I could not help but remember the trips we made to New York City during the holidays as I watched Macy's Parade on Thanksgiving Day. Last year we arrived just after the Rockefeller Center lighting ceremony so we got to experience the excitement that the ceremony brings to the city. Hotels were filled. We made our reservation well ahead of time so all was well for us.
During the parade I got a glimpse of the fabulous windows at Macy's. Last year I took pictures of the windows as we oh-ed and ah-ed. We spent a long time looking at the windows because there is so much to see. I got a real nice picture of a young family with a toddler who was so excited she could not stand still.
We also visited with Santa Claus. At Macy's Santa is the final stop as you wander through a wonderland of elves and trees. We stopped to have our picture taken. One of the elves even volunteered to take a picture for us with my camera. Santa is not only for the young, he is for the young at heart too.
On our visit to the city we saw two plays. "Billy Elliot" was wonderful. It must be still playing because I see blurbs on television about it. That young man could sing and dance!
There is just something about seeing a live production. You are immersed in culture when you attend the theatre; however, people wear anything and everything as they attend. You have the very lavish dressers as well as those in blue jeans and tee shirts.
A highlight of our trip was dinner at Sardi's near the theatre district. The walls were filled with memorabilia. Throughout our leisurely dinner we visited and relaxed. The meal was wonderful. I could not have asked for tastier fare.
When we visit New York there is always time to shop. The styles in Macy's in the city are much different than the ones in the store in Erie. It was fun to look, but nothing was appropriate to wear at home. We could shop in the gift shop and the housewares department. That stuff was normal. We all found things at Macy's so we had to make a trip back to the hotel to drop off our purchases before we began our trek to other stores.
If you go to Macy's do not plan to eat in their restaurant. We made that mistake just once. The food cost an arm and a leg and my burger was as hard as shoe leather! It was not even warm when it arrived. Although we complained, the second time was no better.
Dinner on a boat that traveled under the city bridges was delightful. When we got up close to Lady Liberty it gave me goose bumps. As she stands with her extended arm welcoming weary travelers she is lit from head to toe. It is hard to imagine how immigrants feel when they first see that statue.
Each time we go to the city we see something different. When we got close to where the twin towers used to stand, it was a funny feeling. I remember that day so well. Now, there is little to see.
We went to Grand Central Station on one trip; we toured the Intrepid on another. An aircraft carrier is a really large ship. One trip we took in the Top of the Rock. You can look from all four sides and see the entire city. We were up there just before sunset so lights were beginning to come on.
A trip to New York City for the holidays would not be complete without seeing the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Extravaganza. The theatre is magnificent. The organ is majestic. The production was light-hearted and fun complete with 3D glasses.
As we walked the streets of New York we saw many decorated store windows. We went in and out of all of the big stores just to say we had been there. We watched the ice skaters at Rockefeller Center.
In 2007 the displays in the city went to LED lights. The giant ball that would be in Times Square that year was on display in Macy's so we got to have a picture taken by it.
When you visit the city you never know what you will see. Each time we have gone the weather has been decent. Although I really enjoy visiting the city at Christmas, there is nothing like a country Christmas. This year I will enjoy the sights and sounds that this area has to offer. I will attend school Christmas concerts instead of plays.
One of my treasures that I purchased was a book about the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and its history. There are photographs of the early years as well as pictures up to the present. Just think the first tree was erected when they were building Rockefeller Center in 1931 during the Depression. Next year will mark eighty years.
On our last trip we sat in Central Park people watching as we waited to eat lunch at the Tavern on the Green. That we will not do again since the restaurant closed before the year ended.
While it is fun to visit, it is always nice to come back home where life is a slower pace.
Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org