New York City becomes a magical place every year during the holidays. A beautiful tree lit up for many to see stands proudly in the middle of the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Rockefeller Center is a place of joy, love, and music for a few months every year. I will never forget my very first trip to this magical place over Christmas break. I hope you can enjoy this story as I relive it.
I grew up not far from New York City in Port Jervis New York. For a few years of my childhood, I went to Rockefeller Center with my aunt and sisters. Though every time I went to the city I felt a certain kind of magic, the first time was beyond memorable and such an exciting day.
I was 10, I think. My aunt, sisters and I drove to Hoboken to get on the Path train, which is the subway to Grand Central Station. I could have spent the day right there, with so much to look at and enjoy. Coming from a small and sleepy town I felt worlds away from home, though we had traveled less than 2 hours. We visited the Empire State Center, World Trade Center, and other landmarks during the day. To be in a place so grand seemed like a large privilege to me in my youth. I would follow my family through the streets and look at all of the tall buildings and yellow taxi-cabs, open mouthed and wide eyed.
FAO Schwartz was, by far, the best place I had been in all of my 10 years. I walked through the toy store, touching the dolls and laughing at the people playing music with their feet on the floor piano. I got to dance a little on the piano as well, though I did not realize until much later what an honor it was to play the same floor piano as Tom Hanks! My big blue eyes took in all of the beautiful dolls and grand homes built for them. There were toys in this store that I had never heard of, and never saw again. I knew I was in a place that was special and unique. Mesmerized, I walked through the large store, dreaming of one day bringing my own children there.
After visiting the toy store and having dinner, we walked to Rockefeller Center. I think I almost cried at the beauty of the scene. I felt like I was in a large snow globe or part of a painting. My cheeks and nose red from the cold, I looked over the golden railing we stood behind. I was awestruck. I tried to find the words I would use when I described this beautiful place to my friends. The large golden statues overlooked the picturesque ice skating rink, and the biggest Christmas tree I had ever seen proudly overlooked the scene. There were thousands of lights strung all over, as well as on the tree. Holiday music was playing and there were snowflakes in the air. My sisters and aunt must have enjoyed the look on my face. I was certain we were frozen in time for a bit.
Though I have been back to this place many times, the first time I visited Rockefeller Center during the holiday season is a special and magical memory that I carry with me. Of all the places one can spend some of their holiday time, Rockefeller Center in New York City is not to be missed!