A Tasty Bite of the Big Apple

Having family to visit is both an honor and a privilege and so it was that we skedaddled up to Long Island NY, leaving Annapolis on a day of torrential downpours. This, I thought, pointed to a less than auspicious start

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and, indeed, after having to stop in NJ for repairs, 11 hours later, we skidded into a parking spot way out on Long Island. Oh well, last time we headed up this way we slid into the same Marriott spot in 6 inches of snow, so I guess one could argue this scenario was better.

Anyway, after the joyful family visit, we segued to NYC looking forward to the excitement of strolling 5th Avenue, restaurants and taking in a Broadway show! The Big Apple did not disappoint!

First, let me give props to the Shoreham Hotel. Given that we are a family of five, it is near impossible to find a hotel that can accommodate us in two rooms. This hotel has spacious rooms and an awesome location: 55th off 5th Avenue – smack dab in the middle of where we wanted to spend 3 days.

Having arrived in the late afternoon, we were able to check in, get settled and head out just as daylight was giving way to dusk and the city lights were beginning to twinkle on.

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Don’t you just love that time of day in urban settings?! So off we went to see what was different this year in the ten blocks along 5th from the Plaza to Rockefeller Center. The snow flake announced 57th Street intersection, and it was sad not to find Cartier’s red ribboned mansion, but other treats awaited us: Atlas … fit as ever, Harry Winston … bedecked in symmetrical diamonds

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… Van Cleef and Arpels had a corner épaulette of diamonds cascading down the building

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Saks Fifth Avenue (SFA) put forth a double delight of Winter Palace themed windows nestled within a multistoried Palace replete with music and a dazzling synchronized technicolor light show.

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The front windows displayed very original interpretations of themes taken from nations around the world, Paris, Rome, China, Down Under, Egypt, and India

NOTE: Click montage for slide show

 

I admit I actually preferred the images I took the next day during daylight. I found the juxtaposition of the fantasy world with the reflections of city life overlaid upon on the glass panes playing more to my sense of unreconcilable parallel worlds.

What was unsettling, however, was the choice of theme elsewhere in the SFA windows: partygoers who by the end of their soirées, appear to suffer ennui and insouciance as they are surrounded by an abundance of privilege and wealth but appear detached as they stand, or recline with vapid expressions on their overly coiffed indolent personas … Sorry Saks, I feel Holidays are better represented by joyful, happy, energized revelers and more positive role models …

Crossing the avenue was the pièce de resistance, Rockefeller Center’s magnificent annual Christmas extravaganza featuring a half a city block long alley of trumpeting white angels that descend gracefully to the railings that encircle ice skaters below before rising again to the marvelous Christmas Tree lit in front of a lavender bathed Rockefeller Center. I know that every year the presentation is essentially unchanged but it still takes one’s breath away and brings a smile to all. An equal part of the excitement and charm of the experience is hearing the competing Salvation Army bells above the ringers’ boomboxes, the noise of honking horns and of bus exhausts, squeals and peals of laughter from holiday visitors, lights that catch and briefly blind passersby walking through displays, the smell of roasted chestnuts wafting through the cool air co-mingling with restaurant vents and perfumed doorways. Ah, there is nothing like New York at Christmastime!

We later dined at Tao Uptown on 58th Street which is as much fun to watch and be seen as it is to sip and dine … well almost. The Buddha, ever still while moving toward enlightenment, holding court over the joy that inevitably accompanies friends and family dining and sharing an evening together. I seem to gravitate to their Lychee martinis … or the Ruby Red Dragon cocktail … be careful not to ask for their fortune cookie dessert which is only the size of a soup bowl!

Saturday was another lovely day but winds were gusting at 35 mph which is greatly magnified as wind is accelerated through the canyons of buildings. We took refuge in St Patrick’s Cathedral which looked scrubbed and beautiful for Christmas service

I happen to love architecture and two of my all time favorite photographic subjects are buildings and windows: enjoy a sample in this montage!

Notwithstanding the wind and chilly temperature, we decided to walk to the theatre on 54th and Broadway, the old Studio 54, for the Matinée of Émile Zola’s Thérèse Raquin with Keira Knightley in the staring role; also her first Broadway performance. What was arresting about this production were the sets: sparse, minimalist, darkly lit, great use of the back half of the stage with water feature and a proper homage to one of the founders of naturalism. It was such a strong cast and production. A definite to put on one’s To Do list.

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Set during Intermission                                                  Set design: Beowulf Boritt

Needing a joyous outlet after Thérèse, we Uber-ed over to East 61st to our “Go To” Italian restaurant, Il Vagabondo. This is one of our favorite city places to dine: the food was delicious and plentiful.

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Chef plating Veal Osso Buco 

We’ve been going for decades and have introduced the next generation, our children, to the place as well. On this evening we were joined by our daughter’s dear friend from Germany, thus our party was too large to be seated in the Bocce Court room, yup … you read that right. Once dinner was over, guests are welcome to play Bocce on a first come basis and we did so. I wish I could say the game went well but one member (you know who you are!) kicked the competition to the curb … so … moving along … we called it a night!

I hope you enjoyed this New York Skedaddle post … please feel free to “Like” and “Share” and sign up for future blog post notifications!

To our family and friends around the world, we wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Good Health, Prosperity, Love and Peace in 2016!

If these images intrigue you, I invite you to visit my website:

www.KateStillwellPhotography.com/

Shoreham Hotel: http://www.shorehamhotel.com/

Tao Uptown: www.taorestaurant.com/

Il Vagabondo: http://www.ilvagabondo.com/

 

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