I spent the first two weeks in December in New Jersey training for my new job. So what to do over the weekend? It was only an hour by train to NYC - Perfect. I have always wanted to see NYC at Christmas.
I had two main goals initially. I wanted to see the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Square and I also wanted to go to the Museum of Modern Art. MOMA was closed the last time I was in New York for renovation. I was talking with the hotel staff and they mentioned it would be crowded. They also suggested that I google Christmas in New York for other idea.
I completely forgot about the Christmas windows in the major department stores. Perfect! So I did a little bit of planning. It was easy to catch the New Jersey Transit train from Princeton into to Penn Station in New York. I used Google Maps to map out a route. Macy's is close to Penn Station so I decided to start at Macy's and then work my way up 5th Avenue which would take me by Lord and Taylor and Saks. Next, stop at Rockefeller Square to see the rink and tree and then go to the Top of Rock which is highly recommended on Slow Talk. I really like the idea that you can see the Empire State Building from the Top of Rock. Then on to MOMA for lunch and a bit of culture. Finally up to 60th to see Barney's before heading back to New Jersey.
I got to the Princeton Station just as the train was pulling out. The lobby filled up quickly with couples and families which gave me a hint that it was going to be very crowded day in NYC. The ride took about an hour and gave me a chance to see a bit of central New Jersey. It took me a little bit to orient myself after arriving at Penn Station but soon I was heading up 34th Avenue to see the "Miracle on 34th Street" windows at Macy's. I also needed do a little shopping. My Goodness, Macy's was already crowded at 10am but so beautiful with all the decorations.
Heading up 5th Avenue, I stopped and queued up to see the windows at Lord and Taylor. They were okay. I had a great time talking with some tourists from UK while we slowly queued past the windows.
It was packed but crowd moved along at Rockefeller Square. I was able to elbow my way up to the glass and watch the skaters. Santa was circling and weaving through the skaters. I bought my tickets for the "Top of the Rock" and had a few minutes to walk over to see the decor on the buildings and Radio City Hall.
I lined up for the elevator and watched the movie about the building of the center. It was built during the depression. I kept wondering why we could have similar projects today to reduce unemployment. The elevator car zoomed to the top and soon NYC was at my feet. I loved it. I explored all three observation floors amazed at the views. Highly recommended!
It was 1pm and I was starved so I headed off to MOMA. I had a bowl of rigatoni and a glass of Chianti at the cafe on the second floor. Very filling and perfect for a cold day.
I took an hour and viewed the wonderful paintings. My favorite period is the early 20th Century. The end of the impressionists, cubism and on into surrealism. I have more difficulties with the later abstract painters but do enjoy Pollock and De Koonig.
The afternoon was waning so I headed off to see the windows at Barney's. I was not impressed. The theme was The Food Channel and it was creative but not what I wanted to see at Christmas. I headed back and stopped at Bergdorf Goodman - What a beautiful collection of windows. These were my favorites. I loved, loved, loved them.
I started to head back to Penn Station and decided to head back along 6th and 7th Avenue with a stop in Time Square. And then along 6th to Bryant Park where I loved the ice rink and market.
It was a packed crowd in the lobby at Penn Station waiting for the track to be posted for the Trenton Train. Track 14 - and the rush was on. It was a stampede as we all rushed to get on the train and a seat. We squeeze through the doors and down the stairs. I found a seat.
I loved my day in NYC. I wish I would have been a bit braver and stayed after dark but even in the day - it was perfect day to get me in the holiday spirit.