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.
Google Chromebook for Back to School
Tue, Aug 26th 2014 1:25p Christopher Pepin The first day of elementary school for my two sons and daughter is this Thursday, August 28. With the new school year comes a decision on what device(s) they'll use to do their school work - both in class and at hime. Readers of this blog may recall my post from last year where I discussed how my middle school-aged son uses a Google Chromebook. This year I have another son entering middle school and I have to make a similar decision. Looking back over the past year, here are my perceptio [read] Keywords: apple
IBM Business Tech Trends Report 2014 Now Available
Fri, Aug 22nd 2014 2:46p Christopher Pepin The annual IBM Business Tech Trends Report is now available. To understand how organizations are using big data and analytics, cloud, mobile, and social technologies, the IBM Center for Applied Insights conducted a survey of 1,447 decision makers. Fifty-two percent work in organizations of 1,000 or more employees and 48 percent are from companies with fewer employees. The study identified three common characteristics of successful enterprises: Partnering is in their DNA. While 40 percent of [read] Keywords: ibm
IBM to release annual Tech Trends Report on Thursday, August 21
Mon, Aug 18th 2014 7:45a Christopher Pepin IBM will release its annual Tech Tech Trends report this Thursday, August 21. The report focuses on insights and trends around key technologies like cloud, big data & analytics, mobile and social that can help guide business strategy and technology investments. The report will be available online here If you're interested in learning about the distinct characteristics exhibited by pacesetters in the marketplace, IBM will be hosting a webcast this Thursday, August 21 at 1pm EDT. Click h [read] Keywords: ibm
Windows Phone 8.1 impressions
Tue, Aug 5th 2014 1:45p Christopher Pepin Microsoft released Windows Phone 8.1 on July 15 with over a hundred new features including notifications, Cortana voice assistant as well as a wealth of new enterprise features. This is first upgrade to Windows Phone since the 8.0 release in October 2012. I own a Nokia Lumia 5210 which I purchased without a contract for $50 (after rebate) in 2012. Last week, an over the air AT&T update for Windows Phone 8.1 was released and I upgraded. While the upgrade took several hours and involved mu [read] Keywords: apple
Android for Work announced at Google IO conference
Fri, Jul 11th 2014 12:25p Christopher Pepin The initial releases of Apple iOS, Android and Windows Phone were aimed squarely at consumers and offered few if any features geared to business users. However, all that's changed in the last few years with the growth of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE). Increasingly, users want to access both work and personal information from a single mobile device (AOL CEO Tim Armstong's three smartphones: Android, iOS and BlackBerry not withstanding) Jump forwar [read] Keywords: apple
Travel made easier with mobile applications
Mon, Jun 16th 2014 4:45a Christopher Pepin I travel regularly for business and personal and the use of mobile technologies has dramatically improved the overall experience. As I author this blog post, I am in the middle of a two-and-a-half week business trip throughout Asia Pacific including Singapore, Thailand, Australia and the Philippines and I can't imagine making the trip without a smartphone. Here are a few of my favorite mobile applications for travel: Travel plans: TripIt. All of my travel plans (hotel, airline, restaurants, e [read] Keywords: apple
Apple expands iOS 8 Enterprise Support at WWDC
Mon, Jun 2nd 2014 2:32p Christopher Pepin Earlier today, Apple kicked off their annual World Wide Developer's Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco. During the keynote session, Apple CEO Tim Cook and team provided details on the upcoming version of OS/X and iOS. Of particular interest to me are the new enterprise features in iOS 8. Last year, Apple introduced a wealth of enterprise features in iOS 7 and iOS 8, due out this fall, didn't disappoint. With over 4,000 new API's, iOS 8 is poised to be one of the largest upgrades yet. [read] Keywords: apple