Labor Day NYC

This was kind of a hectic trip. And NYC felt more gritty than it usually does. I didn’t really notice that in April, but maybe that’s because the weather was bad? We were also all pretty tired. It was hard to muster the energy the city requires.

We didn’t really have many plans going in. Watch some tennis, see a show, eat some food. So, we let the kids do a little investigating and plan some things they thought sounded fun. We were pretty bummed to miss Serena’s last match by just two days. We bought Sunday tickets in hopes that she would win on Friday. We arrived in NYC in the evening. We were going to get pizza for dinner and I just kept calling out the score with each shot as we walked down the sidewalk. Everytime we saw a TV, we’d stop and watch a few points. You can bet the entirety of NYC was watching that match. Sadly, she couldn’t pull it off. DANG IT!

Saturday Josh and Rusty were off to the Open early in the morning. The rest of us slept in and then went to Black Seed Bagel for breakfast. Halle and I had been dreaming of their homemade almond butter and jam bagel. So good.

Then we were off to do a little shopping. We loved showing Blake the Harry Potter store. That place is so amazing. He was a big fan of the butterbeer.

After awhile we made our way to Times Square. The night before Halle had looked at Hadestown tickets and decided to treat herself to THIRD ROW seats. I was so jealous. No one sat in front of her and so she had a totally unobstructed view straight to the stage. LUCKY!!

After dropping her at the theater, Blake and I were walking thought Times Square, and on the Invicta Watch store billboard it said, “Meet Shaq here today.” Blake definitely wanted to check that out. The line was more that 2 blocks long. I told Blake I was willing to wait about 1.5 hours. He said that sounded fair. He would have waited forever. Well…10 minutes later we were inside preparing to take our selfie. No other photos allowed. Only selfies. Those people know how to move a line! We barley had time to smile before we were out the door and it was over. Blake was pretty excited to “flex” on all his friends and tell them he got to meet Shaq. It was pretty cool.

Then Blake and I made our way to Central Park to ride the carousel. He absolutely loved the carousel when we spent the summer there and had named his horse Galaxy. We couldn’t remember exactly which horse was Galaxy, but we still had a nostalgic time. We walked around the park for awhile, enjoying the shade.

The next thing Blake picked was Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity 3. FINALLY, after all these years we made it happen. It’s adorable inside. And the frozen hot chocolate didn’t disappoint. It was delicious. The food on the other hand….not delicious. It was like $20 for a giant hotdog slathered in nacho cheese and bacon. I bet, after hearing that appetizing description, you are surprised to hear that Blake ate about 2 bites.

The last stop on our adventure was the Crocs store so he could get some jibbitz to glam up his blue crocs.

After we picked up Halle from the theater we all went back to the hotel and had a nap. I don’t think I’ve ever done that on a NYC trip before. It was heavenly! We needed our energy for our next event–The Beetle House. It’s a tiny, Tim Burton themed restaurant. It was so weird. Which made it so great. I was not aware that there were actual Tim Burton Characters who roamed the restaurant. Halle got to sing along with Jack Skellington, and Blake got to use his scissors from his Edward Scissorhands burger to chop his fries all up into teeny, tiny pieces.

Meanwhile….Josh and Rusty were having a blast at the Open. I’ll have to get one of them to write up how it went. One of the best moments was when they got to watch a match with partners Eubanks and Shelton. We thought that was close enough to Banks and Shelton, so we sent Ethan a picture. We all got a good kick out of that.

