For past few years, Rachel and I have traveled to New York City during the Christmas holiday season. New York City is about 3 to 4 hours from North Kingstown, depending on traffic. It is a special trip we look forward to all year. Rachel and I try to stay close to the midtown area so we can be close to all of those great tourist attractions – Macy’s, Rockefeller Plaza, the Today show set, all of those great spots and more. This year, we stayed on E 45th St. at the Roosevelt Hotel, which turned out to be a fantastic location.
Just up the way from the Roosevelt Hotel is Rockefeller Plaza. This is where the giant tree, the outdoor skating rink, NBC, The Today Show, and tons of tourists gather every year. The tree is just gorgeous and the lights on the buildings surrounding Rockefeller Plaza add the perfect illumination and holiday spirit. There is a projection screen that casts a massive Christmas display on a large building just before you go into Rockefeller Plaza and always attracts a huge crowd, cell phone cameras taking photos and videos, and is just incredible to witness.
New York City is so busy regardless of what month or season it is. And the Christmas holiday season adds thousands more to the mix. The sidewalks are packed. The shops are packed. Strollers, little kids, couples, families – all trying to make their way through the masses to get to see the sights. You have to be patient sometimes and just move with the crowd. Somehow, you make it through the crowd and get to where you want to go. There are tons of New York City Police officers on the streets assisting with traffic – pedestrian and motor vehicle – and they are there to keep you safe and help you get to the sights and shops.
One store that never gets old is the Macy’s Store on 34th St. From Rockefeller Plaza, it is about a 20 minute walk. And in the holiday season, this gives you plenty of time to take in the gorgeous Christmas displays and decorations in midtown New York City. Macy’s is just a magical place to visit during the Christmas season. The store is filled with so much Christmas spirit from the first floor to the top floor. The top floor of Macy’s has all of the Christmas decorations, ornaments, stockings, unique gifts, and more. This year I spotted a really cool mailbox labeled “Santa Mail” and a “Believe Meter” which appeared to be at full capacity.
Another must see is the Times Square area on 7th Avenue and 45th St. The gigantic billboards are my favorite. I took a few photos of one that was promoting movies such as “Sing” and the new Star Wars movie “Rogue One.” Also located in Times Square is the Disney Store, which has every gift imaginable for kids of all ages. Two floors full of stuffed animals, action figures, costumes, mugs, pencils, dolls, backpacks, posters, and more – all Disney characters from past and present shows and movies. The Disney store is well staffed with plenty of helpers and there is an escalator to get to the second floor as well.
For the second year in a row, Rachel and I had excellent weather. A bit chilly but definitely manageable. Our hotel was also very much in the Christmas spirit and there was a gorgeous tree in the lobby, all decorated up for the holidays.
Just down the street from the hotel, we had dinner at a really cool Irish bar named Connelly’s, which had a sort of “A or B” type menu. I chose A and Rachel chose B and we were very satisfied indeed. Of course, the mood was festive and lively in the bar. Plenty of TV’s, beers on tap, and of course that priceless Irish wit from the bartender, Jerry.
I love being in RI for the Christmas holidays, don’t get me wrong. New York City is such a treat, with all the lights, shops, decorations. Being a small town person in a big city is exciting, if only for a few days. I look forward to my Christmas holiday getaways every year. From my family to yours, Happy Holidays!!!