Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 110: The Tree

Photo of the Day: It's Christmas Time

Today was finally the day. I met my friend Eunice after work to at last visit the third-most famous Christmas destination in the world after Bethlehem and the North Pole: the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. After weeks of waiting, I am sad to admit the experience was somewhat anticlimactic. First of all, the entire plaza is ridiculously crowded, which significantly detracts from the experience since you're constantly being jostled as you do your best to dodge and weave through the masses. Also, the vast multitude makes it difficult to get anything but mediocre photographs as everyone is vying for the best vantage points. Being a camera bum, that was a setback since I tend to define the success of an event based on the images I can capture. Second, the scene is not as beautiful as it appears in all the pictures. The tree is, without a doubt, enormous and grand and awe-inspiring and iconic. But from a design standpoint, I am personally not a fan of colored lights; I like the purity and simplicity of the solid white glow.

But despite these criticisms, all was not lost, and overall, I was not at all disappointed. Even though the Rockefeller Center may not have met my expectations visually, today was the first time this season that I actually felt like it was Christmas. I had just finished a long day at work having finally completed a months-long branding project, and I was feeling particularly lighthearted. Christmas carols played on a loop in my earphones, the weather was clear and brisk, and holiday decorations, no matter how gorgeous or tacky they may be, never cease to make me smile.

After viewing the tree, which took less than half an hour, we stopped by Bill's Bar and Burger, which we found to be delicious after starving through a 20-minute wait. Hunger aside, it good but definitely was not the best burger I've had since arriving in New York. However, I was impressed with their Campfire shake, made with vanilla ice cream and an actual toasted marshmallow. It was almost unbearably sweet, but I enjoyed the unique flavor.

From there, we decided to visit the new flagship Disney Store, which just opened in Times Square last month. Eunice is a huge Disney fan, and I can't deny my own soft spot having grown up with their movies. As reviews have suggested, the store is the standard explosion of feel-good Disney memorabilia, with the highlight being the high-tech magic mirrors. You waved a plastic wand in front of the sensors on the "Magic Mirror," and your reflection would suddenly be replaced with various video clips from Disney movies. 

We wound up leaving relatively early since Eunice was exhausted from her day as well, so I headed to Flushing to catch a second dinner with the post-Friday fellowship dinner folks. After overstuffing myself at 66, we returned to church for a couple epic late-night sessions of BANG!

My first up-close view of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree through the flagpoles surrounding the plaza.
Giant drummers drumming around the Rockefeller Plaza.
Eunice in front of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
Photographic proof that I, too, have been to the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree from the promenade.
Lighted angels along the Rockefeller Center Promenade.
A close up of the abstract Rockefeller angelic heralds.
Eunice with the angels along the Rockefeller Center Promenade.
The Swarovski Star again, this time with the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in the background.
The holiday smorgasbord of Disney kitsch at the new flagship Disney Store in Times Square.
A Disney-fied replica of New York City in wooden cutouts.
Eunice and Eeyore!
Toy Story aliens.
The bedrock if Disney in plush form.
Eunice gazes into the Magic Mirror.
Lo and behold, Belle appears in the Magic Mirror!
It looks like Lumiere is looking directly at Eunice, hehe.
Bibbity bobbity boo!
Back-lit Disney cutouts adorn the shelves of the Disney Store.

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