Category Archives: New York City

A 72 hour Christmas Surprise in New York City


This year I had plans for a very chill Christmas break. Jon and I had both been working a lot and I was looking forward to ten full days of sleeping late, reading books, playing video games and taking country walks (and eating cheese…..lots of cheese). However, Jon had different plans, and on Saturday morning – the very start of our little break – he had me sit down and open a gift from him. The gift? Tickets to the Christmas Eve showing of the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. We’ll skip the part where I froze and also asked if the Rockettes were coming to London, and skip right to the part where we flew to New York City, business class like some feudal lords or something. Can you believe it?! This guy. Look at that sneaky face.

Give me all your wine and all of your veggie delights, British Airways. Also your slidey-out chairs that turn into beds! 

But the surprises didn’t stop there! We landed in New York City and under the guise of waiting for a taxi, Jon managed to shock me again  – turns out he’d brought my mom to New York City too! I’d been worried she would be spending the holiday alone after ending a long relationship mid-year, but there she was, ready and rarin’ for her first visit to the Big Apple. It was nearly ten pm by the time we got to our hotel in Midtown, but we were all so excited that we dropped off our things and headed back out for a little wander down to Rockefeller Center. We even managed to time it perfectly and catch the gorgeous Christmas lighting special nearby. A great intro to the holiday season in NYC if ever there was one.

We were in town from the 23rd-26th, so it was all a whirlwind. There was lots of walking, lots of eating, and lots of drinking. 

A little Central Park walkabout. 

We spent some time at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Christmas Eve day. I can’t stop thinking about the Japanese art exhibition – this deer is actually a taxidermy specimen, then covered in glass bulbs of varying sizes. 

My mom had never been to any museum before, so it was really fun walking around with her – upon seeing her first real Picasso, she freaked out a little bit and it was very cute. Modern art she didn’t enjoy so much, unsurprisingly. We’ll get there!

Christmas Eve itself we walked down to Radio City Music Hall and took in the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular – essentially Jon planned the New York City trip that I’d dreamed about as a 12 year old girl. Those kicks! There was a section where all the dancers were dressed as Santa and it looked like there were hundreds of Santas everywhere. Both creepy and charming.

Then we headed to Dos Caminos for a traditional Christmas Eve meal of Mexican food and margaritas. Hooray! 

Christmas Day came, and we again did a lot of walking – even went to Times Square for my mom’s sake. A Blade Runner-esque dystopian nightmare, but still, so bright and shiny! 

Then we made our way to brunch at the stunning Fine & Rare. We split a delicious cheeseboard and munched on that while drinking cocktails and enjoying the jazz band that was playing. I could have stayed here all day.

However Jon had other plans, and eventually we got a cab to Hell’s Kitchen to make our reservation at PRINT, where we ate and drank until late in the evening before taking in the views of the Manhattan skyline at night from their rooftop lounge upstairs. My mouth is watering thinking about it. (The food, not the views)

Our last day in New York was the coldest yet – I haven’t actually experienced weather below freezing in maybe….5 years? So it was intense. We headed down to Battery Park and the 9/11 Memorial and then had breakfast inside the Oculus, which is a super creepy underground mall kind of thing that looks like a rack of ribs poking out of the ground. 

Then my mom was off, back to Ohio. She drives me crazy, and we almost murdered each other several times, but I love her and it was really lovely having the opportunity to see the city with her this way. (See below for my crazy eyes). 

With my mom gone and 9 hours left until our flight, Jon and I continued our explorations, stopping off at a great Korean restaurant for lunch, hitting up the library, and then making the executive decision to see the new Star Wars movie in Imax at a theatre in the Garment District.

Our flight was at 10pm that night and we got back home around 10 in the morning Wednesday. I slept nearly the whole way home, barely making it through the dinner service on the plane before zonking out. I don’t think we’ll be spending a Christmas like this again any time soon. (JON THAT IS NOT A CHALLENGE)

Now for a New Year’s Eve as quiet as I thought Christmas would be….and yes, there will be lots of cheese.

To read about a more summery NYC visit – go here!

Three days in New York City

I hesitate to use the word epic since it so rarely is used anymore to describe things that are actually epic by definition, but I’d say a 17 day road trip across 4 American states and 5 major cities ticks all the boxes for epic in my own life, so here we are.

