The Holiday Squeeze

IMG_7287Thanksgiving was emptynest’s first holiday in the new nest and in the hunting and gathering chaos running up to the holiday, I might have underestimated the tight squeeze of having eight humans live in a 2 bedroom apartment for five days. Thankfully, I had the forethought back in July to order Queen over Queen bunkbeds. 

The week started out with holiday shopping at the Union Square Holiday Market which is open every day from now until Christmas Eve. This is a high-end holiday market. They have charging stations, lounge areas and creative sips and snacks. Sometimes you’ll find that holiday pop-up markets all have the same vendors but I found this market quite diverse with a large array of goods. I bought a few very unique gifts including a NYC Water Tower Kit for a friend who has a thing for water towers.


Sunday night, cousins came in from the suburbs to meet us in Chinatown for dinner. There are so many restaurant choices in Chinatown and they all look the same (dead ducks displayed upside down with steam wafting behind them.) I’d read about Wu’s Wonton King in the NY Times and it totally lived up to the hype. The restaurant has zero ambience, just large tables with lazy susans and really bad lighting, but I promise you that won’t be an issue. Make sure to order the whole duck sliced tableside and the whole crispy chicken with garlic and other sorts of magical ingredients.

While on the Upper West Side visiting a new doctor (more on finding doctors in NYC in a future January blog post), I stopped in at More and More the absolute best place to buy Christmas Ornaments (thanks MB for the tip). I’m so excited to add the new additions to my tree this year.

One of the challenges/opportunities of moving into an entirely new environment after years living in a small community is finding your people, as in “where to get stuff” people. The shoe repair guy (still working on this one), the hair colorist (Preston is awesome), but this week it was where to buy the turkey. I’d read that April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig and The Breslin had opened White Gold butcher and I ordered the turkey online weeks ago. However, waiting around on Thanksgiving eve two and half hours after my delivery deadline made me question my purchase. Kudos to Justine, the “Thanksgiving” manager at White Gold who assured me of my turkey’s arrival later that night. True to her word, my turkey arrived via uber at 10:42 pm. Gotta love NYC.

I’m pretty obsessed with eating out and when I moved to the city I vowed “no more bad meals ever.” To find recs I scour the NY Times, I’m obsessed with The Infatuation  and Eater NYC  and my ears prick up whenever I hear someone say anything about their last great meal.  Sometimes, I need to find a restaurant in a neighborhood I don’t often frequent and when I do, I use the free service Text Rex. Signing up for the service is quick and easy, and then whenever you need a recommendation you text them with the details and they text you ideas. The night before Thanksgiving I needed a “restaurant on the Upper West Side for a large group with plates that could be shared that wasn’t too expensive but near the parade balloon route.” They recommended Han Dynasty and it was the perfect place to eat before going to see the balloons. The only issue was that we had too much fun enjoying the meal (and the fishbowls) that we had to race down to the starting area only to find we were a minute late and the viewing had ended. Our large group pivoted and went to The Amsterdam Ale House instead. Next year I’m going to see the balloons before dinner.

I’m so excited to live in NYC during the holiday season. With every turn of a block, I find more lights and more decorations each day. It really is a magical time of year in the city. I’ve come across some ideas for “non-traditional” ways to celebrate the season this year. I’m looking forward to taking the kids to see A Christmas Carol inside the Merchant Marine Museum this Sunday. I just read about The Dead, 1904 at the Irish Rep Theater, a Christmas play with Melissa Gilbert inside the Irish Historical Museum that includes a sit-down dinner. Another fun idea is Magic AFter Hours with Noah Levine – those tickest might end up in someone’s stocking this year.

Thanks for reading. It’s Sunday morning and there’s a big world outside waiting..

Have Fun. Be Bold.



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