Since today’s high is in the low 20s, we decide there’s no need to wake up early. Instead, we sleep in until 11, which is a complete accident. This is no rare occurrence for myself, but my mother usually doesn’t sleep past 8:30. We were just exhausted from our full day and the Doubletree beds are just so dang comfortable. Seriously, I’ve got a soft spot for the Doubletree on Times Square – we’ve stayed here so often that it’s like our home away from home. Nothing beats that cookie upon check-in.
By the time we get ready it’s noon, so we grab a bite to eat at Langan’s, an Irish pub less than a block away from our hotel. It was incredible; some of the best chicken pot pie I’ve had.
We want to stay as warm as possible, so we take the subway to Grand Central station to check out the indoor holiday fair. It’s a bit of a waste – Bryant Park’s is better. Still, we’re right where we need to be to check out Baked By Melissa: the second bakery on mom’s list.
I forgot to mention Magnolia Bakery, the first on her list, that we checked out last night. Not going to lie – those cupcakes were pretty dry. Baked By Melissa is a tiny little place that specializes in mini cupcakes, from peanut butter and jelly to s’mores to chocolate chip pancake flavors. Since they’re bite-size, we definitely have to try one of each. These are better than Magnolia Bakery’s, but they still have nothing on my mother’s baking skills. She could open up a bakery here and show them all what a quality cake tastes like.
Next, we head to the legendary Macy’s. Surprisingly, out of the numerous times we’ve traveled to NYC, we’ve just never stopped in Macy’s. And now I see why we haven’t. The crowds pack out all nine floors and it’s so big that I don’t even know where to start looking. I’ve never been intimidated by a department store, but I’m terrified of this place. Maybe if we could have eliminated the crowd and devoted a day to each floor we’d enjoy the prospect more. Since that was out of the question, we simply rode the escalator up and rode the escalator down and chalked it up to experience.
Speaking of shopping, I forgot to mention the addition of a four-story Forever 21 one street over from the Doubletree on Times Square. This was not established during our last trip but I milked it for all it was worth this time. It was a little less daunting than Macy’s.
We head back to Times Square and mill about for a bit before coming back to the hotel to take an hour long break. Since we got such a late start in the day, that hour gives us enough time to rest before dinner – and we promptly head right back to Langan’s. We saw a couple of items on the menu that we wouldn’t mind having for dinner and, since we know it’s a good restaurant and our show is right across the street, we decide to dine there twice in one day. While the ribs were not as good as the pot pie, it’s still a keeper of a restaurant.
We wrap up our NYC trip with Donny and Marie’s Christmas on Broadway special. Now, this was very obviously mom’s show choice – I would have loved to see Wintuk, but it wasn’t playing tonight. It’s not that I don’t want to see Donny and Marie, I just don’t have any personal investment in the Osmond generation. However, this is mom’s birthday trip, so I grin and bear it, only to find out… it’s a really excellent show.
Dad scored us amazing front row seats and we’re only five minutes in before Donny reaches out from the stage and shakes my hand. I got as excited as I did at the Coldplay concert when I touched Chris Martin’s shoulder.
A few minutes before my moment with Mr. Osmond, we’ve taken our seats and happen to hear the 9-year-old girl behind us talking to her mother. “If I have to hear about what you loved back in your day one more time… I just wanted to see something in this generation,” she confidently tells her mother. Mom finds this so funny that she turns around to smile and the girl’s mother states, “She’s like this all the time.”
“I just had to see where that little voice was coming from,” mom replies. Then little Joelle lets her personality loose. She bursts into conversation far beyond that of any 9-year old that I’ve ever met, imitating her grandfather and telling us about her grandmother.
“She watches me all the time but mom doesn’t pay her nearly enough to take care of all this,” she proclaims, gesturing to her four foot tall frame. “Grandma’s always telling me she has a hot date but I say, ‘Grandma, the only hot date you have is with a spatula and a frying pan.’”
This little girl has us rolling – everything she says is hilarious. Her mom explains that she’s an only child, to which my mother obviously relates. “Sister,” Joelle says to me, “I feel your pain – when I have children, I’m going to let them have a little bit of freedom!”
She was like Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine but funnier and somehow more mature. This little girl could have been on the stage. When we tell her this she says, “I could have, but I want Donny and Marie to have a chance at the spotlight.”
Besides the excellent commentary, the concert itself is very entertaining – both Donny and Marie have their solo time on stage. Marie has an emotional moment when she mentions that proceeds from her new album will be donated directly to Children’s Miracle Network, specifically toward the fight against depression in children and teens. I feel that she’d love to hear about the good that an organization like Nuçi’s Space has done for the community (Nuçi’s is an Athens-based nonprofit that raises awareness for suicide and depression, especially in musicians, but it has helped a countless number of others, including students).
They really put on a great show, and even little Joelle is smiling and clapping along by the end of it. I’m happy to say that our Donny and Marie experience was just the cherry on top of an excellent trip.