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Loran Smith Columnist

Published Saturday, December 29, 2012

New York during holidays

NEW YORK – You never tire of this exciting city — until the check comes. Aside from that, it is an electric place where you find something amusing on every street corner — from hotdogs to soft pretzels to souvenirs, all reflecting the image of the Big Apple.

New York is one of the truly great cities in the world in the company of London, Rome, Paris, and Sydney.

It is a place where people enjoy life in the streets, especially during the holiday season.

Times Square always teems with people, as shoppers scurry about and delivery folk of every ilk go about their routine business of linking up with their destination. Nearby, a guy on a bicycle is racing along, pell mell, across the avenues with a threatening gait  – stay out of my way or else.

It is Christmastime in the city, and no place dresses up for Christmas like New York. Let’s hear it from Frank Sinatra: New York, New York, it’s true — it never sleeps. Sinatra could have made a living singing about his favorite cities. In addition to New York, he left his heart in San Francisco and crooned with the greatest affection for Chicago, that Toddlin’ Town.

When in New York, I enjoy being a tourist. Doing things like taking the elevators up to the rotating restaurant and lounge atop the Marriott Marquis.

Seeing the city from above at dusk — while down below the cacophony of traffic sounds, punctuated by car horns bleating as taxi drivers rush to collect a fare and dash away in pursuit of another — causes one to marvel at all that major construction that is still ongoing. Whenever a lot becomes vacant, a Donald Trump is there waving a contract.

This time of the year, the heartbeat of the city beats rhythmically and sprightly at Rockefeller Center where the giant tree sparkles even in daylight.

At the ice rink below the famous tree, ice skaters of all ages, dimensions, and motivations circulate around the rink with traditional Christmas and holiday songs playing on speakers that make the music discerningly audible but not offensive.

Hearing Bing Crosby sing “White Christmas” anywhere is balm for the soul, but it is especial to hear him speak to us in song at the ice rink at Rockefeller center at Christmas. When they play “The Christmas Song,” perhaps more popularly known by its lyrics “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” your heart becomes filled with joy. You want to locate a hearth and an abundant fire and live out the words to that most soothing of tunes.

At Radio City Music Hall, the Rockettes continue to capture the emotions of audiences with a bent for good old-fashioned entertainment, which they have been providing for New Yorkers and visitors for 85 years.

You watch them performing in perfect alignment and you are amazed at all that eye-high kicking in sync. It had been years since seeing the Christmas show, but it is like going back to a concert of your favorite artist. These girls are good. They must be at least 5-6 to perform in the chorus line and less than 5-10½.

They must audition annually for their three-month gig, which pays roughly $75,000.

Athleticism, energy, and beauty are among the qualities which make the Rockettes such an appealing chorus line for the two million viewers who flock to the show each year, a show that often attracts as many kids as adults. You bring your kids to see the Rockettes. Then you aspire to bring the grandkids. The greatest show on earth? If it is not the Rockettes, who or what could top them?

Christmas lights twinkling in the trees, stately poinsettias everywhere, the Rockettes, dinner at a neighborhood restaurant, a walk through the Waldorf and a nod to the big lobby clock — a well known meeting point — and a taxi waiting for you as you walk out the door of your hotel. What more could a traveler ask in the Big Apple?

How ‘bout a light snow?

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