Christmas in the Big Apple

I’m not entirely sure how long this post will turn out, so I may have to divide it up into two parts, just so I don’t overwhelm you with too much writing and too many pictures 🙂 Meghan – there will be no recap so you’ll have to read it or just skim the pictures.

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Well, where to begin?  Well, first off, this wasn’t simply a pleasure trip to the Big Apple. Sure, we were able to see Rockefeller Plaza during Christmas Time, but it was more like a business trip.  I’m not ready to divulge everything, but I’ve been playing around with the idea of moving back east after college to work.  Yes, I fully understand that New York has something called seasons and this includes a bloody harsh winter.  Yes, I am aware that I am from California and we do not have this thing you call “winter.”  But, when I get my mind set on something, I won’t stop until I do it, ok? 🙂

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Here’s a little comparison between our trips – freshman year of high school and now senior year of college!
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It has been my dad who has encouraged and supported me from the start about networking, jobs, internships, and so on.  I started interning and having informational interviews early on (say going into freshman year of college), so I have gained quite a few contacts over the years.  My dad set up the flights and accommodations and it was my job to fill up two days worth of meetings with companies.  Done.  Luckily we had made a family trip back east about 8 years ago, so I wasn’t really missing out on site seeing. Sure, if I make my way back again, I’ll re-visit a number of them (head of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Serendipity, Dylan’s Candy Shop, and just maybe Tiffany’s 🙂

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We set off on Tuesday morning with a stack of holiday magazines (don’t you love all the catalogs?) and an iced coffee (I’ve seen some interesting renditions of the name Kaitlin, but never like this).  Noting the time difference and length of flight, we didn’t make it into the city until 8ish.

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After stopping by the hotel, the Avalon, we walked our way through Time Square, taking a picture with some Smurfs (this is for you Liz) and onto Rockefeller Plaza.

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If there was one thing I had on my bucket list for this trip, it was to see Rockefeller Plaza and the giant Christmas tree.  Elf anyone?  I had wanted to re-enact one of the scenes from Elf where Buddy enters a coffee shop to congratulate them on the world’s best cup of coffee.  However, I didn’t seem to spot any signs indicating such and so I was out of luck.

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Back to Christmas at 30 Rock. It was AMAZING!  The lights, the tree, the skaters.  All picturesque and just fabulous.  I loved being surrounded by such holiday festivity and made it really seem like Christmas.  Quite different from the sunny and 70F Christmas days we experience here in Southern California.

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Now onto food.  Well, there doesn’t seem to be many food items that scream NEW YORK. Please correct me if I am wrong and if I missed out on anything.  I’ll make sure to add it to my list for next time. 

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Sure, they are famous for their pizza, their delis, doughnuts, bagels, and even some street carts, but nothing out of the extraordinary.

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We settled for dinner at the Counter where I sampled my first bison burger and loved it! I’ve been cutting back on meat recently, but felt a little red meat might do me good once in awhile.  We got back to the hotel around 11 or so and it was time for bed.

Day 1 Meetings
ESPN
OMD
NBC/Bravo/Style

We got up around 7:30 in order to shower and roll out the door by 8:30.  My first meeting wasn’t until 10, but we needed to navigate the subway and who knows how long that could take.  Ah, the subway.  Soooo not my friend.  I think in time I will learn its ways and its messed up directions, but for now I will stick to above ground transit … my feet.  What I really need is my partner-in-crime, Liz, who was an EXPERT at underground transport in Barcelona and pretty much anywhere we traveled in Europe.

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Made it there much quicker than expected, so we scouted out breakfast and ended up at Starbucks.  What a gold mine.  Seriously, there was at least one on every block.  Thank god, otherwise I think my dad and I would have gone searching for hours and I would have either missed my meeting or entered in quite a cranky mood.  I went with a yogurt parfait, green tea, and a peppermint mocha sampler.

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Wouldn’t it be fantastic to work at ESPN? Ah, we can all dream J Next up, meetings at OMD, a visit to Ground Zero and the World Trade Center Memorial, and a street cart lunch.  My dad had left at this point to go into the office (their company has NY offices, which is pretty much the reason he was able to go with me), so I was on my own.

