Heather arrived late Tuesday evening. She took a cab to my apartment from Laguardia, and we spent some time chatting and catching up before heading off to bed to rest up for all of our sightseeing.
Wednesday morning we got all bundled up and set out to see the sights of NYC at Christmas. Because Eric was still in town at that time, I was able to take our new camera out and about with us for some experimentation. I still feel like I'm totally lost with the thing, but I'm having fun playing with it!
We started off with a walk over to Sixth Avenue and then made our way south, stopping to check out all the great Christmas decorations along Sixth. That's where they have the giant ornaments, giant Christmas lights, etc., so that's always a fan favorite.
Heather by the Nutcrackers on 6th Avenue
Heather in front of Radio City
Giant ornaments, with Radio City behind them
Giant Christmas lights
Christmas trees in front of Fox News
We walked south on Sixth Avenue to 42nd Street, where we did a little browsing through the holiday shops at Bryant Park. I bought a super warm new pair of glove-mittens (is that what you call them when they are fingerless gloves with a little mitten top that flips over to cover your fingertips? We'll say yes) and Heather bought all SORTS of warm stuff - fingerless gloves, leg warmers, a headwrap, etc. The poor girl was so cold, she stopped to put all her new stuff on right then and there in the middle of Bryant Park.
Icicles on the Bryant Park fountain
Ice skating at Bryant Park
Poor, cold Heather in Bryant Park
William Cullen Bryant Memorial
The Bryant Park tree and surrounding buildings, including the Bank of America tower
By that point, Heather needed a warm-up break so we stopped for some soup at Hale & Hearty across the street. Ahhh, heat and hot soup!
This poor girl was wearing practically every single thing out of her suitcase and still freezing.
We decided soup wasn't quite enough to sufficiently warm us, so we also stopped at Crumbs for some hot chocolate. DELICIOUS. We sipped our warm beverages as we walked east to Grand Central to check out the shops there. We spent some time wandering, then hung out in the main terminal for a bit to see if they would do the laser light show they have done in past years. We never did see the light show, but I snapped some pics of the terminal while Heather rested up on the steps.
Inside Grand Central
Heather getting warm and rested!
We were so close to Eric's office, so we stopped by to say hello to him after leaving Grand Central.
Do you see his little Charlie Brown Christmas tree in the background?
We then went over to Times Square to hit up the TKTS line for discounted tickets to that evening's performance of Promises, Promises. On our way, we stopped by Rockefeller Center to check out the beautiful tree. That was what Heather most wanted to see, so she was happy about that!
There she is!
Sisters on the Plaza
Heather and the tree
Another view of the tree
We were successful in our quest for Promises, Promises tickets in Times Square, so we went home to warm up with Snuggies, hot spiked cider and Guinness beef stew before the show.
Heather is looking much warmer now.
Achilles loves his Aunt Heather!
Promises, Promises was great. It was very cute and hilariously funny. It was a delight to see Kristin Chenoweth perform live on stage (she was just named Broadway.com's star of the year as of last night, by the way!), Sean Hayes was very funny, and Molly Shannon's part (although small) was just hilarious. The best part was that the actors kept "breaking" and laughing in the middle of their scenes! Molly and Sean laughed quite a bit during their number (but didn't we all?) and even Kristin laughed a few times through out the show. It was really funny. We definitely enjoyed ourselves! Also, I'm fairly certain Matthew Broderick was there. Either that or the guy who came in behind us looked ridiculously similar to him.
Sean Hayes, Kristin Chenoweth and Molly Shannon in Promises, Promises. Photos stolen from the internets.
After the show it was back to the apartment to warm up again with wine and Snuggies. You must understand, my sister and I are great lovers of the Snuggie.
Even Achilles got in on the Snuggie fun!
Snuggies are great because you have your hands free to torment your sister.
We didn't stay up too late before calling it a night - more sightseeing to do the next day!
(Quick note about pictures from here on out: Eric left for Florida Thursday morning and took our new camera with him, so the rest of my pictures in this post and tomorrow's post are taken with our old point-and-shoot!)
We got up and got going pretty early on Thursday, because we had tickets to the 11:00 a.m. show of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Eric and I have seen that show each year since moving here, and I was excited to take Heather to see it, too. As I expected, she loved it! She was especially entertained by the panda bears during the Nutcracker scene.
Modeling our 3D glasses before the show
After the show we passed back through Rockefeller Center, where we saw a couple get engaged on the skating rink!
Back at Rockefeller Center
Newly engaged couple!
We checked out the window displays at Saks, which were cool, but I didn't like them as much as past years. The last couple of years they have really told a story (for example, two years ago they talked about Mike, the first individual snowflake). Apparently this year's display is meant to mirror the "Snowflakes and Bubbles" light show on the side of the building (don't even get me started on how they took away my beloved dancing snowflakes), and the gist of the story is that a little girl travels through all these different places (followed by bubbles) before ending up at a fashionable party. I did not get that.
I see the girl and I see the bubbles, but I did not follow the story.
The little girl is on a boat now with a mannequin? I don't know.
We then walked north on Fifth Avenue to check out the decor there. We stopped in a couple places for some shopping, and admired the lights on the buildings.
I just love the big bow on Cartier!
Tommy Hilfiger and Fendi
Incredible mannequin displays in Henri Bendel
Festive fire truck!
We spent some time admiring the window displays at Bergdorf Goodman, which are always quite something. Last year's windows had an Alice in Wonderland theme, but this year the theme is discovery and travel. Many of the displays featured maps and charts, and my favorite part was the zodiac animals made out of shredded maps. Everything is so detailed and intricate, it was very impressive.
So much to look at!
Closer view of some of the details
Crab and lion
I mean, this is made out of SHREDDED PAPER. Awesome.
We then made a quick pit stop in FAO Schwarz...
...before continuing east to Barney's to check out their window displays. These windows had the theme of a "foodie holiday" and depicted various food network stars and culinary icons engaged in rather silly shenanigans. My favorite part of these windows was actually the one around the corner, in which students from a school in East Harlem had been asked to paint a portrait of their favorite chef. All the pictures were of their parents! It was so sweet.
Some of the men of the Food Network engaged in a food fight
The ladies (all wearing Snuggies, for some reason - probably because Snuggies are awesome)
Have a foodie holiday!
Portraits painted by the East Harlem students
Closer view - isn't that cute?
We also walked past the Bloomingdale's windows, which was a mosaic of LED screens showing snowy scenery. I found that rather unimpressive.
We then returned west to Columbus Circle, where we made a quick pass through the holiday market and then made our way into the Time Warner Center to warm up and watch the light show. I just love those beautiful stars!
Heather in the Time Warner Center
And that was it for our sightseeing. We were beat! We spent the rest of the evening relaxing at my apartment, drinking wine, dining on ordered-in Italian food, watching the Dexter finale and chatting. It was a very nice evening.
The next day we had a leisurely morning around the apartment. I did some cooking and cleaning to prepare for my Aunt Debbie's arrival that evening, and Heather relaxed on the couch with Achilles and watched Elf. That afternoon I took Heather down to Port Authority and put her on a 3:45 p.m. bus to JFK, to catch her 6:20 p.m. flight. We said our goodbyes, and I went home to finish preparations for my next visitor. However, that was not the end of my visit with Heather...stay tuned to find out more tomorrow!