The holidays in Manhattan cause Peter Pan syndrome for even the most jaded New Yorkers.  And there’s no better place to capture a pocket full of fairy dust than Times Square.

Saturday night we joined friends for a pre-theater dinner at Ça Va Brasserie followed by a performance of The Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino.

Times Square/Hell’s Kitchen can be hit or miss with all the tourist traps and fly-by-nights.  I’d been searching for a new go-to and think I’ve found it with Todd English’s Ça Va French restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel.  The atmosphere is modern but warm and the food and service were right on point (and time).

I love Broadway but consider myself more of a musical kind of girl.  I’ve seen one too many plays that left me scratching my head or rubbing my eyes.  The Merchant of Venice elicited neither.  It was spectacular.  Sure I only caught one out of every 25 sentences and cringed at the antisemitism but the first rate cast was engaging and believable.  Al Pacino was so convincing, I stopped imaging him turning to us muttering, “What you lookin’ at?”  You all a bunch of fuckin’ assholes” after the first act.

I was mesmerized by Lily Rabe’s strength as the timeless Portia and pleasantly surprised to see Jesse L. Martin, a long time favorite from Rent, as Gratiano.

We narrowly escaped getting ejected for taking the above photo before the play started.  I was all hopped up on that fairy dust snapping away when one of those stiff attendants hollered from 10 rows away, “NO PICTURES MA’AM!,” reminding me I was in fact still in New York City.

Sunday, we finally trimmed our Chritmas tree.

My brother Jeff dropped by from Long Island at the end of last week with a 13-foot Douglas-fir in tow.  It’s become a tradition.

I’ll let you in on a dirty little secret about many of the trees being sold on the streets of New York City- they’re warm weather trees shipped up from the south.  They can’t withstand the cold so by the time you buy one (for an obscene price no less), it’s dead and exacting its revenge by spraying its dried out, spiky needles ALL OVER your apartment.

Last year’s tree was too big for an apartment so I asked him to tone it down this time around.  He must have heard, “You’d better go bigger than last year” because while this year’s is narrower, it’s 3 inches taller.

Not that I really mind.  It just took some Cirque du Soleil action to string the lights at the top and Glamadad’s afraid of heights so I was on my own.

That’s our new Elf on a Shelf, named Balthazar after Portia’s masculine alter-ego.  Both Buba and Mapu have already taken turns assaulting him but with that sinister smile can you blame them?  Just wait till they realize the power he holds.

The curtains closed with us cozied up to a Duraflame, O Tannenbaum towering over us, fully adorned.

Now I’ll compulsively re-arrange the ornaments until the day the tree is hauled out onto the curb for disposal.

If only I were joking.

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  1. says

    I now understand that is is not Christmas without that Elf on the Shelf (we got one this year) and did you do that hand print ornament from Red Envelope? I did that last year with my kids!!

    And your tree? Stunning!

    Merry Christmas mama!!


  2. says

    I didn’t do Elf on the Shelf with my kids when they were younger because it wasn’t around, but am I the only person that thinks he looks a little creepy? I think I’d be scared to sleep at night if he lived in my house. ;o)

    Your tree is gorgeous!

  3. says

    Your tree is beautiful! I am going to get Elf on the Shelf this year (after Christmas as Im hoping to get it on sale shhhh) even though Drake is still a bit young for it but I figured Ill get some pictures of the elf here and there to ave and show him when he is older so he knows the elf (no name yet) has been coming since he was little to help add to the realist of it all lol

  4. says

    I love a night out on the town with friends – that’s the best. And ditto, I enjoy musicals 100x much more than regular plays.

    Oh my goodness, the tree is beautiful!!!! I love it!

    lol @ Balthazar

    Hehehe, I thought I was the only one compulsive about my ornaments. I got so bad that at first I tried to sneak and reposition some of DH’s ornaments that he didn’t hang right, or hung in a not so great place, but by the end I was just openly rearranging them.

    Aaah, I love decorating for the holidays. Good times!

  5. says

    I absolutely love your Christmas Tree. It’s GORGEOUS!! I will admit that I’m a perfectionist and wants everything perfect and I do the same thing with the ornaments every year until I take down the tree, but the funny thing is I never get it perfect…well at leasat in my eyes.

    I also didn’t try little Mr. Elf on the Shelf, but I think I may purchase one next year although my daughter may be to old at this point. I had never really heard of it before, but I have seen many bloggrrs talking about it.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!!!!!

  6. says

    Your tree is FANTASTIC! I love it! What an awesome job you did decorating it!

    That ELF…he’s gonna rat out Big Bub and Mapu to Santa…he deserves what he gets! LOL :)

  7. says

    Your tree is gorgeous, and I of course love that you have a handprint ornament!

    Merry Christmas and don’t change a thing – the tree is perfect just the way it is.

  8. says

    Okay, so I’m soooo happy to hear that I am not the only one out there who rearranges the ornaments on the tree until it’s time to take it down! Yay! Jill, this post is way too funny. I am cracking up over here! “He must have heard, ‘you’d better go bigger than last year'” — too funny!

    How cute is the ornament with the imprinted hand?! I love it! What a fantastic idea (one that I’m def stealing and doing with my Aiden. hehe).

    Glad you had a good weekend. Call me jaded, but I stay away from Times Square on the weekend at all costs. LOL. But it is magical this time of year.

  9. says

    Love your tree! My husband got one for us our first year of marriage that did not fit in the room where he had decided it was going to go. I remember laughing so hard that I was literally rolling around on the floor. It was massive.

    My kids are the ones rearranging all the decorations on our tree

  10. says

    NYC at Christmas is so magical. My bff lived there for 7 years before moving to the country, and I miss the visits. I want to take the hubs and our little bun next year. Your tree is gorgeous, but definitely giant. Did you have a ladder? I love the silver and white color scheme, by the way.

  11. says

    I LOVE that you got an elf too. I will be passing that info along to my kids to help the story along. Once they know that other kids have elves watching them too- oh boy :) Thanks for stopping by yesterday. Great to have you!


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