Friday, December 29, 2017

Holiday in New York City: Christmas Market, Central Park, 5th Avenue

We head on over to Columbus Circle, at the southwestern corner of Central Park, to shop and wander in the Holiday Market, one of the larger Christmas holiday markets in New York City.   As we march up 7th Avenue to the park, we pass Carnegie Hall (wow, practice, practice, practice).

Carnegie Hall

Entering the Columbus Circle Holiday market, we wander through the stalls, particularly admiring the jewelry and art produced locally through the year in anticipation of the market.

 Columbus Circle Holiday Market

I particularly like walking through the food stalls in the market,  smelling the great aromas and watching people enjoying their snacks or meals.  The even have a duck stand!

 Wonderful-smelling and popular food stalls

We spot a few items of interest, but are not ready to buy yet, there are many more markets to visit  before we purchase.  We stroll from the market into Central Park and walk through the park to 5th Avenue, passing the ice skating rink, full of people enjoying the balmy winter day.  There are numerous options for a ride in the park, the New York experience (especially in Central Park) often includes horse-drawn carriages, pedicabs, and bicycle carriages, but we continue on foot.

Ice skating rink

 Rides through Central Park

 Views of/from the park

From the rink, we walk past a half-frozen pond, complete with ice rescue ladders for those who might walk on the thin ice.  The message is clear: skate in the skating rink!

 Continuing through the park, stay off the thin ice!

We exit Central Park at the southeast corner at the Plaza Hotel and the fountain filled with Christmas trees in Grand Army Plaza.  How beautiful, a fountain of live Christmas trees!

 Plaza Hotel and tree-filled fountain

Continuing down 5th Avenue, we pass the truly elegant windows of Bergdorf Goodman (founded in  1899, now with two stores across the street from each other) with themes of New York museums, followed by the sparkles of Tiffany's flagship store.  We are truly on 5th Avenue!

 Bergdorf Goodman


A little further down 5th Avenue, we pass (and enter) Henri Bendel and Cartier, with more great windows and, in Cartier, automated cats sledding down a slope.

Henri Bendel

Stopping inside for a picture

 Cartier skiing cats

Our last stop on 5th Avenue is Saint Patrick's Cathedral, seat of the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York.  Mass is just starting and the cathedral is packed with worshipers and tourists sharing this incredible place.  We are drawn inside by the incredible sounds of the organ as we approach the cathedral.

 St. Patrick's Cathedral

We turn off 5th Avenue at Saks/Rockefeller Center and continue on our way toward Grand Central Station (next blog)

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Holiday Season in New York City

Wow, we're lucky this year, in addition to Alameda and San Francisco, we also get to visit Manhattan during the holidays and experience the excitement, vigor, enthusiasm, and joy of the season in New York.  The city is crowded with locals and tourists from all over the world and everyone is having a great time!

We explore the delights of early evening in the city.  Walking down 6th Avenue, we start to see the incredible decorations in building lobbies and courtyards.

 Holiday decorations on 6th Avenue

Across the street, Radio City Music Hall is preparing for another Christmas Show with the Rockettes, complete with its own great outside light display.  We stand with many other people to watch the lights change color and feel the excitement and holiday spirit!

 Radio City Music Hall

We cut over a few blocks to Rockefeller Center, catching glimpses of the spectacular tree as we approach.  The Rockefeller Center tree has been a tradition for 85 years and this year's tree is a 75-foot (23-meter) Norway Spruce from Pennsylvania.  The tree is surrounded by people taking pictures, selfies, and sending images back to friends and family.

 Approaching Rockefeller Center

 Rockefeller tree spleandor

Alongside the tree is the skating rink in Rockefeller Center and people are out enjoying themselves, skating, watching, dining, or having a drink alongside the rink, listening to Christmas carols playing throughout the complex.  We don't skate this year, but have in the past and it is truly  a lot of fun.  Today, we're on a mission to see more sights in our introduction to the holiday in the city.

 Skating in the rink by the tree

Looking away from the tree and rink towards 5th Avenue, we see the lights decorating the front of Saks Fifth Avenue.  The corridor through Rockefeller Center is tightly packed with happy families, couples, and random other people all out seeing the sights and enjoying themselves.  We hear European, Asian, and South American languages spoken joyfully alongside English -- the people in this crowd are from everywhere!

 Saks Fifth Avenue

Approaching 5th Avenue and looking back, we see the tree framed by the buildings of Rockefeller Center.

Looking back at the tree

We cross 5th Avenue (with the huge crowd) and tour the store windows of Saks Fifth Avenue, celebrating the 80th anniversary of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  It is packed, but everyone is respectful and helpful about stepping aside so others can take pictures of the fantastic story unwinding  in the window displays.

 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Saks

It's time to get out of the crowds, walk at a rate faster than a shuffle, and relax, so we head over to the Marriott in Times Square to have a drink in the bar on the 4th floor, overlooking Times Square.  The Marriott is hosting a holiday party for Macy's and we meet the hotel manager on the escalator who tells us that they have 4000 people at the party and it takes up several floors of ballrooms in the hotel.  Now that's an office holiday party!

 Passing through Times Square

 Stopping for a drink at the Marriott

We've had a incredible introductory wander through Manhattan and it's time to think about dinner and where to go tomorrow.