Dec. 8–9, 2012

Having seen the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in New York on a few occasions with my family when I was younger, I was excited to share the festive holiday show with Joan, who also bought a ticket for her sister Laura as a Christmas gift this year.

Joan and I opted to use mass transit for our trip to the Big Apple, starting with a Regional Rail ride to 30th Street Station, where we split a light breakfast. From there, we boarded an Amtrak train to Penn Station and met up with Laura outside. Having already left our overnight bags with Laura over Thanksgiving, we were free to hit the town without having to carry anything.

We proceeded to Le Pain Quotidien for lunch, then walked along Fifth Avenue to browse through some iconic, beautifully decorated stores. While I’m not usually bothered by large crowds, I’ll admit I was a bit frightened by the sheer density of the holiday shoppers surrounding us on every sidewalk. And during our brief visit inside Saks Fifth Avenue, I happened to bump into Mike Lisowski, a good friend of my parents who happened to be visiting New York on the same day — what are the odds?

The three of us made our way to Radio City for the 4:30 p.m. show, which featured many familiar traditions (such as the toy soldier routine and the nativity scene) as well as some new elements, some of which even required us to wear 3-D glasses! The blend of old and new was masterful, and I was glad that Joan and Laura enjoyed it as much as I did.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

After the show, we jumped into a cab and went to dinner at The Smith in the East Village. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to fully enjoy my meal, thanks to an upset stomach. We then rode the subway back to Laura’s neighborhood of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, where I turned in for the night early. The following morning, we shared a casual breakfast at Laura’s place, then returned to Penn Station, where we ran into Joan’s colleague, Melodie, who was taking the same train home as us!

It had been almost 10 years since my last visit to New York during the holidays, and I’m grateful to have experienced it once again.

[ No. 635 ]