The winner is: Rockefeller Center
I've got a list of must do experiences for December in New York City. I love the department store windows on Fifth Avenue, the decorations at Macy's and the Christmas tree and crèche at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I rarely miss a visit to Saint Patrick's Cathedral and a stroll along Madison Avenue to see the store windows. Holiday must-do entertainment is a visit to Radio City to see the Rockettes and the holiday show and the New York City Ballet perform the Nutcracker. To round off the list is a visit to one of the holiday markets -- Union Square is my favorite -- and a trip to Brooklyn to see the fabulously decorated houses in Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge. But at the very top of my list is a trip to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree and the ice skating.
I've visited Rockefeller Center every year since I moved to New York City in 1975. I enjoy it every year and thought it couldn't get better. But my visit this year was better. In fact, it was magical. Last Thursday I was searching for a restaurant for dinner on Friday. I had a tried and true where I often went with my work colleagues when we got together. But I wanted to see if there was somewhere we hadn't gone before. I came across the Rock Center Café in Rockefeller Center. Amazingly, on a Friday night before Christmas, there was availability for six people at six o'clock. I quickly looked at the menu and booked the reservation before the opportunity was lost.
I'm wary of "tourist" restaurants, not just in New York City, but anywhere I travel. Generally -- and I am generalizing -- the food is unremarkable and the space is crowded. The Rock Center Café had the magnificent view of the Rockefeller Center skating rink, the food was good and the service, from our waitperson to the people who greeted us, was terrific.
After dinner we joined, what seemed like, thousands of people who had come to see this year's tree.
I've seen this scene more times than I can count, but each year it grows more special and this year it became magical. I wouldn't have expected magic after all of these years, but that's the joy of magic. It finds you when you least expect it. It found me this year at Rockefeller Center and that's why it has my vote for the most iconic Christmas Experience in New York City.
What's your magical Christmas moment, past or present?
Thanks for joining me for this wonderful experience. Wishing you many moments of joy and magic.