My first stop was the Lord & Taylor store on 5th Avenue at 39th Street. Famous for its elaborately staged Christmas windows it is a delight for children and adults alike. This year the store is surrounded by scaffolding, but the designers didn't let that detract, turning the sidewalk into a grotto of lights and greenery.
|How to conceal scaffolding.|
The theme for this year is the Enchanted Forest with gorgeous animated settings depicting families of owls, foxes and geese in a winter wonderland. Instrumental music adds the finishing touch.
My next stop was Bryant Park between 5th and 6th Avenue. At this time of year the park becomes a Winter Village with an ice-rink, a holiday market and an outdoor bar.
|The holiday market|
|the place to relax after all the shopping|
|skating amidst the skyscrapers|
Then it was onto 6th Avenue where the large forecourts of office buildings provide another venue for some out-sized decorations.
Across the street is the iconic Radio City Music Hall. From mid November to early January it is home to The Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes, an integral part of New York City's holiday festivities.
Just around the corner is Rockefeller Plaza, the location of the city's official Christmas tree.
This year the tree is 94 ft tall and decorated with 50,000 lights! Despite heavy rain on the 1st December, thousands turned out to watch the show that precedes the switching on of the lights.
It's quite a sight but almost outdone by the light show on the front of the Saks building opposite. Set to booming music the crowd-stopping display runs at regular intervals.
But Saks doesn't just stop at the light show. The windows have been exquisitely decorated with a Nutcracker theme. The detail that goes into each window is amazing, I can only assume it must take months of planning and preparation.
In all, I spent about two hours taking in the various sights, but only covered a tiny section of the city. New York is a fun city to walk around at any time of year, but in December it really does become magical - assuming, of course, that you don't mind the large crowds!