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NYC Christmas Day

BY CAILIN BURKE  

Before we were to head home for the holidays, we wanted to have a stereotypical Christmas day in the city. Well… actually it was Tara’s idea, so we called it Tara’s Christmas Day! Since New York has amazing window displays, lights, and shopping this time of year, we wanted to devote time to see it all. Since we had already seen the Rockefeller Tree and I had been to both the Grand Central and Bryant Park Christmas markets, we already had a few things checked off the list. We started off the day by getting up as early as we could and had brunch at St. Balmain, a cafe in Brooklyn.

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After we were ready for Christmas shopping and made it to the only Christmas market I had yet to see, the one in Union Square. It was definitely the biggest market of the three and seemed to go on forever! They had a huge variety of booths, with some of my favorites being the succulent Christmas ornaments (our roomie bought one!), the different pastry stands (there were beautiful macarons and donuts), and the booths that sold a ton of knick knacks.

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After the market, we headed to the Strand bookstore, which is pretty well-known in New York, for being this cool secondhand bookstore that seems to last forever! Of course I couldn’t help myself when I found a great deal on one of my favorite authors, Irving Stone. I found three of his books, Lust for Life, The President’s Lady, and The Agony and the Ecstasy all together in one huge book, for only $9!

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We continued our shopping escapade all the way down Fifth Avenue, stopping at cool stores like ABC Carpet & Home and Fishs Eddy. Then we went to see some of the biggest window displays, starting with Lord & Taylor which had an amazing animal-themed display.

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The best window had scenes depicted from famous novels with little mice everywhere. When you think of Christmas in New York, Macy’s in Herald Square also comes to mind and we were blown away by their window displays too. Each window was a different planet and it told the story of a boy who gets to see Christmas on each planet! We went inside Macy’s as well to write a letter to Santa and then headed home since we were so tired after going to Brooklyn, Union Square, the Flatiron District, and Midtown all in one day! Christmas in NYC is definitely a must-see!

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High Line, Chelsea Market and Union Square

BY TARA BURKE

Cailin and I have moved just outside of NYC and we can’t wait to share all of our city experiences! On our first day of exploring we checked out the High Line, Chelsea Market and Union Square. The High Line is located on the West Side of Manhattan and is a public walkway that is built along an old freight rail line. It has plenty of unique benches, sitting areas and even lounge spots that are built right into the structure. Additionally, they have gardens and plants all along the 1.45 mile length of the High Line. It’s such a nice place to walk, picnic and if you need to get to either of its end points, (Gansevoort St. or West 34th St.) it conveniently provides a walk free of traffic stops.

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In fact, Cailin and I did just that. We started off on West 34th and walked the entire length of the High Line before we exited the walkway to head towards Chelsea Market. Since the city is like a personal sauna in the summer, getting inside the cool indoor area of Chelsea Market was just what we needed. We strolled around looking at the vendors and all the glorious food. We do most of our cooking at home so we didn’t eat there that day, but we made a mental note of all the places we thought looked delicious. We were especially eyeing all the lucky souls who were passing by us with full lobsters from The Lobster Place! After some people watching, we went into a few shops that featured artisan’s handcrafted jewelery, clothing and bags among many other things. Eventually, we finally had the courage to go back to the sweltering streets to head towards Union Square.

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Ok, so please appease my quick diversion. While Cailin and I were abroad in London we always watched this reality show called, “Made in Chelsea” with our friends. It’s a typical reality show following the lives of Chelsea’s “elite society.” Definitely, not the most riveting television ever, but it was our fun “I can’t think; I’m so tired and just want to laugh at rich people’s drama” show. We found out a few months ago that the “Made in Chelsea” cast was going to be filming a season in NYC this summer. From then on we joked about running into them or finding a way to get into the background of a shot. Well, while we were walking down the streets of New York City’s Chelsea, we both saw a person who looked uncannily like Spencer Matthews, one of the show’s main members. I then saw his man capris and looked a few people up to see bleach blonde hair and knew… It was definitely Spencer and his best friend Jamie! Cailin took a few papparazzi pics before they went into a building. Even though we always joked about running into them, we didn’t really think it would happen given the 8 million+ people living in NYC, so it was a cool surprise to see them.

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Thank you for your patience and back to Union Square. So we went to Union Square to browse the fresh market they have there. What we ended up finding was a completely fake market, set-up to film a scene for the tv show “White Collar.” We stood and watched the process for a little before heading to the real market that was pushed further down the square. We strolled around the area for a little bit and ran into a clump of fan-girling preteens. They kept running after this guy and we didn’t know what all the commotion was about, but we kind of wanted to find out. While we were pondering entering the swarm of girls, a fellow standby who was just as curious, asked if we knew who they were gawking over. After we said we had no idea he was off into the center of the mania. We didn’t think we would see him again, but he came back with the scope! Turns out, it was someone who is famous from Vine (Jerome Jarre to be exact when we looked it up later). His videos are pretty funny! After that, we were worn out so we got a few groceries at Trader Joe’s and headed for home, but it sure was an event packed first day of exploring.

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