Frosty, where is all the snow this Christmas in Canada?
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all of that! It’s that time of the year when the weather gets cold and the hearts get warm!
Our wanderer, Nicola Arnold, has spent her holidays traveling around New York. Rockefeller centre, taxis, Harry Potter…it’s a wonderful world of holidays:
Advent calendar chocolates are few & far between, presents are wrapped, cookies are baked, turkeys are defrosted, families are gathering far & wide to celebrate with joy. It’s Christmastime and we all know it! This year, I cannot say “I’ll be home for Christmas” – I’m not in Bermuda, nor am I celebrating with family in England, Croatia or South Africa as in previous years. This Christmas I am in my adopted home – Canada - and there isn’t even snow in this supposedly “Great White North”.
But here’s a little secret: I already celebrated Christmas
Unbeknownst to many (especially my mother, who I surprised), I spent a short & sweet weekend in NYC with my parents, to kick off Christmas.
New York City.
The Big Apple.
The city that never sleeps.
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of (Thanks, Alicia Keys)
Yellow cabs, American flags... hello New York City!
NYC is our old stomping ground, and the main goal for getaway weekends to New York City is “How many musicals can we cram into our time here?” And at Christmastime, the excitement in the city is multiplied – New York is a magical mayhem of movement, madness… and musicals! Have you ever been to New York City? Around Christmas? Well, I will borrow the “You know you have visited New York City when” style of points and tell you a bit about the weird & wonderful experiences that can probably only take place in New York City.
Nicola’s Yuletide Celebration aka NYC:
* You feel like you are in Star Wars, swerving through groups, bypassing window-shoppers and avoiding throngs of tourists. Toronto and Boston feel like a ghost-own compared to NYC! The yellow taxis are different, it’s more of a boxy-style cab honking its way down Broadway now.
* The guys selling stuff in Time Square choose you as a victim to give their CD, because they are trying to make it big and get on MTV. Here’s how it went down:
CD guy: Listen to this, you’ll love it.
Me: Okay, thanks.
CD guy: Would you like to give a small donation? It’s Christmastime!
Me: Ask my dad, he’s got the money!
CD guy: I’ll even sign your CD, what’s your name?
CD guy: Okay, I’ll make it out to N-Sexy!
You cannot 'Trump' NYC for excitement on every street corner
* You rush from the wintery windows of Macy’s to the holiday windows of Sak’s Fifth Avenue to compare notes, styles and creativity points.
* You are moseying around Bergdorf Goodman (the swanky department store where mink coats actually cost $23,700), and you run into your high school French teacher who is also in New York City on a pre-holiday trip with her children from Bermuda. It’s a small world!
* You have some big decisions to make: You must decide if you will re-watch an already-seen-it-but-I-want-to-see-it-one-more-time musical (such as Lion King, Mamma Mia, Phantom of the Opera, or Rent), or if you will branch out and try another new show. Which Hollywood stars are you going to rush to see on stage? Adam Pascal? Alan Rickman? Daniel Radcliffe? Bernadette Peters? Hugh Jackman? Samuel L. Jackson? Kim Catrall? Or your very own Bermudian starlet, Rebecca Faulkenberry, in Spiderman?
Dear old Harry Potter on Broadway? Magical!
* You try to have dinner on Saturday evening around 6pm near Time Square and there is, quite literally, “no room at the inn”. All your favourite restaurants are busy with the pre-show patrons. Ellen’s Stardust Diner has a line snaking outside. The Pig ‘N’ Whistleis chock-a-block. You finally resort to an Irish pub on Restaurant Row, delighted to much on burger sliders, French fries & beer. Mission accomplished.
* You see not one but 3 Tim Hortons shops in central Manhattan and you, almost, feel like you are a Canadian in America when your heart skips a beat. But then you run off to indulge in a sweet treat at Dunkin’ Donut or Au Bon Pain instead.
* You remember everywhere that Kevin goes in NYC in “Home Alone 2″? The same famous “AAAHHHH!!!!!” face of Macaulay Culkin, set at Christmas, in New York City. Although you do not see the bizarre bird lady in Central Park, nor does the Plaza Hotel exist – it has now turned into apartment buildings, and a friend of your friend is a bartender there! You go to Rockerfeller center and see the ice-skaters and remember that it is the spot where Kevin reunites with his mom.
Rockefeller Center, ice skating and Home Alone flashbacks
* You are hop & skip from one fancy drink location to another – first the Marriott Marquis in Time Square for a pre-show drink (at the former revolving bar which no longer revolves), and then at the Peninsula Hotel to warm up after browsing the shops on Fifth Avenue… you decided that queuing to get into FAO Shwarz to see the toys was just not gonna happen… instead, time for an Irish coffee & biscotti!
* The best thing about being in Time Square is seeing the “Coke” ad in all it’s fluorescent glory, which at Christmastime is the Holiday Coca-Cola ad with the polar bears and penguins. In fact, all the lights and advertising and flashy marketing has you looking left, right and center in dizziness.
The 12 Days of Christmas, Citi bank style
* You are invited to two Christmas holiday parties by your friend & host: one for an acting studio, and the other for a tea salon. The first is in the basement of the studios, rooms filed with cookies, cheese, biscuits and wine. The second party is in a martini bar (complimentary martinis!) with BBQ style food and a dessert table. And you are not at all “crashing” the parties… you are warmly welcomed!
* You realized that while you are wandering the streets of NYC, you occasionally burst into any of the following NYC-themed songs:
New York State of Mind – Billy Joel
New York Minute – Don Henley
New York, New York – Frank Sinatra
Downtown – Petula Clark
Take the “A” Train – Ella Fitzgerald
Living for the City – Stevie Wonder
New York City Boys – Pet Shop Boys……. or one of many, many others!
But please, don’t take my word for it. If you have never been (or have not been in awhile), go to New York. It is worth your while to see/hear/smell/taste/touch/feel the magic of Manhattan for yourself. Especially at Christmastime… Happy holidays!