. . . and brought my Tote Trove tote and handmade jewelry! They fit right in with the ever eclectic fashion parade of the city, making me a little wistful. Growing up, I kind of thought I'd end up in New York, writing or painting or something. But life happens; I'm firmly rooted in Atlantic County, NJ, and none the worse for it. The New York jaunt was the brainchild of the bf's sister and stepsister. Prior to the trip, I'd seen them only at the bf's family dinners, etc, so I was excited to get to know them better. They stayed at my house Thursday night, and we ended up talking about all sorts of stuff into the night as I packed. It was fun, so much so that I almost forgot to be embarrassed by my less-than-stellar housekeeping skills. The trip itself was jam-packed with activity. We were off bright and early Friday morning, putting us in the city at just before noon. We dropped our bags at the stately Roosevelt hotel, scarfed down a tasty lunch at Goodburger (never found out if it was any relation to that Nickelodeon flick with Keenan and Kel), and boarded the subway to Canal Street. I'd never been on the subway (or to Canal Street, for that matter), and I had some issues making it through the turnstile. I waited too long after swiping my Metro card and was denied access, causing me to have one of my mini tantrums. "She's a first-timer," explained the bf's stepsister. The guy behind me offered to let me through with him, and begrudingly I assented. It was one of those horrible times when I could feel myself growing more childish by the second but was powerless to stop it. Oh well. All was soon forgotten as we emptied out into the madness of Canal Street. Vendors hawking handbags, jewelry, tee shirts, and perfume beckoned from every storefront while over-zealous bargain hunters slipped into secret back rooms. The experience was unparalleled to any in my sheltered, mall-clogged retail history. But it was colorful and gritty and better acquainted me with the city, and I was glad I went. We ended our adventure with a stop at Starbucks (the first of many), then headed back to The Roosevelt to dress for dinner at Tavern on the Green. I don't know what I was expecting the restaurant to be like, but it wasn't the fairy tale that emerged from Central Park. We were ushered into a glass-walled dining room, which boasted a ceiling so flowery and colorful that it looked like the top of a birthday cake. Cliche or not, I felt like I was in a movie. The food lived up to the decor; my bacon and blue cheese-drenched lettuce wedge salad, filet, twice-baked potato, spinach, and lemon meringue tart were perfect. Someone from the restaurant snapped our picture, which we purchased. (I would've included it here, but I don't have a scanner.) We couldn't get a cab back . . . so were forced to settle for a limo. The dinner was my favorite part of the trip. In addition to the obvious "fancy" factor, there was just something easy and relaxed about our conversation, which was nice. We capped the night off with a walk in Times Square, where we had our caricatures drawn. They came out as badly as you would expect, but it was funny and one more thing I could check off of my never-done-it-before list. We spent most of Saturday afternoon touring the city from the top of a double-decker bus. We had good weather and terrific seats right up front. I saw lots of sections I never had before and made a mental note to spend some time nosing around Soho and Greenwich Village on my next trip. After grabbing a light lunch, we wandered around for a bit, ducking into the Trump building (who knew there were restaurants there?) and Tiffany's for some window shopping before getting ready for Mary Poppins at the New Amsterdam Theater. Not a huge Mary Poppins fan, I was a little bored by the storyline. Nevertheless, there were several good production numbers, complete with colorful, glittery costumes and splashy music. And Mary's "flight" into the sky at the end was impressive (not to mention scary; you wouldn't catch me up there.) Afterward we filed out into the rain-damp crush of people in Times Square in search on - what else? - pizza. We were starving, despite our intermission snacks. After that it was off to bed. We were all exhausted after the weekend's excitement, I think, and despite the fun I was having, I was beginning to think of the bf and home. Overall, the trip was a hit, and there was talk of doing it again. Can't wait!