Our family decided to spend Thanksgiving a bit differently this year. On the day before Thanksgiving, myself, my wife and our three kids took the Metro North train into New York City. It's roughly a one hour ride, depending on the train (local/express) and having done it with before it's alot of fun for kids. It's also very inexpensive (the kids only pay 75 cents each way) and relaxing (no need to fight with traffic and parking in NYC). Once at Grand Central, we took a subway (also a fun adventure with three young kids) down to our old neighborhood - the East Village.
One of the best things about living in New York city was the food which is both tasty and cheap (if you know where to go). We started out with Pomme Frites (French fries) for an appetizer, and then moved to Ray's Pizza. Personally, I'm not a big fan of any NYC Pizza (if I had to pick one, I'd pick Two Boots). My favorite pizza is Pizzeria Regina from my home town of Boston, MA. I decided to have a Tahini falafel instead.
After eating, we headed uptown to the Agora gallery in Chelsea to see an art exhibit - Nathan Sawaya: the are of the brick. My boys are really into Legos and we thought this would be a great (and free) way to introduce them to art. While the exhibit was rather small but the the kids enjoyed it, particularly a sculpture of a "hand" where the kids could add a red Lego brick to the sculpture. After the art exhibit, I took my son uptown to the top of the Empire State building (decorated in Thanksgiving yellow, orange and red lights). We walked by Macy's department store where the parade preparations were underway before taking the subway back to the East Village. We had some pastries from Venieros up the street for dessert.
On Thanksgiving morning we took the subway uptown, bright and early to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. My wife had seen the parade in person before but for me and the kids, this would be our first time. We camped out on 72th street, right by the Dakota building with our breakfast from Le Pain Quotidien. It was cold and overcast and we didn't great viewpoint of the parade due to all the people (we arrived an hour before the pararde started). However, but we had no problem seeing the hot air balloons which we my kids' favorite. We watched the parade for a little over an hour before the kids started to get tired and we left.
Since it was still early (just after 10am) we decided to go to the AMC Lowes Lincoln Center movie theater and see Megamind. We rarely go to the movies as a family since it's so expensive (we prefer to watch movies at home) but we thought it would be fun thing to do. The movie is in 3D which I'm not a huge fan of since it drives up ticket prices even more. However, we did take full advantage of the free soda and popcorn refills (3x!). Both the kids and adults liked the movie.
After the movie, we headed back to the East Village to rest up (and to watch the Patriots/Lion football game) before going back out for Thanksgiving dinner. It was drizzling so we decided to take the bus downtown (also a fun adventure with kids) to Chinatown. One of our favorite restaurants is New Green Bo. On a "normal" day there is usually a long wait but given this was Thanksgiving, we got a table right away. While not a fancy restaurant by any means, the food is excellent (my favorites: dumplings, Shanghai noodles, twice cooked pork) and very reasonable (the five of us ate for $28 including tip). Since the rain had let up, we decided to walk back home through Little Italy. We stopped at Ferrara's for pastries and headed back home and called it a night.
The next morning we stopped at the East Village Cheese Shop for H&H bagels, cream cheese, and grape juice before taking the bus to Grand Central to take the Metro North train back home to Connecticut. Once home, we started decorating for Christmas. In short, it was a great, and different, Thanksgiving with just our immediate family and one that I will always remember.
How to enable and use AppleTV peer-to-peer AirPlay discovery and playback
Wed, Dec 17th 2014 5:45p Christopher Pepin One of the great new features of Apple iOS 8 is the ability to wirelessly connect iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch to Apple TV without first connecting to a wi-fi network. Previously, it was necessary to connect both your AppleTV and your iPhone/iPad to the same wi-fi network. Here are a few examples of where this feature is useful: A sales rep brings their AppleTV with them to a client site and connects it to the client's projector. The sales rep delivers a presentation wirelessly from their iPad [read] Keywords: apple
Mobile shopping increases dramatically during Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Mon, Dec 8th 2014 7:05a Christopher Pepin It was a record five day span for holiday shopping between November 27 (US Thanksgiving) and December 1 (Cyber Monday), and mobile devices played a large part. A few statistics: Thanksgiving mobile sales were up 25.4% versus 2013, and browsing on smart phones and tablets accounted for 52.1% of all online traffic. Black Friday mobile sales accounted for 27.9% of total online sales, up 28.2% over 2013.Cyber Monday mobile traffic accounted for 41.2% of all online traffic, up 30.1% over 2013. Mobi [read] Keywords: ibm
The top 5 announcements from the Apple October 2014 event
Sat, Oct 18th 2014 6:45a Christopher Pepin While I didn't attend Apple's October 2014 event in person, I did watch the streaming video online. The following are the top 5 announcements from the event: Apple Payments arrives on Monday, October 20 via a free iOS 8.1 update. Only iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, with include NFC, will be able to used to make payment in a physical, brick and mortar store like McDonalds, Whole Foods, Macy's and more. Other devices, including the new iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3 and the iPhone 5S will be able to [read] Keywords: apple
Microsoft announces Windows 10: questions and answers
Tue, Sep 30th 2014 4:25p Christopher Pepin In a small media event in San Francisco earlier today, Microsoft officially unveiled Windows 10 - the successor to Windows 8. While I didn't attend the event, here are a few of the questions and answers I assembled from various sources on the web: Q: What is Windows 10? A: The successor to Windows 8 which is designed to power not just PC's and tablets, but phones (Windows Phone), Xbox and the Internet of Things. While Windows 10 is one platform, it is several user experiences - optimized f [read] Keywords: desktop
US Open Tennis 2014
Tue, Sep 2nd 2014 6:45a Christopher Pepin I attended the US Open tennis tournament last Friday evening with my son. Readers of this blog will recall my previous visits to the US Open in 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006. This year, I attended the Friday night session and saw two matches which included Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova. Celebrities in attendance included comedian Will Ferrell and former NYC mayor David Dinkins. Photos of the event can be found on Facebook. As in the past, IBM is a major sponsor and prov [read] Keywords: ibm