It’s that time of year again and the Radio City Christmas Show at the Radio City Music Hall (1260 Avenue of the Americas) and those rocking Rockettes are back to dazzle and amaze audiences. However how do you navigate a visit to New York City outside of Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall? The area around the Radio City Christmas Show can seem a bit daunting, with epic skyscrapers competing for space with the litany of McDonald’s and Starbucks. Still, there are many places you can go and a few you should go when you are in New York City for the Radio City Rockettes Show.
GE Building (30 Rockefeller Plaza) Begin your trip to the Radio City Christmas Show just south of there at the GE Building. The GE Building, colloquially known as “30 Rock,” is part of Rockefeller Center. If you watch the Today Show any morning of the week you’ll see them all over the place there. If you’re lucky and you happen to be by on a weekday maybe you’ll walk past Tina Fey. The GE Building actually has some interesting points to it below ground. There is a lot of shopping and dining in the Rockefeller Center downstairs. Moreover you can see the Rockefeller Center ice skating up close and personal from the below ground area just outside of the GE Building.
Apple Store Fifth Avenue (767 5th Avenue) Exit the GE Building at 50th Street and 6th Avenue and you’ll see your ultimate destination as Radio City Music Hall is right there on that corner. Cross with Radio City on your right and head north towards Central Park. It’s a quick jog to get to the park, but before you cross 59th Street pivot right and head down along the south side of Central Park South. Enjoy the handsome carriage horses and the high society lifestyle which exists at The Ritz-Carlton, Park Lane, and The Plaza. You are looking for the big glass rectangle along the otherwise vacant stretch of Fifth Avenue. This is the Apple Store. Even if you’re not a Mac, anyone can enjoy the Apple Store. There are plenty of computers set up so you can browse, surf, or even engage the workers to find out what the appeal of the iPad is. The added bonus of the Fifth Ave Apple Store is that it’s open 24 hours a day so you can even stop up and buy an iPod as you’re sleepwalking!
St Thomas Church (1 E 53rd Street) After you’ve gotten your Mac on, head south down Fifth Avenue. Marvel at the Swarovski Crystal snowflake which hangs in the intersection over 57th Street, say hi to Bergdorf-Goodman, and while my wife would tell you to linger at Tiffany’s, I say stay to the west side of the street and marvel at these landmarks from a distance. You will pass Playboy Enterprises, though I have never seen any of the office workers go Full Monty, so I guess you’ll just have to use your imagination. While most people will tell you that you need to see St. Patrick’s Cathedral (and you should) there is another nearby church which is equally impressive. St Thomas Episcopal Church on 53rd Street and 5th Avenue is worth a look whatever religious affiliation you happen to ascribe to. This impressive structure should round out your pre-Rockettes visit to New York City.
There it is; your pre-Radio City escapades in nearby New York City. Yeah, you could do that of backstage tour which they offer but I’d prefer to spend my pre-Rockettes time in the inspired cityscape which Radio City calls home. Plus, as someone who used to work on Broadway, I can tell you: those backstage tours are a total crock. You pay too much and they’re so scripted that you never get to see anything you couldn’t see at home on your computer.