Monday, November 30, 2009

Our Thanksgiving

The usual "Empire State Building on a Holiday" photo: red, orange and yellow for Thanksgiving!

What a great long weekend we had! We really made the most of our holiday in New York, despite wishing we were in Florida. We had a fabulous Thanksgiving and a wonderful time together throughout the rest of the weekend. I hope you all had a lovely holiday as well.

So, I mentioned earlier that we were going to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade once again, something that I thought would never, ever happen. We went last year - largely because my dad was marching in the parade with the Second Time Arounders Marching Band, and also because we've been subscribing to the theory of "Do Every Crazy New Yorky Thing Once Right Away Before The Novelty Wears Off, Then NEVER AGAIN" (for more examples of this, see also: New Year's Eve in Times Square, Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest, etc.). While it was fun to see my dad march, and it was fun to have attended the Macy's Parade, the experience itself was a little tiresome. We got there over two hours early, and still only managed to get as close as 6-10 people back from the street. We stood out there and froze for four hours. As much as we were glad to have done it, by the end, we were ready for Santa to make his appearance so we could get the heck home to some warm apple cider and turkey smells. It was exhausting. This year, if we were in NY, we planned to sip hot chocolate and watch that bad boy on TV like the rest of the country.

But, plans can change, my friends. A couple of weeks ago, Eric got himself into a conversation with one of his coworkers, Randall, about the Thanksgiving Parade. Apparently Randall's wife used to run the sales department for ESPN Zone, which is located right in Times Square. And every year on Thanksgiving, ESPN Zone hosts an event for children and families of firefighters and law enforcement. They block off the sidewalk in front of the restaurant for parade-viewing SANS INSANE CROWDS (that's the key here), plus the guests are free to go in and out of the restaurant as they wish to sit, use the restrooms, play games, and help themselves to the free breakfast buffet. Eric mentioned how different that sounded from our experience with the parade last year, and the next day Randall emailed Eric to ask if we would be interested in joining them for this ESPN Zone event this year, to give us a better experience than we had last year! Our response? ABSOLUTELY!

So, this year, instead of standing in the cold starting at 7:00 a.m., we left our apartment just before 9:00. We did have to fight through some crowds to get to our destination, but as we neared the ESPN Zone and showed our passes, cops just moved barricades for us and let us through. I could get used to that VIP treatment! The spot for viewing the parade was perfect - we were just past where the parade turned on to 42nd Street, on its way to Bryant Park. We had the lights of Times Square as our backdrop, and the trees of Bryant Park off in the distance the other way. And the best part? WE HAD OPEN SIDEWALK SPACE. Wow.

Our passes to the ESPN Zone event

In front of ESPN Zone with my pass

Eric demonstrating how much sidewalk space there was!

For contrast - these were the crowds across the street, and this is essentially what we stood in last year. No, thanks. I'll take my VIP spot over this any day.

Despite having the comforts of the ESPN Zone at our disposal, Eric and I stood outside for the whole parade anyway. We didn't want to miss anything! Plus, the weather was fabulous - low to mid 50s, and even a hint of sun now and then. I didn't even have to button my coat! It was much warmer than last year, when we were bundled up in our warmest coats, hats, gloves and scarves and still froze.

The parade itself was great fun, although I was surprised that they repeat the floats and I felt the celebrity lineup was much weaker than last year. There were some new balloons that I liked, especially Sailor Mickey. We had a great time watching everything come around the corner and right for us! Time for some parade shots:

The beginning of the parade

The turkey is looking right at the camera!

Big Bird and Elmo (for Kelley!)

Firemen float and balloon

Pirate ship float and balloon

Big guitar, with Jimmy Fallon on it

View of balloons and floats passing us and heading for Bryant Park

Care Bear float - here's the angry one and Carly Simon.

View of balloons coming through Times Square (also, a Ninja Turtle in the foreground)

Before too long, things started to turn a little Christmas-y...

Check me out, I'm drinking hot chocolate while we watch the parade! What luxury!

Eric and a candy cane

Elves - the end is near!

...and then THIS GUY showed up! He even had a brand new sleigh, for the first time in over 40 years. And now, the Christmas season can officially begin!

Santa in his new ride

Ho, ho, ho!

At the end of the parade

I know I kind of posted a billion pictures here already, but we do have lots more from the parade. If you want to see more, be sure to check out our Photo Site.

After the parade, we went in to ESPN Zone to finally enjoy some of the breakfast buffet. They had quite a spread - eggs, potatoes, sausage, pastries, fruit, cereal, bagels, french toast sticks, coffee, juice, and deliciously rich hot chocolate. Mmmm.

Part of the buffet

On our way home, we walked through Times Square and enjoyed the sights. I especially enjoyed seeing workers putting street lights and signs back up, after they had been taken down for the parade. Crazy!

Street lights and signs in a truck and on the road. That's not where they go!

Street lights are bigger than I thought, when you see them up close.

When we got home, we stuck the turkey in the oven and then had our "appetizers" while Eric put the lights on our Christmas tree. We had some wine/Mountain Dew (can you guess who had which?), shrimp, cheese, crackers, and pepperoni. Mmm.

Our afternoon snack. Also, look at the beautiful fall flowers Eric picked out for us!

As the day wore on we kept cooking. I made the mashed potatoes and green bean casserole, while Eric handled the turkey and stuffing. We make a good Thanksgiving dinner team!

Peeling the potatoes (Also, TARA: look what's behind me on the fridge!)

Eric and the turkey

Before long, it was time to eat! It was delicious, I must say. And once again, I made an utterly obscene amount of mashed potatoes, so we have leftovers to enjoy for a while. That's okay by me - mashed potatoes are my favorite food.

The spread
(Excuse the mixing bowls and pots. Eric would not agree to using serving bowls since it was "just us." At least I got the gravy boat in there!)

W. Family Thanksgiving Photo

We had been expecting my friend Amanda to join us in the evening for dessert, but unfortunately she got stuck at work late (she's an ICU nurse) then just went straight home. So, Eric and I had dessert on our own (pumpkin pie for me and ice cream cake for Eric), and we trimmed our Christmas tree.

Putting the bows on while Achilles supervises

Trimming the tree

And that was our Thanksgiving! We really had a wonderful time. Now, time to prepare for Christmas!

1 comment:

Becky said...

Your tree looks so pretty!