Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas in New York City -- Happy New Year in Time Square!

New York City is a wonderful place to visit and there is no better time than during the holidays when everything is merry and bright! To see more details all photos and mosaics will enlarge when clicked on.
It took me a long time to see the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree this year, and it did not disappoint! It will be on display until January 7th, 2009. The 76 foot Norway spruce tree came from Easton, Connecticut, home of fifth-grade teacher Maria Corti. It is decorated with 30,000 energy efficient LED lights that are fully powered by solar panels.

The Swarovski star, designed in 2004, measures 9 1/2 feet in diameter and 1 1/2 feet deep, and is adorned with 25,000 crystals and one million facets.

The first Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was put up in 1931 by workers building the Rockefeller Center complex during the Depression. The complex owner, John D. Rockefeller, thought the gesture showed the true meaning of Christmas, of hope and joy, and two years later had the first official tree erected for Christmas in front of the 70 story main building. The first official tree lighting was in 1933 and the first televised tree lighting ceremony was in 1951 on the Kate Smith Evening Hour show.

The twelve 8 foot tall wire sculptured angel figures that line the fountain in the plaza in front of the tree are by the English artist Valerie Clarebout, and have been part of the display since 1954.

Saks Fifth Avenue Department store can be seen in the background of this view of the Rockefeller Center Angels.

The search for next year's tree begins almost immediately! All year round, people from all over the USA write in with photos of their trees offering them to Rockefeller Center. The desired dimensions are a minimum of 65 feet tall and 35 feet wide, although the tree is usually over 75 to 90 feet tall. The tallest tree ever was 100 feet tall in 1999. If you have such a tree growing in your back yard you might want to consider donating it to be next year's Christmas tree.
After the tree is taken down from display the branches are recycled into mulch and the trunk is made into lumber to be used by Habitat for Humanity.

Over 500,000 people come to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree during its display and the day I visited I thought everyone decided to come on the same day! Sorry the photo is a little blurry, but I held my camera over my head and took the shot above the sardine can crowd trying to move on 5th Avenue! In all my years of visiting the tree I never encountered a crowd the size of this, but I realized it may have been larger than normal because of the few weekends of inclement weather we had in the month of December, including a snowstorm and rain storm, and the day I was in Manhattan it was a fair 50 degrees in temperature!

All of the publishing companies on 6th Avenue decorate their buildings so beautifully for Christmas as you can see in the mosaic above. McGraw Hill changed their usual giant tree lights display to LED lights this year, to reflect the popular desire to go green.

The UNICEF Snowflake hanging high above 5th Ave, designed by the famed designer Ingo Maurer and handcrafted by craftsmen at Baccarat, is the world's largest outdoor chandelier! The New York Snowflake sparkles with 16,000 Baccarat crystal prisms, and is 23 feet wide and over 28 feet tall, and weighs more than 3,300 pounds. The crystals are 2 ½” diameter, and each one that forms the UNICEF Snowflake can be purchased and engraved for a $500 donation which will go to UNICEF's efforts to help children around the world.

Some information from the web site:

"Shining in the heart of New York City and Beverly Hills, the UNICEF Snowflake is a special symbol for the world's most vulnerable children.
These iconic snowflakes—at 57th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York and on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills—hang as a reminder of UNICEF’s commitment to reach a day when zero children die from preventable causes."

More iconic views of Christmas in New York in the mosaic above, from top left across are (1-2)views of Radio Center Music Hall where the famous (3) Rockettes are part of the Christmas Show, (4) the train display in the window of Lionel Store , (5) Saint Patrick's Cathedral, bottom left to right --(6) view of ice skating rink in front of the Rockefeller Center tree, (7) the top of The Empire State Building lit with red and green lights for Christmas, (8) view down 5th Ave at Saks Fifth Ave and St, Patrick's, (9) The NBC Rainbow Room marque, (10) the top of the building in Times Square where the New Year's eve ball is dropped.

The Saks Fifth Ave department store's "Snowflake Spectacle" is a light and sound show which is displayed on its flagship's facade featuring 72,000 Philips LEDs that illuminate 50 giant snowflakes, choreographed to the "Carol of the Bells" song. It was fun to stop for a few minutes to watch the snowflakes "dance" to the tune by individually lighting on and off in different sequences.

Sadly, because of the giant crowd that was in midtown, I did not even attempt to view the holiday decorated store windows this year. I did not want to chance anyone stepping on my fractured foot which is almost healed, so I'll make a point to go earlier next year to take photos.

