Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A New York City Christmas

I love Christmas! The first year I was in Boston I visited NYC at Thanksgiving. That visit was magical and probably the time I loved the city the most. Not only because it was my first visit to the city, but because it happened to coincide with the holiday season and New York celebrates Christmas like no where else.

I can still remember walking through the magical winter wonderland inside Macy's that November. If I close my eyes, I can picture the holiday crowds jamming the sidewalks below as I stood on the stairs to St. Patrick's. I remember the elaborate window displays along 5th Avenue and I also remember my disappointment at seeing Rockefeller Center complete with an unadorned Christmas tree.

One thing I had always wanted to see was the tree alight in Rockefeller Center. I was certain that the tree would be lit immediately following Thanksgiving and because I was staying for a few days, I was hopeful that I would get to see it before heading back to Boston.

I soon learned that the tree is never lit until December and always first on a weeknight. So this year I took advantage of the fact that I live here and Matt and I went to the actual tree lighting ceremony.

We arrived at Rock Center a little before 5 pm, which turned out to be perfect timing. Shortly after they closed off the street and then we began to wait. The lighting itself wasn't scheduled until 9 pm, so we spent the next few hours getting pushed around by people trying to score a better view and letting out those who decided the wait wasn't worth it and wanted to bail.

Around 7 pm, the pre-televised entertainment started and soon Christmas songs sung by Miley Cyrus, Harry Connick Jr., Faith Hill and Beyonce could be heard. At 8 pm, the show got underway for the nationwide audience and everyone started to get antsy. The wind picked up and no one could feel their feet anymore. We just wanted to see the tree!!

After what seemed like an eternity, the moment we had all waited for arrived. The countdown began and the tree was lit!

It was long, cold and crowded, but definitely something I had to experience as a New Yorker. I can now cross another thing off my list and I think I am going to have to visit the tree at least once a week between now and Christmas :)

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