In search of the perfect Christmas tree in New York City. Having dismissed the Rockefeller Tree as a bit too big, we search for the slightly smaller one for our apartment. Down the avenues of New York are the tree sellers, lines of trees all standing slightly at an angle against wooden teepee style structures, snuggled up together, waiting to be claimed. Two days before Christmas and there are plenty to still to be had. We enquire about what time one of the bigger sellers shuts. We are stunned by his reply. “We don’t”. In the 24 hour city of New York you can even buy a Christmas tree at 4am.
We visited the Rockefeller Centre (Center) to see what all the fuss was about. New York stopped on 28 November when the christmas tree lights were switched on. It is magnificent. A 30 foot tree covered in 30,000 lights on a staggering 5 miles of wiring. This tradition started in 1933, the year the Rockefeller Plaza was opened. The fabulous TV series, 30 Rock is based on this famous address, with the wonderful Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. Just around the corner is the famous Radio City, a venue currently hosting the christmas Rockettes, but soon to host Ed Sheeran and Keane, both British, I think. So many people there on Saturday, late afternoon. We tried to flag a taxi down but many were reluctant to go to the Rockefeller, we ended up changing our approach and asked for a street nearby. The streets are shut off to allow pedestrian access, tourists cram into the small spaces and I heard the inevitable comment about why bring a stroller (buggy) to this? I note this wasn’t directed to any of the many users of wheelchairs also enjoying the spectacle. Yes it was horrifically busy and a slow grind through the crowds to look at a tree may seem an odd way to spend a couple of hours, but it was worth it to share this New York tradition. Somehow the lighting of the tree donated by the Norwegian nation that sits in Trafalgar Square just isn’t the same.