Parade Day ~part two~

I may finish the Story of New York City 2010 sometime before the end of 2011.  maybe.

I left you with a sister who was a wee bit ticked.  ( I am trying to be kind here…) I didn’t see it…. I heard it…  We were leaving our wonderful location….. and something behind me crashed.  LOUDLY.  That’s how I knew she wasn’t happy. at all.

Anyway, anger management issues aside, we all head out to walk around an insanely large Trump Tower hotel…. and try to figure out a spot to land where we might actually get to SEE this parade.  Those without a 3 year old in tow… took off up the street, and around corners, at a speed that barely let us see which way they turned.  Eventually we found them, and a place to stand.

About this time. Jeremiah decided it was time for a nap.  Who could blame the kid, he had been up since 4:30am………… So I hooked him into his Moby Wrap (seriously the absolute best baby gift to give EVER !) and proceeded to stand post till the parade started.

We were right behind a family who had clearly been there since we had found our first spot.  Their claim had been staked by teens in snow pants and woolen mittens.  Their plot marked by a bright blue tarp, and scattered with lawn chairs to ease the feet during what would be a 4 hour wait.  The mom saw me hooking Jeremiah in… and offered a chair for me to sit on.  With about 2 1/2 hours to wait till the start of the Parade…  I was very grateful for the kindness of this stranger.

I think really this is where the lesson of the day lies.  We had a plan….. and it was changed, suddenly and forcefully, thanks to a cranky NYPD officer with a screamin Jersey accent.  Now we found ourselves at the mercy and kindness of some people we were standing behind.  God wanted us to see he had a better place for us to be on this morning.

Since I was sitting in her chair, this woman and I started talking.  Turns out she has been going to the parade for as long as she can remember.  Her parents have attended the parade every year, snow or shine, for 50 years.  Her children have been every year since they were born.  Mom and Dad , as she referred to them would be coming along shortly, they come into the city later these days, and send the young kids to wait in the cold.  Every year they find a spot near 64th and Central Park West….  when they unfurled the tarp this year…. it had confetti in it from years past…. She had driven down from Boston with her two kids (they were who we initially met when we stopped behind their tarp) just to do the parade.  Eventually Mom and Dad… or Grandpa and Grandma depending on who you were listening to, made it to the tarp about 8 am.  Grandpa was a hoot~n~a~half.  He was a pharmacist.  Retired. Former Army.  Married his sweetheart and was sent by uncle Sam to a honeymoon in Germany, he said.  He told me that since he came back he and his wife haven’t missed a parade.  He said, the parade is all about the kids.  He told us to shove the kids up to the guard rail, he wanted to make sure they saw everything and could touch the clowns.  He told me that this was the best corner to be on to see the parade…. 

I have to agree…. he was right it was the best corner to be on.  People doing pyramids on the street….

There were strangers with $100 bills that accosted cotton candy vendors squeezing through the crowds and paid for cotton candy for all the little kids within throwing distance. 

There were people standing on walls

When the parade started, this part of the crowd knew how to do a parade.
There was chanting….. there was “the wave”….  they made the sanitation workers walking in the parade smile and wave with a chant of  ” SCOOP THAT POOP !!  SCOOP THAT POOP !!”

If a band walked by with no song playing….. they would yell…  ” PLAY A SONG !!”

If a performer came by on stilts….  they would chant…  ” Man on Stilts… Man on Stilts”  until the person would come over right in front of us and dance.

Those balloons the parade is famous for…..

Those were not exempt either…..  They would ask the Kermit handlers to “SHAKE THAT LEG”

Or the little balloons they would ask them to do tricks….  all with the power of a half a blocks worth of bodies chanting in unison….

The best was the cop…… on his cell phone.
He was in the middle of the parade, riding his horse, and holding his phone to his ear…. chattin it up.
Our little sarcastic section of crowd couldn’t let an opportunity to tease a cop pass by…

They started chanting….  “HANDS FREE, HANDS FREE !! “

 I am not so sure the “offender” heard us…  but is friends sure did.  They thought it was hilarious!
They even razzed the celebrity’s… here they are chanting ” Good Eats… Good Eats” to Alton Brown

And then……… for all the waiting……..

it was over…….

