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This year Alice requested that we not undertake a major trip for her Spring Break. She's been very busy and feeling the lack of downtime, so despite my regretting not getting a real vacation, we agreed we would stay home. But then I suggested that perhaps we could pop down to New York for a couple of days, which we haven't done with Alice in a couple of years and she thought that might be ok.

We drove down on Tuesday, dropped our car in the garage behind our friends' apartment and our stuff inside before heading out to visit Fearless Girl. She was mobbed, but Alice displayed her own tenacity to get in position for a photo (for the results, check out [personal profile] daily_alice). Then we wandered around the new World Trade Center, checking out the Oculus and seeing the memorial pools for the first time. We found our first glimpse over the edge a real gut punch--impressive how instantly it evokes so many of the emotions of that terrible day. I thanked Alice afterward for enduring what I know from experience is a weird thing: when your parents are having a deeply emotional moment about something that means nothing to you.

Back at the apartment Alice spent a while figuring out a bracelet braiding kit with Susan before we headed to dinner at Red Farm, which "brings a greenmarket sensibility to modern and inventive Chinese food". I'll say! We ordered many dishes to share, of which the highlights included the black truffle chicken soup dumplings, the hot & sour soup with grilled shrimp skewers, the beef & chanterelle dumplings, and the steamed sea bass with Chinese cauliflower and okra in black bean sauce.

After dropping the others back at the flat to get Alice to bed, Susan and I wandered up to the Flatiron Lounge for a few of their delicious cocktails and grownup conversation.

On Tuesday our hosts made it out the door to work without waking us and we lazed around until after ten before heading up the street to the Good Stuff Diner. By the time we left there, we didn't have a ton of time until our show, so we went straight to Times Square and wandered around enjoying the sights, the shops and the people-watching opportunities.

I had decided that I wanted to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory because the book was written by David Greig, whose plays I've quite enjoyed over the past few years. While I think he did a fine job, I wouldn't consider this essential Grieg-viewing, since it really doesn't allow him much scope. Christian Borle make a wonderfully manic Willy Wonka, the staging was clever and impressive, and the various modernizations were better incorporated than many efforts I've seen to update classics, but overall I can't say I loved it and the stereotyping was, if anything, even more pronounced than in the original, although they did their best to scrub away the outright racism. But it was fun and Alice got an enormous lollypop and a good time was had by all.

We headed back downtown, engaged in an amusing chat with our hosts as we took three different trains to arrive almost simultaneously at The Dutch just after 5pm for our 5:45 reservation in the dining room, which doesn't start serving until 5:30. We left Alice (who was cold) and Daniel to play on their phones while the rest of us walked around the block and picked up some artisanal chocolates at Kee.

Once they were able to seat us, The Dutch was great and we all enjoyed our meal, but I think Alice's garganelli with duck ragu was the clear winner of the evening. The desserts looked good, but I was on a mission to avoid disappointing steve yet again by visiting New York without obtaining a churro cone from Chikalicious. It was everything he'd promised, but came with such a powerful sugar crash that I was asleep almost the moment we walked back in the apartment door.

But that meant that I had a good night's sleep, another relaxing morning, brought the others breakfast in bed, and we were still packed and out before 9:30am. Traffic was kind of ridiculous, but we made it to the Met by 10:30 and had an hour on our own in the Contemporary wing before meeting Alice's best friend from school--who happened to be in the city with her family for the week. We were able to visit various highlights of the museum as I marvelled at how much has changed since I worked there thirty years ago, and then had a nice lunch together before it was time for us to hit the road.

We had spent most of the drive down running my lines for Mourning Becomes Electra (are you coming? do you have your tickets yet?) so we devoted the trip back to getting Jason off book, while Alice donned headphones to amuse herself in the back seat. We had a quick dinner at the last rest stop on the Pike and made it home in time to get Alice to bed and Jason to choir rehearsal.

On the way home I asked Alice how she thought Spring Break is going and she said "Mama, it's amazing," so I'm counting this trip as a win.
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