Tuesday, December 07, 2010

How I spent Thanksgiving in NYC

Our family decided to spend Thanksgiving a bit differently this year.  On the day before Thanksgiving, myself, my wife and our three kids took the Metro North train into New York City.  It's roughly a one hour ride, depending on the train (local/express) and having done it before it's alot of fun for kids.  It's also very inexpensive (the kids only pay 75 cents each way) and relaxing (no need to fight with traffic and parking in NYC).   Once at Grand Central, we took a subway (also a fun adventure with three young kids) downtown to our old neighborhood - the East Village.

One of the best things about living in New York city was the food which is both tasty and cheap (if you know where to go).   We started out with Pomme Frites (French fries) for an appetizer, and then moved to Ray's Pizza.   Personally, I'm not a big fan of NYC Pizza bu if I had to pick one, I'd pick Two Boots.  My favorite pizza is Pizzeria Regina from my home town of Boston, MA.  I decided to pass on pizza and have a Tahini falafel instead.  

After eating, we headed uptown to the Agora gallery in Chelsea to see an art exhibit - Nathan Sawaya: the art of the brick.   My boys are huge fans of Legos and we thought this would be a great (and free) way to introduce them to art.   While the exhibit was rather small, the kids enjoyed it, particularly a sculpture of a "hand" where they could each add a red Lego brick to the sculpture.   After the art exhibit, I took my son uptown to the top of the Empire State building which was decorated in Thanksgiving yellow, orange and red lights.  We walked by Macy's department store where the parade preparations were aleady underway before taking the subway back to the East Village.  We had some pastries from Venieros up the street for dessert.

On Thanksgiving morning we took the subway uptown, bright and early to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  My wife had seen the parade in person before but for me and the kids, this would be our first time.   We camped out on 72th street, right by the Dakota building with our breakfast from Le Pain Quotidien.  It was cold and overcast and we didn't great viewpoint of the parade due to all the people.  We arrived late - only an hour before the pararde started. We had no problems, however, seeing the hot air balloons which we my kids' favorite.   We watched the parade for a little over an hour before the kids started to get tired and we left.

Since it was still early (just after 10am) we decided to go to the AMC Lowes Lincoln Center movie theater and see Megamind.  We rarely go to the movies as a family since it's so expensive but we thought it would be fun thing to do.  The movie was in 3D which I'm not a huge fan of since it drives up ticket prices even more.  However, we did take full advantage of the free soda and popcorn refills (3x!).   Both the kids and adults liked the movie.

After the movie, we headed back to the East Village to rest up and to watch the Patriots/Lions football game which the Patriots won, before going back out for Thanksgiving dinner.   It was drizzling so we decided to take the bus to Chinatown which is also a fun adventure with kids. One of our favorite restaurants is New Green Bo.  On a "normal" day there is usually a long wait but given this was Thanksgiving, we got a table right away.  While not a fancy restaurant by any means, the food is excellent.  Our favorites include: dumplings, Shanghai noodles and twice cooked pork.  The price is drop dead cheap and cost $28 for a family of five including tip.  Since the rain had let up, we decided to walk back home through Little Italy.   We stopped at Ferrara's for pastries and headed back home and called it a night.

The next morning we stopped at the East Village Cheese Shop for H&H bagels, cream cheese, and grape juice before taking the bus to Grand Central to take the Metro North train back home to Connecticut.   Once home, we started decorating for Christmas. 

In short, it was a great, and different, Thanksgiving with just our immediate family and one that I will always remember.

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