On December 4, Mom and I got to do something that we've wanted to do for a while now: a girls' trip to New York! I planned the trip in honor of her birthday, which is December 23, and which is sort of a big one. Kyle talked me out of surprising her with the trip itself (he pointed out that being away for 3 days is sort of something you should plan for), but, thanks to Nana, there was a big surprise once we got there.


We had a great trip. We stayed in an apartment on the Lower East Side that I found through VRBO.com. I highly recommend it. We arrived on Thursday and wandered through the Lower East Side, Little Italy, and SoHo. We visited Prada, Kate Spade, and many other fancy stores.

After wandering we went to dinner at Little Giant in LES, thanks to Mike's suggestion. We had a 6:00 reservation and I was worried that mom was going to either be not hungry yet, or be worn out from all the traveling and want to crash after dinner (she did get up at 4 a.m. that morning to get to the airport!).

After we ordered, I pulled out a birthday card for her and let her open her big surprise: the card played White Christmas and tucked inside: Broadway tickets to see Irving Berlin's White Christmas and Nana's birthday card. She was shocked and started crying. It was a great reaction.

When dinner was over we took the subway up to the theater, which I thought was at 34th and Broadway. No theater. I called Kyle, and he said, no, it's 211 35th St. We run to 35th. Up and down, no theater. I call him back, he says, no, it's 45!!! At this point, it's 5 minutes to show time. Mom calls Nana at some point in all of this running around to thank her, and Nana says, "Aare you not there yet?!?! You're late!!". Yeah. Got that.

I try to hail a cab and get a town car. Of course. We're 10 blocks away, my feet are killing me (heels, of course, b/c I intended to go straight there). We sweet talk Omar, our driver, and he takes our lives in his hands and drives through a CLOSED OFF street to get us there. He says it's $20, we both throw him a $20 (yes, that would be $40 total to go 10 blocks) and run into the theater.

We missed the prologue, but our seats were great and she loved it and they made it snow in the theater at the end.


On our second day we did a tour bus from Times Square to the financial district. Then we got off and took the Staten Island ferry to Staten Island and back, and got to see a good view of the Statue of Liberty. Then back up the east side of Manhattan for 5th Avenue visiting Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, and FAO Schwartz; we had yogurt at Bloomingdales (a New York must-see for me); we wandered through Central Park and saw the skating rink and Literary Walk; we visited the Plaza (gorgeous flowers); we had dinner at Serendipity (gorgeous decorations); we went to Rockefeller Center and saw the Christmas Tree, the skating rink, and the Carol of the Bells light show. We visited a pop-up Charmin bathroom in Times Square, and danced on a stage to a toilet paper song (HILARIOUS!!!).

The only drama was that we got back on our on/off bus to go from Times Square to the Empire State Building and it turned out not to be the same on/off tour we'd bought, but a no-stop night tour. So I had to talk to the tour guide into making a special stop for us. Then I got into a little tiff with the security guy at the Empire State Building who told me there weren't any bathrooms and to go to Starbucks to go to the bathroom. Now, Starbucks was about 20 feet away, but I paid $20 for that ticket and it better come with bathrooms. It was the principle of the thing. Don't tell me there are no bathrooms when I know there must be. Ugh. But we made it up and got to see all of Manhattan laid out in lights.

But really, these were no big deal. And the Charmin bathroom place was hilarious.


On our last day I'd thought Canal Street, but when we drove down Canal on our tour Mom looked a little scared. :) Instead we wandered around the West Village, Greenwich Village, and Tribeca. Finally we went to Macy's to see Santa Claus (a must-see for any Miracle on 34th Street fan).

I could not have asked for a more wonderful trip.