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I tend to be quite the independent person, which can be a blessing and a curse, but I truly think if I hadn’t lived in Barcelona, I would have been completely overwhelmed by the city.  I also think, growing up in L.A. and learning how to be a L.A. driver, helped me maneuver the crowds.  If I can work the freeways of Los Angeles, I should be able to walk the streets of New York, don’t you think?

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I had some time to kill in between meetings, so I made my way to the 9/11 Memorial and then debated what to get for lunch.  I had seen fresh produce vendors all throughout the city, but I was also drawn towards some of the food vendors lined up in one of the squares (supposedly where some “Occupy” occurred?).

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I was craving a salad, but settled for falafel instead.  Really, there isn’t anything healthy about something that has been sitting on a cart for who knows how long, but that’s beside the point. Also, it would be my luck that the minute I get off the subway at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, there are tons of food options, one of which is a salad bar filled with sweet potato, spinach, pumpkin seeds, and so on.  Oh well.  No regrets and more reason to return.

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Before and after my meetings at NBC, I decided to do a little retail therapy.  I swear JCrew is like a magnet.  I went inside to browse the selection of sale items (interesting how stores are stocked with different items based on location) and came out with a fine looking headband, which was uber discounted ($25 à $6) thanks to the sale and my college discount.  I almost picked up a couple of plaid shirts, but refrained.   I can do that later.*

*My friend Liz and I are going to Stagecoach, a country music festival in April, and so I’ve decided the next investments include: cowgirl boots, a hat, and lots of plaid. Just waiting for those post-Christmas sales.

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My parents had the opportunity to fly back to NY this past April and they had discovered a delightful bakery called Magnolias.  It’s located right around the corner from the plaza and I HIGHLY recommend a visit.  They are usually packed with customers, ready for a taste of the sweet goodies (cake, cheesecake, cupcakes, bars, hot chocolate).

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There is even a holiday menu of cupcakes with special daily flavors. It’s a bit overpriced for cupcakes, but then, when can you find a cheap gourmet cupcake?

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I was torn between so many delectable options, but decided to surprise my dad with his favorite – a chocolate chip blondie, and a “Magic Cookie Bar” for myself (think 7-Layer bar). It has to be something about the combination of butterscotch, chocolate, and coconut, all piled upon a solid base of graham cracker that makes this bar so scrumptious.  I had planned to divide it into four pieces and save parts for the next few days, but that plan went down the drain.

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My dad and I agreed to meet back at the hotel around 6, so I decided to chill out in the plaza, people watching, enjoying the holiday cheer, and organizing various things on my phone.  Sometimes I feel like I am constantly thinking about what to blog next or how to share my next post.   Not that it’s a chore, I just find myself writing a life story in my head at all times; sort of like in The Holiday, where Cameron Diaz ends up in movie trailers about what is going on in her life at the moment.  Strange, I know, but I love to write.

I decided to walk back rather than take the subway.  I knew my exercise would be sparse on this trip (the Avalon lacked a gym, my busy schedule, and I was actually still sore from the trail race on Sunday) so a brisk walk through the city was just what I needed.  When I got back to the hotel, there was quite the surprise waiting.

Curious to know more?  Come back tomorrow to see what it was!

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7 thoughts on “Christmas in the Big Apple

  1. oh come on leave me hanging like that, I am actually kind of jealous of how proactive your dad was about doing this trip with you. that is awesome and I hope you got a lot out of it. want to get me a job at one of those places please?

  2. I am über jealous of your trip!!! My mom surprised me today by telling me we’re going to NyC after Christmas and I’m so excited!! I love seeing all the decorations and things. You have to go to serendipity!!! So good 🙂

  3. I was just in NYC last month and luck would have it, they put up the tree in Rockefeller Center the DAY AFTER we left! Also, isn’t the WTC Memorial epic? So powerful and moving. Also, Magnolia is pretty famous! My best friend went to grad school at NYU and when I visited her 2 years ago, we macked on Magnolia cupcakes.

    Hope your interviews went well! I wanted to live in NYC post-grad as well, but was not as well-prepped with internships upon graduating like it seems you are. My dream job was to be an NBC Page, haha. As a side note, my aunts work at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, and absolutely love it!

  4. Guess who finally started reading your blog? Bad friend award goes to…me. sorry about that…anyway…
    Hooray for the big apple!! I’m glad you got to check out Magnolias, that place is fantastic 🙂

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