New York’s Fifth Avenue Christmas celebration starts with decorations in Rockefeller Center.
Fifth Avenue Christmas in New York is synonymous with the annual lighting of what New Yorkers refer to as “the tree” [top]. That’s the enormous pine tree selected for decoration and display in Rockefeller Center, an annual celebration that’s televised to kick off the Christmas season for tourists and residents in Manhattan. Each year, the tree is placed on the plaza above the Rockefeller Center Skating rink. I love to see the tree but crowds of tourists keep me from going downtown once it has been lit. So this year, I went early and took an 8-block walk up the avenue to see this year’s decorations.
All along the entrance to the plaza from Fifth Avenue, there are giant toy soldiers standing guard to add to the spirit of the season and delight tourists in Rockefeller Plaza.
Angels line the entry to Rockfeller Plaza — I was going in the opposite direction heading toward Fifth Avenue and the Saks Fifth Avenue department store just across the avenue.
Turn left on Fifth Avenue and you see the famed St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which has stood between 50th and 51st Streets since the late 19th century.
Cartier decorates their building, on Fifth Avenue at 52nd St., like a package tied up in big red bows. The Cartier decorations can be seen from blocks away.
Christmas street food includes hot chestnuts and chewy warm pretzels slathered with mustard. There’s nothing like a hot pretzel on a cold afternoon!
Tiffany’s, on the corner of 57th Street, puts a huge collar of greenery around its stately Art Deco front door.
The French jeweler van Cleef and Arpels sports fanciful rococo greenery, adjacent to Bergdorf Goodman department store.
Fashion retailer Bergdorf Goodman has amazingly fanciful Christmas windows that always draw crowds in front of the store between 57th and 58th Streets, near the former Plaza Hotel.
My 7-block walk ended at 58th St. and the legendary toy store FAO Schwarz, which is like a trip through a real-life Nutcracker Suite.
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