We’ve spent our final two weeks in New York City soaking in everything that is the holidays. Kicked off by the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the holiday season is an explosion of activity here in the City and we’ve tried to take in as much as possible.
First we headed to the Bronx and the New York Botanical Garden. Each year the Garden hosts the holiday model train show, and we attended on one of the kid-free evenings. With live music, cocktails, and beautiful lights, we wandered the garden at night. The highlights, however, are the trains that zip through an impressive display of 150 New York landmarks, each re-created with leaves, bark, and twigs. Having been in New York for almost three months, we were able to identify most of the model landmarks, including the Brooklyn Bridge, Yankee Stadium, Rockefeller Center, and the Brooklyn brownstones. The pictures don’t do it justice and we’re happy to have had the opportunity to take in a New York City classic holiday event.
Another holiday must-do in New York is to see the Rockettes. We attended a matinee performance of the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, which was all decked out for the holidays. We splurged and had fourth row seats. While we’ve seen a number of broadway shows, this one topped them all in production value. From the Mighty Wurlitzer organs that popped out from the sides of the stage to the light show across the theater’s ceiling, a 3D presentation from Santa, in addition to the amazing Rockettes themselves, we were in awe the entire 90 minutes. If we had more time here, we’d probably go back for a second time!
We ended up skipping the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting ceremony due to rain. If you watched it on TV you saw the downpours that plagued the thousands of people who were brave enough to give it a try. Instead, we stayed in that evening and watched the events from the warmth and dryness of our little apartment. Then, we made a trip to see the tree a few days later. The crowds were still enormous on the evening we went to see the tree, but at least it wasn’t raining.
Directly across Fifth Avenue from Rockefeller Center and the tree is Saks Fifth Avenue. Set to upbeat holiday music, the entire building is covered with a choreographed light show. This evening we also took a break in St. Patrick’s Cathedral and enjoyed a beautiful choir.
Down the street from the Cathedral is the now infamous Trump Tower, where our President-Elect makes his home. Security is tight, but we acted like we knew what we were doing and walked right in. After our belongings were x-rayed, we walked around the lobby a bit. After seeing all the news reports and interviews with cabinet contenders from just outside the building elevators, it was cool to be there. We also admired the beautiful tree which sits in front of the building’s four-story waterfall. Check the Trump Tower off the list.
In our final NYC days, we visited The Cloisters, an outpost of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The facility is located on the northern end of Manhattan and is surrounded by Fort Tryon. The location provides beautiful views of the Hudson and of the other boroughs. We also took a few final walks through Central Park and around our Upper West Side neighborhood. We’ve been so happy with our “home base” as it’s close to the park, the subway, and lots of great stores and restaurants. It’s a family neighborhood with a number of schools on the streets around us, and we’ve enjoyed seeing kids of all ages coming and going to school each day. Did you know many of them have PE class in the park?
Tomorrow morning we are heading back to Arizona to spend the holidays with our family. We are grateful to Steve’s parents, Judy and Larry, who will pick us up at the airport and drive us back to Prescott. We are also thankful to Bill for taking care of our puppies, Mia and Nica. While New York has been an unforgettable adventure, we are looking forward to seeing the dogs, the family, and lots of friends over the holiday season. Our adventures will continue in January when we head to Santiago, Chile for more exploration.