Dinner Beneath the Stars: Memories Old and New

Tonight we headed to New York City and dined beneath the stars.

In my teens and twenties I spent much of my time in NYC.
I spent 4 carefree years there completing my undergraduate degree
at New York Uni*versity back in the '80s.
I was a commuter student but since we lived so close to Manhattan, I'd often go in in the morning for classes, then go home.
Then I'd head back in for a late class and hang out with friends until the wee hours.
Yep, those were some times!

After WonderBoy came along; juggling working full-time and
spending every other moment I had with him, I became much more of a homebody.

I'd still venture into the City from time to time...
sometimes on business, but mostly to meet friends.
After 9-11, however, I dramatically cut down on my trips into the City.

It just wasn't the same.

It was hard to look at that skyline knowing that those two buildings that so symbolized our City were gone...and it was/is overwhelming to imagine so many who perished on that day.

When I was in college, I worked on an Exchange in one of the Towers.
I knew those buildings well.

I spent many evenings with friends high atop that beautiful City
at Windows on the W*orld;107 stories in the sky.
It was magnificent.

WonderBoy even joined me there once in May 2000,
as we celebrated my father's 65th birthday with family there in the clouds.
WonderBoy was just learning to walk.
A little more than a year later it was destroyed to dust.

Someday I will show him the video I took as we rode the elevator to the top and how, once we arrived, he stood up against the glass looking down at the City
more than a thousand feet below him.

Somehow the City just lost its sparkle for me after that horrible tragedy.

I realized recently that I am slowly returning to feeling good about being there again.
Although I will never forget those sparkling Twin T*owers, I've decided not to dwell
on their absence and all that they once symbolized as I had been doing these years since.

I am again seeing the beauty, excitement and vibrance in that City that,
before that day in September 8 years ago,
had always felt like home to me.

This summer JR and I decided to spend more time in the City and get back
to what was always "normal" for us.
We also want our children to enjoy all the wonderful sights and sounds that live there and allow them to feel comfortable in what is their City too.

We've made several trips in, both with and without the kids this summer, a few of which I'll be blogging about when I can catch up.

Tonight was one of those trips and I just felt like sharing it.

The weather couldn't have been more beautiful today.
The sun was shining but there was a nice, cool breeze giving way to a crisp September evening.

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My sister, High-Heeled Girl (TigerLily's mom) joined us which made it so much easier for me to linger at all the great shops along the way and not get too many dirty looks from my favorite guys as we walked around SoHo.

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(my Knight in Shining Armor next to this ridiculous imposter!)

I must say that my "non-shopper" boys were patient, as was Sweet Pea, but at a certain point, the bellies were a'rumblin' and that patience was wearing thin.
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So we picked up the pace and trotted toward one of my favorite restaurants.

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This particular restaurant is a whole city block wide.

It's decieving from its entrance because from there you can't see that there's an incredible open air garden dining area in the back.

It's enclosed by the restaurant on one end, two buildings on either side; then by the next street behind the restaurant on the far end.

The garden is beautiful; lined with with trees, twinkle lights, diners, the sky above and ambience galore.

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Their food never disappoints and I just knew JR and my sister would love it.

(and they wouldn't toss us out when they saw 2 kids and a stroller!)

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I realized that I've been coming here for more than 20 years.

I discovered it when I was in college just a few blocks away.

Whenever I cross the threshold, I immediately recall so many wonderful times I have spent there with friends from far and near within its walls over the years.

I am reminded of conversations that still linger there and a youth that, once there, is not so far behind me as I gaze around that familiar space that is identical to the way it was long ago.

We all enjoyed our meals, especially WonderBoy who said it was the best spaghetti with butter and cheese that he ever had. I should hope so for $19.
(He will be eating the leftovers for breakfast, lunch and dinner tomorrow!)

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As long as there's good food

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and adult beverages;
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High-Heeled Girl is always smilin'....

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(that's the High-Heeled Girl "I Happy" smile)

The kids each brought their friends for dinner.
Luckily those two friends aren't big eaters and
both Kiddie and Barney declared that they were "stuffed" by dessert.

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After dinner High Heeled Girl and I hopped in and out of different restaurants and great little boutique hotels on the surrounding blocks planning our next trips to the Big Apple...hmmm, tapas and sangria; brunch with mimosas and bloody marys...

We have lots of fun places ready to go on our list.

With each visit the sparks that are still present in me that once ignited my love affair with that City, continue to remind me how much I've missed it.

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It's time to make some new memories.


  1. Your photos are just beautiful! I am jealous you are able to live so near NYC - What a great city with so much energy. I'm so glad you are getting back there and enjoying it again.

    ps Here in Sydney the pasta with butter and cheese would probably be $19 too - OUCH - especially when they don't eat it all!)

  2. Definitely worth the late evening post. You have given "your" city a character and depth that warrants visiting and paying it the homage it deserves.

    Glad you are feeling ready to re-claim her.


  3. What a perfect story. Can I come next time? This Nov. will be the first time we are bringing ALL of our kids with us there. We usually just bring Gene. Oh, the pictures that can be taken in NYC ! And the drinks to be had too ! This weather we are having??? It's my FAVORITE.

  4. Love it... I feel like I was just there.... wonderful post to what looks like a wonderful day/evening.

  5. Oh how I love NYC and love this post. So glad you are back to a place of learning to enjoy and glad the sparkle of it is returning a bit to your heart.

    Happy day to you!

  6. What a perfect evening in the big apple....and who better to spend it with, than your beautiful family!! It looks like everyone had a wonderful time:)

    I am glad that you have not given up on such a beautiful city. It will never be the same after that tragic day, but there is still so much to see and do. Can't wait to see all the new memories you will make......and maybe, I will be making a few of those memories with you girl!!


  7. How lovely.....
    Your memories....
    Your special evening......
    The restaurant.....
    The pictures....
    Your oh, so beautiful family.....
    Yes, simply.... lovely....

  8. Beautiful heartfelt post and images Christina...I feel like I'm right there and can tell you love your city very much!

    Can't wait to meet you in real life in November...I've only been to NYC once, a loong time ago when I was in high school...;)

  9. Beautiful Family + Magical City = Wonderful Post!!

    We are so fortunate to live close to one of the greatest cities on earth. However, it's a shame we don't take more advantage of the opportunity. But I agree with you completely, 9/11 did place a damper on the experience of visiting the city for a quite some time. But like you, I find myself wanting to reconnect and rediscover our enchanting city once more :o)

  10. ABSOLUTELY fabulous pictures. I LOVE NYC. It looks like you had the best time.
    I'm snitching the bow photo in this post, let me know if that's ok. It's fabulous.