It's Christmas Time in the City...

It is SO important to step back from our busy lives and take time just to savor the sights and sounds of the holiday season. On Friday, I did just that, and hopped on a train into the city.  I LOVE New York at is a pretty amazing city all of the time, but at Christmas it comes alive.
Grand Central is SO majestic and is the perfect welcome mat for New York City...I wish the airports here had an ounce of the grandeur of this train station (but that is a WHOLE different blog post for another time). 
My first stop...the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) where I met my friend Crista to see the Matisse Cut Outs. This is a MUST see if you are going to be in New York. It ends February 8, 2015 and is definitely worth a trip to the city! It was a treat to get in before the crowds with the Members' early admission hours.  Here is a little secret: a membership to MoMA is $85 for the year.  Two tickets to get into the museum are $50 - why not pay a bit extra, get early admission to the museum (including special exhibits) with no crowds, PLUS all the other benefits of membership for the next year? And, you are supporting an excellent cause!
After our eyes adjusted once again to "Manhattan grey" after the bright and cheery colors of Matisse, we headed uptown to a small museum on Fifth Avenue - The Neue Gallerie. This museum is worth a visit just to see the gorgeous landmark building where it is located - once the home of Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt. Their collection is dedicated to early 20th century Austrian and German art (the jewel of the collection being Gustav Klimt's portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer) and also features many rotating exhibitions - we saw the exhibit of Egon Schiele portraits which was very interesting.  We were on our way to lunch or we would definitely have stopped into Cafe Sabarsky at the Neue for some Kaffe Creme and Viennese pastries! 
Next on the agenda of the day...visiting a couple of hotels! I am obviously in the right business because this is one of my favorite things to do. Crista (who is a fellow travel advisor) says my eyes light up like a kid in a candy shop the minute I walk into the lobby of a luxury hotel.
We visited two New York City gems - the Plaza Athenee and The Lowell. They are both on the Upper East Side just steps from Central Park and Madison Avenue shopping, and both are absolutely beautiful. I will be featuring them in a separate post where I will show you many more photos, but I am smitten with both of these properties - they are quite different but share similarities as well. I can't wait to share them with you in detail.
In an embarrassment of riches, we were hosted for a delicious lunch at Arabelle at the Plaza Athenee and then afternoon tea at The Lowell's Pembroke Room. Absolutely delicious food, delightful spaces and great company - what could be better! I didn't know about afternoon tea at The Lowell, but it is now my preferred destination for this occasion. The Pembroke Room is cozy and elegant at the same time - the perfect place for high tea for the Holidays...I already plan to return with Caroline when she is home.
Tiffany & Co. lit up for the holidays including their famous Snowflake
Even though it was drizzling freezing rain, I decided to walk the twenty plus blocks back to Grand Central so I could enjoy the essence of New York at the holidays -  the decorations in the store windows, the twinkling lights everywhere, the smell of roasting chestnuts, the Rockefeller Center tree, and the bustling crowds. I have lived in the NYC area for a many years but I never get tired of "Christmas time in the city"! 
The windows at Bergdorf's, Tiffany's and Barney's are always amazing!
 I hope you will come visit me at The Enchanted Home today where I am joining with several other lovely blogging ladies to share a few of our holiday faves! It will be a virtual Christmas party...without the calories from the cookies and cocktails!
Coming on Wednesday...Hong Kong...finally!!