringing to dinner
  • We headed over to Liz and Clarence’s house for Christmas Eve dinner
  • There was a brief white-out on our way over, which almost made for a White Christmas. The kids took full advantage of the accumulation.
  • Video games kept both adults and kids entertained
  • No holiday is complete without arm wrestling Millie

Thanks for hosting us, Haus!

NYC For The Holidays – Day 3: Shopping and Dinner with Camp Friends

December 23, 2013

  • Grace had to get on a call in the morning, so the kids and I headed out in search of breakfast. The rain made it a little tougher, but we ended up at Macy’s where they had something for everyone.
  • We met Jen and my parents at FAO Schwartz before lunch.
  • Aborted attempt to have lunch at Todd English food court at the Plaza Hotel. Ended up at … wait for it … Korean food in midtown.
  • Jen took the kids back to her place to make cookies so Grace and I could (attempt to) finish our shopping.
  • Failed mission to 30 Rock, but got to see the tree.
  • We went back to FAO Schwartz and knocked out a bunch. Afterwards we walked over to the Time Warner Center and (thought we) finished!
  • Grace went up to Jen’s to have dinner with them.
  • I met my camp buddies (Bobby, Jeanah, Christine, Zoe, and Chae) at Vezzo. It was also nice to finally meet Chae’s husband, David.

NYC For The Holidays – Day 2: Lion King and Family Dinner

December 22, 2013

  • Lucas modeled his new glasses. Usually he only offers a big toothy cheese, so this was a breakthrough.
  • Had a quick lunch at Le Pain Quotidien off Bryant Park
  • Watched Lion King with Jen, who treated the kids for Christmas. It was really amazing and glad the kids were able to experience it. Thanks, Jen!
  • My cousin, Gina, from Korea, is spending a year in Seattle with her family. They came to NYC for the holidays and just happened to be at the same Lion King Show.
  • We all went over to Ellie and Sandor’s place for family dinner with all the cousins. Activities in his “gym” included: golf, ping pong, indoor golf, ropes, and greco roman wrestling. Activities to try next time: rock climbing, basketball, squash, bowling and billiards. Neither Emily nor Xavier allowed me to hold them – also next time. After a 10-hour drive from Michigan, my parents also joined us for the holidays. Thanks, Ellie and Sandor, for hosting all of us!

NYC For The Holidays – Day 1

6:19am flight. Kids were great. Grace and I slept the whole way. Had dinner with Jen, the Chais, and Ken. Grace played her Korean card early, though it helps that we’re staying at Dave’s place in K-Town. Lucas assumed his perch atop Dave’s shoulders. It’s crazy warm here, but not complaining.

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