Wednesday, January 8, 2014

NYC Day 3 and 4...

We slept hard and woke up to an alarm clock so we could catch our "uber cab" to Radio City Music Hall for a 9am performance of the Rockette's Christmas Spectacular.  I am 99.9% sure I was more excited than my kids for this.  I have ALWAYS wanted to see the Rockettes and have never been to Radio City Music Hall, what a special Christmas treat (thanks mom and dad!).


Inside the building there were Swarovski crystal trees hanging with beautiful chandeliers.  It was a beautiful old theater.  Of course we grabbed a blinking bucket of overly priced but quite delicious popcorn and some waters, grabbed our 3D glasses, had our picture taken with a rockette and found our great seats!

I snapped a few photos during the show with no flash...we all loved the toy soldier number, their precision was amazing.  Solon loved when the canon went off and they all fell down, one after the other.

 The entire time they had objects and shames cast across the ceiling.  At one point they projected toy trains driving across the ceiling, Solon that was so cool!  Another favorite was when large beach ball-type balls came out of the orchestra pit and flew around the auditorium and then they flew back to the orchestra pit!
 They did so many neat numbers and even had a life-like bus as they sang New York, New York!
 It was a fabulous performance and we all enjoyed the 80 minute show.  It was the perfect amount of time, towards the end the kiddos got restless but then something would grab their attention.  You can tell whoever directed it had kids in mind.  The auditorium was full of them!  Those rockettes can kick too, it gave me chills to see them live.  As a dancer, I know how difficult it is to be so precise with a group.
After the show, my dad had made reservations at the Rock Cafe which is on the same level as the ice skating rink.  The line to skate was CrAzY long so we decided to skip that this trip.  We could have done the VIP line for a $130/person - ouch, no thanks!  After lunch we decided to go to the American Girl Store with Vera and Solon asked to go to the "American MAN store" so my dad and Scott took him to the lego store to pick out something.  We had fun getting some special doll things for Vera despite the MASS amount of people, by this point we were over the LARGE crowds!  It didn't help that it was in the 70's.  We saw people in shorts and t-shirts shopping...
After a little shopping we walked the few blocks back to quietness and to my dad's apartment.  Crazy just a few blocks over the crowds disappear...and we hung out and rested while the kids napped.

That night might have been my favorite.  We went to an italian restaurant a block south of my dad's place and it is also a piano bar.  The pianist played the beatles, to Christmas tunes and even played Itsy Bitsy Spider and the ABC's for the kids!  It was so much fun....a couple of older quintessential New York ladies walked in and chatted with us...they were a hoot and insisted on Ellen singing for all of us because they heard her singing along to a song!  She was shaking like a leaf but sung brilliantly :)!  I could have stayed all night....it was a blast and the food was great too.  The place was tiny and quaint and totally local...
 
After dinner we had promised the kids a carriage ride in Central Park, the only bummer was we couldn't ride together due to animal safety laws.  SO mom and dad took the love wagon :) and the kids and Auntie Ellen went with us!  The kids LOVED it as did we...it was fun to see the skaters skating in Central Park, stroll by the Plaza Hotel and enjoy the warm evening.  Solon even got to feed the horse a carrot when he was done.  He would have rode again if we had let him...think a trip to Great Uncle Jim's horse farm is in order!




 
(note the temp while we were waiting at the plaza for our uber cab...80 degrees at 8pm, it might have been heated a tad but it was beautiful out!)

After the carriage ride, Solon wanted to see Times Square....given the masses everywhere else we knew it would be beyond nuts so my dad decided we could rent an uber cab and have him take us the long way home through time square.  I will do that every single time from now on...
Getting in the uber cab and off we go!
The kids loved riding willy nilly in the car.  I didn't worry as we went about 5 mph MAX the whole way...so much traffic.  We had a perfect unobstructed view and made good friends with our driver who was from Niger!  We looked at the sidewalks and it looked almost like NYE with bumper to bumper crowds, I could see someone getting lost.  Thankful to sit and see!

After our awesome long way home cab ride, we all headed home to window watch and enjoy some time together before we hit the hay!

Our last day (we had an evening flight), we got up and it was super duper foggy but we decided to uber cab it to Battery Park to see if we could catch a glimpse of Lady Liberty.  We decided to forego the Ellis Island tour this time around as the kiddos are a bit too young to enjoy it.  We did see her and Solon snagged his prized souvenir an 8 inch replica.  He was so excited!
From Battery Park we walked north to see the Freedom Tower and the 9/11 memorial.  We also decided not to pay to see the memorial this time around because it started to pour rain and it was all outside...with only 2 umbrellas and 2 kids in strollers, we opted to move on towards China Town!
We walked by the start of the Brooklyn Bridge and by this point my kiddos were hungry, wet and fowl so we grabbed some street bagels and I was in heaven....get one, they are SOOOOOO good!  And then continued on to Canal St where my mom and dad entertained our kids at Starbucks while we shopped for a few minutes :)!
 
We took the subway one last time back north to midtown and head lunch at a New York diner before calling it quits, tired and wet.  We headed back to the apartment - changed and packed and hung out together before our car arrived to take us to the airport.
Funny thing was we asked them to provide car seats. They must not get the request often because Vera's seat was fine but Solon's booster was strapped in with the seat belt but had no buckles so his seat was secure but he wasn't...not much I could do to change it...luckily I said a prayer and God provided safety as we headed out of the city into the lincoln tunnel at a snail's pace.  5 minutes from my dad's place, Solon announced he needed to use the restroom....luckily he made it to the airport and informed us he only peed a little 3 times the whole way ;)....kids!  Vera past out in the car and of course uncontrollably sobbed during the whole check in process from sheer exhaustion...the trip home was quiet eventful but worth it for such a fun time with our family!
Our flight was delayed from 7:30pm to 9pm east coast time so Vera was beyond done when we boarded the flight and then spilled something on her shirt and cut her finger on the window...so she screamed from tiredness for the first hour.  I was pitted out and needed a stiff drink but thankful to say this was our first flight where she was like that and let's pray it is our last :).  Luckily it was mostly families and I finally got her to sleep so the last hour and a half were quiet, despite her being shirtless!  We arrived home around midnight just in time for Christmas eve.  We all hit our pillows and were out!
We had so much fun - thanks Mom and Dad for an unforgettable experience.  Solon is already planning his next trip out.  According to his beloved book, he still needs to ride the carousel, play in Central Park and visit the Central Park Zoo!  Hope we get an invitation again (wink, wink!).

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