I’m guessing that you’ve figured out the what and the where. As for what constitutes as a BIG birthday, 65 is definitely one. If you follow this blog, you know we went to Greece (click for previous posts) for the hubby’s recent milestone birthday. As for mine, the destination was a no-brainer especially since I love cold weather, great restaurants and shopping, with some theater thrown in because it’s part of what one does in NYC.
We flew American to NY and were really impressed with their new 321T plane which is used for transcontinental routes. Wow — great plane, modern features, tons of leg room in the exit row, outlets and individual screens at each seat. We got upgraded for our return (15K miles and $70 each); it was fabulous!
It was a “no holds barred” kind of trip (within reason, of course) because a 65th birthday happens just once. And when one is fortunate enough to have so much, it’s time to both partake and reflect. The latter comes in a bit.
Loews Regency Hotel on Park and 61st got the where-to-stay nod after much debate (with myself and the internet). To me this is a very central location for our plans; we had a terrific previous stay; and, the rate didn’t necessitate a second mortgage. I chose three shows, all purchased in advance: The Band’s Visit, My Fair Lady and Network (Bryan Cranston!). Might I add that none of the NY tickets (all Orchestra seats) cost as much as what we paid for Dear Evan Hansen in Los Angeles. Go figure that one out.
There’s a few places and restaurants where I’ve always wanted to go but never have on innumerable trips to NYC. One is Peter Luger Steakhouse. So many people have so many opinions about the “best steak” place to go, but one doesn’t stay in business for 130+ years with lousy food. This was on my to-do list so that we high-tailed it to Brooklyn straight away after a fabulous performance of My Fair Lady. Norbert Leo Butz as Alfred P. Doolittle is worth the price of admission, if only to see him perform “Get Me to the Church on Time.”
It’s also no surprise that where to dine for the actual birthday dinner was given a lot of thought. Several months ago, I put a reminder in my calendar of the date when January reservations open up for Eleven Madison Park — notoriously difficult to book. Three Michelin stars and consistently on the World’s Best list. Parenthetically, if you click on that link, #15 is White Rabbit in Moscow. Yikes. We did not think it was so wonderful on our visit there in May. So lists can certainly be in the eye of the beholder.
Nonetheless, EMP had availability for Jan 8 so with the hubby’s blessing, the booking was made (and pre-paid in full). The experience was so extraordinary that I’m dedicating a separate post to it (to follow). The night before was a return trip to Daniel — an absolute favorite and site of my perfect 60th. The restaurant is consistently grand and Daniel Boulud was in the house.
Below is the custom menu delivered at the end of the night. I’m always grateful for this so I don’t have to either take notes or try to remember what scrumptious dishes were served! Inside the box is a small pastry to take with, just in case we needed another bite …
We got to visit with family as well for Sunday brunch at Les Leopard des Artistes, close to Lincoln Center. And we had a late night drink with a dear Houston friend who happened to be in NY. Remarkably this is the second birthday in a row we’ve seen him (see post)!
As for the reflection part, I am indeed blessed. A loving and devoted husband, adult children launched and flourishing in their respective careers, a successful business with loyal clients, seeing the world, two close sisters and great friends. It’s a lot. I am so grateful that I trusted my instincts to make the choices in life that resulted in all of this. No doubt, some luck was involved as well. But I wake up every day happy in wonderful surroundings. So life at 65 is pretty, pretty good.