With Christmas quickly approaching and vacation time soon upon us, we wanted to take advantage of the fact that we were just a short trip from Manhattan to go and admire several legendary sites to put us in the holiday spirit.
When we think of Christmas in New York, the first thing that comes to mind is the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center. A tradition dating back to 1933, this particular tree is one of main tourist attractions this time of year. Featuring approximately 30,000 lights and eight kilometers of wires, the tree was officially lit up in a grandiose ceremony held on December 4. Needless to say, this tree is nothing short of impressive, standing just over 23 meters tall! While that might seem huge, the record for the tallest tree ever installed at this location was established in 1999 when a Norwegian spruce tree was put in place standing 30 meters tall. The tree we visited might have been a few meters smaller, but we were still amazed by its splendor.
Another thing that comes to mind when we think Christmas is presents, of course. That’s why we made a stop at the oldest toy store in the United States, FAO Schwarz. Located just steps from Central Park, this store is the only one still operating in the country. Boasting a concierge like many of the big hotels in New York, FAO Schwarz also offers its customers the option of utilizing “personal shoppers,” who can work with you to help you find that perfect gift. Strolling the aisles filled with stuffed animals, candy and dolls, we unfortunately didn’t come across any Habs merchandise. They don’t know what they’re missing!
As we were leaving FAO Schwarz, we came across a familiar building. Situated just across the way from the store is the famous Plaza Hotel. How is this particular hotel linked to our Road Blog, you ask? In 1992, it was featured in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, one of the great holiday films of the period. Who doesn’t remember the great scenes of Macaulay Culkin enjoying all that the Plaza had to offer! The movie itself might be over two decades old, but we’re pretty sure that there are more than a few people out there who can recite line after line of this Christmas classic.