Due to a very fortunate coincidence my penpal Jennet and her husband were visiting NYC the same time as we were, so of course we had to meet! :) Jennet and I had arranged to meet up at the hotel lobby at noon (we were even staying at the same hotel!) so I decided to go for a quick visit to the M&M shop at Times Square and browse without Lars laughing at me ;) I fully see how utterly tacky all the merchandise is, but I still loved looking around to see all they had. The shop smelled much too sweet for me to feel like buying any of the chocolate though, so I didn't make use of any of the big dispensers... probably rather counter-productive for them. But if I had $250 I didn't know what to do with, I would have gotten this chess set!
Jennet and I recognised each other straight off, and after 6 years as email friends it was great to actually meet her in person! I love how with some people it doesn't matter that you've never met - you've known each other for years, and it feels that way when meeting up :) We fell into talking straight away and had a great time together. Well.. I did, anyway ;)
We walked over to 5th Ave to find the Rockefeller Center. I hadn't realised it was practically a mall - and a lot of it underground. Guess the name, "The Rockefeller Plaza" should have given it away, but I didn't think that far. Once there we had no problems finding the Swarovski store, and I was very grateful to discover that Jennet had no problems spending as much time there as I did :) They have gorgeous jewellery, but I absolutely adore their figurines, and ended up getting these penguins... figuring that even Lars could get behind choosing penguins as a suitable souvenir from NYC ;) Jennet found an absolutely GORGEOUS jewellery set, so at least I wasn't the only one to use money there ;)
Irina had told me about a Scholastic store in lower Manhattan, and as Jennet wanted to go there too, we decided to jump on a train and head down there. Oh wow! Now THAT is a dangerous store for me to go into!! They had a HUGE YA section (obviously) with so many books I'd love. I limited myself and only bought one book though, but it probably helped that the only BabySitter's Club books they had were the new graphic novels. Had they had all the originals I think I would have been very hard pressed not to supplement my collection ;)
It was about lunch time by now, so Jennet asked the cashier for recommendations of lunch places nearby and we were sent just around the corner to a very nice Italian café. It seemed like one of those places that is mostly frequented by natives, so we enjoyed being somewhere that hasn't quite been discovered by tourists yet. The food was really excellent too :)
After lunch we went back uptown (yeah, back and forth we go, but we made up the plans as we went along and didn't have any reason to rush anyway ;) ) to visit F.A.O. Swartz. I'd been told that it's NYC's version of "Hamleys", and that sounds about right. This (and the M&M store earlier that day) is where I went crazy taking photos. They had giant figures made out of Lego (Chewbacca, Batman, Harry, Ron, Hermione and Hagrid), giant soldiers made out of jelly beans, a muppet factory, and gorgeous miniature instruments. I was especially enamoured by the two latter, so have to post photos of those here :) The rest can all be found at the Picasa link above.
Jennet took even more photos than I did though ;) Can't wait to see hers!
NYC saw fit to have its first heat wave while we were there (go figure!), so both Jennet and I wanted to head back to the hotel to freshen up before meeting our husbands. I had no idea what Justin would be like, but it turned out that he was a really cool guy with a great sense of humour, so having dinner together was a blast. We ended up at the same Mexican place as the first night, and while Lars and I still found the food delicious, Justin told us that it couldn't live up to Mexican food in Texas... we'll have to test that sometime! ;)