Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas in New York City

There's nothing quite like Christmas in New York City. It really is just as festive, sparkling and dynamic as it looks in all those holiday movies that feature Christmas time in New York City-- if not more so.

Last Monday, my eldest daughter and I skipped out of town for a few hours and drove into New York for the evening. With my new car that I had only had for less than 48 hours. I'm so brave.

A few years ago, my eldest daughter befriended another teenage girl in Austria while doing some creative writing with a Twilight role playing group on myspace, essentially becoming modern day 'pen pals' of sorts. They would instant message each other--under parental supervision, of course, and then eventually maintained their friendship via facebook and occasionally video chatting when they could align their respective free time with each other, all around the time difference between them. So her friend was recently visiting New York City for a few days and Monday was the only day she was free. So of course, being the awesome mom that I am, I took her into the city to meet her 'pen pal' in person for the first time. This couldn't have worked out with my husband being the awesome dad he is, having come home early from work that day to mind the others in the castle (his dad and our youngest daughter).

Seeing the girls meet for the first time was like something right out of a movie. Her friend was waiting by the fountain outside the famous toy store, FAO Schwarz searching the faces of the passersby for my daughter. My daughter spotted her right away and could barely wait for the light to turn in our favor so she could cross the street to her friend. Just as she gets to her, she calls out her name. Her friend turns around, their faces light up with smiles, eyes glassy with tears of joy and they hug each other as if they were long lost friends who haven't seen each other in ages. It was very, very sweet. Here is a photo I took of them within minutes of having met in person for the first time:
Vicky and Maria

Aren't they adorable? After a few moments of "Wow, you're here!" and more hugs and laughter, the girls proceeded to go shop and I was to meet them outside The Plaza hotel in two and a half hours. I don't think I would have had the strength to let them go off on their own like that if it weren't for cell phones and GPS tracking. And the fact that they promised to stay on 5th Avenue between FAO Schwarz and Rockefeller Center... which is pretty much where I was going to be, one or two blocks behind them. LOL. Well, not exactly, but pretty much.

So how did I spend those two and a half hours on my own? First I spent an hour or so with Dru Ann who blogs at notes from me. I knew Dru Ann worked in the city, so I sent her an email earlier in the day hoping she had the time to meet me for a little bit and sure enough, it worked out perfectly. Dru Ann and I strolled along 5th Avenue, chatting about all kinds of things like New York things, our mutual friend Brandy and how much we would have loved to have her there with us, too, a little about family, and whatever else came to mind. All the while, we savored the amazing lights and creative sights of the windows of Saks and other stores. She even brought me into Tiffany & Co. where we stood in awe of the Tiffany Diamond. That's 128.54 carats. Whoa baby.

The Tiffany Diamond

I wasn't such the photographer this evening as I didn't even bring my camera! I don't know what I was thinking... or not thinking. So these first few are taken with my iPhone.

Dru Ann and I 

I had such a nice time meeting Dru Ann and walking around with her. She is truly a lovely person. Thanks for making time in your day for me, Dru Ann! :)

Soon it was time for Dru Ann to head home and I was on my own for a while. After walking around the city for two and a half hours in the freezing cold (literally), I decided I needed to go sit someplace warm until it was time to meet my daughter again. I headed to the Time Warner building at Columbus Circle where I knew there was a Borders. I figured I'd sit and flip through some Christmas cookie magazines. Well, I forgot there was a Williams-Sonoma store on the first level, so I hit there first. What a smart idea, let me tell you. I wasn't even inside Williams-Sonoma for two seconds and I was being offered a sample of hot mulled cider. I'm sure I looked like I needed it, too! I started to thaw while admiring really expensive French skillets. I wandered some more and came across some candy samples and tried a champagne gum drop. Yum. I wandered further into the store where a salesperson was serving brownies with peppermint bark baked on top. Right next to the test kitchen was the section of Williams-Sonoma signature dish soaps and hand moisturizers where I sampled the "Winter Forest" lotion and my dry, chapped hands were very happy and it smelled just lovely, too. Now that I had some drink, food and spa treatment-- boy, do they know how to treat their costumers, or what? Thanks Williams-Sonoma!-- I headed upstairs to Borders where I flipped through some magazines before finally meeting daughter.

