Updated: Jan 10
The City That Never Sleeps, The Big Apple, Gotham - aka New York City. Whatever you call it, it's the most exciting place to be, especially at Christmas!
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A fun video of our day in New York City at Christmas. Please visit my YouTube Channel, subscribe, hit the bell for notifications so you don't miss any new videos and give a thumbs up to the videos you like. Feel free to share and comment/ask questions. check out my category Gluten Free Soups.
Some Fun History:
I was born and raised on Long Island. However, my parents and grandparents were born and raised in Brooklyn. Eventually, the neighborhood in Brooklyn started to go downhill. In 1960, my father's family moved to Queens and my mother's family moved to Long Island.
It took about 50 years, but Williamsburg, Brooklyn was finally built up again and a desirable place to live. The video above is a great representation. However, it deteriorated in the early 60's when many people who had lived there for years, fled. By the 70's it was literally a dump and you wouldn't dare walk down the street in broad daylight. It was definitely dangerous.
To learn more about the feast, visit this website. It has a rich history and offers amazing food, fun and laughter.
My parents still lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 1957 only a few blocks from the feast. They would go nightly with family and friends. They took us as kids and I took my own children as kids. The area by the feast was always safe, however, the surrounding areas were not until the 2000's or so.
My dad worked on Wall Street from the age of 18 and worked in New York City until the late 90's. We always went into the city to visit relatives, see Broadways shows, shop, and especially to visit at Christmas Time.
I also worked in the city. At one time I worked right behind St. Patrick's Cathedral. If I wasn't out on lunch dates with friends or bosses, sometimes I'd spend lunch hours inside the Cathedral, relaxing and enjoying the sights and music. Or I'd wander through Saks Fifth Avenue just browsing mostly, but at Christmas time, I often bought gifts.
Christmas in New York 2021:
My son drove into the city rather than taking the train. That made it much easier for myself and my husband as both of us are disabled. Above is the New York City skyline approaching the midtown tunnel.
Our first stop was Radio City Music Hall where we saw The Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes. These are pictures on 6th Avenue, around and outside Radio City.
The inside of the iconic Radio City is just gorgeous. For a history on Radio City, click link. The show does not disappoint. It is absolutely spectacular. You feel like you're five years old again. The energy, the excitement, the talent and the effort made by the entire cast and the orchestra is simply amazing. One must also give credit to the technical end; lighting, video, stage design and moving stage parts.
By the end of the show you are happy, in the holiday spirit and excited for more fun.
After the show we ate at Bill's Bar and Burgers. Of course, I had to bring all my own food, which I left in the car in a soft cooler bag during the show and my son retrieved from the parking garage before we went to eat. I lived vicariously through everyone else. See Bringing My Own Food Outside My Home.
The wait really wasn't long. They gave us a beeper and told us 45 minutes. In New York, that's nothing. But, they called us in 20 minutes. Not bad. They all loved their food. Some shared and everyone still brought some home to eat again.
After lunch we went to the Lego Store. It is mind-boggling what they can build with Legos. So much fun. The last two pictures are of my son as a baby. He LOVED Legos. It was a standard Christmas gift!
You can't not visit St. Patrick's Cathedral when in the city. It is breathtaking. Pictures and videos don't do it justice. If you've never seen it, I highly recommend you visit.
Saks Fifth Avenue. Not only is it fun to browns or shop inside, but at Christmas, it's amazing to view their window displays and their light show set to music. Check out my video above to see the lightshow in action. You hear the music for blocks which makes it very festive.
The main attraction. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. I've been going since I was a baby and I took my kids from birth on. The last four pictures are from many years ago. My daughter wasn't even born yet. We went into the city with good friends. We took the kids to see Santa at Macy's on 34th Street. We took a horse and buggy ride (no longer allowed in the streets, only in Central Park). Of course, we saw the tree and went out to eat and much more. Back then, I was able to walk all over the city. Not anymore. Everything we visited was right near Radio City.
No matter how many times you see the tree, it is always stunning. The first glimpse and it's like seeing it for the first time. It attracts visitors from around the world.
It's beautiful to watch the skaters down below the tree. See my video for an action shot of that. It's not easy or inexpensive to be able to do it, but it is fun. Many a proposal was made on that ice during Christmas and Valentine's Day.
The Streets of New York At Christmas:
We stayed in the vicinity of Radio City Music Hall. Many of the main attractions are right in the same area as you can see.
Years ago we would walk the city blocks like it was nothing, walking from Penn Station to Broadway, Times Square, Macy's, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, FAO Schwarz (now closed) and of course Central Park and the famous Plaza Hotel. Neither I nor my husband could do that these days. To think I used to do it in 4 inch heels at one time like it was nothing.
New York is very expensive. It's the most expensive city in the US. Prices are jacked up during the holidays as well, especially at the tourist attractions. That doesn't mean you shouldn't go to see the things we went to see. We paid for the show tickets and dinner and parking. That's it.
A great place to eat, especially with children, is Ellens Stardust Diner. It isn't inexpensive, but, it isn't the most expensive either. It IS FUN and definitely worth the visit, especially if you are with children.
Don't forget other attractions while visiting New York. Lincoln Center is a great choice. I've seen the New York City Ballet perform The Nutcracker and watched Opera at the Metropolitan Opera House. Both were amazing.
If you enjoy ethnic foods and are looking for a nice place near Lincoln Center, I recommend La Boite en Bois.
I can't count the number of Broadway shows I've seen. When I was a little girl I saw The King and I with Yul Brenner and Peter Pan with Sandy Duncan. I've seen too many to name through the years.
One that stands out is 42nd Street. We saw the revival. My sister, my friend, myself and our young daughters went into the city in February and it was freezing. It was below zero with the windchill. We drove in to avoid long waits outside taking trains and waiting for cabs. We parked one block from the theater and thought we would freeze to death walking to the show. It was so cold, they opened the doors early and allowed people to wait in the lobby. Normally, you wait outside. Even with all our bundling, we were still freezing and then, to boot, we hit a snow storm on the way home. The show was amazing though.
New York is always an exciting place to visit. If you can make it here at Christmas, it's simply magnificent.