From Chicken Feet to Swan Boats: Birthday Fun in New York and Boston

{Celebrate your courage: Send me a postcard}

One of my favorite parts of a trip to New York City is always walking around looking at the people and the buildings, so for my birthday celebration my husband and I pretty much cut out all the “doing stuff” nonsense and just walked around the city all day. We clocked about 10 miles crisscrossing various neighborhoods in delightful inefficiency. I don’t think one degree in either direction could have made the weather more glorious for our walking tour. Here’s a map of some of the places we visited:

This itinerary came about partly by happenstance and partly by bad preparation. We’d had vague plans to possibly visit the Tenement Museum (sold out), MoMA (crazy crowded), and the 911 Memorial (decided a different time would be better), but we ended up doing none of those things and loving every minute of it.

Photo Tour of New York

I always love that first moment of entering the Main Concourse in Grand Central Station. The grandeur! The scope! The bustle! Nine times out of 10 I will utter a line from the movie American Graffiti, to the guaranteed annoyance of my husband, when Terry was trying to get busy in a car with Debbie, but people kept walking by: “Geez, it’s like Grand Central Station around here!”

We hopped on a subway and headed for Chinatown.

Dim Sum in Chinatown


I watched two people put away their bicycles in front of the Nom Wah Tea Parlor. As I took a few photographs, a beautiful young woman came dancing into the frame, did a twirl, and left as quickly as she had come. She was followed by a man who was filming her, apparently shooting a scene in a movie.

Dancer at the Nom Wah Tea Parlor

(This was my photo of Day 104 for 365Project.)

At a great spot in a nook by the window, we had a wonderful lunch of dim sum and chrysanthemum tea to celebrate my birthday.


Dim sum (clockwise from upper left): Chicken Feet (I really tried to like them. I didn’t find them unappealing in any sort of squeamish way, and their flavor was good, but they were just a gooey fatty little nibble at a time with a thousand tiny bones in the way, and my chopstick skills are mediocre at best, which didn’t help matters. I felt a little sad to leave almost all of them behind untouched, but we did our best), Cilantro and Scallion Rice Rolls (really tasty), Shanghainese Soup Dumplings (so great — a little burst of hot soup inside), Pan-Fried Pork Dumplings, and Shrimp Siu Mai.


{Related post: Birthday on the Brooklyn Bridge}

Fearless Girl


I was perfectly game to wait in the well-ordered line that formed for people to get their shot with the new “Fearless Girl” sculpture, but I think the crowd had it wrong. The line should have been to take a shot over the girl’s shoulder as she faced down the bull, but the popular consensus was to line up to have a portrait taken with the girl. The crowd did not ask for my views on this subject, so I waited in line and took my turn like everyone else. I got a picture of her with no bull in sight. (There’s a good shot here at the Boston Globe: Fearless Girl and Charging Bull.)

The famed new “Fearless Girl” sculpture faces down a raging crowd of tourists.

The High Line

Next we strolled along the High Line, an elevated park made on an old train line.


A lot more walking…

I like the sort of Taxi Driver feel to this one, and it’s another addition to my “42” collection.

We ended the day at a spot we both love, the Grand Central Oyster Bar.


We each had a rich and decadent pan roast, a seafood soup loaded with butter and cream that’s oh so delectable in every spoonful.

That wrapped up my birthday celebration in New York City, but I had another day of fun in store when my husband and I joined our boys in Boston the next day to celebrate with them.

Swan Boats on the Boston Common

Aside from going to lunch, walking around, and getting gelato, I picked out two activities to do with my family in Boston.

First up: Ride a swan boat on the Boston Common. This is exactly the type of quaint, nostalgic family fun that I could pull off on my birthday, but would be a hard sell to my grown sons the rest of the year. It was opening day! (I’d wanted to do it ever since our duck boat tour.)


(This was my photo of Day 105 for 365Project.)

My sons and husband were all sweet to indulge me in doing whatever I wanted for my birthday. I did restrain myself from getting us all to ride the carousel. (Looks fun! And it’s less than a year until my next birthday….)

Granary Burial Ground

We also visited the Granary Burial Ground, which I’d gotten I peek at while we froze our way through a tavern tour last month, but I’d wanted to spend some time in.


This day was warm and gorgeous just like the day before, and I was very grateful to get to spend it with my family.

About Marcy

I blog about trying to get out of my comfort zone, completing 101 things in 1001 days (and beyond), and writing my memoirs. My book: Timid No More.
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6 Responses to From Chicken Feet to Swan Boats: Birthday Fun in New York and Boston

  1. Kei says:

    Wow, what a way to celebrate your birthday! You got some fantastic pictures!

    • Marcy says:

      Thanks so much, Kei. I think it was on your blog that I first heard of Project365. I have been loving that project!

  2. Abby says:

    How awesome is this?! I’m not even jealous because it was such a good idea for you. We used to live in upstate NY, and I’m sad to say, I never made it to NYC. But I’ve always wanted to go and visit places you went, especially Chinatown. Okay, maybe a few cells way deep down are jealous… Happy Birthday, thanks for sharing!

    • Marcy says:

      It’s funny that when I am out of the country and describing Connecticut to someone who hasn’t heard of it. I always mention how it is between New York and Boston, and yet I never get to either city as often as I’d like. It’s OK if a few cells are jealous — I am jealous of gorgeous Colorado all the time!

  3. Katie says:

    Where did you have that delightful lunch in NYC? Was it at the Tea Parlor that you photographed? Or somewhere else? Always looking for a nice place to have lunch in Chinatown.

    • Marcy says:

      Yes, it was at the tea parlor I photographed. I really liked it, and it was on a very historic little street right in the heart of Chinatown (Doyers Street) that I had walked on once before during a tour of Chinatown. I hope you get the chance to go — good food and friendly atmosphere.

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