?
?
And we will only have the memory of a really fun parade to last us a life time.
remember, it is only 11 am now……….  there is still more day left and New York to see….
So now we are off to Central Park to go ice skating ………..?
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Parade day!!! ~ part one ~

In case you haven’t been keeping track…. We are now on day THREE of our New York City adventure.

Each night we have come back to the hotel, I was absolutely sure my feet were going to fall off and that they were going to be so swollen in the morning that I wasn’t going to be able to stand on them.

Every morning, I would slide out of bed…. and be absolutely amazed that my feet were still attached, no longer swollen, and still working!

Day one was an 11 hour day, Day two was 18 hours, and now we are about to embark on Day three, which will turn out to be a 19 hour day…. ( yes, you may groan in sympathy…)

But I get ahead of myself….  I must start at the beginning.

Up at 4 am…..

Get kids up at 4:30….  we are receiving much resistance today…  they are past the point of caring that there is a parade…. they are exhausted, our sweet cajoling voices are lost on the poor things..

We pry them out of bed by 4:45 slide clothes over their heads and up their legs while they stand there, half comatose….
Prop them up in the elevator, and meet with tour guide barbie in the lobby.

The rush of frozen air as we walk outside is and instant eye opener, and they are awake and ready to go.
Mostly.
The pictures don’t lie.
We were feeding them cookies for breakfast.
Anything to keep them awake.

We were in the Subway so early, the first train we saw was the garbage train!
Out of the Subway we emerge.  Tour Guide Barbie is in speed mode… which means those of us with little ones are just keeping her in sight, and trying to keep up…
The anticipation in the air is tangible….. we are gonna be “In the FRONT row”…. at least that is our goal. because HONESTLY….3 days of starting the day before Dawn… better mean we are going to be in the front row.

We walk around Columbus Circle, and land a spot that is on the Circle, and slightly to the right of the entrance to Trump Hotel and Tower.  We are RIGHT ON THE CURB… the front row baby!

Amy lays out her hotel towel and lays down for a nap… Tour guide Ken (a.k.a. Brent) puts in his earphones and does the same….

 Angelo leans on his mom, and tries to sleep,
poor Jeremiah, bless his bundled up little heart.  He didn’t even complain once.  He just held his little hand warmers and had a great time!
everyone else is just sort of milling around ….  looking at the clock that is above Columbus Circle that reads … 5:40 AM !!%@#!! and wondering what in the WORLD are we possibly going to do in 39 degree weather until 9:00 am when this blessed parade starts. 
Always one to make the best of any situation, even one where hypothermia is a distinct possibility, Auntie Rene takes Jody, Tayler and Brandyn over to find a coffee shop, any coffee shop, that might be open at this inhumane hour, (thank goodness for Starbucks!)  while the rest of us waited and tried to keep the new arrivals out of our “territory”
Not long after they arrived back and distributed the coffee….  Our plan….The plan…. was over ruled…  And my sweet spirited little sister and fearless tour guide….  Wasn’t happy.  At. All. 
(don’t worry…  I won’t leave you in suspense too long….)
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Buses and Balloons

 After eating our burritos and peppabroni peetzah, we headed over to meet our tour bus.  We had purchased passes to help with the cost of several of our destinations, and this tour bus ride through Manhattan was part of the package….  Never mind that we had been up and walking all day…  it was scheduled into the day to give us a chance to see a few things, and SIT while doing it.  SIT being the desired position….  really I was starting to forget what sitting was.
We get to the bus about 3 minutes before it leaves,( huff…puff..huff puff…)  and we climb the stairs up to the plexiglass covered upper deck of the bus. ( AHHHHH sweet sitting!!)  Our tour guide was absolutely great….  If I could have sat right next to him the whole time I would have, but he was up and walking around the bus explaining all the things we were looking at in the fading light.  I highly recommend this tour, just in the day time, I think we would have enjoyed it more if we could have seen more. 

I learned that the neighborhood SoHo is named as such because it is South of Houston Street( properly pronounced HOW-stun street…. if you call it the name of that city in Texas… everyone will look at you like you have lost your head.) There is also a neighborhood called NoHo….  you guessed it… North of Houston ( did you read it right?? )  The whole neighborhood acronym thing apparently started taking off, other neighborhoods were jealous of how cool SoHo sounded so they began to make up their own….There is TriBeCa, or the Triangle Below Canal…  see, and you just thought it was a film festival.
As you get off the Brooklyn Bridge there is a neighborhood called DUMBO… no I am not even kidding.  Down Under Manhattan Bridge Over crossing….  yeah…  others were similarly comical. 

We were told about how TriBeCa, and SoHo were both famous for their wrought iron architecture, something that was impressive in the dark, and would have been breath taking in the daylight. The street that NYU is on doesn’t like sound systems, so we had to strain to hear our guide, I am sure there were things to learn there, that I couldn’t hear over the sound of the cars.

We learned that Bellvue Hospital was a great place to go if you get stabbed…( not kidding… this is among some of the amazing trivia we were supplied with )   apparently they are good for more than padded rooms and hug me coats.  We also found out about a HUGE apartment complex that was built for Veterans returning from WWII, we thought that was kinda neat.

Just as we finished the boys who with full tummy’s, and more than five minutes of sitting, had fallen asleep, it was time to get off the bus, and back onto the Subway to head up to Central Park and see the Balloons that were all blown up and ready for the parade in the morning.

We got off the Subway and started to follow the throng.  We found out that we had to go around, and follow a different throng, which led us to a police man who said go over there and stand in that line.

“That line”  was 3 blocks long, across a street and up a block more…..  We were like… ” Wha?”  Thinking that he was kidding that  ‘that line’ really had to be shorter, we walked a full block up past the end of the line,  we were told by another police man that we indeed have to go back a block and wait.
This was supposed to be one of those things that is something only locals do.  Only locals, my eye.

Somewhere in the course of waiting patiently to see over sized tarps, that were blown up with helium, I found a store…  for I was DESPERATE for a cup of Kawhfee.  I learned from this experience, and that of other similar corner store adventures in the city, that you do not order a coffee with cream.  They look at you like you have spoken Greek….  Instead, the proper way to purchase and order one’s beverage is to say “Can I get a Kawhfee?”  Then they will ask you if you want, ” Milk and Shoogah wit dat?”  Followed with a sort of New York cursory head nod.  And you are to reply with an equally respectful and cursory head nod and in my case ” yeah, jus milk”.  I will note here that they looked at me like I was insane for not ordering it with Shoogah.  Apparently the absence of Shoogah means you are really not a native New Yorker either. 
Then next notable thing that happens EVERY  TIME you go to one of these little markets… they put your Kawhfee, into a paper bag, with napkins.  As if you are going to save it till you get home to drink it.  Maybe I live in a state with too many Drive-Thru’s and the need for a paper bag to hold my Kawhfee, that I am perfectly capable of holding in my hand, is lost on me….  but I really found it humorous that they gave me a bag…. 

Back to the line.  It had only moved an 8th of a block…  I hadn’t missed much.

While we waited, moved a foot, and waited, moved a foot, and waited some more.  We people watched.  There was seriously NO lack of action to keep us entertained.  We noticed that there were different levels of police personnel.  Some were volunteers, some were big wheels,  all of them were very nice, if you don’t count the one that chewed out the volunteer guys for letting a cabby inch into the crosswalk.  That guy looked a little grumpy and in need of some of my Kawhfee.  We were voyeurs into apartments with walls of windows, where people were sipping wine and watching us.  There were people out selling glow necklaces, people who were cursing the fact they lived near there and had to put up with all the foot traffic.  Even with all the people, and all the waiting, the general mood was festive, and light.  It was easy to strike up a conversation with people find out where they were from, and why they were crazy enough to be standing in this line too.

 This is just the line AFTER we crossed the street….  I don’t think I ever saw so many people in one spot in my entire life!

 If you were short, it was hard to see.  The crush of people that kept you hemmed in, made it so all you could see were butts.  Hunter got a little help from big sis and brother who traded off carrying him the whole walk through the balloons

 quick pause after we were done to pose with the NYPD.

and we are finally headed back to the hotel, 18 hours after leaving it this morning….. to rest for about 3 hours, so we can get up and get on with day three………  and the whole reason we came ………
THE PARADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Jeremiah gets his wish

Every. Single. Time,  you asked Jeremiah what he wanted to do in New York…. for MONTHS before we got there, his answer was always…

“Det a swice of peppabroni peetzah, and a dwink.”

So, after being such a trooper, getting up at 4:30 am, riding subways, ferries and climbing around islands…  we took a small ride to Times Square for dinner.

He dot his peppabroni, and ate it ALL!

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Battery Park

In front of us is an imposing sky line.

Jody and Hunter sit on the life vest box near the bridge, and marvel at how big it is. I don’t know what they talked about, or even if they talked at all….. but it was really cool for me to turn and see a dad’s arm around his son just taking in the view.

To the rear of the boat Jeremiah sat on the railing, and we watched the setting sun and an ever shrinking Lady Liberty.

We left the ferry and harbor behind and began to head back to the South Ferry Subway Station, we walked through Battery Park.  I always thought Battery Park a frightening place.  I had heard stories of it being a place where there were lots of killings, and homeless people.  Maybe I just watch to many true crime shows, and they mess with my head.  Regardless, walking through the park shattered any preconceived notions I may have had.  It was a pleasure to walk through.

 The park gained its name because this southern tip of Manhattan used to house Dutch, British and finally American artillery batteries.  They were responsible for guarding the settlements behind them from any infiltration into New York Harbor.  With this rich military history, it is not surprising that this park is home to two different memorials to fallen war heroes.  Above is the Universal Soldier.  He is there to commemorate the Korean war, the 22 flags at his base, honor the allied countries that were involved.

 Here is the eagle that stands at the helm of the East Coast Memorial.  He looks out to the Atlantic and over the 4,069 names, that are inscribed on eight, 19 foot high granite walls.  Each one of those names, belonged to a son, husband or father that died in the western coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean during WWII. 

Standing there, looking out into the harbor, past the names of those men.  It is impossible to not be moved by the totality of their sacrifice for the country in which we live.

Almost to the ferry building, we ran into this little gem.  We started cracking up!  The day before Thanksgiving and you find a turkey running loose in New York City?  It was too good to be true!  We warned her to run. It was dangerous to be out so near Thanksgiving….

 Despite the heavy caution from both Jody, Tayler and me, that turkeys are mean little buggers, and equipped with some serious talons….  and that they will turn and chase you and fly at your head….  my nephew Brandyn, had to chase it.  Then Auntie Maymee got in on the action…. 

I was doing some research for the post and came across a small link on Zelda, the turkey in Battery Park.  I guess I should update Wikipedia and let them know she is still alive and well as of November 2010.

No, I am still not done with day two…
Next up, Jeremiah gets his wish & Buses and Balloons.
Then I will be done with day two.
I hope……

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Ellis Island ~ Julie’s Photos

Mercy…( read that with a Steel Magnolias drawl )

I knew I was behind on the NYC posts, but really?

I had no earthly idea I was still on day TWO!  yeesh.

My last post was of Tayler’s view of Ellis Island…  today I will show you the point and shoot version… cuz that is the camera I had …

You can’t look at the floors, walls and doors, without asking yourself, who was here before me?  Did they come alone, or bring their family?  What were their hopes and dreams…..

It is very hard for me to put the time spent on Ellis Island into words.  I do wish we spent a whole day there.  I have a feeling that this national treasure is overshadowed by her harbor mate the Lady Liberty.  There is so much to see, and explore.  I feel like we really didn’t even nick the surface of what Ellis Island had to offer.
 
The history here, still breathes…
It walks and talks.
We are the descendants of those who came.

If I am blessed enough to return to New York, I will spend more time here, wandering the halls, listening to the whispers of time.  Imagining what it would be like to come to this very place, after a journey across the sea. 

If you are really quiet, you can still hear the buzz of hope, that those who crossed the ocean had, just to be in a land where absolutely anything is possible.

*******
I really may never finish with Day Two of the trip.  As I was going through the pictures there are at least  a few more posts to devote to this day.  It was probably our longest and most eventful day.

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Tayler’s view of Ellis Island ~ a Photo Essay

As we left Liberty Island, Jeremiah was freezing cold.  So I bundled him up into his moby wrap so I could wear him, and not hold up the forward momentum of our group. 

He took all of about 30 seconds to fall soundly asleep.

We got to Ellis Island, and he was still pretty crashed and when he woke up…  he was crabby and starving. 
So…  I handed over the Nikon ( or as the kids like to call it, the sixth child.) to Tayler and let her explore and shoot pictures….

What follows is an anthology of Ellis Island through the very keen eye of a 15 year old.

