Radio City Spectacular

New York City's favorite holiday tradition 'Radio City Christmas Spectacular'  in  Radio City Music Hall   is 81 this year. The show includes  3D ride with Santa, from the streets of New York City to the North Pole, as well as ice skaters, dancing teddy bears , living Nativity and of course the Rockettes dancing in perfect unison. 

The first Christmas show was produced December 21, 1933, and ran for two weeks. Radio City Music Hall   opened  one year earlier,  in December 1932.  The show was created by the Music Hall's stage producer Leon Leonidoff and designer Vincente Minnelli  the farther of Liza Minnelli).
Leon  Leonidoff  was burn in the little village of  Bendery. It was the part of  Rumania at that time . After the World War 2 Bendery  was the part of the USSR. He studied  at the University of Geneva, but  when a Russian acting company, passing through, invited him to join, he left school. Later, he became a founder of the Isba Russe ballet company, which made its way to the Metropolitan Opera House in New York in 1920.  Leon  started working  at the Radio City Music Hall   in December    1932, and two years later became senior producer.
Russell Markert, the founder and longtime director of the Rockettes  began his professional career on Broadway. I n 1925, in St. Louis  he founded a women's precision troupe called the Missouri Rockets. While playing in Manhattan, the group was spotted by the impresario S. L. (Roxy) Rothafel, who headlined them at the Roxy Theater as "The Roxyettes".   They moved to the Music Hall for its 1932 opening  and   were an instant sensation.  

Starting with just 16 women, the numbers grew over the years to what is now a 36-member Rockette kick line.  Everything - the height, the costumes and steps - was kept completely identical. The illusion of uniform height is maintained to this day by putting the tallest dancers in the center, and gradually decreasing the height with the shortest women at either end.
 Rockettes appear Macy's Thanksgiving Day and are the inspiration for their own Rockette doll. Since 1932, more than 3,000 women have danced as Rockettes. Each year, in cities across America, hundreds of young women audition to be members of the internationally known troupe. Radio City Rockettes must be between 5'5" and 5'10" and must demonstrate proficiency in tap, jazz, ballet and modern dance.
Rehearsals start in September and are everyday Monday through Friday, from 10 am to 6 pm.  Each Rockette goes through eight costume changes a show.  One of the quickest one is the soldier dance into the double decker bus – New York at Christmas and that change is 78 seconds.
Microphones in their shoes magnify the taps during the "12 Days of Christmas" routine.


Animals in the windows

Forget window shopping this holiday season! This year  Manhattan's 5th Avenue retailers displays are a gift to passers-by  and a paradise for the animal lovers.  You can see deer and camels, ducks and panthers, turtles and giraffe. I made a gallery for you with the pictures of some animals that  I like. Enjoy!

Henri Bendel,  712 5th Avenue, New York, NY

Bergdorf Goodman,754 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019

Salvatore Ferragamo  655 5th Ave New York

Lord & Taylor - 424 5th Ave, New York

Joe Fresh, 5 Avenue

Louis Vuitton, 5 Ave

Barneys: A New York Holiday

Barneys has long been known for an elitist attitude, expensive prices, and very unconventional clothing. The company began in 1923, when Barney Pressman opened his first store in Manhattan with $500 raised by pawning his wife's engagement ring.   60th St flagship store was open in 1993.

New York’s department store Barneys created for its holidays 2013 windows a futuristic vision of the island of Manhattan, called ‘A New York Holiday’.

Celebrating the spirit and movement of New York City, the holiday windows at Barneys boast light projections, 3-D displays, LED screens and lots of silver and gold.

In one of the windows a futuristic couple, dressed in Space Age costumes and ride their sleigh that looks more like a Batmobile.  Visitors can become a part of the display with an interactive experience that puts a whole new spin on sitting on the modern Santa’s lap.
Another window features a jagged structure covered in thousands of mirrors that glimmer and glisten in a burst of reflections and patterns.
You have  to enter the large gold structure on the Madison Avenue sidewalk to experience an adventure through New York City  - futuristic floating model of NYC that changes from white to brown to yellow and back to white thanks to a series of light projections.

Lord & Taylor: Vintage New York During the Holidays

Lord & Taylor is the oldest luxury, specialty-retail department store chain in the United States. Samuel Lord, an immigrant to the United States from England, and George Washington Taylor, his wife's cousin, founded the store in 1826 on Catherine Street in Manhattan. Lord & Taylor opened its   flagship store and headquarters on Fifth Avenue between 38th and 39th streets on February 24, 1914.

Lord & Taylor’s classic holiday windows  are delightfully romantic and  offer a vintage look at New York City. A giant Santa helps himself to cocoa in one window, while in another, jazz musicians glide in and out. Planes, trains, automobiles — and even a hot-air balloon — fill another window. It is good that some things never change.  

Rockefeller Center Christmas tree

December 24 2013, early morning
It doesn't get much more "iconic NYC Christmas" than the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, towering above the ice rink below. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a world-wide symbol of the holidays in New York City.  
Daniel Okrent in his book 'The epic of Rockefeller center' wrote: "A progenitor of the world's mot famous Christmas tree was a relatively modest balsam rising out of the rock floor near the eastern end of the central block ( of the future Rockefeller center). On December 31, 1931  some very fortunate men dressed the tree in strings of cranberries, garland of paper an even few tin cans."  The men were fortunate because they had jobs and it was the time of Great Depression.
Tree arrived (2010 photo)
Official Christmas tree tradition at Rockefeller Center began in 1933. Usually the lighting is at the first days of December.   Starting from 1986 the tree is  always    Norway spruce  between  69 to 100 feet tall. The tallest tree was from Connecticut  in 1999 and stood 100 feet tall. 
The 2013 tree  is  76 feet tall and weighs 12 tons, and it was first planted by the original owners of the Vargoshe family's home  (Connecticut)  Otto and Susan Luchtenberg  in 1953. The couple decided to get a “living” Christmas tree. After Christmas, they planted it back in their front yard.
LED lights on five miles of wire. 
Since 2007, the tree has been lit completely by solar-powered LED lights. This year  it is illuminated by 45,000 of them!  And it  is topped with a Swarovski crystal star.
Here is my collection of Rockefeller Christmas tree pictures. The first photo was taken  in December 2005.

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