I learned two things on this trip.
1. All stereotypes about NYC are true.
2. NYC is the heart of Christmas.
1. Seriously. The accent, yelling over cabs, overweight cops eating bagels and donuts, the fast pace, the smells (good and bad), etc. New York is a lot like what you see in the movies and on tv. I wasn't disappointed.
2. Christmas is New York is better than you would expect. I feel like now I know what Christmas is supposed to be like. Every bar and restaurant we went to was decked out with Christmas decorations. So were most stores. Rockefeller Plaza and the surrounding stores could be part of the north pole. We saw a firetruck that had Christmas lights all over the front of it. Everyone wished you a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. Even the strip club we walked by on Broadway had a huge Nutcracker statue and the bouncer was dressed as Santa. I felt the immediate need to come home and decorate our house more. I cannot be outdone by a strip club.
I learned four things about New York.
1. All stereotypes are true
2. It is Santa's workshop
3. It is all about the bakeries
4. The shopping is varied and wonderful
3. Their bakeries are serious. I didn't eat anything bad (although I had help from a friend picking the good ones). Also there are bakeries on every block. We had cupcakes from Magnolia bakery which were so cute and delicious. At Amy's bread I had a scone and my husband had brioche and they were both fabulous. The brioche was the best I had EVER tasted. At Sarabeth's I had a breakfast sandwich on a croissant with ham and gruyere. The croissant was as light and fluffy as a pillow. We made several trips to Le Financier for macaroons. They were huge and very tasty. Especially the cassis one we had. At Le Pain Quotidien (which we called the pain quotient) I had another fantastic scone topped with ricotta cheese and paris ham. I plan on recreating that experience for breakfast every day possible. They also have a hazelnut spread that puts Nutella to shame.
4. The shopping was better than I could have imagined. I was picturing big department stores and name brands. That really isn't my kind of shopping. I knew there would be cute little boutiques too, and there were. The star of the shopping show, however, were the pop-up holiday markets. We went to five of them. They are temporary stores with lots of vendors selling anything you could imagine but mostly things that you couldn't. They ranged from kind of fancy (the Grand Central Station holiday market) to hipster and gritty (Artists and Flea pop-up shop in Chelsea market). I pretty much did all my holiday shopping at these markets and we both bought plenty for ourselves too. We would have bought more but that would have also required buying an additional suitcase. We seriously spent hours in these markets, shopping, pining and chatting with the vendors. I would like to live in Chelsea market please.
I learned six things during my trip.
1. Stereotypes - real
2. Santa lives there
3. Bakeries, you will eat until you explode and you will be happy to do so
4. Shopping, you will shop until you are poor and you will be happy to do so
5. It really is the city that never sleeps
6. I want to go to there, again
5. I felt safer in NYC at night than I do in Minneapolis and St. Paul. It is mostly because there are always people on the street. Walking back to our hotel at 2am we never went down a street without at least 3 other big groups of people walking as well. And many of them seemed to be just starting their nights.
6. As promised by everyone who has gone before me, I am already planning a return trip. We didn't make it to any of the other burrows or most museums. I am told that if I go to Brooklyn I may just settle in, never to return to MN.
We really crammed a lot into our trip. We only had 3 full days so we kept moving the whole time. We made it to the Nutcracker in Lincoln Center, the NBC studio tour, Top of the Rock, the Museum of Natural History, and a taping of the Letterman show plus lots more cute restaurants and shops. We really couldn't have done it without an awesome itinerary made for us by a friend and advice from my brother and lots more friends. Thanks everybody!