My parents have decided that they’re gonna change things up. Instead of doing gifts like usual for our birthday and Christmas (or in Dan’s case the same day) we’re going to start going on trips as a family. The first trip in this new Holiday family tradition was a Thanksgiving in New York.
See video here: NYC video
Dad was invited by a friend to walk in the Macy’s day parade as a balloon holder (bucketlist item??) and the rest of us thought it’d be fun to tag along. So with some recommendations from friends (thanks Warcups!) we booked our stay at the Algonquin Hotel and off the New York we went!
Since Sean and I live closest to NYC we got up there early Monday morning before the rest of the family arrived and we took the morning to explore on our own. We started at Time Square which was about 2 blocks from our hotel. We then made our way up to the Plaza Hotel.
And yes Sean did sing the Home Alone them song the ENTIRE WEEK!!
We then ventured into central park, which is amazing! It was so fun just walking around the city exploring. While in Central Park I ran into a mutual friend from BYU (small world), we checked out the skating rink, and of course got some good ole Starbucks hot chocolate (because 60 degrees if freezing to us Floridians)
After some time exploring we headed back to the hotel just as mom, dad, and dan arrived from the airport. While living away from family isn’t always a lot of fun I always really enjoy the reunions that take place when we haven’t seen each other for awhile!
After exploring the hotel a little we walked over to time square and got tickets to see School of Rock on Broadway. We had a couple of hours to kill before the show began so we found this quaint little Italian restaurant down the road and had an amazing dinner (again with the food!). The play was amazing! Such a fun production and the actors were amazing little kids!
The next morning (Tuesday) we woke up bright and early for homework…haha well Sean and I did…well Sean did, I woke up semi-early. Anyway, we grabbed some bagels (New York bagels, yum!) and hopped on the subway down to the ferry to go to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We chose to sit on the top deck of the ferry, which in November is a very cold endeavor! Especially since the day was already cold and windy to begin with.
Our first stop was Ellis Island. We took a tour around the island, which a tour with my mother takes about double the time (not a bad thing, just long), but she wasn’t too bad this tour ;). I loved this part of the trip. It’s amazing to learn about those people that came to this country with hopes and dreams of a new life. Over the last year we’ve really been working on family history so to think of our ancestors that may have passed through this place was really cool.
From here we hopped back on the ferry and rode over to the Statue of Liberty, another amazing place to visit. At this point we were about frozen from the wind and still ended up having to wait on the dock for 30 min to get on the ferry…they were the coldest 30 min of my life (exaggeration, but still really cold).
Once back on dry land we headed to the Twin Tower memorial. Talk about a humbling experience. The memorial is absolutely amazing, if you’re ever in NYC you have to go see it. It is so humbling to hear the stories of heroism, service, and sacrifice that so many people made. We spent a few hours in the memorial and then headed back up to the subway to head back to the hotel.
That night Dan went to the Knicks game with a friend who was living in NYC at the time and dad, mom, Sean, and I headed to this diner we’d seen on the Food Network. It was known for its cheesecake and so we obviously had to check it out! The cheesecake did not disappoint, it was AMAZING! Seriously, if we’re ever back up there we are for sure going back there! (my mouth is watering just thinking about it!)
Wednesday was homework/class day for me and Sean. Mom, dad and Dan took off early for a Civil War tour of the city while Sean and I stayed back to work on homework. After my class was finished we bundled up and walked to Bryant Park where they had a bunch of booths, restaurants and an ice rink set up. There was so much good-looking food there I’m impressed we didn’t buy more of it! But we contained ourselves to Applecider donuts (yum!) and some street tacos. I’m telling you Sean and I really do plan out our trips around food!! We then met up with the rest of the group and spent the night walking through Bryant Park and the surrounding streets.
The next day (thursday) was thanksgiving. The day began really early for dad as he headed to the start of the parade to get his float. He’d been assigned to the Paddington Bear float, super cool! Anyway, mom then headed over to 5th Avenue (i think) and staked out some spots for us to watch the parade from-thanks mom! The rest of us joined her and anxiously awaited for the parade to start…and waited…and waited. Finally, we saw the first balloons heading our way, I never thought I’d be so excited to see a parade, but i was freezing at this point (Florida has ruined me!).
After the parade we headed to thanksgiving dinner at Benjamin’s steakhouse. By the way, steak for Thanksgiving, such a great thing!! Once finished with dinner we headed down to Grand Central Station because I mean we’re in New York so of course we had to!
We then headed up to the Empire State building. I cannot imagine how they built that building!! It’s crazy to think of the men walking on those iron pillars that far in the sky (good thing OSHA wasn’t around back then ;). The city is spectacular at night, the lights from time square I’m sure can be seen from the moon and even crazier is how quiet it is up there. You can see the craziness below, but aside from the occasional honk it’s silent up where you are.
Friday was our last day in the city (sad) but real life still exists even on vacation! Dad and I headed out early to hunt down breakfast, which was a success! Seriously there’s something about NYC breakfast sandwiches because they are delicious!! We all then headed up to Central Park.
We of course stopped by the Balto statue-this is totally one of the best movies ever! And Sean is determined to someday have a husky so maybe name it Balto (cliche?).
After a few hours exploring not even half of Central Park (it’s huge!) we hopped on the subway and headed down to a museum called the Tenement Museum. Another suggestion of the Warcups’ (thanks again!). Basically it’s a tour of the tenement houses that immigrants lived in after immigrating to the US. We listened to story after story of these families, what they went through to get to the US and what they went through once here. It makes one very grateful for our ancestors and their sacrifices for better lives.
Finally we ended the night at probably one of the coolest restaurants I’ve been to, Beauty and Essex. The front of the restaurant is a pawn shop and behind the “employees only” door is a super swanky restaurant. The food was great and the restaurant was awesome.
Saturday morning was an early one as we all packed up and headed to the airports.
This trip was so fun! We saw a lot, walked a lot, and of course ate a lot! I’m thinking this new tradition is going to be a good one!