On our last day in New York City we had to squeeze in the MUST-DO sites on our list… Rockefeller Plaza, Central Park, Broadway and…weather permitting…the Empire State Building.
Our first stop was Rockefeller Center. We were surprised at how busy it was! It has 19 commercial buildings covering 22 acres. Built by the Rockefeller family, it is located in the center of Midtown Manhattan. Construction of the first 14 buildings in Art Deco style began in 1930 and were completed in 1939. Rockefeller Center is among the last major building projects in the United States to incorporate a program of public art. just one of the pieces is Paul Manship’s highly recognizable bronze gilded statue of the Greek legend Titan Prometheus. It rests in the sunken plaza at the front of 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
When we were there, they were preparing the ice rink on the same area… a popular public attraction in the winter months. The girls liked seeing how they fill the rink. The Center was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987. http://www.rockefellercenter.com/
The plaza has about 200 flagpoles. At varying times, the flags of United Nations member countries, the flags of United States states and territories, or various decorative and seasonal flags are flown. During U.S. holidays, every flagpole carries the Flag of the United States. As windy as it was…the flags were pretty but, as you can see from pictures below, it didn’t make for the best “hair day”!
As a former Producer of an NBC-Affiliate TV Station, KPNX-TV12 in Phoenix… I’ve always wanted to visit Rockefellar Center to see where The Today Show is broadcast. http://today.msnbc.msn.com/ I’m a huge fan of the morning show and other NBC programs so the NBC Studio Store there was fun. We even got to take our picture with the show’s host, Matt Lauer. He was such a good sport posing with all of us!
The LEGO Store was a fun stop in the Plaza. It has the tallest Pick-A-Brick wall featuring LEGO elements in a variety of colors & shapes in bulk. Everyone could play with the small pieces and build something. The large dragon and miniature city were highlights!
RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL
Radio City Music Hall, just around the corner, was completed in December, 1932. At the time it was promoted as the largest and most opulent theater in the world. Its original intended name was the “International Music Hall” but was changed to reflect the name of its neighbor, “Radio City,” as the new NBC Studios in the RCA Building became known. RCA was one of the complex’s first and most important tenants and the entire Center itself was sometimes referred to as “Radio City.” http://www.radiocity.com/
Just a few blocks away was Central Park. What an amazing site of 250 acres of lawns, 24,000 trees, 150 acres of lakes and streams and 130 acres of woodlands…along with 9,000 benches, 36 bridges, 26 ballfields, 21 playgrounds, 55 sculptures and monuments! It is massive! We walked through the south portion of the park for a couple hours… realizing afterwards that we could have spent an entire day here biking and walking and exploring. The girls LOVED the horse drawn carriages riding through the park and the many bridges and wide open grass areas! We all agreed…. Central Park looked exactly as it does in the movies! As we left, we took time to snap some pictures at one of the main entrances to the park, at the north tip of Broadway.
Broadway refers to the famous street in Manhattan that has become the worldwide leader in stage entertainment. It was fun to see all the billboards advertising the many shows available to see. At $100 a show, and a tight budget, we had to pass on seeing a show. But it’s interesting to learn that the history of Broadway dates all the way back to the 1700’s. Then, in the late-1800’s and early 1900’s, the rise in train transportation a drop in poverty created a demand for evening entertainment in New York. Soon, the bright lights of Broadway became known as “The Great White Way,” giving birth to a new New York City landmark. http://www.broadway.com/
From there, we ventured into Times Square during the day for the first time. To be honest…it wasn’t much different than at night…and we kind of laughed about it. The lights are almost as bright at night as if it were daytime…just without all the sparkle! And it was just as busy on a Saturday afternoon as it was on a Thursday night, when we went the first time. Part of the crowd was due to the “Occupy Wall Street” Protestors who had planned a march that day from Wall Street to Times Square. Police presence was heavy but they marched peacefully right by a restaurant we had stopped at for dinner.
EMPIRE STATE BUILDING
When we woke up hearing there were going to be 20-to-40-mile-per-hour wind gusts, we weren’t real excited about going to the top of the Empire State Building. After all…the thought of the being on the top of a building that sways with the wind is a little intimidating. Terry and I were definitely chicken but Brittany and Lara were questioning the wind as well! For teenagers, that’s pretty funny! So we decided to wait and see if the weather changed by nightfall. It did. Winds died down. But apparently, everyone had the same thought we did. Wait till nightfall. So, there was a 2-hour wait to go up… and it was 7:30pm …and we had to get up at 5am to catch a plane… and still had a 30-minute trip back to the hotel. Needless to say…the girls decided against going up.
Instead we back to the hotel and walked around back to get pictures of the New York City skyline at night!
Overall… this was one of the best vacations I’ve ever had! The girls never complained once about being tired or missing out on something or all the ups and downs we faced on the trip! Some of those are in another Blog Post to come that will be titled “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”. I told the girls at the very star that it was “all about the adventure.” And it really was!!!