How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

We don’t get out much anymore, in the traditional sense. But we do make an effort to get the kids (and ourselves) out of the house, even in the dead of winter, and visit spots we haven’t been to before.

So that brought us to 42, the dining spot at the very top of the Ritz-Carlton in White Plains, last week. Little G is obsessed with skyscrapers–forget your little ol’ Empire State Building, this kid’s head over heels for the Burj Dubai, which actually has its grand opening Jan. 4. (I would not be lying to say we built the Burj out of blocks at least eight times over Christmas break.) So that brought us to the 42nd floor of the Ritz-Carlton.

The R-C is about a five minute walk to the White Plains train station and is a combination of apartments and hotel rooms–a terrific option for Manhattan commuters. The Missus and I had been there once before, almost two years to the day, when the Ritz -Carlton had its grand opening party. We were lucky enough to meet the Laziest Man in All of Westchester that night–an owner of a R-C apartment who not only used the Ritz shuttle to and from the White Plains station every day, but even hailed a cab to get from Grand Central to 49th and Madison. (That, after exiting Grand Central at 47th and Mad.)

It being 20 degrees and all last week, we coughed up the 10 spot for the valet parking and made our way up to 42. The lunch prices are very affordable–a pulled pork sandwich and fries goes for $11, about what you’d pay at a pub like Valhalla Crossing.

The food was adequate (I had the pulled pork sandwich with sweet potato fries and The Missus had some duck confit sandwich) and the service was decent, but you’re there for the view: Manhattan skyline to the south, Long Island Sound to the east, Palisades to the west, Kensico Dam to the north. What blew my mind, and still does a week later, is that you cannot see the Hudson or even the Tappan Zee from 42, even though it’s only a few miles away. I saw those four red and white smokestacks across the Sound in Northport, site of much trespassing fun back in the teen years.

Here’s the 42 Website. Please ignore the “Its/It’s” typo on the homepage. I mentioned it in the customer satisfaction card when I was paying our tab, and the restaurant has chosen to ignore it as well.

Feeling cooped up again a few days later–enough of the tundra temps, OK?–we ventured out to the Palisades Center across the Hudson in Nyack. We’ve driven by it a million times on the Thruway while visit family in Jersey and points south, and always had it on the mental list of things to do–hardly a bucket list item, but we thought Little G might enjoy seeing the roller coaster or whatever thrills the Krazy Town section of the mall offered.

We went around 2:30 on Saturday the 2nd. The lot was pretty damn jammed, so I let The Missus, Little G, and Little Miss C off at the main entrance and said I’d find a parking spot.

Seventy minutes later, I’d been over every inch of the outdoor lot. I’d given up on the free parking and made my way back to the $7 valet parking near the front door (valet parking for a mall parking lot…someone’s rightfully going to hell for that), only to find the valet parking lot full.

I got stuck 20 deep behind Stop signs and caught in parking lot traffic jams with no apparent way out, just furious drivers looking for that elusive spot. Each column of parking had two or three prospectors–drivers sitting there assuming some shopper would eventually decide to walk to their car and leave. I saw numerous cases of SUV’s showing off their mountain-climbing chops by parking on four foot high frozen snow drifts.

I thought January was the month when everyone’s broke and sitting at home, lamenting their brokeness. People sure ain’t Christmas shopping on January 2nd.

Heck, just the day before, a man tried to sexually assault a young girl in a restroom at the Palisades Center.

Through it all, the place was just ridiculously packed. The Missus and Little G saw their friends at Dave & Busters, G through the skeeball a few times, and they met me out front 70 minutes after we’d pulled up. I still have not set foot inside the mall and, God willing, never will.

So thumbs-up on 42, and, as far as the Palisades Center is concerned, why cross the Tappan Zee if you really don’t have to?

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2 Responses to How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

  1. Susan says:

    Just thought you’d wanna know…typo…”through” instead of “threw” Fun entry, though!

  2. Eric says:

    “on the Thruway while ‘WE’ visit family in Jersey.”

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