Some of my most memorable moments in New York City have happened over the past week, while friends and family were in town for Thanksgiving. I enjoyed sharing some of my favorite places here and indulging my inner tourist with loved ones. The mixture of tradition and family with the excitement and energy of the city made this Thanksgiving unforgettable. On Monday, I met two friends from my home school in Ohio at Ellen’s Stardust Diner in uptown Manhattan. I’ve visited the diner many times before or after shows, but my friends had never been. At the diner, waiters and waitresses sing and dance to broadway hits and other popular songs. It was the perfect upbeat atmosphere to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen in months.
Wednesday was my favorite because my parents and I saw the Broadway play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The play is an all day event consisting of two show-length parts, one at 2 PM and one at 7:30 PM. My family and I have all read the book series and seen the movies multiple times. We ordered our tickets to the play in February, as soon as I applied to the New York Arts Program, so I had been waiting to go for almost a year by the time we actually saw it. The play did not disappoint our high expectations, with its mesmerizing special effects, engaging original score by Imogen Heap, and heart wrenching dramatizations of Harry Potter and his family.
Thursday was, of course, the parade and Thanksgiving meal itself. My mom and I decided not to venture out in the cold because our hotel was on the parade exit route, which meant we could watch the performances on the TV and see the bands and performers pass below our window without venturing into the cold. By accident, my dad, while out to pick up breakfast, ended up in a parade worker-only area that was closed off to the public. He watched almost half of the parade floats pass from that vantage point before police officers asked him to move on from the area.
Later in the day we shared a traditional Thanksgiving meal with one of my friends from the New York Arts program at the hotel restaurant, Versa. In the gigantic meal’s aftermath, we went to the movies and saw Bohemian Rhapsody. Then my parents and I went back to the hotel and watched Netflix Christmas movies, our food still settling. It was the perfect end to a day full of friends, family, and food.
On Friday and Saturday, my parents and I partook in some of the Christmas traditions of the city and visited popular tourist spots and restaurants. We bought stocking stuffers and ordered too expensive hot chocolates in Bryant Park’s Christmas market, saw the lights and decorations at Rockefeller Center, and visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We went to Free Fridays at MoMA, followed by a meal at Ted’s Montana Grill. We shopped in the marketplace and ate delicious house-made pasta and cannolis in Eataly. We also saw the second installment of the Harry Potter prequel movie series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and watched the Ohio State versus Michigan game (Ohio State won!), staying true to our own family traditions while also seeking new experiences the city.
It was a week filled with both tradition and adventure. I feel so lucky to have spent this Thanksgiving in the city with my loved ones. The city is magical this time of year, when everything is starting to be decorated for the holidays, and the throng of tourists, even more than usual, brings extra energy to an already nonstop city.
By: Hayley Glessner