There were lots of favorite cartoon "characters" along both 6th and 7th Avenues in costume this year very willing to pose for photos in exchange for a "donation." I have to admit the young children in the crowds were excited to see them.

As you can see in the mosaic above, Bryant Park, which is located between 40 and 42nd Street and 5th and 6th Ave, transforms into a Winter Wonderland during the holiday season!
The park hosts a free holiday fair during the season which features over 100 booths with goods for sale by artisans, designers and food merchants from around the world. A temporary 170' x 100' state of the art ice skating rink is constructed in the middle of the park, called The Pond at Bryant Park" and opens to ice skating from 8 AM to 10 PM with extended holiday hours, November 6, 2009 until January 24, 2010. If you come with your own skates it is free, and skate rentals are available for $12.

On New Years Eve the famous New Year's Eve Ball descends from the flagpole atop One Times Square. At 11:59 p.m., the Waterford Crystal Ball begins its descent as millions of voices unite to count down the final seconds of the year, and celebrate the beginning of a new year. Every year Waterford creates some new panels for the ball and this year the theme for the new panels is "Let There Be Courage."
The Duracell Smart Power Lab has been collecting energy from Power Rovers bike pedalers that will generate the approximately 32,000 watt hours that will power the 2010 numbers for 30 minutes during the New Year’s Eve Ball drop ceremony.

Some historical information from the Times Square Alliance web site:

"Revelers began celebrating New Year's Eve in Times Square as early as 1904, but it was in 1907 that the New Year's Eve Ball made its maiden descent from the flagpole atop One Times Square.
The Ball has been lowered every year since 1907, with the exceptions of 1942 and 1943, when the ceremony was suspended due to the wartime "dimout" of lights in New York City. Nevertheless, the crowds still gathered in Times Square in those years and greeted the New Year with a minute of silence followed by the ringing of chimes from sound trucks parked at the base of the tower - a harkening-back to the earlier celebrations at Trinity Church, where crowds would gather to "ring out the old, ring in the new."
A more detailed history of Times Square can be read at this Times Square Alliance Link.

On New Years Eve an estimated one million people are in Times Square to see the ball drop. It is always a very busy place, as you can see from the size of the crowd that was there the day I visited. I like to stay at home on New Years Eve. I cook a special dinner for my husband and we watch the ball drop along with millions nationwide and over a billion watching throughout the world.

The Waterford New Years ball was not yet in place the day I visited, but the numerals for 2010 were!
Can you believe we are beginning another new decade? The past ten years have brought many changes to the world, both good and bad. The next ten years will bring the same. The things we all hope and dream for are probably positive things such as blessings, peace, good health, happiness, love, success, friendships, hope, etc. Perhaps we would also like forgiveness, reconciliation, and courage. Don't we all resolve to try to be a better person in the coming year?
To all my family, friends, fellow bloggers who read my blog, and everyone else who chances upon it, I hope whatever you wish for the New Year comes true and that all changes you resolve to make will happen!
I have enjoyed learning about my city as I have blogged about it, and my life in it, over the past two years, and I have learned so much from all the blogs I read and chance upon. Each of you enrich my life more than I can express! I thank you all for sharing so much of your thoughts, talents, recipes, travels, your lives and your families and your friendship on your blogs, and I look forward to sharing another year with all of you!


I am linking this post to our gracious hostess Susan at A Southern Daydreamer blog's "Outdoor Wednesday" event. Visit her blog today to see other participating blog's links to their outdoor events.

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Betsy Banks Adams said...

Thanks Pat for taking us on the NYC tour... I don't like crowds--but I'd love to see your city in person during Christmastime... However, since I am not there, thanks for taking me on your tour this year. I loved every second of it!!!!! WOW!!!!!

Hope your foot is okay!!!

Junie Moon said...

If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times or more -- you write the best stuff about NYC. I always learn something from each and every post. I loved reading about the Christmas tree and seeing all the beautiful pictures. My heart feels happy about the residual wood from the Rockefeller Center tree going to Habitat for Humanity.

Like you, I prefer to stay quietly at home to celebrate the New Year and watch the festivities on our TV. Makes me smile to think we've probably shared many, many New Year celebrations together without even knowing it.

Elisa Day said...

Thank you for this lovely tour. I loved it.
Happy New Year!

