Christmas in New York

I’ve always thought that there was no better place to visit during the holidays than New York City. All you needed to do was get yourself to 5th Avenue and window shop, go over to Rockefeller Center and watch the skaters (or skate yourself!), see the tree, marvel at the angels. But this year, something was…different. Lacking.

Oh, we saw the tree:

2010-01-01 031Another majestic giant chopped down for our viewing pleasure. Sad but true.

And we saw other trees, in Bryant Park, where they also had a “Winter Village” that turned out to be not much more than fancy kiosks selling, selling, selling. They did, however, have a skating rink but on this day, Saturday, it was covered with snow! As were we.nyc3


The best skating, of course, is done at Rockefeller Center, where they have replaced the usual country flags with billowy bits of silver and gold.

2010-01-01 034Still, it’s quite a place to be and be seen:

2010-01-01 033I loved these two:

2010-01-01 035And I got up close and personal with those angels, who appear each and every year, thank goodness:

2010-01-01 024But it just wasn’t the same, for the folks who usually do up the windows

seem to be on hiatus or something. And many of the stores on 5th are…well…crappy.

When I was a little girl, following my uncle as he took me from one great department store window to another, I was dazzled and amazed at everything I saw. I could stand outside those windows forever, watching the mechanical dolls “live” inside their displays.

I don’t know what’s happened to New York, or maybe I just didn’t look in the right places. But it just seems that it’s less than it used to be, that it’s not so much incredible as it is…ordinary. Oh, Cartier still wraps its building with the red bow, and the snowflake watches over the avenue, hanging there somewhere around 50th Street. But the splendor just wasn’t there the other day.

Maybe it was the weather. It started out snowy, then turned kind of icy, then went to pure rainy. The snowy part was good; the others, not so much. Or maybe it’s my age. I’ve been to NYC so often, maybe I’ve become jaded. Or maybe it’s just that they don’t try as hard as they used to to make Christmas in Manhattan magical.

I’ll tell you what WAS magical however. This:

oliviaThis is Mark Rylance. He is a phenomenon and an even better reason to get yourself to NYC this holiday season. Rylance, if you haven’t heard of him, is a two-time Tony winner and the former Artistic Director of The Globe in London, who has brought his band of merry players over to show America how it’s done; Shakespeare, that is. Not that he would put it like that, but it’s the truth. Rylance is, in my opinion, THE actor of the century, perhaps the best there’s ever been.

Now I know that sounds like hyperbole, but I’m not exaggerating. He’s sheer perfection onstage, this time around as “Olivia” in “Twelfth Night,” currently playing at the Belasco on 44th. The company, which also features Stephen Fry, is doing “Richard III” too, on alternate nights, sometimes on the same day (matinee/evening). Insane.

But I digress. Saturday was also “SantaCon” which is supposed to be an alcohol-free romp through the city, but is anything but. We spotted this guy:

dsc_1441later in the day, while waiting for the 12:23 am train back to New Jersey. He still had the tights on but was definitely missing a few other parts. Although all the Santas started off full of life, most of them ended the evening looking like this:

2010-01-01 021They had a big day.

And although it wasn’t what is used to be, our day in NYC was big, too…and filled with laughter and stars– we saw Alan Alda, too, and though he’s blurry, here he is coming over to tell Stephen Fry (with my friend Trish) to meet him next door in the Un, Deux, Trois Cafe, where we went to get hot chocolate for our walk back to Penn Station:

2010-01-01 015 (2)As we walked the 12 blocks back, wading through the lakes that covered each corner on every street, we wondered, more than once, why we hadn’t taken a taxi. Guess we were just on a Shakespearean high.

Here’s hoping your holidays are merry and bright. The Happiest of Christmases to each of you, my dear readers, all over the world. My wish is that you are all healthy and happy and enjoy the BEST 2014 has to offer.

Feliz Navidad, Nollaig Shona Dhuit, Buone Feste Natalizie,
Selamat Hari Natal…

however you say it, have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!


5 thoughts on “Christmas in New York

  1. Hey happy holidays! I love New York at Christmas time, and here in Chi town we have our State Street windows…..most years there pretty good but this year not so much. I miss Rock. Center, and Xmas shopping with my mom. We would go to Bloomies and Alexanders then have a bite at Serrndippity I know that the spelling is off but you know where I mean. I miss the crazy house on my grandmas block that has enough lights for all the houses on the block! I miss your grandma (my great aunt) and my godfather(your uncle). Some years when Kevin and Chelsea were little we would go to Mickys house and have fish and sing carols to get out of my mothers way on Christmas Eve. When I was in jr.high we went to see the Rockettes for a couple of years. I am sorry my kids have missed out on all of that as we have no family here but us. We have forged our own traditions and I love them but there is nothing like New York at Christmas…….

    • Yes I do Toni! I have a picture of me when I was with Grandma Lily, on Santa’s lap looking scared to death!!! I didn’t know my uncle was your godfather! You should come back to the city one year–I’m sure if we look hard enough, we’d find those old treasures somewhere. Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas to you all. Maybe someday I’ll meet my third cousins…xoxo

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