Thanks for checking into my blog!

As a "recovering" middle school teacher with a unique outlook on life, I stopped active teaching in 2010 and moved into another career path... writing! Here goes! In addition, I am a travel buff, forever baseball addict, movie fan, music fan, foodie extraordinaire, NCIS devotee, gardener, and more.

Just love writing for kids, travel writing and basic journalism. Pretty unusual, since I taught Home Economics! But there's a story here too - a non-fiction one or more...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A New York state of Christmas

     The acapella chorus I sing with starts their Christmas program with “You Meet the Nicest People Everywhere Around Christmastime”. This past holiday season, I found that to be so true. It didn’t matter where I was – in the mall, in Hampden, at a concert – those that I met were looking for holiday cheer, just like I was. New York City was no exception. Yes, this year’s big Christmas trip was north instead of south. I got a chance to experience the Christmas decorations in NYC.

     Thanks to my timeshare membership, I had a comfy place to stay. I found that it really doesn’t pay to drive to NYC, since parking at the timeshare would cost me $50 per day. So it was time to book seats to and from on Amtrak. And I made sure to pack some good tennis shoes to walk around the city. You really do make better time by walking around that place. And get ready to be run over. Walking is a means to an end there. Strolling is for Central Park.
Avenue of the Americas and 48th Street
Radio City Music Hall on W. 50th Street
      One of the best events when it’s Christmas in New York is the Rockettes Christmas Show at Radio City Music Hall. We finally – and I do mean finally – got a cab over to the hall for our 8 pm show. Once loose on the street, we saw a wonderland of lights. We left the hotel early enough to walk around the area around Radio City and just take in the sights and sounds. The Avenue of the Americas was like a carnival, with street vendors, artists, and musicians all working the crowds at rush hour. The sidewalk was elbow-to-elbow with people.  In spite of the crowded walkways, folks were in a pretty good mood.
Inside the Radio City Lobby - the incredible chandelier
      We found a tavern off West 50th Street, near Rockefeller Center, to have dinner before the show. It didn’t take long before it was time to queue up to go into the Music Hall. The lobby is accessible from both Avenue of the Americas and West 50th St. Either way, you walk into Radio City and you are greeted by the biggest, most magnificent crystal chandelier I’ve ever seen. The ambiance of the theater takes me back to the 1930’s, when ladies rooms were “ladies lounges” with vanity seats to perk up your make up. We also saw the remnants of telephone booths – the ones you sit in and talk on the phone. By gone days, for sure… Then it was time to find our seats, kick back and watch the Christmas Spectacular.
Radio City's main stage - we are ready for show time.

Using the whole theater as a stage
     After the show, we decided to walk back to the hotel. We headed east on 50th Street and found Rockefeller Center and the huge Christmas tree. At 10:30 pm, the plaza was still buzzing with activity. People were ice skating (and it was a very pricey admission, too), walking around and taking pictures, posing by the angels, and watching the Saks Fifth Avenue light show. Everywhere there were crowds and New York’s finest in blue maintaining order. This is one city where I felt really safe even at that time of the night.

The big tree at Rockefeller Center
Skaters in action at the ice rink....
...right in front of Neptune

On Rockefeller Plaza
Walking with the angels

Walking with the angels near the ice rink and tree

View of Saks from Rockefeller Plaza

The Saks light show is about to begin
      The following day, we wanted to make the most of Christmas sight seeing. We took a cab over to Macy’s on the New York 34th Street. The windows were all decorated with the “Yes, Virginia” theme. Of course, Spongebob had to greet us at the door. We took lots of pictures of the windows at Macy’s, gave our regards to old Broadway, were remembered at Herald Square, and then started our walk north, to Times Square. I felt like I was in an old 1940’s movie, walking along Broadway. The architecture looked the same as from that time period. But, as we approached Times Square, more and more neon and holograms began to appear. There were talking billboards every where you turned. I felt like I went from old New York City to Tokyo’s Ginza in a matter of a few blocks.
Yes, Virginia, this is Macy's window
No, we are not in Bikini Bottom anymore

Remembering Herald Square

NYC or Tokyo's Ginza - hard to tell from this shot
     Right in front of several stores, you find a plaza filled with costumed characters for the children. In spite of what they may say, you can get your child’s picture taken with the characters and you do NOT have to pay them or tip them. I did see a few scammers working the crowd, but not enough to dampen my spirits.
Some of the costumed characters at Times Square
     Now it was time to check out a few of the stores. Into and through Sephora… get a gift. Into the M&M store… we are just looking and not eating (right!). Over to the Hershey store across the street from the M&M store… welcome to Chocolate World! What a smell greets you when you enter! Now don’t go hog wild on the chocolate. Ok now I’m REALLY hungry. It’s time to get some more photos outside and find a place to eat.
The ball is ready to welcome in 2015
      One of my chorus friends told me about Ellen’s Stardust Diner on 52nd Street. Let’s find it and check out the menu…

     Hmmmm… till next posting….

     In the meantime… what are my chances of getting into this show?
Oh so close on the same night Sir Paul, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga appeared on the show....

 All photos are the property of Marge McGugan. No reproducing or reuse without permission.

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