Lora @ my blessed life said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post! Someday I'd love to visit The City at Christmastime. It's absolutely enchanting!

Willow said...

That was a fun tour of Christmas and New Years in Manhattan! Thanks! A very happy day to you too. You have enriched my life so much this year too! Here's to 2010!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Pat, this is a wonderful post! And what fun to be in NYC for New Years! I didn't know that Waterford made the ball. NEAT!

It's also neat that they use the tree for Habitat houses.


Sheila :-)

Catherine said...

As always, the best! Wonderful post! Happy New Year to you and your family!

RNSANE said...

As always, you are the best ambassador for New York City. This was such a lovely holiday post. I loved seeing all the beautiful Christmas photos. The Rockefeller Center tree is magnificent..I think it is nice that the lumber is cut up and used for Habitat for Humanity. What I really loved were all the snowflakes on the Sak's Fifth Avenue Store...very pretty, all of them twinkling away.

Just once in my life ( I'm running out of years ), I would have like to have been in Time's Square on New Year's Eve...maybe in my 20's.
In the past 21 years, I was usually in the ER seeing a rape or child sexual abuse case...usually with the same sex crimes detective who also volunteered for call. He'd joke that his wife accused him of having a "thing" for me!!

May all of us have a wonderful 2010together, enjoying life and family and friends.

Kathy said...

Hi Pat, the tree is gorgeous, you did an awesome job with the photos and I am glad to hear your foot is almost better. Can you believe another year has passed already, it seems like only a few months ago that Stephen was celebrating his New Year in New York, time sure moves fast. Little Leo would love those characters, when is he due another visit?. It has been a great blogging year and I too am so happy you are my blog buddy, happy Hogmanay from Vanni and I, have fun, hugs, Kathy.

Joanne Kennedy said...

Another wonderful New York post that I just fell in love with! How beautiful the city is durning the Holidays.

When I was in NY I was at the NY Marriott Marquis and my room over looked the New Years ball. Of course it was still 2009 then. I was surprised to see they left the ball up all year. For some reason I thought they would take it down right after New Years.

It is up much higher then I thought it was too and smaller then it looks on tv.

I hear they are getting a new ball for this year and that could be why it's not up yet.

I'll be watching it drop..as I do every year. Dreaming of when I get to come visit again.

Have a wonderful time and may you be blessed with a perfect 2010!


Anonymous said...

A Happy New Year to you too Pat. I wanted to go to the Rainbow Room but there had been a fire so was shut when I was in NY.

Love the way the lights are going green and how the Rockerfeller tree has solar panels. It would be good if new houses were built with them as standard spec. Here in the UK I think public trees are lagging behind having no "green ness" apart from being council mulch at the end of the season.

Grace said...

Ugh the crowds!!! Christmas was bad but this week is horrible. I work on 56th and 5th and the line to the Abercombie store goes from 5th Ave to 6th! Are u Kidding?? lol I am lucky that I pass everyday and already had seen it all but today I am going to see bye bye birdie on Broadway and have to be in the middle of the crowds...eek wish me luck! So Happy to Be home on Thursday all day and night! lol THe City will be sad because all the lights go out on the 8th but the crowds will be gone also! Hugs and Happy New Year! Grace xoxoxo

Gracie said...

What a beautiful set of photos Pat! Looking at them it was (almost) like being there with you. This just makes my desire of visiting NYC grow even more!
A very Happy New Year to you and all your family.
P.S. My webmaster fixed the problems on my blog, now it's running ok.
Gracie at http://mylittleplace.blog.com

Tara said...

Hi Pat

Great shots of the Rock! We were there too this yr, wow was it jammed! I bought my mother this gorgeous Czech cryatal necklace for her birthday in the Met Museum of art store in the center--have you ever been in there? They have gorgeous things-very different and not crazy expensive.
Oh! I had our little daughter take a pic with one of the characters and it never occured to me they were looking for a donation! Whoops! Your pics of Saks looks great and I did not know about the crystal chandelier. I always learne something here! We also hit up the Amer Girl doll store--unreal! I just may have to blog about that experience!
Thanks for the compliments on my new template--it is so freeing to be able to post big shots...I'm such an eye candy person and finally yesterday I said I am just hitting the button and praying nothing gets lost! I am so excited now! Thanks for all the encouragement, dear friend! :0)

Beth Leintz said...

Pat- Just wanted to let you know how much I've enjoyed your Christmas in New York pictures and all the interesing information you pass along.

