My son and I had the most wonderful Christmas trip in the Big Apple. We spent 5 days in the city including Christmas. Our hotel, The Wellington was the perfect "home base" in the heart of everything (7th Ave and 56th st). Some reviews complain about its' older, tired look needing revamping but we found it perfect just the way it is. Very clean, hot water in the tub, nice big mirror central in the room, friendly staff and cozy coffee shop on the ground floor. The Christmas tree in the lobby was beautiful. The only suggestion I have for the hotel is a bit more seating. A big thank you to all the New Yorkers on this forum who suggested and guided me through the Air Train from JFK into Manhattan which was not only economical but fast. Got on the E train around 4 o'clock which dropped us 2 short blocks from our hotel. We walked down to Times Square that evening and ate at Bubba Gump's. It was crowded but we only waited about 15 minutes for a table right at the window overlooking the light show. The food was fine, especially the seafood hush puppies. The young wait staff really hustled and was friendly. Breakfast at the Brooklyn Diner was a pleasant surprise, the polenta with the eggs was delish and so were the "designer latkes" the host was doling out from a tray. The other dining delights included Grand Pho in Chinatown which was warm and cozy and passed my 14 year old's critical pho soup test (thumbs up). Essa bagel was crowded but the woman working there was getting people seated in the tight quarters quickly. We journeyed down to the Village on Christmas Eve to a little place called Fish where we dined on really yummy seafood, and again, very friendly staff and charming environment. We went to hear Handel's Messiah at Carnegie Hall (my son plays the violin and piano), what a treat stepping into that beautiful space and thinking about all the fantastic performances from the past. It was heaven. Afterwards we went to the Italian Trattoria across the street for an after the performance dinner. Again, terrific food and ambience. One of the days we met up with two people I went to grad school with (art) at the Met. The weather was so glorious that we walked all the way there and back. The new Islamic wing was fantastic and my son enjoyed the Egyptian treasures as well. As the place was nearing closing I hustled us through the Rembrandt room since I could not leave without seeing those magnificent portraits. On the walk back, we would stop and get peanuts, hot dogs, and they were lighting a giant menorah at the park near the Plaza. We also dropped in on Grand Central Station and spent a day at the American Museum of Natural History. I planned ahead and made a reservation before leaving Arizona for Fishtail by David Gardner. What a beautiful ambience on the upper east side ( what I would give to live THERE.....) We did the fixed price menu, and I dined on a fish called bronzino while my son had the salmon. The young waiter was so pleasant and engaged my son in conversation. The upstairs interior where we were seated had colorful paintings of fish, and I must say that the conversation between the two glamorous ladies seated next to us, and the man who joined them wearing a full length fur coat, kept my son and I winking at each other all through dinner. As evening settled in they turned the lights down a bit, and the sky through the tall windows turned a stunning deep blue. Afterwards we met up with an old Ohio high school friend of mine who recently moved to Manhattan, the view from their apartment near the Queensboro Bridge was breathtaking. My friend refers to the buildings outside her window as "the giants". We walked along Park Ave and took in all the store windows, the Apple store, the cardinal dressed in Alexander McQueen, Gaga's workshop, Bloomingdale's Facebook feed.....and then we stopped at a burger place to wrap up the night. And by the way, there were PLENTY of places open for food on Christmas! The next morning I grabbed some donuts and coffee from Fluffy's down the street before we packed up and headed home. Thank you New York and New Yorkers for a very memorable trip. In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger......."I'll be back".
Amazing NYC Christmas trip
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