Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas In New York ~ Part I (And A Walk Down Memory Lane)

Here are a few New York landmarks at Christmas. And you will be forced to accompany me down Memory Lane as being in Manhattan brings to mind lots of memories (but I will only be delving into my commuting memories here).

Jayden and I took the bus into Manhattan on Monday morning and we met Ray to do a little sight-seeing, spend the night in the city, and then go to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular on Tuesday (Ray had driven into the city really early that morning and parked the car in a garage near the hotel and then went on to work).
Ray only worked half-a-day and then walked to meet us at the bus stop, and he snapped this picture of the statue Hermes atop Grand Central Station (Hermes represents speed and he is the god of travelers):

This next picture I took off the internet:

This is a picture of the inside of Grand Central Station, when I worked in the city (a lifetime ago) my Dad would pick me up in the mornings and we would drive to the train station and from there we would ride the train to Grand Central Station and I would come out of the subway and this is the sight that would greet me, and then I would ride the escalators that were to the right of this picture up into the Pan Am Building (now it is the Met Life Building), walk through that building, out the door and...

...the building I worked in was right across the street! How easy was that!

I'm not sure what it says above the doors now (the address looks different), but it used to say 230 Park Avenue.

The hotel we stayed in (The Roosevelt Hotel) is right down the street from where I used to work:

Before I take you inside the hotel, I just want to go back thirty-seven years again to show you my commute home from work. My commute to work was not so bad as my Dad would pick me up in the mornings and drive me to the train station, and we left a little early so we weren't caught in rush hour, so we usually got a seat on the not-too-crowded train. But once my work day was done I went back across the street through the Pan Am Building and the main hub of Grand Central Station and down the tunnel, and this was one of the waiting platforms for my trip home (picture taken off the internet):

Except during rush hour it looked more like this:

And this is the way all of us commuters squished ourselves into the cars:

And that's how we all rode back to Main Street, Flushing. And from there I would take the bus home.
And believe it or not, I didn't always hate it! (I was much younger then and did not feel the least bit claustrophobic back then.)

Okay, flash forward to the present! (It is much, much easier to take the Express bus into Manhattan now, the bus stop to the city is right around the corner from our house, and the stop we needed to get off in the city was not too far from the hotel we were staying at.)

The lobby of The Roosevelt Hotel was really nice and decorated beautifully for Christmas:

There was a whole bank of elevators in the lobby (about eight or ten), each one decorated with a pretty Christmas garland arch.

This was the hall outside the elevators on our floor:

And our room was very conveniently located right off the elevator bank (Room 818, my Dad's old address from when he lived in Minnesota, and also the date he went to Heaven, I don't know why I find that so significant, but I do, it gave me a nice feeling when Ray told me what our room number was, sort of like a little shout out from my Dad).

New York is notorious for postage stamp sized hotel rooms and this was no exception. The room was tiny, and we are very spoiled because we usually stay at The Michelangelo Hotel further uptown which has nice sized rooms with spacious sitting areas that are beautifully decorated. But we were staying in this hotel for free with a deal Ray worked out, so I wasn't about to complain! (But The Michelangelo usually upgrades us to a beautiful suite, and I will show you the vast difference in accommodations!)
This is the room we stayed in at The Roosevelt:

And this is what our accommodations are like when we stay at The Michelangelo:

I think that even the bathroom in The Michelangelo is bigger than our room at The Roosevelt!

Jayden made himself comfy right away!

We were very lucky and had perfect weather for walking the city.
Well, Ray and I did the walking while Jayden rode on Ray's shoulders!

We went to Build-A-Bear and Jayden had fun picking out and stuffing his bears, and giving them their hearts:

Then he scrubbed and fluffed them:

And then we told him he had to carry them back to the hotel himself.
"But this bag is too big for me to carry all that way!"

"Look! It fits me!"
(As if he's trying on a sweater!)

After lunch we went to look at the window displays at Saks Fifth Avenue:

I tried to get a picture of the cow for Jerelene, but it was moving so I didn't do a very good job!