Of course, I like your blog the whole year through, but you really outdid yourself with Christmas.

Thanks for sharing your city with us!

Best to you in the New Year, Beth

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Pat - great round up of NYC's visual Christmas treats. I've made the rounds a couple of times already this season but I hate coming in during the week of Christmas when the crowds are so thick. My office was on Times Square, right opposite where the ball drops for New Year's eve and I always made sure to skeedaddle way before the crowds started to gather.

Claudia said...

NYC shows very well during the holidays! In spire of growing up there and living in Manhattan till age 30 - I never did Times Square on New Year's Eve (no regrets). But love all the rest. Happy New years!

Kathleen said...

Great shots, Pat!
I have been there of course, but never on New Years! Never wanted to either!!
Good health and good times to you and yours for 2010! Maybe we will have a NY bloggers Meet and Greet in the new year...1/2 way..Nassau County! :)

Vee said...

You are such an amazing ambassador for NYC! I love that snowflake spectacle building...you have a fractured foot? Now that's something I missed. Your post sent me scurrying for Playlist to see if Kate Smith has any songs...I loved her voice and still do...yup, I'm listening to her now.

Light and Voices said...

Happy New Year from our house to your house. I really enjoyed your cyber tour of Christmas in New York City. Kewelopolis!
Joyce M

Sr. luba said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
renegadecraftfair said...

Hi Pat! This is Danny from the Renegade Craft Fair - you have a lovely blog! I'm writing because I'm having trouble getting your email address from your blogger profile - I wanted to see about using a photo you took of the Fair this past year on our website! Please email me at info@renegadecraft when you get a chance!

Shellbelle said...

WOW! I've seen many posts recently on New York City (including one on my own blog of my son's recent visit), but this is by far the best! Love all the info you included on the history and the decorations, so thoughtful and informative. You make me excited to see the ball drop this year!

I love that the tree in Rockefeller Center is put to such good use when it is taken down. Pat, I just love it all! Wonderful, wonderful post.

Arlene Delloro said...

Sadly, I don't think we're going to make it in to see the tree this year. With these arctic temperatures, neither of us is in the mood to walk around. There's still this weekend, but the forecast isn't looking good. Thank you for giving me a virtual look.

eileeninmd said...

New York City is lovley for the Christmas holidays. Your photos are awesome and thanks for the toru.

Happy New Years.

Lori E said...

My friend's daughter was able to go to New York for New Years last year. The lucky duck had a free apartment to stay in and she and a friend celebrated in true N.Y. fashion.
You really put a lot of effort into this post. I can just imagine how beautiful it is at night.

Proud Italian Cook said...

One day I'm coming to NY to see this! Of course I'll ask you for the tour. I had to stop by and say Happy New Year Pat to you and your family!

Chubskulit Rose said...

beautiful decorations!

My entry, wishing you and your family a fruitful new year!

Anonymous said...

That was marvelous Pat. Like having a great friend there and sending back pictures. In fact just like that. I like what they do with the Christmas Tree too. I saw on TV where it came from the the folks who sent it to NY. Have a great one.

Cottage Rose said...

Wow Pat; Such amazing photos of NYC.. so much excitement and fun.. Thanks for sharing them...
Happy New Year


Busy Bee Suz said...

How beautiful seeing NYC through your lens!!! I love that the big Christmas tree is using solar panels to light it now...so cool.
Thanks for the bright post today!!

Sue said...

Hi Pat...thanks for sharing all the great pictures of Manhattan and all the decorations....I was also in all the same places 2 weekends ago but saw it much differntly then you did....Yes, I was one of the nuts out at midnight in the middle of that blizzard that blew through...me and daughter thought it would be fun to go over and take photo's of the big tree during the height of the storm....it was so cold I thought I was going to die...our pictures turned out just to be blurs and darkness....but it was still fun! Have a very Happy New Year! Sue

Sherri said...

What a wonderful post and I don't think there is a greater place to spend New Years than New York! Hope you have a wonderful 2010! Happy New Year! Sherri : )

Judy said...

Wow...an amazing city to visit any season of the year...but you really go all out at Christmas. I never knew about your tree...and the search for the perfect one each year. Most interesting!

I will be watching the ball drop together with you tonight...from the comfort of my home. It has been a pleasure having you as a bloggy friend this past year. May 2010 have many blessings in store for you. Happy New Year.

