We woke up bright and early on our second day in New York City, partly due to jetlag and mostly because we were too eager to start our day. We headed to Moonstruck Diner round the corner from our hotel and had American breakfast for brunch so we could reserve two inches of our waistline for dinner at Peter Luger Steakhouse.
After brunch, we took a walk down charming tree-lined sidewalks and made our way to Bryant Park to have a look at the Christmas market. I didn’t pay much attention to the shops because I was thrilled to see the grounds blanketed with inches of snow and the ice-skating rink.
We didn’t try to go on the ice because I would probably have suffered a fracture in there, so we headed to Times Square for a bit of the NYC buzz.
Billboards, skyscrapers, traffic, people, lots of noise, we were without a doubt in Times Square. We popped into the Levi’s store to grab some denim at ridiculously cheap prices (only US$35 per pair, and we bought two pairs each!), and spent the rest of the time being annoying, camera-toting, ‘everything-also-must-snap’, tourists in the middle of Times Square.
Then I spotted the M&M’s store!! Years ago, my brother brought back some turquoise-coloured ones from Orlando, and that was how I knew that M&M’s sold colours that were not included in the usual packs seen in supermarkets. That led me to procure some fancy sparkly personalised M&M’s for our wedding, and there I was, in person, oooh-ing and aaaah-ing at the pretty colours! Bought meself a bag of black, purple, turquoise, magenta, white, and et cetera-coloured ones, and had most fun going through the cute stuff at the store. The only disappointing part was seeing adults consume the M&M’s right off the dispensers, which was really quite unbecoming. We put them into bags and paid for them, they put them straight into their mouths, what a way to bypass shoplifting. Oh well, maybe that’s why M&M’s charge so much for the candies, to compensate for stolen goodies.
Hershey’s was just across the street from M&M’s, so of course we had to go. I love Reese’s peanut butter cups, so was perfectly happy to visit, and we came across the largest chocolate bar and ginormous bottles of chocolate syrup! Didn’t buy anything though, out of consideration for my health really. I’m still surprised at my self-restraint.
Then we walked to Fifth Avenue for a spot of shopping and came across St Patrick’s Cathedral, so we popped in to take a quick look.
Then we waltzed into Saks, well actually I rushed into it, and started terrorising the beauty counters, whilst M explored the rest of the store. I had to be dragged out.
We also checked out the Disney store, which was all decked out in Christmas decorations. Other boutiques such as Cartier and Tiffany & Co. were looking very festive and posh with trimmed hedges framing the windows. Didn’t manage to catch a glimpse of Donald Trump at the Trump Tower but oh well, I don’t really care. Maybe I will, if I actually saw him and his floppy hair.
Christmas isn’t Christmas without a trip to the best toy store in NYC, FAO Schwarz, which was made famous by Duncan’s Toy Chest in Home Alone 2. It’s not quite rustic, quaint and charming like Duncan’s Toy Chest, but it was chocked full of toys! There were stuffed bears taller than me, which cost thousands of dollars apiece. And I was super excited when I found the Harry Potter section, modelled after a store that carries Quidditch supplies, wands and robes. Oh how I love Harry Potter!
Just right across FAO Schwarz and next to The Plaza, sat the very upmarket and elegant Bergdorf Goodman, which became my favourite window shopping haven. I couldn’t afford most things in it, but I loved the store because it was oh-so-beautiful, and managed to pick up more beauty items (as if the damage done at Saks wasn’t enough…).
We took a U-turn and walked down Fifth Ave, and sabotaged our dinner plan by sneaking in a hotdog each from one of the many stands on the street. Then we stopped by the Rockefeller Center to admire and immortalise the famous Christmas tree and herald angels. The Christmas tree was so breathtaking that I resolved to return during one of the nights to see the lights in full glory.
Whilst trying to avoid the swelling pre-Christmas crowds on Fifth, we cut back into Park Avenue and found the Waldor Astoria, looking stately and aloof. ‘Can-see-cannot-touch’ is how I would describe it.
After freshening up in the hotel, we took a cab out to Brooklyn for the best steak ever at Peter Luger Steakhouse, and headed back to the hotel to rest for the night. We didn’t take the subway at all on our second day, so we were dead exhausted from all the walking. We had no regrets though, because we had such a good day. Uninterrupted sleep was on the cards.
It was nice to just lie back on the bed, belly full of good steak, all warm from the hot shower and red wine, and enjoy a full, unobstructed view of the Empire State Building. It was lit up in Christmas colours of red and green, which is something you won’t see often throughout the year. Before I knew it, I drifted off to sleep, thinking that Christmas Eve was going to be great.