New York Christmas Vacation
(Click on photo to see large version.) Back
|Tony Celebrates His
Birthday in New York City
Wednesday, December 9th, 2009
We left for Will Rogers Airport at 4:30 am for a flight to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport arriving at 6:40 am.
We boarded our flight to New York City’s La Guardia Airport at 7:40 am got settled into our seats and sat on the tarmac for an hour and one half. We arrived into New York City at 2:00 pm. Waited for 45 minutes for the shuttle van stuffed with passengers and headed into the city. Tony and I checked into the Hilton Hotel Downtown to stay on the 29th floor corner room with a view of Radio City and the downtown skyscrapers. The decorations were glowing already!
We were off to the subway to learn how to ride the trains again by purchasing a metro card at a kiosk for $8.25 for four rides. ($2.25 per ride) Off to Times Square to take in the sights and the lights. A large bleacher of glass seats sit right in the center of Times Square that glow with red lights. Surrounding the bleachers are pedestrian areas with cafe tables and chairs to sit and watch the action. So much safer to view all the gorgeous neon. I love the police station with its own personal neon lighting, and of coarse the army recruiting station smack in the middle of it all! Mile high signs glowing with images of icy cold beer, sparkling champagne or a super model “blinged “ into the darkening sky. It was so nice to sit on the glowing red glass bleachers and take it all in.
The tree...as you peer around the corner of Rockefeller Center it awaits...the tree...oh, ah, wow...as you step forward it proudly displays the multi-colored shine of thousands of lights. The star atop glows and two duplicates are on display at street level for you to see close up at the brilliant clear shining design of the Swarovski Crystal. The tree rests above the ice skating rink in front of “30 Rock” Rockefeller Center with the guilded cast bronze 18 ft sculpture of Prometheus created by Paul Manship in 1934 posing in a fountain at the lower plaza. Beautiful soldier sculptures surround the ice rink. As you walk to the front of Rockefeller Center a beautiful array of 8 ft tall lighted wire Angels appears in the Channel Gardens.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Traveling by subway we approached “Ground Zero” The World Trade Center, http://www.wtc.com (Check out the projected new construction). Construction signs and fencing greets you as you step into the daylight from the subway. Machinery noise and the other sounds of construction and traffic have replaced the once rising glory of what was the WTC towers. It is hard to believe and makes one ponder on how it fit in the footprint that now gapes open. I had flashbacks to that day in September and to the day in April in Oklahoma City. I said a prayer and closed my eyes to the memories and senseless tragedy.
The Memorial awaits in a small unnoticeable space except for the signs letting one know it is there. The beginning displays a movie of what was once the glory of the center. Then a large photo mural of the debris surrounds you as you look at displays of artifacts of the remains of the murderous events. Car keys, firemen hats, twisted iron beams, remarkably a stuffed toy bear...how did it survive? The next room is a room with walls covered in photos of the thousands that died in the disaster...boxes of tissues are waiting. I wrote down my thoughts and feelings on cards provided by the museum and dropped them into a box. I purchased a souvenir of the USS New York battle ship forged from the steel of the fallen buildings. I will never forget.
We decided to have lunch at the Winter Gardens at a lovely restaurant serving the best baked breads and desserts. Very enjoyable to sit and view the Christmas decorations and see the river view. Back outside in the bitter windy cold but sunny day we were passed by a jogger wearing only shorts, shoes and earphones...brave soul!!
The subway ride was off to Grand Central Station. Just enormous and grand and beautiful. The ceiling light show was lovely. We sat by the Michael Jordan bar and watched the show and the people, bazillions of people!!
Tony and I walked to the Imperial Theatre on Broadway to see the production of “Billy Elliot” a creative, entertaining show with huge talent of choreography and music. The sets were marvelous to watch the mechanics and creative ways they would rise and fall above and below stage. The show has won Tony Awards for the use of video screens along with the performances. We were impressed with the way they blended the characters as they were supposed to be in different places, for example the miners on strike singing along with the dance school students. After the show all the cast did a wonderful tap dance together and the curtain went down as Tony and I looked at each other and smiled our mutual joy. Ah the talent of Broadway!
We wrapped up our evening with a walk in Times Square again and a late midnight supper at a deli and back to slumber in our very comfortable beds surrounded by the faint sounds of taxi horns 28 floors below.
Friday, December 12, 2009
Venturing out into the beautiful, cold, sunny day (I had four layers of clothing; tights, socks, silk long johns, sweater, scarves) our first stop was St. Patrick’s Cathedral to see the lovely wooden carved nativity scene. The cathedral is splendor at its best. Flying buttresses and all. We were especially amazed at all the flat screens on each vaulting column!
Tony said let’s pop into Saks Fifth Avenue! Wow...ok I said in disbelief until I realized he was headed for the Windows 7 demonstration area! Any hoo after a brief stay at the demo we enjoyed the displays of decor and haute couture that are just splendid.
Back to 30 Rock for the NBC Tour.
