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Christmastime in the City.

December 17, 2007

Growing up, I remember watching all the movies featuring New York City in the wintertime. Wintertime seemed to be the only time that the world collectively adored the city. All the rest of the year it was dirty and loud and fast, but it was the icy winter months that warmed people’s hearts to the city. From the snowy fields of Central Park to the dazzling performances at Radio City Music Hall to the one-of-a-kind wonder that is the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, everything about New York fits into one of those picture perfect moments you want to capture in image and take home with you. Probably why Hollywood chooses New York for so many of their holiday movies.This is my first holiday season in New York City. Ironic thing is, I won’t even be here on Christmas Day (I’ll be in California with my mother’s family). I leave for the West Coast on Thursday, which made this my last weekend on the East Coast in 2007.

I awoke to a new patch of snow on my car, and about another half inch on top of the already frozen inches of snow. I dressed as warmly as I could – two long-sleeve shirts, my wool sweater and brown coat and a pair of maroon gloves. The train ride to Manhattan was easy as usual, and I hopped on the subway down to Soho to see if I could find anything worthy enough (and cheap enough!) to give as a Christmas present. After an hour or two of wandering around in a slight drizzle – which made me thankful that I’m an Oregonian as rain has no influence whatsoever on my plans, if it did, I’d never get anything done – I stumbled upon a bright blue sign that said “MarieBelle: New York.” I peered in through the window but couldn’t see exactly what was in side, other than many, many blue boxes and a few teapots. I thought to myself it must be a cafe of some sort, so I went inside to take a look – and get myself out of the frigid air!

Inside, I found out that MarieBelle is a chocolate store, specializing in exotic flavors of cocoa. I browsed around at the different flavors, tasted a sample of their dark chocolate and caramel square candies, and eventually bought myself a medium cup of Aztec hot chocolate.

It is like drinking a chocolate bar.

Let me tell you, I highly recommend everyone – diabetic and non-diabetic alike – to visit MarieBelle the next time they are in Manhattan on a cold winter day and are looking for a place to warm up after an afternoon of walking. With the miles of city walking I did, the hot chocolate barely touched my blood sugar! If you’re ever planning a trip and would like to go, just let me know!

After I indulging my sweet tooth, I decided it was time to head uptown to accomplish my main goal for the day: a visit to the tree at Rockefeller Center. It is, quite possibly, the most well-known winter landmark in the entire country, if not the world, and I was not about to miss out on it just because of some drizzly, cold weather (see aforementioned Oregonian comment).

The swarms of people were a dead giveaway that I had hit the spot, even though I was still a block away. I took out my camera and snapped a couple of pictures until my camera alerted me my batteries had died. Luckily, I came prepared! (This is not the first time this has happened). But after switching out batteries, something odd happened. My camera no longer wanted to take a picture when I held down the button. Instead it just sat there, idly, as if waiting for a personal invitation. I hit the off button and then turned it back on again, hoping for a slight glitch. The camera’s shutter barely opened and it also flashed and a very blurry Christmas tree appeared. I tried to take another picture, but it kept happening. Over and over again. I turned the camera off, back on again, a flash, a picture, an attempt to take a picture, nothing, turned the camera off, back on again, a flash…

It was ridiculous.

After a few lousy attempts at taking pictures of the tree, I became very discouraged, and coupled with a low blood sugar was making me a very cranky diabetic in Manhattan. I sipped my juice box and holed up in a nearby Cole Haan shoe store. I attempted to fix my camera by letting it warm up. The camera still insisted on flashing when I turned it on, but at least the shutter was opening all the way, allowing me to get a full shot.

I decided to make the best of it and I went back outside. Holding up the camera, I adjusted the settings and arranged the composition, turned the camera off, turned it back on again, and let the camera flash and take a picture.

Took a couple of tries to get the hang of it, but, well, I’ll let you be the judge of the results:

Angel Entrance to Rockefeller Center

Angels lining the Fifth Avenue entrance to Rockefeller Center.


The Christmas Tree.

Skaters at Rockefeller Center

The ice skaters (this rink is much, much smaller than I imagined).

Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center

So, what do you think? You can view all the pictures on Flickr.

Maybe my camera should break more often.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… everywhere you go…

  1. December 17, 2007 11:00 PM

    awesome photos, Allison!
    thanks for sharing.

  2. December 17, 2007 11:07 PM

    It is a bit like a Christmas movie, camera troubles or not the pictures capture the holiday season well.

  3. December 18, 2007 12:04 AM

    Well done!
    Digital cameras have a habit of getting the blues because of cold temps. Try keeping your camera warm and see if that makes a difference.

  4. December 18, 2007 7:45 AM

    They are wonderful. And it makes me thoroughly wish I was in NYC right now…

  5. December 18, 2007 9:48 AM

    dang, i seriously need to visit NYC! it IS only a bus ride away…

  6. December 18, 2007 10:56 AM

    love the pictures

  7. December 18, 2007 2:57 PM

    I used to visit my brother every year at Christmas time (for his B’day ). It is by far, my favorite time to visit. He lived 1 block away from Rockefeller Center, so that was always the first place I went.

    Your pictures are wonderful. Thanks for letting me visit this year from afar!

  8. December 18, 2007 6:20 PM

    The pictures turned out great & the tree is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  9. December 18, 2007 8:32 PM

    I absolutely love NYC at Christmas time. It takes my breath away.

    That last shot is stunning.

  10. December 18, 2007 10:01 PM

    those pictures came out so well! .. these really makes me want to take a trip to NYC 😀

  11. Allison permalink*
    December 18, 2007 10:21 PM

    Thanks everyone! And yes, you all need to come visit NYC… but not from Dec. 21 to Jan. 2 because I won’t be here… But any other time is good with me! 😀

  12. December 25, 2007 12:25 AM

    Wow! That is some good stuff with a wonky camera! Nicely done!

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