12pm – Radio City
As soon as I booked my flights to New York, I bought tickets to see the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City. I’d heard it’s the most dazzling, joy-filled, festive show there is, and I couldn’t wait to see it myself. We went on 1 December, as a lovely Christmas-themed treat in the absence of an advent calendar. (NB: the tickets were much cheaper in the morning, so pick the 11am showing if you’re on a budget!)
You have to arrive an hour early for show (so many security queues, so little time), which meant getting to eat breakfast at the Rockefeller Center next door!
‘This is where Saturday Night Live lives!’ I exclaimed, running straight into the NBC Studios gift shop like an excited child, and juggling Friends, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Parks and Recreation merchandise.
It’s fair to say I got a little bit over-excited at the photo ops…
I then remembered I had to eat, and, one floor below the gift shop, found a canteen-type area. I’d hoped to bump into my Saturday Night Live favourites (no such luck, I’m afraid), but it seemed like the perfect place to meet the next Tina Fey or Amy Poehler.
As soon as I’d wolfed down my bacon and eggs, it was time to join the growing queue outside Radio City. Here’s a bit of background info on the Christmas Spectacular: it’s a New York classic that’s been running since 1933, featuring The Rockettes (a legendary dance troupe), Santa Claus, and many other familiar Christmas characters. There’s singing, dancing, a magical stage, and out-of-this-world special effects.
I felt like a five-year-old awaiting her first pantomime, taking in the huge stage and eagerly clutching my 3D glasses. Soon the red-hued auditorium was filled with white snowflakes, and two organs at the side of the stage started playing a Christmas medley – the show was about to begin!
I can’t do justice to how fantastic and magical the Christmas Spectacular was, so watch the video above to see a few highlights. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen on stage – if you ever get the chance to go, seize the opportunity with both hands, a festive jumper and an oversized grin.
For the record, Radio City has the most stunning lobby – check out the humungous (Christmas tree-shaped?) chandelier!
1pm – somewhere around Times Square
Fun story – as I was leaving Radio City, I noticed my Twitter going a bit haywire. I assumed I’d been tagged in something spammy, but I was wrong. A tweet I’d written two days earlier had, unknown to me, been published in a New York newspaper – their equivalent of Metro. I hadn’t tagged anyone in the tweet, or even hashtagged it, so ‘surprised’ to see a photo of my name in a paper was an understatement. But I’m not gonna lie, it felt pretty cool to know I was flying around the streets and subways of NYC. I found a copy, which I’ve brought back home with me. A small claim to fame, eh?
Once, I’d recovered from the shock (and messaged all my best friends to tell them about my new celebrity status) I went on a side quest for my sister.
She’s obsessed with the musical Hamilton, and I’d promised to buy her some souvenirs. A quick Google told me that the Richard Rodgers Theatre, the home of Hamilton, wasn’t far away, so I set off in honour of Kate’s love of musical theatre. En route, I walked past the amazing Lord and Taylor Christmas display: woodland scenes buried beneath a canopy of fairy lights and greenery.