I liked the Victorian Christmas display in Lord & Taylor's windows much better (shown in a previous post), but Jayden enjoyed both equally.

And across the street from Saks was the tree at Rockefeller Center!

It was very crowded!

But we inched our way up to get a closer look and watch the ice skaters:

It was very hard to get a picture of Jayden because he was more interested in looking at the tree than posing for pictures, so all I could get was the back of his head!

Here I forced him to stand in front of me to try and get his face, but he was not happy about that (notice the eye roll)!

* A fact I found so interesting:
In 1931 the very first Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was put up and decorated by workmen on a muddy construction site. At the time of the Depression, the workman placed the tree amid the construction, decorated it, and were proud to display the tree on the site of their job.

You can see St. Patrick's Cathedral in the background of this picture.

After viewing the tree we went to 5:30 Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral. There was scaffolding covering the front of the cathedral and it was dark but we did take a few pictures of the side of the Cathedral the next morning:

I also got some pictures off the internet so you could see the face of this Gothic beauty:

The spires rise 330 feet from street level.
It is actually built of brick and then covered with marble. The cathedral acccomodates 2,200 people.

Okay, let's step inside.

I can't stop looking up when I am here!

But there is also lots of beauty when you look down on the floor:

We got there early so we could visit the many side altars. I've always had a great affection for St. Theresa (The Little Flower) so we stopped to light a few candles here.

At each and every altar Jayden wanted to light a candle and at each and every altar he asked the same question, "Can I go in here?"!

Another favorite altar of mine has a mosaic of Veronica's Veil:

Here is a beautiful Pieta statue, this one sculpted by Araldo Perugi:

The creche is awaiting the Baby Jesus:

I loved the big, beautiful Advent wreath.

And I love all the detail work of this cathedral, and every time we visit we find something new to admire:

Can you see the Dove symbol of the Holy Spirit as it hovers in the ceiling?
(I think you can see it if you enlarge)

Okay, this post is way too long, I'm sorry. Much too lengthy to show you anymore today. I'll post about the Radio City Christmas Show in a few days!


  1. No, indeed, it was not too long. I loved every picture and every word! How special that Jayden is having this time with y'all. It's wonderful, Eileen. I loved touring NYC through your eyes and seeing all the sites. I have been in St. Patrick's, and it is magnificent. I know that Jayden will look back at this and remember it so fondly.

    BTW, I am a HUGE fan of NYC... as if you might not know. LOL! And of course, I'm a fan of yours, too. :-)

    Loved this post...



  2. Well, now my dream is to visit NY at Christmas Time...Great Post Eileen, and all of us in the Village are going to love the trip to the Big Apple...You look wonderful and happy, and it is such a Blessing that you have Jayden to enjoy Christmas with. Children make Christmas Magical!

    ((((HUGS)))) T

  3. How nice that you savor the day and even spend the night there...is that an annual tradition, Eileen? I loved all of it and it reminded me a little of my home town of Chicago where going downtown was part of a Christmas treat for the eyes, although Chicagoans really do decorate elaborately outside their homes.

    We've also seen many lovely places here in the south and also in Phoenix, AZ.

    Well, I am still rushing around like a crazed maniac but taking some time to comment at least...have lots more blog sites to visit and tons to do, but with the grace of God, it will get done!

    blessings and squiggly hugs,


  4. I just LOVED this post! How wonderful to be able to take this trip with you! I am sure that every town has it's traditional Christmas surroundings but NEW YORK, you are so blessed to be able to go and be a part of such a HUGE Christmas celebration! I don't think any other city in the world puts on Christmas like New York! I so enjoy this post and your adventure once again. The cathedral is so beautiful, thank you for sharing! smiles across the miles! and hugs for those adorable grandchildren!

