It's never the same.

For some time now, Mr. Beers and I have gone to New York City at Christmas. I don't remember how or why it started, but it's become a tradition, I guess, in the same way that, you know, you used to spend Christmas Eve with one set of grandparents and Christmas Day with the other ones. New York is the kind of place that you can go to over and over again and never tire of... No matter how much of New York you've done, you've never done it all.

The Christmas trips to New York are never the same. Sometimes it's just the two of us and sometimes there's an entourage. And based on who goes and what we do in the city, it's always a different trip. This year we traveled with a couple of close friends, and one of those was celebrating a milestone birthday. I'm afraid this may have put a little extra pressure on NYC to entertain us, to be a little more razzed-dazzle, to give us a holiday-birthday spectacular - - and the city did NOT disappoint. We ate and drank and walked and saw and did so much. And still did not even scratch the surface.

Having breakfast at Fairway Market on 72nd & Broadway is something that we always look forward to. This year we got to share scrambled eggs and Elaine's pancakes with Russel and Laura and John and Jenna Beers and Jamie Molbert. In the past we've broken bread and bagels at Fairway on different occasions with Lisa Benavides, Elizabeth Castelli, and Jenifer Ward - not to drop names or anything - but these are some pretty wonderful people.

Visiting a few of New York's piano bars is always fun. One may hear and see some amazing things - all depending on the range of talent and the degree of inebriation in the room on any given evening. A cocktail waitress may carry a half dozen assorted drinks to patrons clustered around a tiny table, turn on her heel, and then ask all Argentinians to refrain from shedding any tears for her. I would almost guarantee you that if you're in any piano bar for more than an hour you will hear SOMEONE'S version of "Suddenly Seymour" and most assuredly some young lady will belt out her own soul-stirring rendition of "I Dreamed A Dream."

Broadway shows are amazing. The amount of talent in New York City is incredible. We saw three Broadway musicals this December, as well as three different cabaret shows, and each and every performance was great. I am aware that there are fantastically talented folks all over the country - all over the WORLD - but there seems to be an extremely high concentration of such people in New York.

Galleries. Museums. This year we visited the Fashion Institute Of Technology and saw a really unusual exhibit. Clothes and costumes from the 1700s all the way to designs that were dated 2014. We ran short on time, and did not make it to some of the outstanding museums and exhibits that we had hoped to see this trip, but there's always next time...

A trip to Central Park is like a visit to the countryside. Well. Sort of. One morning we walked from the east side of Central Park through the park and halfway around the reservoir to the upper west side so that we could tour Barnard College campus with our favorite freshman tour guide, Jenna Beers.

Shopping. The photo above is from Fishs Eddy in Soho. It's one of the many places that we like to go. Believe it or not, there are still quite a few places in New York that you CAN'T find in your local mall or strip center. Uniqlo, Muji, Joe Fresh, CB2, ABC are a few. And some of the shops that you might have in Houston or Dallas or Your Town, USA - like Ralph Lauren or Saks or Barneys - are significantly different in NYC. 

Our trips to New York are always fun and educational and fun and inspiring and delicious. And each trip is a different experience. We always run out of time long before we run out of the things we want to see and do and eat. 

And ultimately it's the people that make each trip so wonderful. Our friends and family that we travel and visit with as well as the new friends that we make on each trip and even the strangers that we meet in line at TKTS or standing next to you at Marie's Crisis.

We'll go back to NYC before too long. We didn't get to have dinner at Piadina this time. We missed getting to see Maria Gentile at The Duplex. There's still a long list of stuff we want to do and see. And, oh yeah, I need some of those blueberry pancakes from Clinton Street Baking Co. And we never got to try the pizza that Jake told us about at Don Antonio's. You can't do it all in one visit. You wouldn't want to. You. Want. To. Go. Back.


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