Over the week before Christmas, I was able to fulfill one of the promises I made to my wife back in the day before we got married, and that promise was to take her to New York City. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been to NYC several times in my life. But being a citizen of the Philippines, I certainly understood her wish to see what is probably the greatest and most famous city in the United States, if not the greatest and most famous in the world! Yeah, that’s personal opinion, but…I do have a biased opinion. 🙂 And it was perfect timing for it was the week before Christmas when we went, giving her the opportunity to enjoy all the famous New York decorations.
For those of you who are followers of this blog, you certainly know what Christmas means to my wife, Lynndee. Christmas is the most important of all holidays in the Philippines. They actually start their celebration way earlier than we do here in the United States because they have no major Halloween rituals nor do they celebrate Thanksgiving. Many people there, including my wife, begin putting up their Christmas decorations in September, and Christmas carols will begin being played on the radio that early. And I’m not just sharing second-hand info there: I experienced seeing the early decorations and hearing the early carols during my trips there. So it was with great pleasure that I got to make Lynndee’s wish come true.
The Saturday night crowd in Times Square. This is looking towards the Toshiba Building on which the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, and if you look closely, you can see it at the top of the building.
We arrived in New York the week before Christmas day. Though a late arrival that Saturday evening, once we got checked into our hotel, we hit the street in search of excitement. I was fortunate to get hotel rooms in the Times Square area so that was our first destination. And being a Saturday evening, the week before Christmas, it was an absolute madhouse! Our son Yogi was amazed and stunned at the number of people, and he’s been in Manila, the most populated city in the Philippines, and I can personally tell you what a madhouse that city is. But it was a fun experience. We were hungry and, ironically, ended up eating at an all-American icon, McDonald’s. Then we spent the rest of the evening wandering around the Times Square area, drinking in the sights and sounds.
Bryant Park Winter Village.
Though it was the end of December, we totally lucked up the next day. The temperatures were in the high 50’s and we spent the entire day walking the streets of the city. In no way could I begin to tell you the distance we walked that day but it was many a block we covered. We started the day at Bryant Park’s Winter Village, watching all the skaters and enjoying the beautiful decorations. Then we made our way to 6th Avenue and passed by Radio City Music Hall and saw many of the fantastic street decorations. Then we made our way over to 5th Avenue in search of Rockefeller Center. And once we found it, we were amazed at the beauty of the massive tree and all the decorations. While there, we also saw St. Patrick’s Cathedral which was right next door. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to Mass the next morning; didn’t get up in time. That’s too bad because Lynndee would have loved to do Mass there and share the experience with her family and friend in the Philippines.
Just across the street from Rockefeller Center is the famous Saks 5th Avenue with their famous holiday window display for Christmas. What a magnificent sight that was! After a long day of walking and exploring, we made our way back to the hotel, passing on the way the famous New York Public Library with their famous “Lion Statues” guarding the front entrance. After getting back to the hotel, we refreshed ourselves and then called a cab to take us all the way to 1stAvenue for dinner at one of the Filipino restaurants Lynndee had found on the internet, research she always does when we travel for she so misses her home-country food. Dinner was a delight and thus ended our memorable first full day in the Big Apple.
There was more to come but we were ready for a good night’s rest after our day of walking blocks and blocks and no telling how many miles. But that remains to be told later for it is a story within itself. And that I will share when I return next time.