I can’t say I’ve ever really gotten into the Holiday spirit. To me, this is usually just the time where everyone goes crazy of Christmas and neighbors duke it out for who can put up the best Christmas light display. I’d hardly call the Holiday season cheerful or magical. However, this being my first Holiday season in New York, I feel quite different!
The Holiday Season in New York is magical…really magical. I’m sure part of it is the novelty factor, but I’m really amazed at what a huge deal it is around here! And I actually really like it! I’ve heard that the Holiday’s are the best time to visit New York and I can see why!
Everyone, I’m sure, knows about the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and the whole tree lighting ceremony (which I tried to go to, but couldn’t get within range to see it due to the odd reworking of pedestrian traffic the NYPD had set up and the crowds so massive you couldn’t even move). But the Holiday spirit spreads far beyond that famous tree.
Everywhere you look there’s some special something or other going on. There are plenty of extravagant model train shows, lots of stores decked out in fancy lights (the ones at Saks Fifth Avenue are impressively set to music), and this really cool projection show inside the atrium at Grand Central Terminal. Even the streets in my neighborhood (Spanish Harlem) are decked out similarly to the way they do it in Mexico. One of my projects for the weekend is to get some of this on film, so expect to see pictures in the coming days.
One of my favorite aspects of this city are the random treasures you stumble upon. I was walking along 42nd Street today and came across Bryant Park, which was all decked out for the Holidays. Dozens of little impromptu shops had been set up there for the Holidays, selling nearly everything under the sun for gift ideas, ranging from fancy jewelry to scarfs and mittens all the way to cheap showy metallic-looking rotating-thingies (like my description?)!
Aside from the shops around the perimeter, the center of Bryant Park has been decked out with a huge ice skating rink (dubbed “The Pond”) and I probably spent 15 minutes people watching as skaters raced by (some more gracefully than others). There was music and lots of activity…this skating rink dwarfs the famous Rockefeller Center rink. It was a great sight, with the large Bryant Park Christmas Tree in the background, as well as the gorgeous New York Public Library. I took a couple of pictures with my phone (which apparently takes halfway decent pics!)
Also, unlike the Rockefeller Center tree, there is no barrier (or police for that matter) separating the actual tree from the people. (At the Rockefeller tree there are two barriers seperating the base of the tree from the public, with Police in between the two barriers…it’s kind of intense). I was able to walk right up and see the ornaments and the lights up close. It was really cool and can be seen in the photo to the right!
Well, what can I say? I’ve been infused with a little Holiday charm for once! This really is a magical city! More to come!