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Pat, Thank you for all of the wonderful trips, tours and posts in 2009. Wishes for a happy and healthy new year to you and your family. May 2010 bring to you your hearts desire.
♥, Susan

Jeanne said...

Dear Pat, what an amazing post. You never cease to amaze me with your wonderful posts about New York City, cooking, and your sweet family. (and so much more) I LOVE them all. I have learned soooo much about this fascinating city. We too have spent many New Years watching the ball drop!!! Thank you for your friendship and I too look forward to another year of blogging friendship with you and so many others.

I found this message to share with my blogging friends...
Each moment in a day has its own value.
Morning brings HOPE,
Afternoon brings FAITH,
Evening brings LOVE,
Night brings REST,
Hope you will have all of them everyday.

Love, Jeanne

Anonymous said...

Hi Pat!! What an amazing post! Thanks for bringing this country bumpkin to the city, lol!
Happy New Year!!!

Anonymous said...

Pat, thank you for posting on my blog today and for your 1st visit! I don't know where you found me but I'm glad you did. Please come back anytime, pull up a chair and grab a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy! I'm happy to visit with you!

I did NOT know that about the tree in Rockefeller Center - that the trunk will be used for Habitat! That is so WONDERFUL!!! If my old body were in better shape that is something I'd truly love to do: hammer nails on one of the Habitat sites!

But...since I can't, I will try to keep using my art to inspire others and will enjoy meeting new folks like you!

Happy New Year and Many Blessings are wished you!

Holly Knott said...

Fantastic photos! Thanks so much for sharing these. My mom, Diane Knott, who posted earlier, sent me your link. I've only been to NYC once during Christmas so it was great to visit it through your eyes in the comfort and warmth of my home here in upstate NY! Happy holidays.

Leslie said...

Wow, what a wonderful trip through NYC's Christmas!


nanny said...

It is all so very beautiful but the snowflakes on Saks is #1 and of course Empire is wonderful, but the tree at Rockefeller....oh I guess I love it all the same. Thanks so much for the pictures, you do a wonderful job!!!!!

Marg said...

It's funny how we always watch the countdown from Time Square....
Thanks for bringing us to downtown, I remember visiting so many of the places on our tour.
Blessings to you in the New Year, especially as you enjoy that little grandson growing. Each year gets better.
Happy New Year Pat!

Lisa said...

Pat, you totally made the Xmas season in Manhattan pop out and shimmer in your gorgeous photos! I didn't get to the tree this year, which is almost shocking considering it's a tradition since I was a child :9 Oh well, next year. BTW, love the gingerbread photos too. I wish I entered, as it's not all pro's and mine wouldn't have stood out like a messy sore thumb lol Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy New Year, and another WS championship for our Yanks, IF Cashman gets his butt in order and re-signs Damon for chrissake!

Unknown said...

Wonderful post..
New Years Eve celebration in New York was very enjoyable.
Wonderful TV show, great performances and happy faces.
We need joy and happiness in our grazy world.
Wish you and your family a very Happy New Year,

The Gathering Place said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. You live in a very interesting place-one that I haven't been to, but always found interesting. I love your photos and facts about the holiday decorations. Come by again!

Lorrie said...

Hello Pat, this was a thoroughly enjoyable post as you took us to see so many of my familiar favorites from Christmas seasons past--thank you! I think that the little bit of blur in your crowd scene actually gives it the sense of motion of all those people moving along shoulder to shoulder.

Thank you for all the enjoyable posts you made in 2009. I look forward to many more in the coming year.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pat,
I loved the Christmas Tour you gave us...I CAN'T imagine being in such a crowd! OMG....my phobias would be kicking in like crazy! I'm glad you braved it and took those great pix for us!

While I watched the crystal ball drop the other night, I wondered if you were in that crowd? It seems like NYC has been suffering from lots of bad weather, too. However, it looked like tons of folks showed up for the event!

We've had LOTS of snow since Christmas Eve....expecting more this afternoon. Gotta get my shovel ready again!

LOVED the GB houses! My hubby made one with our Grand Girl. He didn't take pix, but my son took a video of her talking about the event and her completed house. My husband NEVER did anything creative with our kids when they were little....I was very proud of him!

Hope you have a wonderful New Year, Pat. I have LOVED your blog and you since the first time I found you!

L, Dana

Anonymous said...

Awesome photos as usual!

Happy, Happy New Year!

Paz xoxo