At this time, I met up with my daughter, her friend and her family and friends with whom she was traveling outside The Plaza Hotel. We then found a local pub and had some dinner. All too soon, I had to give my daughter the sad news that we needed to head home. I felt badly about having to make the girls say good bye after only four hours together, but it was already after 8 pm on a Monday night and we needed to call it a night.

My daughter and I started heading back to the car, but took a few minutes to admire the window displays at Bergdorf Goodman. Wow. I thought the displays at Saks were impressive--these were even more amazing! Interestingly, I found both the displays at Saks and at Bergdorf Goodman to have some "steampunk" elements to them.

One of the window displays at Bergdorf Goodman. 

I recommend you click on it and zoom in to see some of the detail of this display. The photo really doesn't do it justice.

This is a sample of one little detail at the floor of the display. Or rather, not so little. Get a load of the size of the stone on that ring!

Of course, we paused at Rockefeller Center for a few quick photos.
I and my daughter

We noticed a band playing there, and much to my teen's excitement, it was My Chemical Romance. We were actually along the street that went behind the stage, but we were so close, nonetheless. To their backs, anyway. LOL. She was patient, though, and eventually got a few pictures of the band with the lead singer dude actually facing us. Ah, the things that rock a 15 year old's world...

I hope you enjoyed my little glimpse of 5th Avenue decked out for Christmas! :)


  1. Such a fun trip! Way to go!
    We do the DC thing several times a year but I'm too much of a wimp to brave it in the winter - mid-Oct through March is completely out for me!

  2. What an exciting day for Maria! (and you)

    I've only raced through the city on very short layovers. I'm dying to wander around - love the pics you've been posting!

  3. So much fun you guys had! Your daughter and her friend look so sweet and happy. Love that.

  4. See these are the kinds of things we miss in KS LOL. I'm so glad your daughter got to meet her friend how COOL was that! And let us not forget about My Chemical Romance I would've been right out there with her waiting for the shot!

    Love the pictures one day I will get up there *fingers crossed*

  5. Gosh, what a wonderful time it sounds like you had. I so miss the city and would love to be close to it and close to you to "meet" for a few hours. NYC is just so darn magical!

  6. I had such a good time hanging out with you. I'm glad the girls had a good time as well. Wow! You scored at William-Sonoma.

  7. Thanks for sharing! The girls are so cute and sweet. What a wonderful experience - meeting a new friend from so far away. :)

  8. Looks like a fun day - and I always love the window displays in NYC this time of year :)

  9. What a Blessed, Blessed day! I am so glad your Daughter was able to meet her Pen Pal and that you and Dru were able to meet! That is awesome! Thank you for sharing your day with words and pictures! (And I adore William-Sanoma!)

    I hope you're having a fabulous week!

  10. What a wonderful day the two of you had - both together and separate. :)

    I've never been to NYC so it's fun to see it through your eyes.

  11. Awesome mommy you are, Christine! Braving all the traffic and so on :)

    It's just awesome to meet pen pals/bloggers. Seriously :)

  12. Thank you all for checking out my pictures and the little stories that go with them. We had a really fun evening.

    I'm try not to take living so close to one of the world's greatest cities for granted. I've lived in this area my whole life and yet have barely scratched the surface of all that it has to offer.

  13. Oh wow, how awesome for your daughter to meet her modern day pen pal like that and how great of you to take her!

    The pictures are great and it looks like a good time was had by all!

    Oh wow, My Chemical Romance? I would have died, I love them!

  14. That is so sweet how your daughter finally met her pen pal. You rock, mom! lol

    I'm not a fan of NYC. The blocks are too long, the streets congested and so are the crowds. I know, I'm a spoilsport. lol. But your visit sounded so much more fun than mine did! :)

  15. You know, Tabz. You are SO right. Those city blocks look so small when you see them on the map, but not so much once you start walking. It's all the stop and go at the cross walks and side stepping oncoming pedestrians, trying to pass a slow poke in front of you.. all that maneuvering and navigating is exhausting. LOL!

    But I love to do it anyway. :)

  16. Christine, there's nothing like seeing NYC during Christmas time, right? Our tradition is to go on Christmas day in the afternoon since our true celebrations take place on Christmas Eve. I can't wait to go see that tree this year. :) I love, love your pictures.


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