The Kochesfahanis Take New York

On Monday, my cousins arrived in Baltimore for a ten-day visit. This is the first Christmas ever that will be spent with extended relatives on my dad’s side of the family. Our holidays are usually celebrated with my mom’s sister and brother-in-law, as well as my grandfather. With the exception of my dad’s two nephews, the vast majority of his family currently lives in Iran. Nearly six years ago, my cousin, her husband, and two daughters moved to Canada. They were finally able to travel to the United States this year, now that they have their visas.

It has been eleven years since I last went to Iran, meaning that it has been eleven years since I have seen my grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins! Although I wish my entire family could be reunited for Christmas, I am grateful that I am able to spend the holiday with at least some of my relatives.

With this being my cousins’ first trip to the United States, we want to pack in as many activities as we can during their stay. By 6:30am Tuesday morning, my family and I were on our way to New York City. My mom and older sister stayed behind, but my dad and brother came along this time.


Just like when Natalie, Ali, and I go to the city together, we started the day with breakfast at Bagel Maven. A whole wheat everything bagel is the perfect fuel for a long day of walking!


Once we ate, we started making our way downtown.


After walking about 40 blocks, we arrived at our first destination, the World Trade Center memorial site.


We chose not to buy tickets to see the site since the lines were long and there was an hour-long wait. From there, we went to SoHo to do a bit of shopping. I was the leader of the pack to ensure that we wouldn’t get lost, though I seemed to get a little too far ahead at times.


[Natalie randomly took this picture, but when we later looked at it, we realized that Ali and I looked like twins. We always inadvertently end up matching and our similar haircuts don’t help!]


After spending the last several weeks diligently shopping for Christmas presents, I certainly did not need to be shopping (for myself or anyone else!). Instead, I helped my cousins pick out a few items, including lululemon gear. We stopped for coffee and a few other snacks along the way, but eventually made our way to Midtown.



When I travel to New York City, I tend to stay away from the tourist attractions, but we couldn’t let our cousins miss out on Times Square!



They were mesmerized by the crowds, the shining bright lights, and the cheerful atmosphere!


I hadn’t been to the Toys “R” Us store in Times Square since I was in middle school, but it was fun to see all of the little children going crazy in there.


We then went to Rockefeller Center to see the tree all lit up. I found the Grinch as we were walking!




By 7pm, we had been walking for eight hours (walking was our only means of transportation the entire day!) and it was turning into a cold and rainy night. To regain some energy, we ate dinner at Bella Vita, a brick oven pizza place. My siblings and I ordered a white pizza to share—it was fantastic!


After finishing dinner, we headed towards the bus station to come back to Baltimore. Everyone crashed as soon as the bus started moving. It was a fun but exhausting day!

Have you ever been to New York City? Tell me about your visit!

If you’ve never been to New York City, would you want to visit? What would you do there?


43 thoughts on “The Kochesfahanis Take New York

  1. I’ve been twice. I absolutely LOVED it! It’s so busy and the shopping is AH-MAZING!!

    My most recent trip was with my mom and sister. Most of the time I went off and shopped while they went to museums. Then we’d get together to eat! My favorite meals were in little italy and some random place and then some pizza place we were told to go in times square.

    I do wish I could have spent more time in central park, though!

    • You simply can’t go to NYC and not shop! I love that you shopped while your mom and sister went to museums. I would have done the same thing! Central Park is the best on a beautiful day in the spring or early fall…or even on a cold day in the winter!

  2. Aww such a fun time! You all look so lovely in the pics. I live really close to NYC so I’ve been there many times. Sadly I coulnd’t make it this year to see the tree, but oh well! I love your pics 🙂

  3. Ahhhh I love NYC! I love the vibe, the ambiance, the “real city” feel that we just don’t have as much here in SF. I’m dying to make it one year during the Holidays and see the tree and go ice-skating! The West Village is my favorite part of NYC – getting drinks and appetizers at Geoffreys, dinner at Sushi Samba, dessert at Magnolia Bakery, and then drinks at Wilfie and Nells… perfect day!!

  4. I should have NEVER read this post! Now it is making me long to go back! I miss it sooo much- the food especially. Oh goodness do I miss the food- that picture of the pizza almost takes my breath away. I am so jealous. Okay, I’m done now.
    You all are looking super cute in the city! 🙂

  5. NYC look beautiful! I have always wanted to go there to visit and shop but I still haven’t had the chance. It look like you had a wonderful time with your family. 😀

  6. You’re Iranian? Me too! Well, my dad is.

    The last time I was in NYC was a week before 9/11 and I was there to watch the U.S. Open tennis tournament with my dad. Aside from tennis, my favorite thing to do was spend as much time as possible in Central Park. I also love the Natural History museum there!

    • Yes!! I’m half-Iranian! I didn’t realize you were as well!

      I love going to Central Park after a long day of walking around the city…perfect way to relax and take a break! I have never been to the Natural History Museum but I heard it’s really neat.

  7. I live in NYC, but I absolutely loove being the family tour guide and showing the city to family and friends that visit. I got to the the tour guide right before Thanksgiving and it was great to get to see the city getting ready for Christmas!
    At night, the freedom tower that’s being built at the WTC site it lit up all colorful, making it look like Christmas lights. I go to school right by there and after coming out of my final last week I saw it and it make me smile.
    Glad you guys had a great time!

  8. I’ve been to NYC many times since I live pretty close. I’m going next week and this post just made me so excited!! It must be so nice to see family that you don’t get to see often and spend the holidays with them. You make a great tour guide – it’s great that they got to see all the must see NYC spots!

  9. What a great trip! I am so jealous! We have not been to NYC in a while. We love it when we go, but it takes a lot of planning and effort! We are planning a spring tip back there to do a totally “NYC” event. We want to go to another Broadway play and eat at MESA grill. I would also love to see one of the talk shows being filmed (Regis and Kelly, Today show, The View, to Wendy Williams).

    • Over the past few years, I have made an effort to go frequently so that I can get to know the city better, thus making it easier to navigate. All of the planning makes it overwhelming! It’s nice to just wander around and to find your way, too! I have wanted to see Regis and Kelly since I was in middle school!!

  10. You all are so fashionable! I’m glad you had a great time in the city. My boyfriend and I went to NYC 2 years ago around Christmas time, but I haven’t been back since. I’ve been trying to get tickets to Regis and Kelly! I can’t wait for KOP!!

  11. Absolutely LOVE NYC! But we have always gone around April, and again will be going around that time next year to take my daughter for her 7th birthday. I am dying to go during the holidays with the kids. The food is amazing, Carmine’s, Serendipity, Peking Duck House, Magnolia, Balthazar are among favorites 🙂

    • That sounds like a great way to celebrate a birthday! It’s so fun around the holidays, but is extra exhausting with little kids! On the bus, there was a family with four girls under the age of nine going to NYC for their first visit. They were so excited, though I’m sure their parents were dead tired by the end of the day!

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  13. Dear Collen
    I can’t begin to thank you enough for your warm and generous hospitality! I’ve had a wonderful time in Baltimore. Not only have I been able to spend time in such a lovely city, but your generosity in showing me around and taking me to New York and Washington was just above and beyond anything I’d ever expected. My daughters and I have had our best Christmas ever with you and your nice family. Hopefully I may be able to return such in the future.

    • Sheila–We are all so happy that you were able to come and spend the holidays with us. We had so much fun showing you around Baltimore, NYC, and DC. We would love for you and the girls to come back for another visit, or maybe we can take a trip to Canada! Thank you for all that you did while you were here; the food was especially delicious! xoxo

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