Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day Two, A Show Will Do

I am glad that my parents have been sleeping well at my apartment, and it seems that their jetlag is subsiding. It’s a good thing too because I have set them a fairly cracking pace this week.

For Day 2 of our Griswold Family Vacation, my parents started a three-day, hop-on/hop-off bus tour through the city streets. As they tell it, their tour guide was really fun (and funny), and their full bus took them up Uptown yesterday – through Harlem and past Columbia University, then back past Central Park, Columbus Circle, Trump Tower and back into Times Square. They will tackle Downtown over the coming days, but they seemed content yesterday just to stay on board the bus and enjoy the sights. The weather was a bit rotten yesterday too – not icy cold, but grey and rainy (i.e. perfect conditions for snuggling up under a perspex bus canopy and just coasting along).

Right on time, I met my parents in the lobby of my office building after work and we walked the ten blocks to 21 Club. I first heard of this place ages ago (and saw it in such films as “One Fine Day” – where Michelle Pfeiffer’s character reluctantly goes to meet her clients and almost misses her son’s soccer game). Then most recently I saw 21 Club featured on a TV show on the cooking channel, and I knew I wanted to take Mum & Dad there. Any place with a speakeasy-style wine cellar is a place we have to see. Anyway as we approached the restaurant, we could see the famous fibreglass jockeys lined up along the outdoor railing – it really is a peculiar looking place. I hate describing things as “cute”, but that’s the best adjective for this place’s exterior. I had reserved our table in the Bar Room, a very popular (crowded) room with a remarkably low ceiling, made even more compressed by the trinkets hanging from the ceiling. I’m talking toy trucks, pipes, vintage toys and a bunch of other paraphernalia. I couldn’t remember from the TV show why all that stuff was up on the ceiling, and unfortunately there isn’t any reading material at the Club to tell you what it’s all about either. But I looked it up online this morning and discovered a helpful explanation of the collection.

We enjoyed a delicious three-course, prix fixe meal in the crowded dining room and then walked around the corner for the second half of the evening’s entertainment; the iconic Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

Radio City Music Hall opened in 1932 and a year later, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular (and the famous high-kicking Rockettes) debuted. The show was revamped this year to incorporate 3D film elements, and the modern touches certainly appealed to the young kids in the audience. The show started with a school choir performing some Christmas tunes – and one little kid who was obviously channelling Michael Jackson, grooving to the beat of his own drum up there on the stage. Adorable.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is a cheesy show but it is a New York City Christmas tradition and is pretty impressive. The athleticism of the dancers, their gorgeous sequinned costumes and amazing choreography really added to the experience. I loved the show – and I wanted to go home and insist that K enters and leaves every room like a Rockette from now on – high kicking, cheesy grins and all.

After the show, we walked around the corner to Rockefeller Plaza so I could show Mum & Dad the big Christmas tree, and the ice skating rink. Whether she realised it or not, Mum gasped when she saw the giant (real) tree with all of its sparkly lights. Not surprising really - the tradition of the giant tree in the Plaza began in 1933, the same year that the Centre opened. Ever since it has been a huge tourist drawcard and a symbol of Christmas in the city. We managed to get some pretty good photos of the decorations too, and we will go back a few more times before they leave, to appreciate the display in more detail.

Speeding home in a cab, we walked through the door about 5 minutes before the heavens opened and dumped some pretty fierce rain on the city streets. How’s that for timing?! I know that some more rain is forecast this week, and Christmas Day is supposed to be a bit grey and dreary. It would be nice if we could just get some snow – even just a couple of flakes – so we can have the White Christmas that we have all been hoping for, but I’m just not sure that’s going to happen. We’ll be in Washington DC from 27-30 December though. Maybe the nation’s capital will deliver the goods?

1 comment:

Kate said...

You know me, always happy to oblige with some high kicks and cheesy grins :)