One of the best times to go to New York City, in my opinion, is during the holiday season right after Thanksgiving. The air is crisp, the buildings and stores are decked out with over-the-top Christmas decor, the crowds are skating at Rockefeller Center or the Wollman Rink at Central Park. People are smiling, children are wishing for everything at F.A.O. Schwartz, cabbies are honking less (well, maybe), Rockettes are kicking…it’s just amazing! I love the traditions and the anticipation of what the talented designers will reveal in the windows of the old department stores the day after Thanksgiving.
I headed up to the city for the rest of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend to absorb the atmosphere and to see a few Broadway shows. My plan was to drive up there on Friday, shop all day on Saturday, and catch my shows in the evenings. I stayed up at the Shoreham Hotel on 55th to be closer to the midtown shopping and Central Park (because I brought my dog with me). Really good location, and I was surprised to find a massage chair in my room when I opened the door. I may have spent more time in my room than I planned!
Between Saks 5th Avenue, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, and Bloomingdales, I have to say that Macy’s wins for the cutest holiday windows. Their theme celebrated the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and had a very adorable window of a German Chriskindlmarkt with a nutcracker seller and candy seller. I’ll be honest with you, for as much time as I’ve spent in NYC, I had never been inside the flagship Macy’s department store in Herald Square. I headed upstairs to the Christmas Store on one of the top floors, and I was shocked and amazed to find that they retained some of the original wooden escalators included in the 1902 design – in fact, Macy’s was the first store in the world to employ this “modern” convenience. In researching the escalators, I also found two other fun trivia facts about the old store: (1) it was named the world’s largest store in 1924 and (2) Macy’s co-owners, Isidor and Ida Straus, died tragically on the Titanic. Of course, no shopping trip to NYC is complete without some time spent in SoHo, and since I was already halfway there, I finished out my shop-til-you drop day (where I surprisingly didn’t buy much) down there where I found some very cute Kate Spade mittens that were made for me!
For my dose of Broadway shows, I opted for a play and a musical. Friday night was spent in the company of Paul Rudd and friends as they shared the story of a God-adoring couple that just moved to Florida to open the first of a chain of gospel-themed hotels, a neighbor recovering from a tragic auto accident that took his fiancée and half his face, and a pest control man who survived as a kid in Nazi Germany but lost his parents and the little girl his family was hiding from the Nazis. It’s always fascinating to see an actor, like Paul Rudd, who is more known for his comedic roles, play a more serious role. His charm and wit still played a part in his portrayal of the very religious man who is dealt a pretty rotten hand in life. Sometimes after shows, if I have time, I wait with others by the stage door to see the actors. I have to say that Paul Rudd was one of the nicest, most genuinely humble actor I’ve met. And he’s very good looking!
For Saturday night, I finally got the chance to see the infamous Matthew Broderick on stage. His co-star, Kelli O’Hara, I had already seen a few years ago in The Pajama Game. I’ll be honest, I was really disappointed with this show. The music was comprised of classic Gershwin tunes, and it seemed like they tried to simply write a script around the music to make them into a logical plot. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. And I’m convinced the actors agree because in many of the scenes, it felt like they were just “calling it in” and even laughing at how ridiculous their lines were! Oh well, it looked amazing on paper.
And now what should I see for the next NYC trip….