One of my favorite Christmas traditions is taking a stroll around mid-town Manhattan to check out the holiday lights and window displays.
Sixth Avenue is always a good place to start as the forecourts of the office buildings provide the perfect stage for gigantic versions of traditional decorations.
Sadly, this year one of the city's iconic store displays is missing as the Lord & Taylor store on 5th Avenue is closing down. Instead of delightful depictions of fairy tales or children's literary characters the windows are covered in red posters announcing the closing. I'm sure there must have been many disappointed visitors as the store was the first to feature animated holiday displays and has regularly attracted visitors from all over the world.
Fortunately, there are other stores with spectacular window displays, including those of Bergdorf Goodman. The amount of detail is astonishing, with each window color coordinated to the holiday treats represented.
Further down Fifth Avenue, the building housing Tiffany's is suitably adorned with sparkling ornamentation.
And the Peninsula Hotel on 5th Avenue and 55th Street has eye-catching decorations on its canopy.
Outside the entrance to the Rockefeller Center, enormous toy soldiers stand guard.
Across the street, the annual light show on the front of the Saks building is so popular that huge crowds gather on the sidewalk, making it almost impossible to walk on that section of the street. After shuffling forward for several minutes, I gave up trying to get across the road and retreated to the relative calm of Sixth Avenue. It wasn't quite the route I'd planned to take back to Grand Central but it was certainly quicker!
Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Mel writes contemporary fiction with a twist of mystery and suspense. For more information about her books visit her website, or sign up for her newsletter at http://bit.ly/melparishnews