Saturday, September 22, 2018

Christmas in New York

by Amo (writer), New York, November 17, 2007


Every now and then, I need to get away from the issues of the day, and simply chill out.

The topics of war and peace to a political junky like myself, can at times overwhelm and on occasion, I need to simply pause and write about more uplifting topics, and what better time then the upcoming holiday season.

Christmas in New York City, is a spectacular time of year that should be experienced at least once in a lifetime. It’s a mega event, which few if any city can rival. It’s a time when both tourists and New Yorkers alike come together and marvel at what this city has to offer. From the giant spruce tree that will soon adorn Rockefeller Center, to the magnificent Macy’s Day Parade; this town knows how to celebrate.

Of course, I might be a little biased, but then again where can you find a town that can match New York City on New Year’s Eve, in Times Square? One might ask however, why would anyone want to spend New Year’s Eve with over a million strangers cramped into roughly an eight block square? An excellent question indeed.

I would imagine, it would be for the same reason why someone would be foolish enough to jump out of a plane, with nothing more then a silk sheet attached to his or her back…for the thrill of it, or perhaps for the experience. Of course I wouldn’t dream of spending New Year’s Eve in Time Square, but then again I once did, and that’s my point…New York City on any given day is an incredible city to experience, at least once in a lifetime and at Christmas time especially the magic of this city is on full display.

Take a stroll along 5th Avenue and you’ll soon realize just how incredible this city truly is, there’s something for everyone, and surprisingly some of it is free. Walk along this world-famous boulevard and you’ll soon realize that 5th Avenue is a microcosm of the city itself. It’s the dividing line between the East and West. Sides of this town, from the mouth of Washington Square Park with its arty unconventional beat, to uptown and the understated elegance of world class dinning and shopping, to the horse drawn carriages that align Central Park… 5th Avenue is the jewel within the crown.

Within this roughly three miles stretch are some of the world’s most famous landmarks, not to mention some of the most prized and expensive real estate on earth. The Empire State Building one of the world’s tallest buildings will again be illuminated and bedecked in red, green and white, “Lord & Taylor” with its magnificent window display will once again enchant the millions of visitors that will file past its beautiful bay windows.

Walk a few more blocks and make a quick detour along “The New York Public Library” towards Bryant Park, and you’ll think you’ve gone back in time as you marvel at this beautifully recreated “turn of the century” holiday masterpiece. Tiny little specialty shops are dotted throughout the park, gives one the impression of a village, and within the “village square” at the very center of this recreation is the magnificent ornate fountain and the ice covered “pond”, which in reality is a skating rink. Here you can sit and relax and if the weather permits, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate “alfresco style” at one of the several little picturesque café’s.

As you navigate your way through the throng of holiday shoppers, along this fabled boulevard, you’ll encounter countless vendors, selling their wares, and an army of street Santa’s ringing their bells and greeting you…asking for your donations to help the needy.

Your journey however, has just begun as the scent of roasted chestnuts waffles through the frigid evening air, in the distance the bright glow of “Rockefeller Center” begins to come slowly into view, and if 5th Avenue is the jewel within the crown then “Rockefeller Center, is indeed the crown. It’s the centerpiece, the icing on the cake, it’s what tourists around the world, and New Yorkers alike, have come to see.

The plaza entrance to this fabulous art-deco marvel is awash in holiday lights, the translucent 6-foot angles adorn the main entrance. Each appears to be illuminated from within, and each holds a golden horn, as if anticipating your arrival.

As you stroll through this holiday arcade of handcrafted decorations, you will immediately be engulfed in the sights and sounds of the season. You’ll marvel at the cities official holiday Christmas tree, a huge and magnificent blue spruce with hundreds of decorative lights, centered above the golden sculpture of Prometheus, which appears to be in simulated flight, and below it the world famous “skating rink”.

Of course, if you’re lucky enough to be in this magical place at Christmas time you might begin to hear the beautiful bells of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral directly across the avenue, and no doubt you’ll marvel at the architectural beauty of this magnificent structure, the largest designed Neo-Gothic style Catholic Cathedral in North America, designated as a National Historic Landmark. Many legendary figures such as Babe Ruth, Billy Martin, Vince Lombardi, Joe DiMaggio and US Senator Robert Kennedy all had special Memorial Masses held in their honor at the cathedral.

However, you still have much to see and do, there’s still Central Park directly ahead, this magnificent 843-acre park stretches from 59th to 110th Street and at this time of year, it becomes a winter wonderland. It was dubbed America’s first landscaped public park, and it has been the backdrop for countless motion pictures and films. This incredible landmark boasts over 21 playgrounds, 12 ball fields, handball courts, a carousel, Wollman Rink and of course…The Central Park Zoo, and if you’re a romantic (like myself) you might want to take that fabled carriage ride through the park…with that special someone.

Of course, no trip to the “Big Apple” at Christmas would be complete without a visit to Radio City Music Hall, and its spectacular “Christmas Show”, featuring those beautiful high kicking Rockettes or take a stroll along “The Great White Way” where you might perhaps score a few last minute tickets, to a mega hit Broadway show.

The wonderful thing about this city, especially at Christmas time is its incredible energy and the variety that this town affords. Each neighborhood within this fabulous city celebrates the holidays in its own unique way. Little Italy, Chinatown, Hells Kitchen, Greenwich Village, West Village, SoHo, TriBeCa, Lower East Side…the list goes and on.

If you’re visiting this city for the first time then you’re in for a memorable experience. If you’re (like me) a native New Yorker, you’ll in all probability hangout in your favorite neighborhood, with good friends and family, away from the maddening crowds. However, whichever way you choose to spend your holiday, Christmas in New York City, is a magical time of year for grown-ups and children alike.

About the Writer

Amo is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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