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Day two of Christmastime in New York City began with lunch at Big Daddy’s diner, a well known local hamburger place and then a trip to my favorite architectural gem, the Guggenheim Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright’s last masterpiece of modern architecture. I met up with a friend there and toured the latest exhibit which focused on classic European artists from Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland and other well known countries. Seeing a few Picasso pieces is always a treat and they had at least four on display, plus their signature artist, Kandinsky, whose work compliments Wright architecture so well. Vilhelmina treated me to a ride back to the hotel in a Smart car, my first ride in one of these neat little cars but very fun in New York City traffic to be sure. If you think taxi drivers can manueuver around in the hectic city traffic, you should see what one can do with a Smart car.

Later that evening, we headed over to Times Square, a virtual city of digital light and sound, plus thousands of pedestrians, cabs and places to separate you from your money. I can only imagine what New Year’s Eve is like here if Christmastime is that crowded. A short walk down the street landed us at Carmine’s, an Italian restaurant known for it’s family style meals, and for good reason too: the food is that good. Chicken Parmesan was a good choice as was pasta with meat balls (the size of a billiard ball I might add). That fed all four adults with food to take home. It’s not quite sure whether reservations are required or not-that rule seems to change depending on who you talk to there and the season. They weren’t going to let us eat there as we didn’t have one but my son put on his sad face and the girl at the door took pity on us and soon we were seated. Not bad considering the throngs outside in Times Square. I would definitely give Carmines a try if you are ever up this way but remember that family style means just that-large, family style portions. Don’t make the mistake of ordering individually for each member of the party or you will be taking home lots of leftovers. After dinner, we all headed back to our hotel, stuffed full of good food but not stuffed enough to guard against the brutal cold and wind of a December night in New York City. Bear in mind I said December….the beginning of winter, not the actual season. I imagine the locals think this is pretty warm weather given that they get their worst cold in the three months that follow this one. I’m not used to wearing long coats, gloves and a scarf, much less a hat in the Georgia wintertime….a few days of the winter might see temperatures get down low enough for all that but here, that kind of apparel is a normal thing for everone and I blended in quite well in a sea of long black wool overcoats. My son, on the other hand, didn’t bear up quite as well and we were required to get him some rather unique headgear to keep him warm while in the city. Fortunately, he brought a lot of smiles to a lot of faces during our time in the Big Apple. More to come!