Several weeks ago, Jon and I flew into the hell hole that is JFK International Airport on Wednesday evening, and the heat that greeted us as we walked out of the terminal was like a breath of new life into my cold, damp lungs. We ubered into the city (can we use Uber as a verb yet?) and eventually found our hotel, the trying-very-hard-to-be-trendy W Hotel on Lexington. It was very nice, but the minibar had a Snickers that cost a ridiculous $12 USD so we steered very very clear of that nonsense. The bathroom was pretty much as big as our flat here though, so all is forgiven.



Three days isn’t really that long, and our trip mostly consisted of eating (shortlist of what was eaten: bagels, ice cream, very bad Italian food, very good tacos) and revelling in time spent with one of my best and oldest friends who now lives in the city and has a fancy job at Christie’s, meaning he’s smack in the middle of Rockefeller Center every day, watching them film The Today Show.

There he is! There we are!





I’ve been to NYC a few times, but Jon hadn’t been since he was a little kid, when his family lived in Connecticut and his dad worked in the heart of Manhattan, commuting in every day and leaving the little Norris fam out in the suburbs. Wandering around with Jon and his fresh eyes was particularly fun, especially as he acclimated his very British self to the streets (and people) of New York. It was like dipping a toe into America before heading straight to the deep end further on in our trip – I always think that NYC is much more European than American in its sensibilities, so it’s a good middle ground on the spectrum.
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There wasn’t much on our bucket list really – we are both big fans of wandering and picking a thing or two to do per day, filling in the rest of the itinerary around that, all very low-key. We only had one full day in the city anyway, but our list included a walk down to Battery Park to take a look at the tip of the island, waving to the Statue of Liberty from afar.


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There she is – way out yonder.



I also really wanted to take a moment at the memorial to the World Trade Center and 9/11. It was sobering, and much more emotional poignant than I could have possibly expected. I think it’s a fantastic space and they’ve done such a good job with it as a place of remembrance. I’m very certain I couldn’t make it through a visit inside though – outside was more than enough.




Walking and eating took up most of our time. It was very very hot and you may be surprised to hear that Jon and I aren’t really used to that sort of thing, living in England as we do. It was amazing just to be outdoors with no need at all for a secret hidden jacket in my bag, but also it was very sweaty and I immediately got sunburned. Worth it.


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New York, your parks are too beautiful.



Bagels were a big draw for both of us. We went to the same place around the corner of our hotel both mornings – a little place called Fresh & Co. It’s a chain in NYC with a dozen or so locations, and I highly recommend it. They have lots of healthy options, including gluten-free bagels and turkey bacon/sausage, but they also do all the regular stuff, and their salads look amazing too. The staff was also delightful.



Jon ate four bagels over the course of two mornings. He is dedicated to carb loading.



We just had to walk through the Beaux-Arts beauty that is Grand Central Terminal. We were walking by and you can just stroll right on it, so it seemed like a good thing to do.





Another must visit was the American Museum of Natural History. After a lazy lunch in Central Park (where Jon and his bottomless pit of a stomach ate an entire tray of street meat and rice while I had a cherry ice cream sundae), it was off for a few hours in one of my favorite museums in the world. What a place.




It seems like a building that’s locked in time. I can very easily imagine ol’ Teddy Roosevelt wandering around its halls.





And there are dinosaurs!


On Friday morning, slightly worse for wear from a rowdy dinner the night before in the Meatpacking District with a couple of friends, Jon and I had just enough time to down another bagel and coffee breakfast before taking a walk over to Rockefeller Plaza to poke around and take in the hustle and bustle.


I’ve never seen a building with as many American flags – Saks Fifth Avenue is a pretty patriotic place, apparently.

And then it was back to the airport for our flight to New Orleans. Three days (really two) could never be enough in that beautiful city, but it was a great way to whet the appetite for the rest of our stay in the US. I can’t wait to go back.

Three days in New York City – A very loose itinerary

(in case you’re looking for a little inspiration)

Day One: 

Check in at the W Hotel

Blockheads Burritos for burritos and margaritas

Day Two: 

Fresh & Co for coffee and bagels and then…the walking begins

Washington Square Park

9/11 Memorial and Museum

Battery Park (then go all the way back up north – could walk along the Highline if you give yourself time)

American Museum of Natural History (leave a few hours for this – also it’s pay as you wish, but only if you talk to someone in person at the till)

Hotel to freshen up, hotel bar for a drink

Dinner at an Italian restaurant that I wouldn’t recommend to anyone because it was both expensive and not good. I think it was called Santina? Then more drinks at a German beer garden nearby.

Day Three:

Fresh & Co for more coffee and bagels

Walking – this time to Rockefeller Plaza

Hotel check out and back to JFK