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The Lovely Lady

After nearly freezing to death outside the Times Square studio of Good Morning America, descending into the warmth of the Subway was as comforting and welcoming as a hug.

We made our way over to Battery Park to catch the ferry that would take us to the lovely green lady.  I do not remember Castle Clinton at all from my first visit to New York when I was 18, so seeing it this time was a fresh new experience.  I really am a history nerd, and being able to touch something that was built in 1812 to keep out the British, well it is just stinkin’ cool!  I get all lost in my thoughts, wondering what the walls would say if they could talk.  What if I were able to see images, like videos in my head, of what the building has seen over it’s nearly 200 years of existence, by just touching the stones…..  yeah, old stuff geeks me out.

We took over 200 pictures just leading up to, on, and around Liberty Island. (Don’t worry, I won’t post them all.)   I am very glad to have these little SD cards in cameras now….  I shudder to think of how many rolls of film I would have needed.

We spent at least an hour taking pictures at the base of the statue, and facing the NY skyline.  Our kids were even asked by this group of Japanese tourists to pose in a picture with them.  They told us they were so cute and funny running around that they just wanted to take their picture. 

We tried to go in the statue, and that was when we realized there was a difference in the tickets.  We knew there were specific tickets needed to get in the crown, but there are also specific ones even to get into the Pedestal.  So make sure you buy the right tickets when you go!

We wandered around, gawked at the OCC Liberty bike that is encased in glass, and hit the gift shop.  Soon we were loaded up on the ferry again, and off to Ellis Island.

I wonder what it was like to be an emigrant and see her for the first time…….

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Good Morning!!!…………..America.

Here we are, day two, or is it three? it’s day two… yes. day two.
What day is it?  Wednesday… I think…
Where am I?…  oh yeah, hotel…. that means New York.

Yeah that is what 4 am feels like when you are operating on about 4 hours of sleep….

We did it tho…. we were down stairs by 5:00 am….
….ok.  I lie……

more like 5:15am…  but with all the kids that were in our room… 5:15 is still impressive.  We speed walked to the subway station. Once there, we tap our feet nervously, waiting, willing, praying the train to Times Square gets here quickly.
It arrives…
We get on, ride, and off in two stops.  Speed walk/ sprint, to the GMA studio.  When we arrive we are efficiently ushered around the corner to one of 2 lines to wait in, by a young woman who does this every day, and who you can tell, has the perfect amount of tact and yet the uncanny ability to detect the slightest amount of B.S.  I got the impression from just looking at her, there isn’t much she hasn’t already heard….  and probably seen.  We all dutifully went to wait where she instructed us to wait.  Other, more foolish people, attempted to schmooze her, ….it was to no avail.

Any sleepiness that was amongst us was quickly washed away by our heart pumping rush to get there on time, and the fiercely cold wind that was blowing down the Avenues.  No coffee needed that morning.  It wouldn’t have helped much to have it to drink either, it would have been a Popsicle in about 5 minutes.

We were close to the door.  There was a red carpet.  There were large TV lights mounted outside, manned by very cold cameramen in full winter gear.  The paparazzi were beginning to arrive, looking disheveled, as if they had just rolled out of bed.  Everyone huddled waiting in groups… The police stood with other cops.  The producers, grips, and GMA security, all milled around the door.  The paparazzi over at the edge of the sidewalk, almost as if they didn’t want to be contaminated by the tourists.  In our group, the tourist group, there were girls from Louisville, y’all; cheerleaders that would be walking in the parade the next day.  There were members of the Spinnerettes, the baton twirlers, and a whole host of regular dressed folks, who like us were completely insane to have gotten out of bed so early.

This day was apparently a big deal day at GMA.  It was the morning the winning stars from Dancing with the Stars were coming to the show to do their ‘thing’.  I don’t watch the show….  either one really, the one I am waiting in the freezing cold pre-dawn hours for, OR the one that everyone was so whooped up about.  I was just trying to stay to the middle of the pack and keep warm.
Soon they started to let people in.  They were setting up for the shot where the stars were going to ride up to the studio in a double decker bus ( insane much? it was soooo cold!)  and walk into the studio to get all TV-i-fied.  Our line started moving…. we were inching in closer to the BIG BLACK DOOR!….  Really, I didn’t care if we got on TV….  at this point, I am just hoping we can get inside for a little while to thaw out.

