Focus on Rockefeller Center Festivities


We can’t talk about December in New York City without talking about Rockefeller Center in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. If you’re planning to be anywhere near Fifth Avenue between Nov. 28, 2018 and Jan. 7, 2019, you’ve got a truly memorable treat in store.

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Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree 2018

They throw the switch at 6:30 p.m. on November 28th. Five miles of strands bearing 30,000 multi-colored, energy-efficient LEDs are powered by solar panels, illuminating a majestic (donated) Norwegian spruce. The 84th annual spectacle will be accompanied by ooh’s and aah’s from thousands of onlookers.

Tilt your neck back to see a Swarovski star atop the 70-foot tree. The ornament adds another 10 feet to the evergreen, weighs 550 lbs. and has 25,000 crystals.

“Hark the herald angels…” Take a photo opportunity at The Channel Gardens, the promenade that leads from Fifth Avenue to the sunken ice skating rink, the gilded Prometheus statue, and Christmas tree beyond. For 60 holiday seasons, a dozen sparkling angel sculptures adorned with crowns pose with brass horns held aloft in a much-loved annual display.

The tree is illuminated daily from 5:30 a.m. until midnight. On Christmas Day the tree remains lit for a full 24 hours and on New Year’s Eve the lights are turned off early at 9 p.m. Illuminations continue in the new year through 9 p.m. on January 7th.

Have you got a mega-tree? Rockefeller Center selects a Norway Spruce in the later years of its life, measuring at least 75 feet tall and 45 feet in diameter. If you’ve got one you’d like to have considered, just get in touch!

Ice Skating at Rockefeller Center 2018

Fame and fondness for Rockefeller Center’s ice skating rink is second only to the holiday tree towering beside it. Now in its 81st season, ice skating is underway at the celebrated rink beginning Oct. 8, 2018 and continuing until early spring.

With only 150 skaters at a time for 90-minute sessions, it’s never too crowded to show off your best twists and spins. In fact, you can even improve your show-stopping style with a private lesson.

General Admission tickets are $25 to $32 for adults, $15 for children under 11 and seniors. Sessions begin at 8:30 a.m. and continue every two hours until 10:30 p.m. It’s easy for out-of-towners to join in; skate rental on the premises is available at $12.

Are you a twirling early bird? Limited First Skate at 7 a.m. comes with hot chocolate or a cup of Joe plus skate rental at $45. Reward yourself; you can top up your skate morning with Bountiful Breakfast at Rock Center Café.

More Things to Do in NYC at Rockefeller Center

True, 70 stories doesn’t make it New York City’s tallest. But one of the things we love best about Top of the Rock is the sight of the Empire State Building all lit up in holiday colors, a standout on the skyline. Plus you can’t beat the midtown views from three indoor and outdoor observation decks.

Take a deep dive into 80 years of history, architecture, and art deco on the guided Rockefeller Center Tour. Or join a new, interactive version of The Tour at NBC Studios at 30 Rock where you get to make your own mini production.

At Rockefeller Center’s Sixth Avenue border, Radio City Music Hall is the art deco palace that’s home to the world famous 36-member Rockettes dance team. From Nov. 9, 2018 until Jan. 1, 2019 the “Christmas Spectacular” features sparkly costumes, real life toy soldiers, snowflakes, and Santa Claus.

Sing carols accompanied by hundreds of tubas. See a model of the ice skating rink made entirely of Lego. Finish up your holiday shopping or just peer into the windows of the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store to see what brilliant displays their designers have dreamt up. Take a meditative moment in the newly restored interior of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a neo-Gothic marvel visited by more than five million people every year.

Ask us anything about the holidays in our wonderful neighborhood. We think of Rockefeller Center as our neighbor. After all, it’s only eight short blocks’ walk along Fifth Avenue from The Sherry-Netherland.

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