Our day began, as always, with a delightful ride on the Long Island Railroad -- as if I needed a reminder why I am thrilled I no longer commute into the city for work. We stood all the way to Penn Station -- ugh!
We start our trek at Macy's. The 34th Street windows were the same as last year's, honoring the TV special "Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus". I always preferred the "Miracle on 34th Street" windows ....
This year the Herald Square windows had a North Pole theme:
We walked over to 5th Avenue and got a "dirty water dog" from a hot dog cart -- Drew had one with mustard and sauerkraut, mine had ketchup and onions.
Next stop was Lord & Taylor. This year their windows had a winter woodlands theme:
We continued uptown on 5th Avenue until we got to 42nd Street -- the New York Pubic Library, and behind it, Bryant Park. The park is turned into a winder wonderland each Christmas, with a skating rink, shops, and, of course, a tree.
We love the shops in the park. One of our favorites:
Last year they featured a 3 foot tall Dalek. This year the biggest work had a Star Wars flare:
If you don't have a few thousand to spend, there are smaller models:
There's a shop that sells French chocolates. they hand out free samples, but with a caveat -- no chewing allowed. The candy is so rich and creamy that you're just supposed to let it melt in your mouth.
Another store that caught my eye:
Yes, all of those tails actually wag.
I love this view of the Chrysler Building:
Patience and Fortitude, the lions of the NY Public Library. They stopped decorating the lions for awhile because the wreaths were ruining the stone, but now they've found a way to protect the stone, and the wreaths are back:
Chabad Lubavitch is on 5th at 44th Street. As we walked past, Drew said something about "the Mitzvah Mobile", the trailer the Lubavitchers drive around to proselytize to their fellow Jews. I said "It's got to be out today, celebrating Chanukah." Sure enough, it was on 5th Avenue, we saw it drive by a short time later.
The most crowded part of the city has to be the portion of 5th Avenue in front of Rockefeller Center. It's almost impossible to walk! But we had to see the windows at Saks. this year it was a "Nutcracker" theme -- lots of candy and cake imagery.
The mood becomes decidedly political when you reach 5th and 56th. I bought myself a little souvenir on that block:
We walked all the way up to Central Park. there we found the world's largest menorah:
A worker was preparing it ...but we didn't want to wait in the cold for an hour to see it lit.
No pictures of the windows at Bergdorf this year, they were not picture-worthy. And we didn't feel like walking over to Barney's.
But the snowflake still hangs over 5th:
And the main attraction -- the tree:
Walk across the street and you can see the retired tree topper:
I took a selfie.
No picture of Drew, he was busy playing with his new camera -- the one he got to replace the camera that fell into the creek in Florida.
We walked over to Times Square. The New Year's Eve preparations were well under way. One Times Square:
That line through the clock is the pole where the actual ball will drop. They did a practice run Wednesday, but I was too slow getting my camera out...
We took the subway from 42nd Street to Canal Street, then walked over to Mott Street, to our favorite restaurant, Wo Hop. Wo Hop has been in the basement of 17 Mott Street since 1938. We stood on line for an hour to get into Wo Hop. (There was no line for any other restaurant on Mott Street, but none is as good as Wo Hop. Wo Hop City, at 15 Mott Street, is simply not the same, you have to go to the one in the basement.)
Very old school, bare bones decor, and everything on the menu except tea and fortune cookies is a la carte, even white rice and crispy noodles must be ordered. We started our meal with soup -- Drew had wonton egg drop, I had chicken corn. Next up was 4D lo mein -- it includes chicken, pork, shrimp and beef, so much of each that it's hard to find the noodles. And of course we had the sweet and pungent chicken -- unlike most Chinese restaurants, their sweet and pungent sauce doesn't have that fake orange color, and it is the best sweet and pungent I've ever eaten.
We took the subway back to Herald Square, and walked down 34th towards Penn. And there it was, the Mitzvah Mobile! The gentlemen asked if we are Jewish, and when we said "yes", they offered us a menorah to take home, and donuts to celebrate the holiday. It was lovely.
I thought I'd end with the video I took at Saks. Each year, Saks does a light show projected onto the buidling walls: