NYC Highlights and Lowlights

In my family, we like to play a conversation game at the dinner table. It’s called “Highlights and Lowlights,” and it plays out just like it sounds: we each take turns sharing the highs and lows of our day. The game is great because it’s simple, it’s structured, and it’s a chance to hear and be heard.

My recent trip to NYC with my daughter Bird lends itself to Highlights and Lowlights: we had a healthy dose of both. If I had to use one word to describe the trip, it would be intense, but of course NYC is an intense place, so I was expecting nothing less.

Here is a list of our highlights:

  1. Four free nights in an upgraded room at the Andaz Fifth Avenue was pretty great. Bird kept asking, “Are we VIP’s?” They definitely gave us the VIP treatment. (For those who are wondering how we pulled this off for free, you can read all about it herehere, and here).

    andaz room

    Our Andaz Room – Library In Background!

  2. Wicked. We scored fantastic seats, and it was an amazing show. I’m not much of a musical fan, but I was completely blown away.
  3. A gourmet pasta dinner at Scarpetta, where we shared the braised short ribs and the black farfalle with lobster and basil bread crumbs. (Of course I also had a couple of glasses of perfectly chilled pink wine). Mwa! Delicious! Also, the service was flawless and the atmosphere was iconic NYC.
  4. Finding the perfect fragrance at Aedes de Venustas. (I wrote about this yesterday). I love this gorgeous jewel box of a boutique. Not only does the shop look exquisite, but the owners really know what they are doing and are willing to spend as much time as it takes to help their customers.
  5. Dinner with friends at Ippudo. This was totally worth the wait. A few tips: if you get in line at 4:30 pm, you will be seated at 5 pm when they first open for dinner. Otherwise, you may have to wait for upwards of a couple of hours, because they do not take reservations. Also, if you go with a group of 5-6 people, you will be seated at a booth, which is infinitely preferable to being out in the middle of the restaurant. Last, order the pork buns. Trust me.

    Ramen at Ippudo

    Ramen at Ippudo

  6. Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge and getting chocolate chip cookies from Jacques Torres. Fun and yum.
  7. Drinking in the less popular exhibits at the Met. We walked through stunning rooms in the American Art wing that were completely deserted. We felt privileged and special, plus we could really see and consider all of the pieces. Highly recommend.

And now for the lowlights of our trip:

  1. Taking the Staten Island Ferry to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. Ugh! This took forever. The ferry was jam-packed. Once we were on, we were trapped – we had to go through with it. At the end of the experience, we both agreed that we just wanted our two hours back.

    statue of liberty

    Gorgeous clouds, blurry statue

  2. SoHo on Friday afternoon. Do not attempt this. Even for a black-belt shopper like myself, this was some kind of an advanced ninja move that I haven’t learned yet.
  3. Century 21 on a Saturday afternoon. OMG. Still traumatized.
  4. Having to make a round trip from the city to JFK so that I could verify to Turkish Airlines that I had purchased tickets for my brother and his family to fly to Africa. This is a very long story, which I will tell you soon. Suffice it to say that it was stressful, expensive, and frustrating.
  5. Taking the airporter bus from the city to Newark to catch our return flight home. One of the top five worst bus rides of my life. This is saying a lot, considering that I was once on a bus that caused Josh to forever test positive for TB. I might write about the Newark bus ride, but I’m not sure if I have it in me to relive the experience.
  6. The Egypt wing of the Met. Hot and humid and filled with sweaty, loud people.

Have you noticed that we had more highlights than lowlights? We totally did. It was a really great trip, packed with memorable moments both great and terrible.

Real life, baby. Keepin’ it real.



  1. This reminds me of one of my basic tenents of traveling. I always tell people that you have to take the bad with the good. It’s NEVER a perfect trip.

    We once went on a cruise with our middle-aged nephew and his wife. There were some problems with seating in the restaurants. But there was always plenty of food, you just couldn’t always eat where you wanted. He complained bitterly and acted childishly.

    My view is if you can’t ride out the bad stuff then stay home and watch reruns.

  2. Points Pixie says

    Anne – agreed. It’s sometimes more about the journey than the destination, and if you can’t enjoy the journey, you are missing the point!

  3. Thanks so much for the tips! We are going to visit NYC for the very first time next week. I am feeling “anxious” just planning for the trip. We are thinking of booking a one-day tour to see all the tourist places. Thanks.

  4. Points Pixie says

    Nguyen – Yes, NYC is so much more fun if you do a little advance planning, which it sounds like you are doing! Hope you have a great trip.

  5. Rebecca says

    The highlights sound awesome. I love Wicked, I’ve seen it twice – in SF & NY. I love taking notes from the food network & going to special places when I’m there. There was a toasted marshmallow milkshake once, and then there was the mac n chz place with all sorts of variations. I’ve been to NY a few times but have never been to see the Statue of Liberty so thank you for your experience, sounds like I’m not missing much. It sounds like overall a memorable trip with your daughter and after all, you two will laugh about the lowlights for years to come. Making memories, that’s what counts!

  6. Followed a link and landed here; even while it is an older post and not from last month, this: “Century 21 on a Saturday afternoon. OMG. Still traumatized.” I can so relate. Shoe section. Mid-week. For my mom, not even myself. It was epic! Seriously, I love Century 21 but makes me want to pay full retail price. LOL

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