  5. Eileen I can't imagine a more beautiful place to be than in NY at Christmas time....every picture is just beautiful and when I think of all the memories you are making with Jayden, absolutely marvellous. You and Ray look wonderful and happy, loved every inch of this post my friend.....big hugs to Jayden and Mia and many blessings to you......:-) Hugs

    Thank you for showing St Patricks as I only see it on TV when I am watching a funeral xoxo


    What a glorious trip to NYC AND you provided such a wonderful guided tour of times past and present. I really, really enjoyed visiting the 'city' through you and this post. I love you adventures and how much Jayden is seeing because of you. Priceless!! :-)

    Love you

  7. Eileen...I've never been to New York. I feel that I have seen the most beautiful parts of it through your blog. This is magnificent.
    I'm speechless (and that says a lot for me!)
    I'm coming back. I want to savor each photo...each caption (I love Build A Bear!)
    ...each moment again and again.
    Thank you for taking 'me' with 'you' ....

  8. I don't know where to start Eileen. It was so interesting retracing your earlier days of commuting to work. The lobby of The Roosevelt Hotel is beautiful and the rooms were very nice, but The Michelangelo was over the top! And Rockefeller Center...so many sights for Jayden to enjoy and I imagine sounds too! To end the post with St. Patrick's Cathedral was perfect. You live in a beautiful city with many enjoyable things and I love taking these tours with Jayden, Ray, and you Eileen. You make great grandparents!

  9. Thank you everyone for visiting and commenting (on this post and my previous posts)!
    I'm sorry I haven't been commenting back here, but I have been trying to visit and comment on your blogs.

    I've been busy, and today Jayden was sent home from school sick. I haven't even done my Christmas cards yet! I'm going to try and get that done tomorrow, and do a little cleaning and laundry.

    We really did have a nice few days in Manhattan, and I'm hoping to get back in again once more before Christmas, or soon after before all the decorations come down.

    I hope you are all finding some time to enjoy the Season!
    I've really loved visiting with everyone and seeing how you all celebrate!
    I'll try to post again later this week, and I'll try to visit too!


  10. Oh, no, Eileen - this was NOT too long! Makes me want to pack my bags and get to Manhattan before the Christmas season is over! You did a great job of picking out beautiful and meaningful sites (and sights) as well as injecting the personal - like the # of your hotel room and its significance. Isn't the tree magnificent overlooking the ice rink? And St. Pat's. Majestic! One could spend hours there, I think.

    Sorry Jaden isn't feeling well! Too much city, maybe? Thanks for including us all. If I never get there, I will be happy to have viewed the city through your eyes.

  11. I waited until I wasn't rushed and had the time to really look at everything, and I'm glad I did. These sights I have only come close to in books. And to think you live near here!! I especially enjoyed going inside your hotel rooms. I have never been in anything like these. What an adventurous childhood you are giving Jayden!!

  12. What fun Eileen. What a great time for Jayden. And he does look to be enjoying himself very much!
    The tour of the Cathedral was amazing. I can't wait to see the rest of the trip.
    Love Di

  13. Oh, Eileen...such a beautiful trip...everything was simply gorgeous...and I so enjoyed hearing all your memories!!!! I love big cities at Christmas time!!! And what a wonderful experience for Jayden!!! You are fantastic grandparents!!! (And so young and beautiful, too!) I so loved my visit to NYC with you! And the Cathedral was breathtaking! Love you, Janine XO

  14. Wow, thanks for this Eileen. I have visited New York City twice in the last six years but always in the summer. I really do want to visit during the holidays one of these next years. So beautiful. I recognize many of these landmarks. I think we stayed in the Roosevelt Hotel also but I need to ask my husband about that. I do remember how small the rooms were and how high the price was. LOL

    Thanks again,


  15. Hello Eileen! My girls and Sam enjoyed this post as much as I did! I LOVE the angels at Rockefeller center and the tree! What a beautiful thing to see!
    Thank you for the pics of the cows...yes, I could see them. I bet there were all kinds of beautiful store windows there..thanks for sharing the cow with me :)
    What a lovely time spent with your hubby and Jayden...what wonderful memories for Jayden!
    I love that you took him to build a bear. Sam has a turtle from there that he loves. I've been thinking of letting him get a penguin...some things you never outgrow :)
    Lots of hugs and much love to you!!