Since we were only going to be in New York for 2 full days I decided it would be best to just focus on the upper half of the city so we could enjoy the scenes of Christmastime. Next time we go we’ll explore Lower Manhattan. We really enjoy walking cities. It’s the best way to see and get a feel for where you are. Over the two full days and two half days there, we walked over 27 miles!
Because of the time difference and not wanting to wake up early on our vacation, we took each morning slowly. Sleeping in is lovely. We stayed in Midtown/Chelsea. We were planning to have breakfast at The Breslin but decided against paying $17 for yoghurt and grapefruit. We had breakfast at a diner on our way to walk the east side of the city.
Walked past the Chrysler building and into Grand Central Station.
Walked past the U.N. building (this area of the city was clean and quiet) on the way to the Roosevelt Island Tram. This was another one of our favorite things. The island was such a contrast to the noisy, dirty city. We hardly saw anyone else there. Being surrounded by the East River and the sea smell reminded me that I was on the coast, which you’d never guess by being in Manhattan. The view across was nice. Walking hand in hand in the quiet rain was perfect.
Back to the Upper East Side, we walked to Maison Kayser, our favorite meal of the trip! The owner and executive chef is one of the best in Paris. He recently opened this location and we were excited to taste his fare. Since it was still cool and raining outside we ordered Gratinee a l’Oignon. I’m a sucker for French Onion Soup but many times it’s bland. This was NOT bland. It was the best soup I’ve ever had! Rob agreed. We ordered a side of Jambon de Paris (house-smoked ham) and a baguette. For dessert? Financier Pistache (like a pistachio cake) and Plie aux chocolat (chocolate and custard croissant) with an eclair chocolat and yuzu (japanese lemon) pastry to go. French desserts are so different from American desserts. They are so much less sweet that you actually taste flavors other than knock-you-down amounts of sugar. The first bites are always like, “Well that’s a little bitter and bland for a dessert” but a few bites in you can’t stop eating it because of all the nuanced flavors and textures. It makes your mind think about what you’re tasting where American desserts you have to stop after a few bites because they’re so rich and sweet. We had such a nice time at lunch that we didn’t really want to leave the warm restaurant (warm restaurant…how often does THAT happen??) back into the rain but the rest of the day was calling.
We walked through the lovely, sweet, well-to-do neighborhoods then on through a small section of Central Park.
Into the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
We knew we wouldn’t have time, nor would we want to, walk through the whole museum so we chose a few sections to visit. We’d already been to fine art museums in Paris so we wanted to see something different here.
Arms and Armor
The Costume Institute. The current exhibition is titled “Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire. I was so impressed and loved viewing the beautiful pieces. I was only disappointed because I thought there would be other costume exhibitions as well. I wanted to see more! Textiles are so fragile that they can’t be on display very long so they can only show a portion of their collection at a time.
Then we saw a few other sections as we walked by.
It was dark when we finished at the museum and a long walk to our next stop so we hopped on a bus to FAO Schwartz. I promised the kids we would Facetime them from the big toy store. I was expecting a large expansive space but it’s actually kind of closed off and dark and looking a little old. After the kids chose their souvenirs of toys they can buy from a million stores right at home, we went off to get dinner.
There are two food halls in The Plaza Hotel but only The Todd English Food Hall was open so that’s the one we chose to dine at. The ambiance was cool and slightly upscale and the food was good (Chicken and Ginger Handmade Dumplings with Lemongrass Pesto, Pappardelle Pomodoro with toasted garlic, tomato, basil, and whipped ricotta).
One funny thing, though. We were sat next to a couple of obnoxious women talking about their daughters menstrual cycles and how horrible it was try and get along with the girls. I ran to the restroom in the middle of this so Rob was left alone having to listen. He was glad when I returned.
By this time the weather was very windy and cold and it was getting late so we took the subway back to our hotel. We had an absolutely magical and marvelous day full of sites and tastes.