Susan's Blog - New York City Christmas 2014 (Day 2)

Day 2 in our quick NYC vacation started with a walk over to try to get a bagel at a specific restaurant and somewhat of a failure. We had done our normal investigation to find the "best bagel places" in midtown but when we got to the store, the line wound through the small restaurant and out the door. It was quite cold and so we decided to try again another day so we grabbed a quick breakfast at a place across the street.

Then we headed around to see the sights and stopped first at The Waldorf-Astoria. We had stayed there once at Christmas a long time ago and thought they would have nice decorations. However, they weren't as decorated as we thought they would be. The hotel building is an Art Deco landmark designed by architects Schultze and Weaver. One interesting trivia fact ... this is the second building/location for the hotel. The original hotel building, opened in 1893 on the corner of 5th Avenue and 33rd Street, was demolished after being sold to the developers of the Empire State Building, which now stands on that corner. The current building was opened in 1931 and was, for a time, the tallest and largest hotel in the world. The interior is still really nice, with this old-world charm that you only get from a historic hotel. The ceilings in the main lobby area still amazes me every time I go in. They did have one Christmas tree up over the door and a bunch of wreaths around. They have alot of historical items that Tom spent some time looking at while I was looking up at the ceilings!

A few blocks away is St. Patricks Cathedral (or officially The Cathedral of St. Patrick). Its Neo-Gothic-style building looks very much out-of-place in midtown. The Tuckahoe marble exterior looks very clean outside, which makes it even more striking. It is currently undergoing a 5-year renovation which is now about 2/3rds of the way done. The interior renovation is still ongoing and so we were only able to grab a few pictures of the sections that were already completed. It would be interesting to see it when it is all completed since the parts that have been completed are really well done. The tall vaults and the stained glass windows remind me of Notre Dame although quite a bit smaller.

Then across the street to Rockefeller Center. It is always great to go by there at Christmas since it is decorated up with various holiday statues and that enormous tree! We got there when they were cleaning the skating rink so we got to watch the zamboni

This is my favorite building in the Center with this great artwork over the door. The enterance to 30 Rockefeller Plaza shows a verse from Isaiah 33:6.

Then we headed inside of the Lego store and grabbed some images of the various things that you can build with Legos (if you have 20 million legos!)

The Lord and Taylor windows were pretty mild, with many of them designs with small red birds. I didn't find them all that Christmas-y really although still pretty. They have an array of characters such as tiny fairies, mini ballerinas, and mice dressed up.

Just a random building, but I really love the old-style awnings ... takes me back to Paris and some of the metro entrances.

Next was Macy's. This year's display has six windows which show how a new telescope enables a boy to see the joys of Christmas on Earth and the other planets.

Here is the first window, and here you can see the new telescope (apologize for the little bit of glare from the windows). I have pictures of each window and it shows various scenes of Christmas both on Earth and on a couple other planets.

On the other side of the building is another set of windows telling the story of "Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus".

I think I have become somewhat of an architectural snob in my years roaming around the world, so when I see something that hits me, I like to take a picture of it. So this one I don't even remember exactly where it was, but the facade just hit me as really nice in the middle of New York.

We saw several of these so I just had to take a picture of a BumperBully! Obviously, with all of the parallel parking in New York, people get their bumpers "bumped" alot.

Each time in NYC, we like to try a different Steak place. This year, it was a place called Keen's Chophouse in the Garment District. In 2013, Zagats rated it the # 2 restaurant in the Garment District, and the 7th-best steakhouse in New York City.

Another piece of trivia: the restaurant houses more than 50,000 smoking pipes (Keens website calls them churchwarden pipes), making it one of the largest collections in the world. The tradition of checking one’s pipe at the inn has its origins in 17th century England where travelers kept their pipe at their favorite inn since the thin stemmed pipe was too fragile to be carried. Pipe smoking was known since Elizabethan times to be beneficial for dissipating “evil homourse of the brain.” Keens's pipe tradition began in the early 20th century. The hard clay churchwarden pipes were brought from the Netherlands and as many as 50,000 were ordered every three years. A pipe warden registered and stored the pipes, while pipe boys returned the pipes from storage to the patrons. The pipes line the ceiling of every room in the restaurant, as well as having a few select pipes from famous people in display cases.

It is a very "traditional" looking chophouse, dark wood interior, low lighting, with a coat of armour in the corner of the main dining room.

We went with their Prime Porterhouse for two and paired that with sauteed field mushrooms and boiled baby potatoes iwth parsley and butter. (again, sorry for the dark pictures, we are still learning to use our new camera in low-light conditions).

As with any good meal, we ended with a couple cappuccino's and dessert. Tom went with the Key Lime Pie while Susan had the Dark Chocolate Mousse.

Near the front door there was a really nice mosaic that I grabbed a couple pictures of.

We walked back up from the Garment district to our Midtown hotel, passing by the Empire State Building, which was lit up nicely in blue. The cool thing (I think) in these pictures is that it was a bit foggy out and you can somewhat see the reflection of the lights on the top of the building up in the clouds above.

When we got to 42nd Street, we grabbed some outside pictures of the NYC Public Library that we grabbed pictures of the inside of earlier.

Then some additional pictures of the buildings, including the Empire State Building from a little further away, and the Chrysler Building.