We watched a film about the 80 year history of NBC. Toured upstairs at the Saturday Night Live TV set. The guest host and two actors were rehearsing. Enjoyed seeing the “small” sets that are stretched digitally wide angle by the cameras to make them appear larger...the camera does add 10 lbs! Weekend update is a special set placed in front of the other sets. The far right set is reserved for messy acts that can be cleaned up on Sunday such as the late Chris Farley’s impromptu prat falls! We observed the green screen weather and teleprompters and had our photo made at the news desk. Saw some makeup techniques for the Coneheads and To Poop On Pup. Tony and I enjoyed a rest in the “Digital Cafe” upstairs in the NBC Experience Store. We enjoyed a walk and lunch at a buffet/deli that was yummy. We sat by the front window and viewed the tree and stars.
Around the corner we strolled over to see the spectacular Christmas Show in Radio City Music Hall. The Rockettes, and Santa created a magical evening of music, dance and 3D film of the city of NYC as a rider in Santa’s sleigh as it arrives at Radio City (glasses included as a souvenir). The precision of those 22 pair of legs amazed the audience with the high kicks and near athletic moves. Tony and I were amazed by the video backgrounds, especially behind the Nativity Scene, it was very hard to tell what was real and what was video. The lobby had a sparkling Swarovski Crystal chandelier shaped as a Christmas Tree.
We loved the “Digital Cafe” at 30 Rock so we walked back to enjoy coffee and snacks as we watched the people view the beautiful tree. The tree just sparkles at night with silent beauty.
Across the plaza and up up up to the top...The Top of the Rock Tour. The elevator ride was so much fun. As we ascended music begins to place and a video of the history if the Rock is projected on clear glass ceiling as you peer up into the neon blue lit elevator shaft as it speeds to the top. The viewing areas are inside outside and on the very top. It was bitter cold but the view of NYC at night is worth the wind and teeth chatter. It is so romantic to gaze at the skylines, rivers, bridges and ribbons of traffic lights sparkling like the tree at the Rock’s lower plaza. One of the viewing rooms has a unique lighting system. Once you stepped into the room a certain color of light would be programmed to your body, so as you moved around the room the color of lights would flash on the walls and ceilings according to where you moved. So dancing, swinging your arms and walking around created a fun light show by your own creation.
Back to bed and sweet slumber on a holiday night in the city...zzzzzz.
Saturday, December 13, 2009
We agreed to spend the last day in NYC on our own adventure alone. Tony wanted to ride a bike around the city (6 hours on the bike) and I wanted to see the decorations, shop and take in the views at my own pace.
Margee’s day in NYC.
It was a crisp, bitter cold but sunny morning as we awoke in NYC. Tony dressed warmly for his adventure riding a bike around the city. The temperature was going to get warmer than the few days before...a whopping 38 degrees!
Tony took off at 9:30 am. As I approached the front revolving door of the 44 story tall Hilton Hotel I paused to take in the beauty of the lobby with the highly decorated trees, wreaths and flower arrangements. I then stepped out the door at 10:15 am to a different type of crowd from the week day folk, they were Saturday shoppers leisurely strolling and families ready for fun. It was not the zipping, dashing, maneuvering crowds of business workers. There were holiday crowds, some were cheery and laughing in front of the skyscraper guarded by the faithful giant toy soldiers as I strolled by.
I walked toward the Radio City Music Hall to trek down into the subway station. I purchased another metro card from the kiosk and decided on a croissant for breakfast and watched the people go by. As I waited for my ride a young lady approached me to asked me for directions, and like an experienced New Yorker I gave them to her!!! LOL
I boarded a train to Herald Square and stepped out to the street in front of Macy’s. Now I am not a shopper usually...but come on...NYC and Macy’s, I am shopping! Shoppers are greeted by many animated decorated window displays surrounding the store. Directly in front is a pedestrian area with the usual cafe tables and chairs, so clever for you to rest up before and after you swing into the revolving door of a shopper’s paradise.
The small entry way is decorated with hundreds of ribbon suspended red ornaments from the ceiling. As you go through the next doors an explosion of light, color, sounds, perfume scents, and friendly smiling clerks reveal themselves to your eyes, ears and nose! Snap...snap...snap went my camera...oh to be a designer in NYC! Arrangements of signs, decorations, lettering, calligraphy, tinsel and glitter was a feast for my eyes.
I headed for the top, the 9th floor on ancient wooden escalators. I would stop on a floor of interest and gawk. Then back on to ride some more. Then I headed to the Cellar for a peek at Santa...fat chance...one had to board a train into a tunnel to find Santa!!
I checked out the believe meter and whispered “I believe.” Salivated over the gobs of candy and bought some souvenirs.
Back on the ground floor I got serious about shopping for Moi! I found a beautiful sterling silver necklace of a nativity scene, intimate and small. A beautiful red glass bracelet had my name on it too. As I walked around the perfume counters I was amazed at all the clerks with perfumed cards ready to give to me, what a collection of scents.
