Christmas in NYC

Over this past Christmas I went for a short, pleasant trip across the border to New York. Well, really, New Jersey but New York was just a train ride away.

I have been to the Big Apple many times in my life as my aunt lives there and growing up it was an excuse to get out of town and go on a bit of an adventure. My family would take over my aunt and uncle’s place for a long weekend and drag them out on escapades with us through out the city. This was almost always during summer, usually Labour Day weekend. It was 4 days of fun, heat, and exhaustion before being caged in classes to be crammed with information.

The latest we ever went down there was in November, once, I am not sure why, but I remember it not being a pleasant experience. It was colder than Toronto. The skyscrapers turned every street into a wind tunnel, the streets were slushy, and the subway stations were wet slippery terrors. We never went back in the cold.

When the last minute decision was made to pile into the car and head down there, the memory of that unpleasant experience came rushing back. I carried extra layers and boots and scarves to ensure my survival. All this turned out to be relatively unnecessary. Yes it was cold but it was completely bearable and there was no snow. Because of this I did a lot of wondering the city, taking in all the sights and sounds, as I elbowed my way through the massive crowds.

Lucky for you, on this particular excursion, I took a lot of pictures of all the pretty lights. And there were A LOT of lights. It was definitely a sight to be seen.

I am going to start this visual feast for the eyes even before we got to the city. On the drive up we passed through a wind farm. The towering windmills were strange, futuristic, and surreal.

I am the first to admit that this little vid does not do the scene justice but I just wanted to share it.

The first day in the city, after gorging on all the food, was a gloomy rainy day. We headed down to One World Trade and the World Trade Centre memorial.

One World Trade

As you can see the building has beautiful lines both in and out that could not be tarnished by the gloomy day. Getting a wider, more encompassing shot of either the interior or exterior was made incredibly difficult by the large crowds moving through the space and the ongoing construction outside. The space was apparently designed to resemble the wings of a dove which can be clearly seen in the exterior. It is an interesting space but it is essentially a mall. The interior has shops lining walls with a cavernous center.

We ventured outside to the World Trade Centre Memorial. The bleak day enhanced the surreal sombre nature of the memorial.

World Trade Center Memorial

This massive, for the lack of a better word, pool is the size of the base on one of the buildings. Around the edge are marble placards where all the names of people that died in the tragedy are carved. The pool drains downward in tiers. It was surprisingly quiet there except for the sound of rushing water. Most people kept chatter to a minimum and their voices low. In the background of this pic is the Memorial Museum. I did not get a chance to go in there.

We also passed by the new World Trade Tower.

New world trade tower

The massive glass covered skyscraper disappeared into the air making it look infinitely tall. This illusion is created by the tapering at the top of the tower. It is a very cool effect.

From there we went in search of something to eat. We ended up in Time Square, grabbed some mediocre grub from a chain restaurant (don’t judge, I was with a very indecisive group), and headed back out the explore some more. The rain had stopped, the sun had gone down, and the lights of the city were on. Even in the night the city was blinding.

Time Square

From there we headed to Rockerfeller Centre to see the big tree. We walked away from Time Square down streets lined with trees covered in lights toward Radio City Music Hall.

Lights on Tree by Radio City Music Hall

On the way there we came across a building with huge festive Nutcrackers standing guard.

Giant Nutcrackers

Radio City Music Hall had a huge Christmas tree with changing coloured lights above the marquee. The pictures I got made it seem like a scene out of Batman. The crowds, the colours, mist looming in the air.

Christmas Tree at Radio City Music Hall

It look a lot of effort to get those shots at the crowd was becoming dense, unruly, and hard to navigate.

It was naive of me to believe that that was as bad as it was going to get. The crowds got worse the closer we got to Rockerfeller. Cops were out stopping traffic yelling at pedestrians and drivers alike who did not follow the rules, roads were closed off, and it was like we were being herded. Because of this I could not get very close to the tree but I got a few shots despite my distance and the crowd.

Rockerfeller Centre Christmas Tree

One thing I was not expecting was the Sacs Fifth Avenue light show across the street. I missed like 10 seconds at the beginning but here it is.

That was all lights going about 4 storeys up and blaring music. I got that video from across the street and about 40 people deep from the edge of the sidewalk. That full thing played about once every 15 minutes. If I had to work in the area I think it would have driven me mad but as a person who could walk away it was pretty spectacular.

At Sacs they also had some Christmas displays in their windows but to see them we had to get across the street which was a feat in itself. Manoeuvring through the crowd and actually finding a way across the street because of the intense crown control took a while. When we finally crossed the street were we in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The beautiful Gothic church was open to the public allowing people to walk through. The exterior was as spectacular…

St. Patrick's Cathedral

…as the interior.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

I also grabbed a pic of the building across the street. I don’t know what building that is, I could look it up but I don’t want to, but it looked really cool.

We finally made it to the Sacs Fifth Ave windows. Their theme was candy and it was worth the effort to see them. The colour, whimsy, the creativity that went into these displays were amazing. There were 6 windows all together.

Window 1

Sacs Fifth Avenue Christmas Window Display

Window 2

Sacs Fifth Avenue Christmas Window Display

Window 3

Sacs Fifth Avenue Christmas Window Display

Window 4

Sacs Fifth Avenue Christmas Window Display

Window 5

Sacs Fifth Avenue Christmas Window Display

Window 6. This is a vid as elements were moving too fast to get a clear image.

And here is a closeup of the “candy” that decorated to door on the way into the store.

Sacs Fifth Avenue Christmas Window Display

From there we wondered a little more and ended up by Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal

I only got one decent picture of the interior as I was too tired to try anymore.

Grand Central Terminal Interior

From there we went home. It had been a long day and we took the next day off to recoup from our adventure.

The day after we headed back out and ended up at Central park. It was a cold overcast day but there were still a lot of people in the park roaming around, skating, and enjoying the atmosphere. I grabbed a few pics.

One looking this way

Central Park

One looking that way.

Central Park

We didn’t realise were were so close to the same area we were in previously so we ended up wondering and seeing a lot of the same we had seen before. We bought some shoes and I made a horrible restaurant choice causing us to have the worst food experience we have ever had in NYC. It was a short day that day as we had to prepare for our long drive back home. I did not take any pics that day as a snow storm rolled in causing quite a few accidents on the interstate that slowed down the drive which made me nervous and didn’t allow for any stops to grab a few pics. It was really beautiful though.

Anyways, that’s it. That was NYC 2016.


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