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Christmas in New York is special
I have always wanted to see New York City at Christmas and I am very happy it finally happened in 2009 when I took my wife there on her second trip to the city but her first as a US citizen. It is a very special place during the holidays and it's not just all the shopping available. It's really a feeling. Aside from Germany, it has the most Christmas feeling I've ever experienced. From the big tree at Rockefeller Center to the chestnuts roasting on the open fires, it just oozes Christmas fuzziness. D captured the best photos of it and here they are.
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Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
“By six o’clock on Christmas morning I was dressing, and soon went downstairs to see my presents. I found several books, letter paper, sealing wax, purse, and a beautiful large picture of a little boy with golden hair. After breakfast I went sleigh riding with my sister, in a cutter drawn by my pony Fleet Fool.”
— from “How I spent the Christmas Holidays” by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., 6.January.1885
The Rockefeller family’s link to with New York City is strong and deep. The family has donated millions of dollars to cultural institutions and has developed projects throughout town that have brought a better quality of life to its residents and its visitors.
One of those projects was Rockefeller Center, a group of office buildings and retail spaces between Fifth and Sixth Avenues and West 49th and West 52nd Streets.
During construction of Rockefeller Center, in 1931 workers building the complex put up a Christmas tree. They received their paychecks next to that tree while it stood.
Nelson A. Rockefeller, who would go on to be elected governor of the State of New York, staged the first official Christmas celebration at Rockefeller Center in 1933. It included a 50-foot tall Christmas tree, Christmas carolers and trumpeters spread out over a week-long period; NBC Radio, whose headquarters were at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, broadcast the caroling from the tree site across the country.
Every year since a Christmas tree has been put up at Rockefeller Center. It has now become one of New York City’s most well-loved traditions.
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Rude New Yorkers?
Not for US! At least not generally.
We felt really safe in the city, didn't meet any rude New Yorkers except for this dude at John's Pizzeria. Even the cabbies were totally awesome. Probably the only other thing of note is that people will bump you on the street, but that happens in any city I've ever been in areas with large crowds (Paris in the Latin Quarter, NY in Greenwich Village on a Saturday, Cincinnati at Oktoberfest, Lexington, KY during the Christmas shopping season, Chicago anytime).
What to do on Christmas Day
If you are in New York City on Christmas Day you'll find that most of the big stores (Bloomingdales, Macys, Tiffanys etc) close for the day, as do many of the attractions such as Empire State, the horse and carriage rides in Central Park, the ice rinks...
To begin with, the City is eerie quiet - there are few taxis on the roads (you can cross easily on "Don't Walk") but as it gets towards Midday, the tourists have come out on the streets looking for things to do.
Madame Taussards is open, a lot of people gather in Rockefeller Plaza to see the big Christmas tree, the windows of Macys are also a big attraction. It can get very congested on the streets as everyone is milling around with few places to go - if you're claustrophobic, maybe take a walk in Central Park? Small gift shops are open, and about 50% of the cafes and coffee shops.
It seems to be tradition to go to the cinema on Christmas Day - there are two enormous cinemas on 42nd Street and so we went, thinking "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" ..... however, everything was completely sold out right through the day.
Union Square Market
There's nothing better to experience being a New Yorker than going grocery shopping at the Union Square Market. This market is only open on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Located in the northern part of the Union Square Park, it's a great way to know what's in season. Sometimes in the wintertime, they will also sell sweaters, hats, and other Christmas items. But regularly, this market is always flooded with people who want to buy vegetables, pumpkins (in the fall), jams, flowers, potted herbs, and even some local pastries. All their groceries are coming from the Upstate New York, or sometimes New Jersey. It's always guarantee for their freshness so don't be affraid to buy some perishable items. It's a good way to enjoy the day (especially when it's a great weather) and feel like a New Yorker.
- Food and Dining
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Ice skating in front of Rockefeller Center
Ice skating in front of Rockefeller Center on Fifth Ave. is famous practice among New Yorkers and guests of NY city. There are lot of people especially at the evening so if you don't like long time waiting for get in the ring you may still enjoy in Christmas atmosphere beneath the magnificent Christmas tree.
Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree
So many of us have seen the beautifully decorated tree by the skating rink at Rockefeller Centre. It is huge and sparkles with the lights. The lighting, I believe, takes place at the American Thanksgiving (late November) and starts off the Christmas holiday season.
I was in New York just before Thanksgiving and happened to be by Rockefeller Centre when the tree was being installed... before the decorating ever started. Looking at the size of the truck delivering it helps you realise the size of the tree.
It's best you get here at sunrise...
before the masses descend upon Rockefeller Center during the holiday season from sun up to well past sundown. Always a madhouse here at Christmastime, but early morning, it's a little less so...and the tree does look nice with just a few skaters down there instead of hundreds packed on the postage-stamp ice rink...
Rockefeller CenterThis is...
This is the famous -Ice Skating Rink- At the back there is the golden statue of Prometheus as well as all nations flags.
There are 488 elevators in Rockefeller Center. It is home to many shops, Radio City Music Hall, NBC where popular shows like Saturday Night Live, Late Night With Conan O'Brien and NBC News are taped.
Read the whole story - click HERE
Keep an open mind, and New...
Keep an open mind, and New York won't disappoint you! Below is a shot of Rockefeller Center. If you have time, go to the Today show on Friday mornings in the summer, and start your day with the live concert summer series.
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