Friday, December 02, 2005

Jess and Maggi in Rockefeller Center, Thanksgiving Weekend 2005

I love taking my 16 year old niece away for weekend hops. She is a talented performer and New York City is the perfect place to take her for inspiration. Our last stay was at the Essex House and I wanted this trip to be totally different, so I booked a room at the Chambers Hotel.

Each floor is "done" by a different artist. We did had fun stoppping the elevator at each of the 15 floors to check them out. It was a fun place in a funky, college dormroom sort of way. The desk was a large piece of glass on wooden sawhorses with a roll of drawing paper you could pull out and doodle on. Jessica was all over that immediately. The coffee table was a varnished log. There was a huge mirror resting on the floor next to the bed. The best feature was the awesome shower (it felt like you were standing under a waterfall) and the soap. It was just called "Sea" and made your skin feel so silky. I inquired at the desk and it is not available commercially, but can be obtained through the hotel. The location was convenient for many of the attractions we wanted to visit, i.e. Rockefeller Center, MOMA and Fifth Avenue.

Our first day we started at our favorite breakfast place: Le Pain Quotidien on 7th at 58th Street. Jessica wanted to check out purses on Canal Street, and we didn't want to waste time so we grabbed a cab. The rest of the time we mostly took the subway (fares were only $1 a ride last weekend.) We are getting the hang of the subway system, mostly due to the "kindness of strangers".

On Canal Street Jessica was thrilled to get her favorite Angel cologne at what she thought was a steal. I picked up a Kate Spade knock-off for $14 for a young friend back home. There are rows upon rows of shops many of which look like they have the same products. Later, her other favorite shops were H&M, Element and Quicksilver. As for me, I was in heaven at ABC Carpet and Home in the Union Square area. We stopped at the Michel Cluizel chocolate shop in the back of the store for the most decadent demitasse of hot chocolate ever!

It was Black Friday and I had never seen such crowds in my life. I recklessly braved the Times Square ToysRUs for a gift for my baby grandson. After that experience we needed sustenance and we collapsed in the serenity of the Takashimaya store on 5th Avenue for afternoon tea and refreshments.

Our evening entertainment was The Woman in White, the latest offering by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The acting was good, and kudos go to Maria Friedman, who has been performing despite surgery for breast cancer recently. The most fun was watching Count Fosco do his trick with the live white rat.

After the theater we felt peckish and stopped at Ellen's Stardust Diner for good old American food. I'd never been, and was a little worried it might be too gimicky, but we had a blast watching the truly talented waitstaff sing, dance and wait on tables at the same time. They really seemed to be having a great time and I left a huge, well-deserved tip.

We had been up since 4:00am Detroit time and crashed into bed at 1:00 in the morning. We woke up in time to get to MOMA by opening time at 10:30. We first had cappuchino and a light breakfast in their cafe, after which we meandered through the galleries.

Lunch that day was at the restaurant Fleur de Sel at 20th and 5th. We had a fabulous three course prix fixe lunch for $25. It was a nice respite to our busy schedule. Afterward, in a desperate attempt to walk off some calories, we stopped at some boutiques on our way back uptown. Our ultimate destination was Rockefeller Center, as we had tickets to the Top of the Rock for sunset. I had read that due to the timed tickets there was a much shorter wait time than at the Empire State Building. That did not prove to be true on the day of our visit, but the wait was not too much longer than 45 minutes.

The elevator up to the top is a kick, you can see through the glass ceiling to the top and there is a movie playing on it. The Swarovski crystal chandelier is beyond description! It was donated by Swarovski to the Rockefeller foundation. A multi-media show on the history of the observatory helps kill the time while you are waiting to go up. At the top, the view is marred somewhat by the protective glass panels. You don't quite get the effect that the ESB has, in my opinion. If you take the stairwell another floor up, it feels a little more real.

I wanted to expose Jessica to the ice rink at Rockefeller Plaza, so we went to the Rockefeller Cafe for dinner. We were blessed to be be seated directly at the window so we could watch the skaters. We lingered over dinner and couldn't resist getting out onto the ice. I hadn't skated in 20 years and gingerly edged my way along the railing, while Jess flew across the ice like a bird. The tree was up but wasn't lit yet: no matter, the music and colored spotlights made for a really fun night. We even saw a couple get engaged - he got on one knee right on the ice - and everyone applauded. Jessica proclaimed the ice skating her favorite part of our weekend.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

one of my favorite experiences... by far! always a good time and a memorable experience...