Posted: December 18, 2011 in Travel
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Radio City Music Hall

If you ever get the chance to go to New York City during the Christmas season make an effort to see the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. Having grown up within 10 miles of the City I was lucky enough to attend this extravaganza several times as a kid. Generally, a Christmas movie would be shown followed by a live show on the Great Stage. (In particular, I remember one time screening Scrooge starring Albert Finney.) The stage show inevitably included a visit from Santa and his reindeer, along with Mrs. Claus, worker elves and other assorted Christmas characters. Even as a child I knew the show was incredibly corny, but it didn’t matter. While the jokes may have been trite and obvious the production numbers were lavish and the vibe flat-out joyful. The audience gleefully got swept up in the overwhelming positive enthusiasm. Holiday spirit indeed! And, of course, there were The Rockettes. All those bare legs kicking so high in unison fulfilled adolescent fantasies I didn’t realize I had.

The Christmas Spectacular is a marvelous experience, but going to Radio City Music Hall is alone worth the ticket price. It remains a beautiful and magnificent theater, one of the great entertainment venues anywhere in the United States. Step through the doors into the lobby and it’s like you’ve been whisked into the past. Radio City was built in the 1930’s and looks every bit a product of its era. Great effort is made to keep the interior as true to the original appearance as possible, from the sweeping staircase to the amazing murals to the warm glow of the hall sconces. It’s all Art Deco and it is fantastic. The auditorium seats close to 6,000 (!) people, enough to fill a village. Imagine seeing a movie in a sold-out 6,000 seat theater! And the Great Stage, designed to resemble a setting sun, actually merits the boasting adjective “great.”

Sometimes I lament the lack of respect shown for the architectural history in this country. Thankfully, Radio City Music Hall is a glorious exception. If you’ve never seen it, try to do so. It doesn’t have to be during Christmas time; it’s magical throughout the year. A visit should be right at the top of the to-do list of any New York tourist, day-tripper or once in a lifetime visitor alike. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

  1. bronxboy55 says:

    I saw the Easter show there one year, and it was equally amazing. Giant dancing eggs!

    On a less appealing note, there was a photograph recently in the NY media that showed Mayor Bloomberg dancing with the Rockettes. Do yourself a favor and don’t look for it.

    Happy New Year, John.


  2. I always wanted to be a Rockette – alas, I wouldn’t pass the height requirement……


  3. Neat picture. I have been to New York quite a few times, but never during the Christmas season. Some year, I will make it…


  4. At one stage of my development in early youth, I aspired to be a toe tapping, high kicking Rockette. High School dance team was as close as I got. But I still love NY and its Christmas extravaganza.


  5. kayjai says:

    Wow…I’ve never been, but definitely want to…some day….


  6. whiteladyinthehood says:

    Nice post! LOVE, LOVE the photo!


  7. John says:

    Man From UNCLE. That takes me back!


  8. I lived in NYC for two years and never saw the show, never saw the inside of RCMH. But I did spend a lot of time wandering, taking in the lavish decorations, watching the skaters, and generally soaking up Christmas in New York. Funny story about the holidays in NY: a friend came to stay with me over New Years one year. I had to work New Years Eve day, a half-day, so I asked him to walk around and entertain himself until noon, when we could meet. As I stepped out of the building at noon, Eric dashed up to me and blurted, “Who played Illya Kuriakin in ‘Man from UNCLE?!” “David McCallum,” I said. Eric clutched his hair. Then he explained that he had been window-shopping when he noticed this gentleman standing next to him. Eric knew that he KNEW who this guy was, but he couldn’t think of his name. After awhile, the man noticed Eric staring and gave him a nod and smile. Eric said, “Are you….???” Mr. McCalum smiled and replied, “I’m not going to tell you,” and walked away.


  9. John says:

    A mere accident of birth!


  10. sparklebumps says:

    Are you just TRYING to make me jealous? “Having grown up within 10 miles of the city….” 😛


  11. Renee Fisher says:

    I saw the Rockettes in a regular show, back when I was 11. Wow. I can only imagine what the Christmas show is like. I’m commenting from Facebook, since WP won’t let me comment from that. Grrr.


  12. I cracked up last week on my commute seeing a billboard for a Gulf Coast casino advertising “New York-style Christmas Show,” knowing nothing can quite compare. I’ve yet to see the real thing, but I’ll bypass the local offerings and hold out until I can get to the Big Apple this time of year.


  13. H.E. ELLIS says:

    Seeing the rockets has always been something I’ve wanted to do. Definitely on my list!


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