With my Macy’s bag in hand filled with treasures I rested at the cafe tables and people watched. I snapped funny shots of people dressed as Santas and Elves (probably heading to Washington Square for the immersion of thousands of Santas.) A foreign family asked me about a place to eat and I suggested the restaurants in Macy’s (there is even a Mickey D’s!)
The dad happened to turn around and see a pizzeria and I said well there ya go! LOL
Stolling down the sidewalks to the subway I headed uptown on the trains to Columbus Circle. To my delight a Holiday Fair was setup at the entrance to Central Park West.
I browsed through the wares and crafts and sipped a hot cider and nibbled on a giant ginger bread cookie.
I sat down in the park and buzzed Tony on the cell. We were in the same area!!! We met and sat and watched break dancers perform at the entrance to Central Park South. He had enjoyed his ride around the park. I bought him a hog dog and drink, kissed him and sent him on his way, I am off to The Plaza Hotel!!! Oh Joy this is one of my favorite places in the world.
The ambiance, the utter guilded glory of The Plaza makes me feel like a New Yorker with lots of money! I wish. The entry floral arrangement alone would cost a week’s salary me thinks.
I adore Eloise and she has a portrait hanging in the hallway to the shops below. There is an Eloise store coated in girly pink everywhere, along with black and white. Oh to be a little girl relaxing on the pink bean bag chairs in the Eloise movie video room in the store!! There is a white baby grand piano surrounded by collector Eloise dolls and stuffed toys. Books galore!
The park in front of The Plaza Hotel is one of my favorite places for sitting and people watching. It also is surrounded by one of entrances to Central Park, the Apple Store, and the FAO Swartz Toy Store! And horse drawn carriages and caricature artists are also there, but the best part especially at Christmas are the Bergdorf Goodman store windows! Eye candy awaits! I made the rounds of windows on both sides of the street dodging and bending through fellow onlookers. The designer’s use of objects and colors are just indescribable!
Frozen ponds, bare trees and silence exists in Central Park in December and cold weather will not stop anyone from strolling through. I saw a lady clad in black with a white umbrella with long white fringe hanging to the sidewalk, trying to walk without getting entangled in the fringe...so New York.
After observing a caricature artist and the very wealthy chatting in front of the Central Park East apartments with their limos waiting. I descended into the Apple store in a winding stairway down into the huge space crammed with people glued to the array of Apple goodies.
Hungry and weary from all the excitement of sightseeing and shopping I settled down in the Tower Grill at Trump Tower and enjoyed dinner with the beauty of the water fountains, Christmas trees, Christmas music, hundreds of poinsettias and giant wreaths twinkling with light around me.
I buzzed Tony he was resting at the hotel after a great day of riding. I would stop and get him a slice of pizza and dessert on my way back to the hotel.
I returned to the memories of my youth as I whirled through the doorway of the Disney Store. Mickey and friends were waiting attired in Christmas gear. I especially enjoyed the art gallery with collector paintings and prints by Disney artists. I purchased a Sleeping Beauty charm and a Christmas ornament.
Under the twinkling lights of the city the sidewalks were thick with people. To just move, walk, or cross the street took a lot of effort but it was a real experience and most everyone was laughing and jolly, well maybe not the police at the intersections controlling the crowds, I was so intrigued by their skill and how they controlled us across the street with ropes stretched out to guide us as if we were cattle or sheep! LOL
I just had to see the tree one more time and try to get into the chocolatier by the Channel Garden. The urge for delicious chocolate spurred me on to its rich delight and gave me courage to brave those thick masses of people. With my head down and a tight hold onto my bags I leaned in to move and abruptly stopped. Much, much later the mass moved along with some help from each other...we were what I called bumper people!
Ok it was worth it the chocolatier door was opened by a friendly young man who said Welcome come right in...said the cat to the mouse...ok my jaws dropped, my knees went weak, every chocolate known to mankind gleamed from a trough of trays that stretched across the room. Ladies and Gents were delicately placing morsels into to tiny cellophane bags closed with a gold seal for savoring later. All of us were seduced by the aroma and color and beauty of each piece of chocolate, we just couldn’t make any quick decisions, except we had to because we were in a frenzy to taste something!!! I decided on four pieces and one bar. $17.00 total of chocolate from Switzerland that was priced like gold at $75.00 per pound. I escaped quickly to sit down at the garden bench and devoured half of one piece like a beggar on the street finding a crumb of bread!
I thought what a perfect ending to our vacation in NYC! I was feeling so festive, strolling back to our hotel, with chocolate on my lips and the satisfaction of a day filled with the experience of Christmas in NYC...but wait more to come!
In front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral carolers was singing. I paused to listen. As my toes begin to tap and my body moved side to side with the music I just had to sing. So I did! After a few minutes they motioned for me to join them on the steps. I never imagined myself singing with people from all around the world on a crisp December evening in NYC perched on the front steps of St. Pat’s. A crowd gathered in a semi-circle around us and then they begin to sing...it was a “happening” for me in NYC! I LOVE NEW YORK!
Merry Christmas, Margee
PS-I didn’t forget the pizza for Tony!