life in and around NYC is insane

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas in NYC

So we figured that the Friday after Christmas would be a good time to do our annual NYC "windows" trip.  The city was only slightly less crowded than it would have been before Christmas.

We took the train to Penn Station (32nd and 7th), and that's where our adventure began.

Lovely shot of the empire State building:

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Our first stop -- the windows at Macy's.  Macy's always does two sets of windows.  This year the 34th Street windows featured a "Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus" display -- Macy's sponsored the animated show on TV a few years ago.  It's cute, but honestly, the "Miracle on 34th Street" display, which saluted the original move, was a better set of windows.  The Herald Square windows had a fluffy bit of froth about dreams and believing.  Very nice.

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Fortified with hot dogs from a street vendor, we walked over to 5th Avenue.   Lord & Taylor did lovely windows, all about high fashion in years gone by. 

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At the tail end of the windows line, you could pose for a photo, and then retrieve the photo via text message.  Of course we did.

Continuing up 5th, we arrived at 42nd Street -- the New York Public Library and Bryant Park.  This time of year  the Library Lions -- Patience and Fortitude -- wear holiday wreaths. Behind the library, there's an ice rink and shopping village in the park, and of course a beautiful Christmas tree.    Sort of a foretaste of what to expect a few blocks further uptown.

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Stopped at a deli for a cup of coffee, then headed to Rockefeller Center, otherwise known as the heart of Christmas in NYC.  First up were the windows at Saks, which feature their Yeti character in an adventure to discover his artistic talent -- which includes a ride on a NYC subway.

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Then across the street, where angels and toy soldiers line the path to the big tree.  Topped with a Swarovski crystal star, it towers over the ice rink.  And don't forget to walk across the street, where the folks from Swarovski have an older version of the star on display.

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(And FYI there are public restrooms on the concourse under Rockefeller Center, should the need arise.)

Next, we walked over the Madison Avenue, and up to 6oth St. to see the windows at Barney's.  This was a display of crystal forms and their reaction to light -- to see the main window, you have to walk into a tent.     They also have a window called "sleigh ride", where performers interact with the crowd.  The light show was good, the interactive performance was neither clever nor funny.  Not my favorite.

Next it was back to 5th Avenue, where a huge snowflake hangs over 59th Street.

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The windows at Bergdorf Goodman salute holidays throughout the year.

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And Henri Bendel has a tribute to the caricatures of Al Hirshfeld.

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We walked back down to Rockefeller Center.  By now it was dark, so we were able to see the light show on the side of the Saks building.  Yes, every few minutes Saks projects a show onto the side of their building, featuring snowflakes and the Yeti.    The show this year is much shorter, really not worth the effort unless you've never seen it before.  And 5th Avenue gets very very crowded with people watching the show.

Took the subway from Rockefeller Center to Canal Street.  Time to revisit an old favorite, Wo Hop.    Anyone who "knows" understands that for the real experience you must go to Wo Hop in the basement  at 17 Mott St., that the street level restaurant at 15 Mott is simply not as good.  You wait on line outside, on the steps, until a table becomes available.  The room is small and very crowded, very no frills.  The walls are decorated with dollar bills and photos of celebrities who have visited for the food.  the menu is strictly a la carte, everything except tea must be ordered from the menu.

We started with soup.  I ordered won ton soup, Drew got the won ton egg drop.  A small bowl of soup comes with five won tons, can't imagine what a large bowl is like.  Steamed dumplings -- most places serve the sauce on the side, but here the delicate dumplings are plated with the sauce.  4D lo mein -- Drew's "go-to" comes with beef, chicken, shrimp and pork as well as vegetables -- piled so high that you can't seen the noodles beneath.  And the lemon chicken -- three fried cutlets in an incredible lemon sauce -- was simply the best I've had in ages.


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