The next morning we went to Smogasburg. Usually a highlight. It kinda fell flat this year. Here’s what we ate:

  1. Rainbow Grilled cheese. Looked cool. Tasted Meh. 1 star
  2. Bao Tea House Lava buns. These were quite tasty. Black sesame seed filled with homemade custard and coconut milk. Sadly, one fell in the dirt. Halle also got that pretty tea. 4 stars
  3. CBao Buns. 3 stars
  4. Bite Mini donuts–HUGE MEH. 0 stars
  5. Bona Bona. This was pretty fun. Small batch ice cream with homemade Italian merengue torched on top. 4 stars
  6. No Picture. Mao Bao–we like these. Halle and I had them at WTC in April too. 5 stars
  7. Furbae Fruit ice. We are gonna figure out how he did this and do it with our shave ice machine at home! It was fun. Probably just a really complicated way to make a smoothie bowl, but the novelty was cool. 3 star taste, 5 star for creativity

We then were going to go to OneVanderbilt. But….it was sold out for the day. It was like 1:40 and all the broadway matinees started at 2. Rusty, Halle and Josh wanted to see Moulin Rouge, and so I was looking for something for Blake and I. We couldn’t find anything that was still selling online tickets. Everyone else raced to the theater and made it in the nick of time. Their seats weren’t great, but Derek (who plays Christian) walked in the aisle right past Halle at one point, so she was happy as a clam.

Blake and I headed to Rockefeller Center and hung out at the Nintendo Store and FAO Schwarz. We had a great time! At FAO Schwarz we saw an Oogie Boogie Build a bear. We immediately knew Halle would love it. So, after dinner at Dig, and after Rusty and Josh headed off for another evening of tennis (They got to watch Kyrgios and Medvedev duke it out) we went right back to FAO Schwarz and Halle got Oogie Boogie and Blake got Evie. We also stopped for some banana pudding and we tried the seasonal pumpkin flavor as well. Delicious as always. Then on to Beetlejuice! This was way better than I thought it might be. I actually liked it a lot. It was a bit crude in parts and Blake’s eyes were quite wide. I asked what he thought after the show and he said, “That’s not what I expected at all.” I’m still not sure whether that was good or bad. We snagged some cheesecake from Juniors on our way back from the theater and enjoyed sampling all the flavors while chilling in bed.

The next day we got smart and bought tickets to OneVanderbilt in advance. We hit up a delicious deli for sausage, egg and cheese on a roll and smoothies. I think it was called Olympia Deli. Another day on NYC, another meal eaten outside.

OneVanderbilt was so interesting. They did a good job making sure they weren’t like any other observatory in the city. It’s a social media dream come true. My favorite part was that we got to be up close and personal with the Chrysler Building. Poor Blake is such a good sport. He hated every minute, as usual, but he did make an appearance in the ball room. But there was not way in H-E-Double sippy straws that he was going to ride the outside elevator.

We then hit up the newest (ish) green space along the Hudson River. Little island is so cool to look at. And has a great view from the top. But….there isn’t really anywhere to sit or hang out. So, after walking to the top, there isn’t really a lot else to do.

Now Foodie tour time! Every person got to pick a spot. Josh picked Pommes Frites–a family favorite. Halle picked Mamoun falafel. This might have been my favorite. Blake picked some spicy ramen that we at at Washington Square park. Rusty picked his tried and true Rice to Riches. We also wandered by some yummy soft serve we had to try. And I picked Stick with Me Chocolates. They were FANTASTIC. And so very pretty to look at.

Now Family Night at the US Open! And I feel like I got no good pictures! We watched the only remaining American, Danielle Collins, get beat. I love the atmosphere of the US Open. It’s electric. Wish I could have stayed for one more match, but Halle and Blake were done with tennis. Josh and Rusty stayed to watch Alvarez play Cilic in an epic 5 setter.

On our final day Halle woke up at 5am and got herself to the airport. She had to be back for band rehearsal that afternoon. Rusty took Josh and Blake to the NYC office for lunch. They had a good time exploring all that there was to see. After that, Rusty stayed to work and then he caught an afternoon flight to San Francisco. It was a super rainy day, so the boys and I hit up the AMNH. It was fun, as always. They had a great shark exhibit this time. Josh’s final wish was to get burgers at the original Shake Shack. So, that’s exactly what we did. We sloshed through all the puddles and brought our burgers back to the hotel lobby to wait for our Uber to take us to the airport. Until next time New York…

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