Nikki in New York: Day Five

The perfect festive day! The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, views from the Top of the Rock, the Rockefeller Tree and cupcakes…

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.

I got kicked out of the Richard Rogers Theatre, found a gift shop dedicated to Hamilton just across the street and snuck into the background of a news report. All in a lunchtime’s work. 

2pm – Rockefeller Center 

I’ve read that you get the best views of New York from the Top of the Rock. Having been blown away by my Empire State Building experience, I was curious to see how it measured up.

Yep, the views are pretty spectacular. I picked a good time to go too, as the sun was just starting to set and it tinged the sky with pink and gold flecks. The photo of the Empire State Building is my favourite photo from the trip, so I’m really glad I made it up here. 
If you’re planning a trip to NYC: I’ve come to the conclusion that the Empire State Building offers the best nighttime views, and the Top of the Rock is best during the day, just incase you were interested. 
Once I came back down to earth, I went to see the mother of all Christmas symbols: the Rockefeller tree. You might have caught a glimpse of it in Home Alone 2 and Elf! It was crazy busy there, as the lights had only just been turned on the night before, but it was lovely. So lovely, in fact, that a dude proposed to his girlfriend on the ice rink. Awww!

8.30pm – Shake Shack

I still had a few things to check off my NYC wishlist that day – but it was already 4.30pm! Eek! 
I made my way down Fifth Avenue (where I saw many fancy Christmas window displays, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral) and navigated uptown to the Cupcake ATM. Has there ever been a sweeter combination of words? The concept is simple: swipe your credit card and select a cupcake. Then, like magic, it appears. I scoffed a chocolate marshmallow cupcake- it was actually really delicious! 

Still buzzing from my cupcake sugar rush, I visited the nearby Dylan’s Candy Store. It was a wonderland of sweets – the closest thing to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory I’ve ever seen – and I filled a basket with big lollipops, Laffy Taffy and Moon Pies (to name just a few things).
It was getting late, and dark, so we took the subway back to the hotel. For the first time in the trip, we got on the wrong train. And that’s how I ended up in Long Island. Oops. 
Once I was safely back in Manhattan, I ended the dwindling evening by sampling my first Shake Shack (loved the burger and crinklecut fries – way better than most fast food venues) and watching my first American football game (I had no idea what was going on, but I enjoyed it anyway). 
Day five was absolutely my favourite – which made it tough to remember that I was leaving the next day 😢. Stay tuned to find out what I did during my final hours in The Big Apple! 

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