A 72 hour Christmas Surprise in New York City

America New York City travels


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!

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