Friday, December 2, 2016

Walking in the City - The Christmas Lights of Mid-town Manhattan, NY

It's hard to believe that Christmas is almost upon us once again. This year I'm spending the holidays in England but wanted to fit at least one trip into New York City to see the lights before I leave. Yesterday's relatively mild weather offered the perfect opportunity for an evening stroll.

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
The Winter Village wouldn't be complete without a Christmas tree. While it doesn't quite match the size of the Rockefeller tree it is always beautifully decorated. I discovered I was a day early in terms of the lighting ceremony but even unlit it's pretty impressive!

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!


  1. Wow--NYC really looks beautiful during the holidays! Christmas in England? How fantastic. That's my dream. Hope you have a wonderful time!

    1. Thanks Karen. I love NYC at any time of the year, but in the run up to Christmas it is extra special. It's been 4 years since I last went to England and this will be the first time I've spent Christmas there with my side of the family since 2002 so I'm really looking forward to it!

  2. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing this. And have a fantastic holiday :-)

    1. Thanks DV. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas.