NYC was absolutely mobbed today. Mom was feeling ill yesterday, and none of us got much sleep last night / Friday night (gosh is it Sunday already?)
Mom was actually in a fairly good mood today for herself. Oh, M noticed that the seldom, for M, times she'd be dancing in the street or on the bus, Mom would fuss at M to stop. She wanted my SIL and first-time to NYC niece, to say what they wanted to do (but they honestly were not terribly concerned, all of us speaking up more as the day went on).
An online friend from Long Island, whom I've met up with before, would be coming into Manhattan herself, dinner and "the tree," just not when we would. Ah, another time:0 WOW, there was live music there I think I heard, and translucent angels with trumpets lining the path, I think, seeing them from the bus for we saw "the tree" from the other side.
Happened upon Bryant Park, as our intentions to view window displays got derailed by some rally. The NYPD gave us this nice but firm explanation as if to tourists, and I smiled and said we're from the DC area, we "get" it that these happen, and we need to move. It's okay, part of city life.
Ahhh, but Bryant Park . Warm weather for December, hardly needing a jacket. It's as if a lower-key version of Rockefellor center, yet with outdoor vendors in matching little somewhat permanent, clear-sided booths. Some had items dangling (I meant to look further at those ornaments! I was hoping to get one for BJ.) All open-air booths, many with hand crafted items. I paused at two booths with South American wares. M is doing a country report, in Spanish, on Bolivia, see.
There is a fountain there, not running right now but nice for sitting. Free skating! Oh, I will remember this place:) Voices, music and singing, I could never figure out WHERE exactly. The announcer concluded the program, thanking The Chorus Line. The Russian Waltz from the movie, Anastasia, is one of my very favorites; I did enjoy hearing that today. (Once Upon a December was on of M and my favorite waltzes when she was a girl.)
Niece loved Times Square, EVERYTHING. We did more walking about, the "usual" things such as St. Patrick's Cathedral, and Saks 5th Avenue window displays we viewed from a distance. The lines, the lines. Even a line to get into American Girl Place (sorry, M, next year???)
We had 3 hours to spend before meeting for lunch. We found a cool NYC with red lights on the Christmas tree mug at Starbuck's, cuz of course, there are tons of Starbucks there and we treated ourselves. Mom doesn't usually drink these drinks, the fat content can be high, yet it's her birthday today (Sunday!), we're in NYC, the peppermint mocha latte tasted like a peppermint patty to her. I got mine with white chocolate instead (preferring the same at Border's for free! the other day, with crushed peppermint on top, but I digress.)
M's classmate she drew as Secret Snowflake asked for cheap chocolate, or gift card to Target (or WalMart but I don't "do" walmart because of their policies towards their employees). Wow, a 3-story store for M&M's! Open only 9 days.
We showed niece the carousel inside Toys RUs, and ran into two girls, and families, from M's dance troupe! Amazing, really. They came up on a bus from a different area of Maryland, and also had 4:30 Rockette's tickets.
The fire in the street, bad enough to cause concern for the locals, the huge artwork of Christmas "lights," and red bulbs appearing to float on water at a large fountain, large snowflake lights on the sides of buildings, a large star hanging above an intersection.
Bubba Gumps for lunch. It was a late lunch, crowded waiting for our tables but it worked and was fun. When I saw another table had a sparkler for a guest, I asked the tour director if they could bring a special dessert for my mother, for her birthday. Sure! (They love those simple fun customer service things, I believe, and the wait staff smiled, no problem.)
Verified who was getting ice cream (part of our package deal, niece couldn't as she's vegan but naturally even after filling up on shrimp, and M on mahi-mahi fish and chips, we both said yes). Yep, they'll still do something for Mom. Great.
The table over the partition from us had two younger birthday girls, who giggled when told they'd promised to dance. We got our ice cream. Hmmm, nothing yet. Then, our waiter, a young guy in a younger Tom Hanks style, came over to my mother, "I need you to come out here with me, please."
M knew, but SIL and niece did not. Mom looked concerned, later said she'd wondered if she'd gotten a call. He asked her again before everyone moved. SIL and niece sat back down. "Now this young woman here is celebrating her 21st birthday.... " (Mom gets flustered and laughs; he puts his arm around her perhaps to keep her there? just gently?). "And she saw these other girls dance, and says she can dance her booty with the best of them." Or, something like that.
He then proceeds to dance a couple swing dance moves with my mother, who ends up shaking her butt just briefly, along with going along and dancing. Then the obligatory singing, their restaurant style.
She actually ENJOYED it! It is NOT something I'd have requested if I had known, cuz that really could have gone badly. But, she liked it! "Priceless" as they say:)
Yep, we also received the "Charmin Experience," a super nice (sinks in each room, set up like changing room stalls but full-floor doors, checked after every use via "ushers,") multi-floor restroom facility with cheerleaders and fun videos, and the big stuffed bear pulling a sleigh set up for photos. Not what we went for, but lol, what's New York City if not a place to really do it up? For, apparently, everything?
Rockette's were great, of course. The live nativity act the end is neat. SO many took photos of various scenes within that final act, as if lots of starlights flashing quickly and brightly. Mom was tisk-tisking, cuz all were asked to not take photos. I pretended it was them being so overwhelmed at taking in that scene:) YAWN.
M had wanted to spend Friday night at Mom's, but we discussed her homework, and she instead finished up some of it, working on some other aspects. SO SO SO much is due next week, it's ridiculous really. A few final projects, plus regular work. She brought homework on the tour bus, getting her math done (um, that was extra credit? Okay, honey, I'm proud of you for doing that, glad you took my advice and asked Mr. L yet again to explain this type of problem for you.)
At one point, I was outside with the bus driver trying to locate two of the remaining three passengers, and getting M and niece hot soft pretzels yum I haven't tasted one that good since, well, last time I was in NYC probably. He rattled off his assortment of items to put on a pretzel. I thought a moment, told the guy, "These are for two girls not from New York; I'd better go with plain." Niece says she'd have taken mustard oh well, me, too, but I didn't know.
"Grandma says we don't have to go up there tomorrow for her birthday." PHEW. Nothing against seeing her and spending the time, we'd discussed what she wanted to do even. Just, all that homework! Neither of us wishes to miss church in Advent again:) I talked w/ M about this later, alone. Mom had suggested we may be too tired, and M has homework. She won't feel slighted now, it means SHE is likely tired. Yawn. Thanks, Mom, for our Christmas gift of this trip, and, Happy Birthday. Bubba Gump swinging and all.
Hearing the Anastasis song, waltzing Once Upon a December........ so beautiful.
Way past my bedtime:) Oh, sure wish those loud talkers on the bus had taken a break SOMETIME, oy. Really nice people, just LOUD, louder than others sitting closer to us (such as the two temporarily lost women).
For a great shot: Christmas at Rockefeller Center