Friday, February 1, 2013

NYC Christmas Tree Tour

By mid-November, the city had decked the halls and was in full Christmas swing. 
Everywhere you looked seemed to be drowning in
 icicle lights, jingle bells, and Salvation Army volunteers. 
The hustle and bustle of the holidays was truly magical. 
 New York took Christmas to a whole new level. 
There were magnificent trees all over the place and I wanted 
to see as many of them as possible. 
And what better way to start things off than with the
 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting?
I had watched this show for years and it just seems like the perfect way to ring in the season. 
The tree this year was a Hurricane Sandy survivor from New Jersey. 
The lighting happened to be on my birthday making it one to remember. 
Seeing as how my birthday last year was spent doing a story on a double homicide and
working overtime to cover an acid spill -- this was a change of pace. 
Scott had to work so I headed to the tree lighting by myself 
with plans to meet up with friends.  
I got there two hours early and the plaza was packed. 
I was standing on 50th Street with a pretty good view of the tree. 
Estee tried to make her way through the masses to get to me. 
She even gave some mean woman her hot chocolate. 
But, it just wasn't going to happen. 
Estee, you are the biggest trooper for trying. 

So, I stood for four hours, sang Christmas carols with strangers,
 and made friends with foreigners who were standing by me.
I met an Irish couple who was celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary,
 an English couple on their family vacation, 
and a New Jersey couple who came to the event right after work 
because it was on their bucket list.  
It was such a good time. 
My boy Al Roker hosted. 
Mayor Bloomberg lit the tree -- despite his Jewish roots.  
It seemed like everyone came out of the woodwork for this one. 
I may have had chills as we counted down and this puppy finally lit up. 
I may treat this city like a tourist -- but these are once in a lifetime things. 
I couldn't miss it. 
Thanks for the good times, NBC. 
I always feel at home in your neck of the woods. 

Throughout the month, we visited other trees as well. 
One day, my good friend, Robyn, and I hit up the Upper West Side 
to see a bunch of the sites. 
Our first stop was the Natural History Museum and it happened to be my favorite. 

They had this incredible origami tree with the most detailed paper animals. 
I was in awe. 
It had almost every animal imaginable. 

We walked and window shopped down Columbus Avenue 
until we made it to the Lincoln Center Tree.

We ended our walk at The Shops at Columbus Circle with their
 "Holiday Under the Stars" display. 
Every half hour the stars are synchronized to songs. 
It was a fabulous walk full of free fun. 
Later that month, we saw this beauty. 
The Great Gatsby Tree in the lobby of the Plaza Hotel. 
So Flashy. 
Who's pumped for that movie?
The New York Stock Exchange Tree in the Financial District.
This was the biggest tree closest to our neighborhood.

One Saturday after the holidays, Scott and I had brunch
 at Norma's in the Le Parker Meridien Hotel. 
Brunch is my absolute favorite pastime here in the city. 
I mean, those waffles speak for themselves. 
Anyways, they had an origami tree in the lobby as well. 
Are these a thing here or what?
I love them. 
They also had a gingerbread competition. 
Different restaurants and shops in the city made a gingerbread creation
 and then people could vote for their favorite. 
Norma's made this one about the crane that collapsed during the hurricane.
They called it "Candycrane".
I thought all the rescue responders and news crews at the bottom were a nice touch. 

We ran into this lil guy by surprise while in West Village. 
I thought it was so charming. 
Big or small, famous or not, these trees captured Christmas in the city to me.

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