You may have read in my last post that my mom came to visit me in Boston this Thanksgiving. We had a ton of fun in my current city of residence, but then took our adventure beyond the borders of Massachusetts and spent the holiday weekend in our mutual favorite: New York City! I can’t really tell you where to go and what to do when visiting the Big Apple, but I can share the very us things that we did as inspiration and so that you can all marvel at my mom’s tastes and planning skills (she was in charge of NYC, I was in charge of Boston) and perhaps draw some inspiration. Enjoy!
Our Thanksgiving began with an early Amtrack ride from Boston’s Back Bay station (which I convinced my poor mother to walk to) to New York City’s Penn Station. From there we took a cab to our Air BnB in the Upper East Side, watching remnants of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade down long avenues. We saw the new and improved Pillsbury Dough Boy (with whom I apparently share a likeness–don’t laugh. Stop laughing!) from a distance, and got stuck in lots of traffic, but finally made it–sleep-deprived and excited all at once–to our temporary residence for a quick turn-around before heading to a non-traditional “Thanksgiving Dinner” and a 6:00 Rocket’s Christmas Spectacular show.
Spoiler: I fell asleep during the show, but only because I was really tired and emotionally exhausted form the excitement and I had just eaten my Thanksgiving dinner. And about dinner: we went to this French restaurant that our host recommended, Jacque’s, and they were just the nicest nice-place place in that for having some pretty uptight-looking clients, they were really really nice people. That sounded better in my head. But my turkey was super tender in a sort of gravy stew, and the sweet potatoes on the side were mashed and the brusselsprouts were perfectly roasted and the cranberry compote was a little less sweet but complimented the whole meal really well so I think that it was a worthwhile substitute for the traditional that I’m used to. But yeah, that tryptophan knocked me out so I’d recommend drinking coffee if you’re going to a show post Thanksgiving dinner and you’re sleep-deprived?
Friday was our museum day, and I’ll admit that we were definitely motivated to make this trip in part for the awesome corporate discount I got from my internship at Pfizer. So… free museums! First we hit up the Guggenheim, then the Metropolitan Museum of Art. My mom and I happen to just really enjoy walking around art museums, and this made our day. The fact that the museums were very different also probably prevented us from getting bored at all; the Guggenheim was very modern with pieces that you don’t generally see in your neighborhood art museum (is that a thing?). There was a huge focus on light and perspective, with many pieces reflecting or producing light, and a split-level exhibit that made you see everything in an entirely new way. It was funny that with every small exhibit, generally of about three to four pieces, my mom and I had different favorites. Better yet, we could predict which pieces would be the others’ favorite. I love this.
Quick tip: the Guggenheim is like down the street from the Met, so we just walked through Central Park for a few minutes and found ourselves at the next spot, which was both beautiful and inspiring. The Met is just really classic, and the collection is massive. We didn’t get through nearly half of it in the hours we spent, and I hope to go back again soon–also they have a killer mushroom soup.
So after visiting the Guggenheim, I posted a photo of it on Instagram, where it was seen by my childhood best friend, Alex. Alex texted me several minutes later, and it turns out she was also in the city that day! We met up at the Met (see what I did there) and it was really cool to catch up and wander a bit, as well as commiserate on the cold weather as SoCal transplants (she goes to school in DC). That was really cool, and it just goes to show both the awesome nature of social media and the ability of NYC to be the center of great moments.
Friday evening we saw La Bohème, my first opera and, I have to say, a very impressive one at that. We had a classy night at the Met Opera House, drinking wine during one of the three intermissions and laughing through the hilarious subtitles (they’re displayed on the back of every seat, actually, which is really cool and high tech) because this opera in particular was just really really funny. Also, the sets were beyond amazing. The fact that I enjoyed three hours of Italian singing just goes to show how good the production was. Thanks for taking me, Mom!
Our big plans for Saturday involved the 9/11 Memorial, a trip to the High Line, and seeing Balanchine’s Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. The 9/11 Memorial was absolutely stunning, and I cried a good five or six times. I was in third grade when the twin towers were hit, and I remember very clearly the panic in the voices of my parents and teachers, the confusion–even on the other side of the country, I was in California–that permeated, the fear surrounding the whereabouts of family members and friends. I remember seeing the faces on the news, the shocked New Yorkers and the massive amounts of unbelievable destruction. I’d kind of blocked it out, though, until I walked into the memorial museum and faced it head on. The museum and the day itself deserve a post on their own, but I’ll just say that they did a very good job of making me feel everything I may have repressed in the last decade.
We hit up Steve’s for pizza (decent, nothing special) before heading to Chelsea Market for some Fat Witch Brownies (my absolute favorite, you should know) and the High Line. I think Chelsea’s a really cool area, and somehow I always end up getting those brownies, but they’re always really worth it. My favorites are the Blonde and Wicked witches, so their blonde brownies and mint chocolate brownies. They’re just phenomenal. I wasn’t as impressed with their Pumpkin Spice, but then again I’m never as impressed by pumpkin spice anything as I think I’ll be, so that’s not really any sort of judgment. My mom liked the caramel and the Fat Witch (traditional brownie) and my boss who doesn’t like brownies at all actually liked the blondie. I rest my case.
On the Nutcracker: I’ve seen a lot of Nutcrackers, and I’m always impressed by how different they can all be. My friend Alex, who I mentioned meeting up with Saturday, was in the Ballet Pacifica Nutcracke in California, and I watched that one as well as several other SoCal productions (one of which had a drunken maid on point pretending to take shots while flailing around, it was hilarious) as well as the Boston Ballet’s rendition. Balanchine’s was, as the reviews said, very line-based and technically sound. The choreography focused a lot on how the dancers were aligned, symmetrically and balanced in all aspects, with deliberate steps executed with precision to the point where you didn’t realize how hard it must be until you really paid attention. I happen to be partial to the Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker, as it’s more fluid and fun, but the American Ballet Theater did an amazing job and I just have so much respect for them after seeing this show. It’s worth noting that we went to PJ Clarke’s for dinner beforehand and it was very good. Our server was actually worth noting, too; my mom continued to talk about how great she was throughout the rest of the trip.
Sunday was another museum day, tied in with the feeling of “oh my gosh we’re going back tonight and we haven’t done everything we wanted” which is synonymous with… panic. So we rushed to Doughnut Plant in the morning (my favorite place, as you might remember from this post), the American Museum of Natural History (where I majorly geeked out–you should know that I hadn’t been back since I was eight, and I loved it as a child and I love it now as an adult and it’s just amazing and got me into science in general and I tweeted about it a lot so you should go), and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) which is my mom’s favorite. From there we caught a Limo Liner back to Boston and enjoyed some complimentary food and wine. I have to say, it beats Mega Bus (though I am partial to Mega Bus’s $3 fares) and was only delayed by about an hour. It is worth noting that the Greyhound I took back from CT my Freshman year was delayed by about four hours on this same evening so props to you, Limo Liner.
NYC has always been a love that my mom and I share, and I’m so glad to have gotten to make this trip with her. While I did miss spending Thanksgiving with my dad and brother, and our California holiday crowd, I have no regrets from our awesome adventure. I can’t wait to return–it’ll be a while since I’m studying abroad in London next semester–and I’m just so glad I got to spend the weekend with my mom! Thanks mom, for everything. And happy holidays everyone!