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A holiday visit to New York

on Tuesday, 15 December 2015. Posted in Columns, Opinions

Seeing New York City decorated for Christmas has been on my bucket list for a long time. Last week I crossed that goal off. My good friend Karen Sellers and I spent the week moving around the city enjoying its holiday sights and sounds. We were fortunate to be guests of my former French exchange student, Chrissie Cazabat, who now lives on Roosevelt Island.

Seeing her and visiting this tiny island was icing on the cake. Chrissie’s apartment has beautiful views of Manhattan and it was a special treat to wake up to that view and watch the city come alive.

It was also fun taking the Roosevelt Island Tram that crosses the East River into the city. Allow me to brag a little on Chrissie. Some of you may remember her when she lived here during the 2000-01 school year and attended South Florence High School.

Since graduating from the Sorbonne in Paris, she has lived and worked in Cameroon, Africa; Cairo, Egypt and briefly in Geneva, Switzerland. In January she received her doctorate degree, also from the Sorbonne, and in August she moved to New York to work for the United Nations.

That was her goal when she lived with me as a high school student and I am so proud that she has attained it. Back to New York. We enjoyed the night view from the Sixty Five Bar and Grill at Rockefeller Center, and of course, the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree above the skating rink, along with the nearby Winter Palace light show at Saks Fifth Ave. and its beautifully decorated windows along the front and side of the building.

The windows depict wonders of the earth in “wintry fantasies,” including the Great Wall of China, the Colosseum and the Great Barrier Reef. We also visited Macy’s at night to see its window displays, featuring Charlie Brown and his “Peanuts” friends on one side of the building and the story of Francis Church’s famous 1897 editorial in the New York Sun, “Yes, Virginia There Is A Santa Claus ” on another side.

My favorite Christmas display was the beautiful tree in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Medieval Sculpture Hall. This 20-foot blue spruce is decorated with Neapolitan baroque angels, cherubs and electric candles, looking down on a nativity scene surrounded by an elaborate village at the base.

The 18th Century creche figures were a gift of Loretta Hines Howard in 1964 and the display has become a tradition at the museum for over 50 years. We also enjoyed a tour of the United Nations, visited the museum at the World Trade Center, viewed the wonderful exhibit of 18th and 19th Century European Art at the Met, saw three Broadway shows, and visited the Christmas markets at Bryant Park and Columbus Circle. We had prepared to cold weather, but it was very nice and pleasant for exploring this city I love.

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