Rockefeller Center and the Christmas Tree for 2013

My wife and I went to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular yesterday night and while we were in the area we decided to look around Rockefeller Center. There are Christmas lights up already, which is nice, and the tree is already in place, but it is surrounded by scaffolding. Judging by the pile of branches on the ground nearby, the tree is being trimmed and shaped prior to being decorated for the holiday season. Maybe I’m just getting used to being around tall structures, but the tree doesn’t look as big as usual this year.

We also walked past the NBC today studio set. It was closed up for the night, but it was still interesting to look in and see where the teleprompters are read.

NBC News Studio by Rockefeller Center

NBC News Studio by Rockefeller Center

Looking into the NBC Studio news set from outside.

Looking into the NBC Studio news set from outside.

I didn’t know Christie’s, the auction house, was by Rockefeller Center, but we saw that too. The big balloon dog sculpture in front of the entrance is pretty cool. I sort of wish there were miniature versions so I could buy one and keep it on a shelf.

Balloon Dog Sculpture at Christie's Auction House

Balloon Dog Sculpture at Christie’s Auction House

A close-up of the balloon dog sculpture.

A close-up of the balloon dog sculpture.

Christie's Auction House window displays.

Christie’s Auction House window displays.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree 2011

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree 2011 - 1

After seeing the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular last Friday, my wife and I walked over to Rockefeller Center to take a look at the big Christmas tree.  It’s one of those iconic sights that you have to see to say you had the full Christmas tourist experience in the city.  We’re not tourists, but even still, it’s nice to get out and do the tourist thing.  It helps me appreciate the city more and take advantage of what it has to offer, before I suddenly find myself moving somewhere else.  That’s how it’s always been for me.  I keep putting things off and then before I know it, the opportunity has passed and I’ve moved on.  That’s how I wound up never seeing the Carlsbad Caverns, even though I lived in the area for two years.

Rockefeller Christmas Tree 2011 - 2

Anyway, the tree was looking a little wilted, but we did wait until the it had been up for more than a month to came take a look at it.  Next year, I want to take my wife around to see it when it’s still fresh.  She was very amused to see the ice skating rink just below the tree and had a lot of questions about it.  Maybe one of these days I can teach her how to ice skate, though I’m a bit rusty myself.

Rockefeller Center Skating Rink

Rockefeller Center Skating Rink

The Christmas season is winding down.  In just a few days it’ll be the New Year.  Even worse (and better), classes start again on the 3rd.  It’s just one class, for Winter Session, but it’s 4 hours a day, 4 days a week for three weeks.  It should be interesting.  I just hope we can squeeze in a few more sightseeing stops before we run out of time.  We still have to make it back to the Met!  Hopefully we can do that this Friday, when the museum stays open later than normal.  I’d like to take her to the Guggenheim and the American Museum of Natural History too, if possible.

Rockefeller Center Christmas 2011 Angel Decoration

Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular 2011

Radio City Music Hall 2011

Last Friday my wife and I went to see the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, starring the Rockettes. It wound up being a really great experience and it was a great way to spend the Friday before Christmas weekend.

Radio City Rockettes - 2011 Christmas Spectacular - 1

I saw the show once before, in 2006, and I was amazed by just how much the show has improved since then. The most memorable moment for me from the previous show was the toy soldiers. I was in the Army at the time and I remember being impressed by just how precise their marching movements were. I was sitting in the first mezzanine so I had the advantage of watching the turns and wheels from above. I’d marched in more than a few parades and military ceremonies so I had personal experience for comparison and the Rockettes were definitely better at it than anyone I knew. They work harder at perfecting parade marching too, though.

Radio City Rockettes - Christmas Spectacular 2011 - Toy Soldiers

This year, the toy soldier segment was just as much fun to watch, but we were sitting in the Orchestra, so the precision of the marching wasn’t as readily apparent. I almost wish I’d picked mezzanine seats instead! We were able to see the finale to the toy soldier portion just fine though:

There were a lot of changes to the show. I think I remember seeing the dance with dozens of Santas in 2006, but this year there was a segment meant to imitate the Rockettes traveling through the city in a tour bus, a portion that simulated a video game and even some 3D stuff that was a lot of fun.

Radio City Rockettes - Christmas Spectacular 2011 - Humbugged in 3D

Overall, the show was a very fun and very memorable way for my wife to spend her first Christmas in New York City. We’re looking forward to going again in a few years.

For a full album of pictures (with descriptions) from the show, click here. The album is on Google+ and won’t require a sign in to view.

A “Bah! Humbug!” Kind of Christmas

A little tree and nativity scene on the dresser.

Ok, so maybe it’s not all that bad.  In fact, it could be a lot worse.  The fact remains, however, that I spent this Christmas apart from my wife, and that seriously put a dent in my holiday spirit.  This year just feels different.  The ‘spirit’ of the holiday seems to have gone around me without touching me.  The lights are up.  The tree is there.  The gifts are under it.  The food was good.  I had family around me.  And yet, without my wife it seems pale.  All I can do is look forward to next year, when we can do things right.  Next Christmas will be extra special.

Some of my photos came out fairly decent, so I thought I’d share a few.

Roast pork, black beans with rice and yuca.

Traditionally, my mom’s side of the family does Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve, so last night we had a simple meal of roast pork, black beans with rice and yuca.  It looks simple, but trust me, it tasted great!  We also had cake and homemade oatmeal cookies.

Bacon, frying on a griddle.

Potatoes frying.

Fresh biscuits.

This morning we followed up the dinner with a really good, traditional breakfast of bacon, biscuits and gravy, fried potatoes and eggs.

Christmas isn’t completely without joy this year, but like I said, it’s just not the same.  My wife and I spent every day together for almost 2 and a half years until we had to temporarily part ways.  It really puts a damper on my holiday spirit, and instead of really enjoying this Christmas, it feels more like another step on a path to something more fulfilling, when my wife and I will be together again.  I’m looking forward to it.

Unveiling Christmas Window Displays (Bloomingdales)

Rolling out the red carpet at Bloomingdales.

I happened to be up by Bloomingdales today and they were literally rolling out the red carpet.

Red curtains covering the windows at Bloomingdales.

They also had red curtains covering the windows.

I remembered hearing something on the news about Christmas displays being revealed at another store and they made it come across as a big deal.  I’m surprised that in a city like New York, something as trivial as the unveiling of Christmas window displays is newsworthy.  Of course, since it is such a big deal, I’m curious to know what’s behind those curtains myself.  I suppose I’ll see the next time I pass through.

Some people aren’t quite as patient as I am though.  There was some guy walking back and forth.  I thought he was talking to himself at first but then I realized he was holding what looked like one of those Flip video cameras.  Maybe he was using UStream or something, or just recording.  I don’t know.  Anyway, he tried to get in behind the curtain and got shooed away.  He was laughing about it into the camera, saying he got busted trying to peek in.  Later, I swear I saw the same guy on the TMZ segment on Fox 5.  The guy I saw on the street looked just like the chubby white guy on the show.  Could be coincidence.  Who knows?