Thursday, December 14, 2023

2023 New York City Christmas Trip - Day 2

I recapped Day 1 of our trip to New York City earlier this week, so you can click here if you missed it.  Day 2, we were up at 6:30 AM to try and squeeze in as much as we could while we were there.  We were all ready to go in just over an hour, which was a miracle in itself since there were four of us all sharing one tiny room and bathroom.  Haha.

Our first stop was in the lobby of our hotel for breakfast.  Our room included free hot breakfasts every day of our trip, and we took full advantage.  They had a lot of choices Friday including cheesy eggs, breakfast sandwiches, hashbrowns, sausage, muffins, waffle irons to make your own waffles, and a variety of fresh fruits and yogurts and other grab-and-go items.

I had one of the omelet shaped eggs that was filled with cheese + a muffin and an apple and it was all really good.  Not too shabby for a hotel breakfast.

After breakfast, we set out towards Times Square to see what was going on at Good Morning America.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have anything going on, and all of the big hosts were off that day, so we headed in the direction of Rockfeller Center instead. 

We made a quick stop by the tree to see it during the day, and then we walked over to the NBC Headquarters to see if they were doing anything fun on The Today Show.  Again, there was nothing going on outside that day (boooo), but we did peep Al Roker inside while they were filming one of the segments.

Since FAO Schwarz is right across the street from there, we decided to duck in before it got too busy.  I wanted to get souvenirs for the kids, and I wanted Momma to see the big piano.  I ended up grabbing the cutest matching puppies (Patrick and Penelope) for the kids, and then I took them on our adventures for the rest of the day so I could show the kids what they did before they came home to Georgia.  ;o)

Since it was so early in the morning, FAO Schwarz wasn’t busy, and we were in and out pretty quickly.  After that, the plan was to walk to Serendipity and be in line for brunch by 10:30 AM since they open at 11.  There’s always a line there, so we knew we wanted to get there early and be one of the first groups in the door. 

The walk was pretty far from Rockefeller Center, so we stopped to take a bathroom break in Bloomingdale’s on the way.  I also stopped to snap a picture of The Waldorf Astoria on the way since it’s the hotel from Serendipity.  ;o)  It was under major construction, so its iconic facade was covered a bit, but that’s okay.

At Bloomingdale’s we had a little wardrobe malfunction in the group, but thankfully it happened at a department store, and a pair of Spanx faux leather leggings saved the day!  And since we had a little brown bag from Bloomingdale’s and because I was wearing my Rachel Green skirt, I had to snap a picture… it was a very Friends moment.  ;o)  If you’ve never watched Friends, Rachel is one of the main characters and she works at Bloomingdale’s in New York City for several seasons on the show.  She is also known for wearing cute little plaid skirts like the one I wore that day so I took full advantage of the situation.  ;o)


We ended up arriving at Serendipity at 10:45 AM which was about 15 minutes later than we’d wanted to be in line, but when we arrived, we realized that they were already open… apparently their operating hours on Google are incorrect.  Thankfully, there was no line outside (a first!) and we somehow managed to get the last available table in the whole restaurant!!

I love Serendipity because it’s the place where they ate frozen hot chocolate in the movie Serendipity (and it’s one of my favorite movies of all-time), and the two parts of the movie that are filmed in there were filmed upstairs.  I had been there twice prior to this trip and both times we were seated downstairs, so I was never able to see what it actually looked like upstairs where they filmed the movie, but on this trip, we lucked out (yet again!) and we were seated upstairs just across from the table where John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale sat for the movie!!  I was so excited!  Haha.

And even if you’re not a Serendipity movie fan, the restaurant is still worth going to 100%!  It is the cutest little place, and the food is fantastic.  They have tons of options, and while you’re there, you must save room for the frozen hot chocolate.  Mom and I ended up splitting a BLT and fries (because their food portions are HUGE), and we were still too full afterward so we opted out of the frozen hot chocolate. 

While we were there, the guy sitting next to us was celebrating his birthday, so we all sang to him, and I had to snap a picture of him because his t-shirt was so dang awesome.  Haha.  He and his wife were so nice, and we ended up chatting with them for a bit before we left. 

After brunch, the plan was to walk to Central Park and do all of the things there next, but unfortunately, we stepped outside to rain.  Boooo.  We knew the rain was coming, but it wasn’t supposed to arrive until later in the afternoon, so that threw a wrench in our plans.

Instead, we called an Uber and had him drive us to One Vanderbilt so we could do the observatory.  Well, unfortunately, when we arrived, there were no time slots open until 8 PM, so we had to pivot again.  While we were there, we walked to Grand Central Station since you can get to it underground from One Vanderbilt, and we were able to avoid the rain.

We used that time to soak up the sights there and take another bathroom break, and by the time we were done there, the rain had stopped.  A quick check of the radar and the hour-by-hour forecast showed that we would be in the clear from rain for the foreseeable future, so we Ubered to The Plaza Hotel so we could do all of the Central Park things.

First up, I had to show Momma The Plaza Hotel where Kevin stays in Home Alone 2 (this is Peter McCallister… the faaaather), and I also snapped some pictures of the pigeons for Olivia because she was obsessed with them last year when we took them to New York.  Haha.

We made our way to Central Park after that, and we walked to Wollman Rink so Momma could see the bridge that’s in so many movies + that iconic view of the skyline from Wollman Rink (another scene from Serendipity and also from Home Alone 2 + many other movies). 

