Christmas in NYC

As I mentioned in my Simplifying Christmas post, this year we planned a pre-Christmas trip to New York City. Last year we really enjoyed visiting San Francisco during the holidays and wanted to make it a tradition!

Originally NYC wasn’t really on my list, after all that is a long flight for such a short trip. But when I heard that Waitress would be closing up shop on Broadway January 5th, I basically begged Jacob to make that our Christmas trip so I could see the show before it ends. Luckily he was on board, and it was off to NYC!

It was a bit of a whirlwind trip and we packed a lot in, so it definitely was not one of our more relaxed vacations! We used the City Pass to go to several museums (9/11 Museum, the Met, and the Museum of Natural History), and spent a lot of time walking around famous sites like Central Park, the Friends building and Bryant Park.

We really enjoyed the museums, although I have no idea how anyone could get through more than one in a day. Both the Met and the Museum of Natural History took at least 5-6 hours each, and we honestly rushed it a bit at the end because my feet hurt! But it was incredible to see things like dinosaur skeletons dating back thousands of years, to famous art and intricate burial tombs from Egypt.

The 9/11 Museum was of course a somber experience, but I think we were both glad that we took the time to remember what a pivotal day it was for our country, and consider all of the innocent lives lost. I made it through almost the whole thing until we stood next to a speaker playing the voicemail from Brian Sweeney to his wife from United Flight 175:

Jules, this is Brian. Listen, I’m on an airplane that’s been hijacked. If things don’t go well, and it’s not looking good, I just want you to know I absolutely love you, I want you to do good, go have good times, same to my parents and everybody, and I just totally love you, and I’ll see you when you get there. Bye, babe. I hope I call you.

I stood listening with tears just rolling down my cheeks, wondering how Jules is doing. I wonder if she still listens to the voicemail every day. It was a good reminder to always make sure that the ones we love know how much they mean to us. To always, always say, “I just totally love you.”

After absorbing all of the history, art and everything that we learned from the museums, we really relished all of the amazing food we had in New York! I don’t think we had a bad meal while we were there. Both of our favorites was breakfast at Jacob’s Pickles on the Upper West Side. J had chicken & pancakes, I had the most amazing deviled eggs and bruleed grapefruit, and we both had several giggles over the silly name of the restaurant!

It goes without saying that shows on Broadway are amazing! Waitress was everything I dreamed, except that I not-so-secretly had my heart set on Sara Bareilles surprising the crowd by reprising her role as Jenna for the last week of the show, but alas that did not happen 😦 But Katharine McPhee made a wonderful Jenna and the show had me laughing and crying the whole way through – it was truly delightful.

It might sound strange but another one of my favorite things about NYC was the public transit. After we got past the first 3-hour trip from JFK to the Upper West Side where we were staying (we made a LOT of mistakes), we got into the groove of using the subways and it was a really convenient way to get around the city. Granted we weren’t there long enough to experience anything truly weird or awful on the trains, so I’m sure having to use them daily for a commute could cause some resentment. But I couldn’t stop thinking about how much more environmentally friendly our cities would be if we all had public transit systems like this instead of 12-lane freeways and a billion cars…

Grand Central Station was so beautiful decorated for the holidays! And BUSY, as you can see.

Last but not least, we had our first experience using Flytographer, a company that specializes in vacation photography. They are mini-photoshoots in amazing locations (we chose Central Park) and we had such a blast with our photographer. It’s nice to have travel photos that aren’t all selfies! I can definitely see us using them again for future trips.

It was impossible to fit all the amazing sights into one quick weekend, so we’ll definitely be back to New York someday. I hear Central Park is amazing in the fall!

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