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Super Bowl madness took over the New York City last weekend, with hundreds of thousands of visitors in town for the game. We needed plans that didn’t involve football. Figuring that people weren’t likely to be furniture shopping on Sunday, Lauren and I headed down to CB2. While I returned some pillows, Lauren surveyed they company’s use of armchair fabric.

Joyous about my discovery that I’m raising a like-minded home décor junkie, I left CB2 with a bounce in my step and suggested that we take the scenic route home.

Lauren and I haven’t walked around Soho together, and I was eager to show her all of the interesting architecture and cobblestone streets. As usual, her eagle eye beat me to the punch. “Mom, shoes” she said as she pointed skywards. Even more bizarre is the fact that I’ve seen two other traffic lights wearing similar outfits this month; can someone please enlighten me? An art installation? Frat hazing? A protest against uncomfortable footwear?

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We walked around some more, checking out Soho’s vibrant colors and signature fire escapes.

At last, we crossed Houston and wandered into the heart of the Village. Walking down Bleecker Street, I pointed to a spot above the Village Tannery. “Let’s count up, 1, 2, 3 – see that third floor? That’s my old apartment – my first apartment with your Dad.”

15 years ago I lived in that apartment with my future husband, some roaches and a family of mice. I once walked 3 miles with a roach in my shoe, ignorant until it escaped. It was the kind of space would shock a non-New Yorker – cramped with rusty bathroom fixtures and barely any sunlight.

But I’m certain that you’re supposed to live those days, the days of youth and struggle. Crippled with immaturity but alive with freedom. We had good times there, great times…the beers that we drank on the fire escape, the sushi dinners in the Japanese garden across the street, and our most recounted memories of all – impromptu nights at The Comedy Cellar where guys like Dave Chapelle and Artie Lange would come to hone their craft.

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Given that we were in the old neighborhood, I decided to take her to my onetime favorite bakery, Once Upon A Tart. The weather was nice enough to sit outside and people watch, which to me, is a faintly creepy concept. But given that it’s an acceptable social practice, I’ll admit that I sat there and spied while Lauren inspected her cookie for nuts.

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Heading north again, we passed through Washington Square Park, still wet from the latest snowstorm.

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Since we’d spent a lot of time on foot, I promised Lauren a stop at the kids’ bookstore. If you’re ever in New York with kids, Books of Wonder on 18th Street is worth a visit. It’s the Taj Mahal of kids’ books, a virtual fantasyland. They have every title you could imagine. Except, of course, the one that Lauren wanted.

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“Do you guys have any books about the movie Frozen?”

“We don’t do Disney merchandise.”

I made it up to Lauren with more food. After all, February is Hot Chocolate month at the City Bakery, which happens to be right across the street from Books of Wonder. Was the bookstore ploy part of a greater hot chocolate mission? I’ll never tell, but if you’ve been reading this blog, I’m sure you already know the answer.

To celebrate Super Bowl Sunday, the hot chocolate flavor of the day was Beer. And so, with a Stout-flavored hot chocolate for me, and standard milk chocolate for her, we found a bench, parked ourselves, and enjoyed our first sips.

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Until this happened.

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What are you going to do. It was a near-perfect day, and despite the wailing about itchy hot chocolate pants, I’m pretty sure that my little marching partner would agree.

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