Merry Christmas and a Happy New York

Well, I’ve done it.

Last week was my last week living in New York City.  There was a lot to do with saying goodbyes, packing up my apartment and giving notice to my work.  Luckily, I had planned to have my sister in town for the weekend – something that was in the making for months with my brother-in-law, Dan, for Danielle’s birthday present. This means I was able to spend my last week in NYC with my lovely sister, doing lots of fun touristy things.  I’m also very lucky because I have wonderful friends who have been a blessing with helping me to pack and giving me an excellent send off.

Let’s re-cap.

I decided to leave my job in order to focus on some life goals. Please don’t think that I didn’t give notice, I most assuredly did.  A full 2 weeks in fact.  It’s a little unfortunate that it happened to land during the Christmas holiday.  Still, I maintain that it’s not my fault that Christmas is a week before the end of the year, and really, I only ended up taking two and a half days off work extra as vacation.

I have to admit, giving my notice was a huge weight off my shoulders.  Afterwards, I was all smiles.  All the build up of the stress it gave was wearing on me.  It was almost as if the stress disappeared in an instant.  Everything I was fretting over in the past few months was coming to a close and I didn’t need to worry anymore.

With that said, the rest of my weekend was amazing.  We started with dim sum because it’s my favorite food to eat.  Yes, I said favorite.  Normally I hate to use that word because I believe it limits me as a person.  However, dim sum will always be my favorite food. I just love it.  When in the New York area, you must have dim sum in Flushing.  It’s better food, better priced and a better wait time.  I normally only have to wait 15-ish minutes, where as in Manhattan I usually wait around 1+ hours.

After dim sum, we saw George Takei’s musical Allegiance.  For those of you who don’t know what this play is about, it’s based on true events from being in the Japanese Internment Camp in the US after Pearl Harbor.  As a first generation born Asian-America, this story hit home for me.  Although, my family is Chinese in ethnicity, many Asian people struggled with discrimination during this part of our history.  It was a sad time in America and I’m unfortunately seeing this happen a lot today with another group of Americans.  Needless to say, I balled my eyes out.  Also, George Takei and Lea Salonga were amazing.

Moving on to happier events, and less political.

To keep in fashion with Asian day, as it seemed to be happening, we headed down to Manhattan’s Chinatown for some delicious Xiaolongbao, aka Shanghai Soup Dumplings, at Joe’s Shanghai.  I found it to be the best place in the City for these dumplings, a close second being Shanghai Asian Manor.  Granted, other than dim sum restaurants, I’ve only had Xiaolongbao at these two places. However, I have been told by many Xiaolongbao loving Asians that these are the two places to go.  Please let me know if you think otherwise.

On the way there we stopped off for a pre-dinner ice cream run at Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.  It was finally a cold day in the city so we had to celebrate by eating ice cream.  I blame global warming and El Nino.

As it was Christmas time in the City, I booked tickets for my sister and I to see the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes.  Guys, there were camels.  Yes, that is plural. There were 2 of them.  It was crazy.  It was just like you would imagine. You know those Specials that are recorded to play on air for a network television station?  Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sit in the audience of one of those shows?  It was just like you would imagine.

Bonus, since the show was at Radio City Music Hall, it was like hitting two birds with one stone.  The place was enormous.  Crowd control was crazy – also just like you would expect from an art-deco era (1932) building.  It isn’t really made for today’s New York. Still, the building is beautiful and I’m super glad I was able to attend a show there before leaving the city.

My sister in right before the show - Radio City Music Hall, NYC, NY
My sister in right before the show – Radio City Music Hall, NYC, NY

To complete the ‘Christmas in the City’ experience, we walked over to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas Tree.  Bad idea.  There were so many people I just wanted to get out of there.  To the point that even when we were able to take a photo of the tree I said F-it and left.  As a saving grace, we ended up walking over to Saks Fifth Avenue and scored an amazing spot just in time to see their Christmas Lights display.

Saks Fifth Avenue Christmas Lights Display
Saks Fifth Avenue Christmas Lights Display

To cap off my epic last weekend in New York, I took a flight in a Cessna Skyhawk down the Hudson River Valley, around the tip of Manhattan, up the East River, across Central Park and back up the Hudson.  It was amazing.

In the cockpit of a Cessna 172 above Hudson Valley, NY
In the cockpit of a Cessna 172 above Hudson Valley, NY
Hudson Valley, NY Flight
Hudson Valley, NY Flight
Simon piloting the plane during our flight over the Hudson Valley & New York City
Simon piloting the plane during our flight over the Hudson Valley & New York City

My friend Simon just completed his pilot’s license and decided to take his friends up and around New York City. Ohmygod Ohmygod Ohmygod.  I cannot say it enough.

It. Was. Amazing.

View of New York City while flying over Central Park - Hudson Valley, NY Flight
View of New York City while flying over Central Park – Hudson Valley, NY Flight

Unfortunately, my sister was a little sick and ended up not feeling well on the trip.  Not as amazing of a trip for her.  Very sad.

About to head out to the Hudson Valley, NY
About to head out to the Hudson Valley, NY

All in all, a great ending to a great life in a great city.

Processed with VSCOcam
Processed with VSCOcam

Thanks for reading.
Meandering Mason

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