Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Dec 24 - Rockefeller Romp

We had an early start today as we had pre-purchased 8am tickets for the Top of the Rock. Thus it was a quick and healthy breakfast of granola and fresh fruit purchased from the whole foods market yesterday. We were the first ones at the door of the observation deck. As it was still closed, we walked over to "the Rockefeller tree" and managed to get a photo with no crowds!

Almost empty street

Walking past great Christmas decorations!

Jonah all rugged up waiting for the Observation Deck to open

A quick visit around the corner for a photo op
Top of the Rock is a 3-tiered observation deck on the 67th, 69th, and 70th floors of Rockefeller Center. There is a cool lift which takes you to the 67th floor. It darkened with the ceiling of the lift becoming see-through to give you a view of your trip up the lift shaft to the top.
Once up to the viewing decks, you get hit with beautiful panoramic views of Manhattan at the top including an unobstructed, 360 degree view of New York City on the highest deck. Myfavourite view though, is to the north, where you get treated to the impressive scenery of Central Park. You can truly appreciate the massive expanse of the park. The people of New York are truly blessed indeed to have such great visionaries. I thoroughly enjoyed our visit and was rather surprised by the very low crowds. Perhaps we are the only ones stupid enough to venture out to the top of a skyscraper in temperatures below zero?!?!
My favourite view of Central Park

The view on the other side...Empire State Building
The lake where we were the day before

It was time to warm up the limbs so we headed for the place to be seen...the Rockefeller Center ice-skating rink! We were fortunate in that although the ice-rink was already full, the wait lines were not too bad. We only had a 5 minute wait before it was our turn. The area where you pay, acquire, put on and return the skates though, was woeful. It was cramped, crowded and chaotic. That didn’t deter us from having a lovely experience. It was almost surreal. Our half an hour stint set us back $71 (1 adult and 2 children). Contrary to popular belief, you are allowed to stay for as long as you want so long as you don’t leave the rink. Whilst we glided gracefully across the ice, Malcolm was assigned the heavy responsibility of Jonah, photo and video duty. The man complained bitterly of his agony and how he nearly died from frostbite on his fingers. Sigh… men! Thankfully for him, we couldn’t stay too long as we were watching the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular and my feet were also killing me…
By the time we left, the lines were ridiculously long and the rink was even more crowded (if that was possible)! We had a quick morning tea of pastries and hot chocolate and moseyed on down to the Radio City Music Hall. Again, there were so many people it was hard to move. They had to cordon off part of the road to allow for the spill of pedestrians off the sidewalk. It was a far cry from the empty streets at 8am! We managed to pick up our pre-purchased tickets, lined up for entry and were seated with 10 minutes to go.
A not so busy ice-rink in the early morning
This is where the other non-skaters went!
The Radio City Music hall is a magnificent theatre. I simply love the grandeur of yesteryear. We were fortunate to have been able to get great seats in the first row of the mezzanine with unobstructed views of the stage. The Christmas Spectacular was a phenomenal show. The Rockettes were awesome! They did some pretty fancy precision dancing and were completely in sync at all times. There was never any shuffling into place, mistakes or crooked lines. Combine this with dazzling costumes, amazing sets and you get a visually stunning show. The musical arrangement and orchestra were also fantastic. I was glad that the show ended with the nativity scene, showcasing the true meaning of Christmas. I might get slapped for this, but I thought it was better than Wicked. I looked up the criteria to be a Rockette. Eerrmm...maybe not!

The stage at the Radio City Music Hall

The Rockettes in action
This was an amazing act

We had lunch at Cucina and Co at the Rockefeller Centre and then topped ourselves up with some much needed sustenance in the way of a huge chocolate brownie sundae. We had some spare time between 2-5pm and the plan was to shop. However, because of the crowds, we were only able to go into and shop in three shops! Esprit, American Girl Place, and M&M World were the lucky recipients of our shopping dollars. Thankfully, Jonah was asleep for most of it. I didn’t to enjoy American Girl Place as much as I did. Browsing the store with Lara looking for her matching doll and choosing matching PJs was a blast. Never mind the fact that our wallets were $95 lighter...

Jonah digging into the Sundae

We walked up throughTimes Square back to our hotel to dump our shopping and caught up with the others at Bubba Gumps. Mmmm! Shrimp New Orleans, bourbon mahi mahi, the American sampler and my blueberry speckled lemonade were all hits. We skipped home excitedly in anticipation of Christmas Day the next day.

The joys of having a baby face

How to carry drinks efficiently
No more running for Forrest
Shrimp New Orleans, my favourite!
Blueberry speckled lemonade. My other favourite!
Our shopping in New York thus far...
Lara and her doll with matching PJs

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