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  • Writer's pictureKali Kuzma

The Perfect Holiday Vacation: A Trip to New York City

When a Joke Becomes Reality

If you read my post about my trip to The Florida Keys, then you know I used to work at a job where each summer they would give away tickets to anywhere in the US.

Well, the following year, as all of us were huddled lakeside at our summer party, I asked everyone where they would like to go if gifted with the tickets. Before anyone could answer, I replied with my own stating, 'New York at Christmas time.' My friend, Britta, jumped in with, "Me too!". We went on to discuss how magical it would be with all the Christmas lights.

About an hour later, Britta is jumping for joy as her raffle ticket was called out. Without hesitating I walked up to her, "When are we going to New York?"

A year and a half later, plus a delayed layover, we finally touched down in New York City for eight magical days.

Boy, we didn't waste a second throwing our bags into the AirBnB we got for a steal for booking it out eight months in advance. Happy we were in the city that never sleeps we made our way to a restaurant we spotted on the uber ride to our lodging. The Horny Ram.

Straight to the bar where I enjoyed the best burger I have ever eaten while Britta munched on salmon. Drinks with Rhianna playing in the background gave a cozy yet party vibe while sitting at the bar. A few drinks in we decide what better way to spend the night than to hit up Times Square a few blocks down.

Amazed by the lights, we didn't even care the square was empty except for a few tourists who found themselves early to the Christmas festivities. In and out of stores, we were fascinated by the large Disney building playing songs from Tangled. We roamed the streets, steam rising from the drainage grates spotting the Diamond District and the haunting St. Paul's Cathedral. If it wasn't for the long day of travels we would have went farther but the bed and lateness of the night (4 a.m.) was calling our names.

We only needed a few hours of sleep before we were back at it again. Our first item on the agenda, Lips. An entertainment and brunch venue. Song after song, drag queen after drag queen we ate and drank bottomless mimosas watching the show. Tipsy and feeling like a million bucks, Central Park was just within our reach. Tall buildings were replaced with trees and horse carriage rides. Winding paths brought us to historical statues and ponds only ever seen on tv. Then, the MET magically appears, and we are cutting the line spotting a worker in the corner selling tickets.

Room after windowless room of Egyptian artifacts are breathtaking but the fear of claustrophobia begins to set in. Quickly, I'm hurrying not paying attention to the ancient relics but looking for a way out when we cross the medieval century. There, I feel at home surrounded by the beautiful French style rooms and armor worn by knights. Just as fast as we entered, we exit back into the park now dark and cold with rain. Drenched and dashing aimlessly, I pause to snap a photo before hightailing it towards our dinner reservations. Only a small tea candle to keep me warm we finish the night with shrimp appetizers and a wet ride home as my clothes still haven't dried from the rain.

From there, the days begin to blur as we visit the famous FAO Schwartz toy store to watch parents buy their children gifts for the upcoming holiday. We hit up the Rockerfeller Center to see lines for The Tonight Show and ice skaters gliding below the iconic Rockefellar Christmas tree. We eat a four-course meal in a restaurant and watch couples get engaged over and over again from the window. Then, there are the lights. Christmas lights and window displays you could never imagine. Decorated as if you were in a fairytale.

The excitement for Christmas is drowned out when we step foot into St. Paul's Chapel. Its beauty is astonishing and the tunnels that lay below are filled with originating family members. It isn't quiet for long as we head back to the surface to be transported into little Italy, then one block over, Chinatown. The people, shops, and time whisk by as we move into the late night wondering if we should have gotten a cab to walk home.

Safe and sound we find ourselves the next day boarding the subway from Grand Central Station to the financial district. Along the way an older man gets Britta's number but we find out our spot for the Statue of Liberty will be missed as the line is three hours long so we divert. We wander our way to Wallstreet, Brooklyn Bridge, and Madison Square Garden where the excitement had died down. The streets still busy aren't filled with tourists but we reconnect once the Empire State Building is spotted in the distance. We climb and climb and climb slowly making our way to the top where we see New York for what it is. Down below you can see the ice skaters on ice, horns honking, and the city skyline.

We do it again the next night, but this time on top of The Rockefellar, another outstanding view. Our night isn't over though as we hit Broadway to see The Phantom of the Opera. Tears are shed and our breath is taken away with the closing curtain, wanting to see more. But we can't because we have to do one final thing, hit a night club where each floor plays different styles of music. We dance the night away to find ourselves roaming Times Square one final time. A naked man wearing only a long cheetah robe and flip flops is comically being chased by fat cops who just ended their shift at the Krispy Kreme.

We rehash our time in New York on the plane ride back. Tired from the 80 miles walked and the great memories we had we land back in Montana ready for work the next day.

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