Friday, January 10, 2020

Christmas in New York City

Exactly a week before Christmas we went up to New York City for an overnight and to do all the Christmas things.  This was the first trip where Tatum really showed his toddler age and a lot of excitement over things - it's such a fun time for us as he can enjoy things a little bit more.  

The traffic going into the city was worse than we've ever seen before (and Derek having used to work in NYC, we've driven in a lot) so I was nervous the city would be the same.  Luckily, since it was a Wednesday, things weren't bad at all.

We got a little delayed with traffic but had enough time to drop our bags off at the hotel and walk over to see the tree for a few minutes and right to our noon reservation at Bills Bar & Burgers - it gets pretty crowded during the holidays since it's so close to the tree.  It's nothing special but we used to go a lot when we were dating and my train would get in - it's a great family spot for us now though.

Very close to the tree there was a pop up bar that welcomed kids and had anything from wine and beer to hot chocolate so we spent a quick bit of time there to enjoy the tree before moving on.

Our next stop was FAO Schwartz - we waited in a quick line and then were in.  I remember last year saying "next year Tatum will be at such a fun age for this" and he was!  He went into the store running and was literally the definition of a kid in a toy store.  We just let him play and run around and didn't leave with anything as we'd already done so much Christmas shopping already. 

We walked over to Bryant Park next and walked around a bit then Tatum loved watching the skaters. We had plans to let him skate the next day (with our help and the things you can push and skate) as skates started at size six but it was so so cold... next year!

We walked down to Macy's next to go to Santaland.  I had seen online you had to make a reservation but I thought that was just to meet Santa but it was actually for the whole experience so we left pretty quickly.  We could have gotten in the next day but decided not to go back.

We took a taxi closer to the Upper East Side to run in one boutique to grab a final quick special Christmas gift (and saw Jennifer from RHONJ).  We went into the store and it was a nice sunny day and we came out and it was heavily snowing.  People's phone's had gone off constantly in the store with updates about a snow squall but we didn't really get it until we got outside - it was actually kind of neat to see and luckily Tatum was covered in the stroller for the not too long walk back to the hotel.

He took a much needed late nap in the room while Derek and I had a nice amount of time to rest before heading out for the evening.

We usually stay at the Lowell Hotel but got this trip together last minute and also really wanted to keep things centered around family activities so stayed at the Lotte New York Palace and it was perfect for this trip.  It was about a block over to Rockefller Center and the tree and our room was great.

This was the first time we tried two queen beds instead of a king and a crib since it was just one night. Tatum and I shared one bed and he did fantastic (even if bedtime was 11pm that night - he really goes with the flow which I can't be more thankful for).

The hotel was very busy during the happy hour time and while Tatum was allowed into the bar areas, there wasn't a ton of space so we used one of the tables in the big lobby area - we were actually seated near and older southern couple from Atlanta who were kind as could be and we loved talking to.

We switched our trip from going Monday to Wednesday about a week or so before to be able to attend Tatum's Christmas party at school so the only dinner reservation we could get at the location we wanted was at 8pm but that worked well for us actually with his late nap.

This also gave us plenty of time to do any nighttime attractions we wanted before dinner and then just head back to the hotel after.  Right after we started walking another snow squall popped up and by the time we got to the tree just a few minutes later it was the perfect Christmas new york moment - it made it so special.

After the tree, a little bit of the Saks light display and watching the skaters, we walked past Radio City Music Hall and then braved Times Square to pop into the Disney Store since it was on the way to dinner.

We ate at Tony DiNapoli's Italian restaurant since we loved it so much the year before (next year we will definitely go earlier though as it was crowded and not many kids by the time we got there).  We were supposed to meet good friends from college for dinner but because of the snow they couldn't make it.  Tatum ate his pasta and watched a show as he was getting a little tired so Derek and I enjoyed splitting somethings and enjoying our meal.

Rockefeller Center was on the way back to the hotel so we stopped to let Tatum watch the Saks Light Display since we'd only caught a tiny bit of it before.

We slept in the next morning, packed up our things and checked them at the front desk and then headed outside.  It was COLD!  We knew it was going to be really cold today but it was really really cold.  We walked to The Palace Hotel for breakfast at Palm Court.  Tatum went to town on his pancakes, I got eggs benedict and Derek got the buffet.  We walked around the hotel a little bit afterwards.

Our other plans for the day included Central Park, a carriage ride, playground, skating, etc.  It wasn't even pleasant to be outside so we decided to just skip that since we had so much fun the day before. Next year we'll make Central Park a priority since we skipped it last year too.

We had to get back home by mid afternoon anyway since Derek had meetings so we just decided to go ahead and get out of the city earlier and start the drive home.

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