One of the main things on Momma’s wish list was to ride in a carriage around Central Park, so we selected the best-looking carriage and horse, and then enjoyed a 20-minute ride.  Our driver was Irish, and he told us a couple of tidbits about his homeland and then he told us some random facts as we made the circle around Central Park.  He showed us where the Kardashians have a condo (I’m not a fan – haha), he pointed out several areas where movie scenes were filmed from Maid in Manhattan, Enchanted, and a few more, and he pointed out the most expensive apartment in all of New York City… it overlooks the park, and you can see it from the Wollman Rink area.  

Most of the leaves were already past their peak by the time we made it there, but we did get to see a sea of yellow leaves that had recently fallen and hadn’t quite had the chance to turn brown… they were just stunning.  Of all of the fall leaf colors, yellow is always my favorite.

After our ride, we were able to pet Bella, our horse, and she was really gentle and sweet.  She knew her name, too, because she would turn her head towards you when you said her name.

After our time there, we decided to walk up Fifth Avenue… that’s the street where all of the swanky stores are like Tiffany’s, Cartier, Coach, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, etc., so there were lots of pretty storefronts to see. 

On the way, we needed to take a bathroom break, but we didn’t want to have to navigate a busy department store, so we stopped inside Five Guys.  Most places keep their bathrooms locked and you can only use them if you buy something, but Five Guys doesn’t.  Just FYI if you’re ever in NYC and need a bathroom!  ;o)  While we were in there, I did buy a bottle of water, though, so we didn’t just use them for their bathroom.  ;o)

After our break, we walked the rest of the way to Rockefeller Center, and we had planned to go to Top of the Rock (the observation deck), but their ticket purchasing website was down.  Sigh.  We ended up going inside and getting in line, but by the time we got towards the front, they didn’t have any available timeslots right away and we would have had to wait an hour.  We didn’t want to do that because we were hoping to try to see The Rockettes that evening, and we would have had to rush through our time at the observation deck.

While we were there, I grabbed a picture of the kids’ stuffies with the Rockefeller tree, and while we were there, we also saw a couple who’d just gotten married, and they were taking wedding pictures. 

Since we had strike two at the observation deck, we decided to walk to Radio City Music Hall and see if we could get tickets to the 7 PM show to The Rockettes.  We had wanted to purchase tickets online in advance before we left for the trip, but the tickets were insanely priced.  Brian looked a week or so before we left, and for the Friday night show at 7 PM, the tickets were going to be around $260 EACH (excluding fees) for First Mezzanine.  That’s almost double what we paid for them last year when we took the kids. 

One of my friends who knows NYC very well had told me to wait and try the box office the day of the show because you can usually get them cheaper, so we went that route instead, and I’m SO glad we did.  We were able to get Orchestra seats for just $156 each and we didn’t have to pay fees at all.  They have so many shows that they don’t ever sell out, so apparently, you can get some really good deals if you just wait until the last minute and get them at the box office.

By the time we left Radio City Music Hall (with our tickets in hand) it had started to rain again, so we decided to go back to the hotel room to rest and freshen up before the show.  Naturally, we were getting there during busy time, so the elevators were a cluster yet again, but we finally made it back to our room.

Around 6, we stepped back out into the rain to make the short walk from our hotel to Radio City Music Hall, and thankfully, they let us in right away, so we didn’t have to stand in the rain.  We all got hot dogs and adult beverages to eat in the theater for dinner, and then we watched the show.

The show wasn’t super high on my Momma’s to-do list, but I’m so glad that we ended up getting to do it because she said it ended up being her very favorite thing that we did on the whole trip!  I had just seen the show last year, and it still had me riveted again this year.  It is just spectacular, y’all!

The show was over at 8:30 and we weren’t quite ready to go back to the room, so we walked to the Hard Rock Hotel that was right across the street from our hotel, but they didn’t have any tables or spots available at the bar.  Instead, we went back to our hotel and hung out at the bar there.  We had two rounds of drinks, and then we headed back to the room.  The Washington vs. Oregon game was on, so we watched the end of that, and we FaceTimed with Mama Cass to update her on our trip so far.

While we were getting ready for bed, I got a text from Brian sending this picture to me:

This is Maui sitting at the bottom of the stairs waiting for me to come downstairs and give her her treat.  :o(  Every evening after we put the kids to bed, I meditate and then I come downstairs, give Maui her treat, and then she snuggles in my lap while we watch TV.  Well, obviously I wasn't there, and this picture just broke my heart.  But don't worry, Brian took good care of her... he gave her the treat she gets every night and then he let her snuggle in his lap.  When I got home, I think I was more excited to see Maui more than anyone.  Hahahaha.  Only because she was the only one who didn't understand where I was and why I was gone.  Plus, I missed her birthday while I was gone, too.  :o(

After the game was over, all of the nighttime showerers got showered and ready for bed, and then it was lights out!

Happy Thursday, y’all!


  1. What a fun day! You did a great job going all over to the cool locations. When I was there I really wanted to go to One Vanderbilt but each time we had the opportunity it was raining. We want to go when you can see the view and not have it blocked by clouds!

  2. That is just crazy how much the Rockette's tickets were in advance. I don't remember them being that high. What a great tip to go in person to get the tickets! Such a great day!


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