Closer we move….

Closer……..

They start letting our family in…. And wouldn’t it just be our luck, they pull the cord to stop the people between Big Daddy and myself.  No self respecting wife is going to leave her husband and head riding 3 year old son out in the cold…. so I looked at the imposing man who was doing his best to impersonate a secret service person….(blue tooth earpiece, so he can communicate with the mother ship, black leather trench coat, gloves…you know, frightening glare)  ” Ummmm, can my husband come too?”  He looked at me quizzically, as if I dared speak to him and question his authority.  He said, ” Which one is your husband…”  I found this funny, because the only other persons behind me were a gaggle of women and Jody with a kid on his head.  I pointed him out and the trench coat clad man let him through.  We were IN!

Oh the sweetness of it……….  OH THE BLISS!!!!!!!!

Warmth!!!!!!!!!!!!
sweet amazing warmth!!!!!!!!!!!

You must admit, we didn’t look half bad for it being 6 am…  This guy in the last picture is someone from the show, I have no idea what he does regularly, but on this Wednesday, we was in charge of pop bangs.  It was his job to set off the big poppers that shot out streamers all over the uber famous people we were waiting for.  He let Brandyn, my nephew, and Hunter set one off when the famous people went by.  I would tell you who they were, if I had seen them.  It was a sea of screaming people, streamers and confetti… poppers, and these little bitty heads that ran by for the safety of the elevator and that was it.  Our inside time was over.  We were ushered out to the freezing cold Avenue…. to wait to see if we would be allowed back in to the warm inner sanctum.

We waited…. and waited…. another hour.  The young lady who so tactfully orchestrates the entrance to the inner sanctum…. came by with pictures of the GMA news anchors, in an attempt to soften the blow of standing outside for nearly 3 hours in the cold.  I would have been happier with a Starbucks coffee card.

From here, we paused inside the Starbucks in Times Square, to re-thaw out, and get that coffee and drink it where it was WARM!  The staff inside took pity on our frozen-ness and turned on another heater inside to help us warm up….  After finishing up about half the cup of coffee… we are off again on our next adventure for the day.

The Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island.

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NYC Day 1 ( The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular )

As the kids were putting up the Christmas decorations this year, they stumbled upon some old photos.  One in particular made me smile, because this is what I see in my mind every time I think of my Auntie Rene.

Really, I think that she should consider having her name legally changed, from Irene, to The Giver.  She loves to share all of who she is and what she has with others.  Fortunately for me, I was born into her family, and that gives me a wee bit of extra privilege.  Without her, not one minute of this trip would have taken place.  I can’t say thank you enough.
One of the things that was on my Auntie Rene’s must do list while we were in New York, was the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular.  I will freely admit that when this item was mentioned, I had a real hard time getting excited about watching a bunch of ladies stand in a line and kick their legs in the air.  Then, when I heard how much it cost….  I nearly fainted, and thought that it was awful expensive seating for a 2 hour nap.  Dear Auntie Rene really wanted to go, and set her elves to work to find the tickets.
Her elves were amazing.  They found Orchestra seating, about 40 rows back from the stage….ok.  I admit it.  I was starting to get excited.
After leaving Coney Island, we rode back into Manhattan and up to Rockefeller Center.  Did you know they have a Starbucks and a Dunkin Donuts under ground there?  Me either!…? I thought that was sort of cool.
…….any….way…..
We came out of the building to see the hugest tree on the planet….  They were stringing the lights on it to be lit the following week.  We scurried past quickly and across the street to Radio City Music Hall, where we were very efficiently shooed inside before the show started.  Nine out of Eleven people decided they immediately needed to see what the bathrooms looked like…. so we headed down to find them.  We made it too our seats just as the show was starting.

See, I told you we had amazing seats.  The best part of the show was the finale.  It was a living Nativity scene.  It was a wonderful ending to see the real meaning of Christmas portrayed so beautifully.

Lastly, we capped off the day with losing Hunter in the crowd.  He was almost out the door before he realized the people he was following was not his family.  The staff helped us locate him, and all was well.  He only had two nightmares.

Here is a family photo before we lost him.

Now, get some rest….  you have to be up in 4 in the morning!  We are going to try to get inside Good Morning America!

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