Holiday lights in Manhattan

Yesterday we thought it would snow. The sky turned as gray as slate, the sunlight dimmed, the ducks took shelter under the piers, the water of the river looked like a solid mass.

In short, life seemed like the cloud before the silver lining  except that the silver lining never really came. No snow really happened.

A little bit of solid snow fell from the sky which you could spot if you looked carefully at a dark patch. The little snow was blown around helter-skelter in a way that you could tell it wasn’t rainwater. Enough to check off the list of some earnest young holiday tourist in these parts who could say seen snow in NYC–check on his notebook.

What really happened was that the pavements got damp, some mud got strewn around through people’s trampling boots, and those who were wearing sneakers got their socks sodden through.

The promise of snow without its delivery. More keenly felt during the holidays than on other days.

Perhaps there’s been something low in the air these holidays in the New York City area. The transportation system is still wobbly, people are still exhausted after their long commutes even more lengthened by the complex changes in trains and buses that have taken place after Sandy. More people are still struggling with their housing situations in certain parts than we know.

Or perhaps it’s just a general case of the holiday blues.

The days would be great if they were just that–days. But when they fall under the rubric of holidays, they’re expected to perform. Be remarkable. Set themselves apart from other days in some way. Prove themselves.

Be brighter, picture-post-card-whiter, “full of laughter” (as if that even means anything), vignettes of perfect family time (laughing, drinking from brightly coloured cups, sitting around plush furniture–inspired by TV ads) , dogs looking happy in warm clothes, old people dancing without a care for their rheumatism in the world.

Holiday decoration
Holiday decoration at one of the windows at the Herald Square Macy’s in Manhattan. Photo credit: Bottledworder

But no. Nothing remarkable about the holidays. Fewer people on the road. Street food vendors crouching in the wet cold with the steam from their carts billowing out towards no one in particular.

Desperate invitations on Facebook from nearly unknown people for desperately happy holiday parties.

Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center, Manhattan
The Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center, Manhattan. Photo credit: Bottledworder

Yet, the spirit of the season has decked up the city. Hope the holiday spirit will catch up with the lights soon.

Rockefeller Center, Manhattan
Lights at Rockefeller Center, Manhattan. Photo credit: Bottledworder
Zuccotti Park, Manhattan
Zuccotti Park, Manhattan. Photo credit: Bottledworder
Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park with the Christmas tree. Photo credit: MD
Herald Square Macy's
Another window at the Herald Square Macy’s decked up for the holidays. Photo credit: Bottledworder
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22 thoughts on “Holiday lights in Manhattan”

  1. My first trip to New York/Manhattan was in December 1981. I walked from my hotel to Fifth Avenue and wandered, quite by accident, onto the lighting of the tree at Rockefeller Center. It was a magical experience and everything I’d ever dreamed New York would be for a small-town girl from Idaho. I later lived in Manhattan and got to know the city well – the glory and the grains of sand under the collar – but the magic didn’t wear off when Christmas came around. Thanks for the beautiful pictures. Lots of good memories even though I agree about the holiday blues this year (and not just in New York). It was an odd season for a lot of people. Reading your post, I was relieved to know it wasn’t just me feeling kind of down this year. I guess things felt “off” for a lot of us. I’m just gonna think about the beautiful lights for a few minutes here. (smiling face)

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  2. I hate that feeling of expecting snow and then never having it show up. It’s such a disappointment. Love this entry and, especially, your beautiful photographs. The shots of the window decorations were my favorites.

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  3. Thank you for posting these fabulous pictures of New York during the holidays. For me, they bring back fond memories of the days when I was a paart of that city. The lights brightening up all of the grundge that New York can sometimes be known for. The tree at Rockefellor Center with the skaters a must see every year for me. Greenwich Village, the place I first sold my artfully designed jewelry, magical. Memories dear to my heart that I will never forget.
    Happy Holidays to you ….
    Isadora

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  4. Thanks for sharing your amazing pictures! I’ve always wanted to go to NYC but haven’t made it there….yet! It seems the Holiday Blues spread over more thean just your place, as it just felt sad and depressing, dull and even boring this year. There’s always next year though, right?! Happy New Year to you 🙂

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    1. The pics are great make me homesick for my hometown —I grew up in NY (not Manhattan thought). Actually, he weatherman was usually correct – or as we used to say -50% of the time…:) I guess this year, nobody wanted too much snow anyway (even if it looks pretty for about 1/2 a day) as snow = storm and sadly New Yorkers have had enough with storms this year. Just having a home and heat during the Holidays..is a blessing for many. But it’s probably not my place to talk about weather – cuz I’m here in sunny California (actually chilly and windy today)…thanks. Miriam

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  5. Ha, waiting for the holiday cheer to catch up with the lights. Story of my holiday season.
    We only had minimal decorations, and some people in my Austin complex have holiday lights set up, but without the cold and the family and with the knowledge of so many people suffering up in the East, it’s hard to feel that same sense of childlike wonder. But I have to admit, when I opened a tin of my mom’s christmas cookies that she mailed (along with stockings) I finally felt a glimmer of what the lights were promising all along. But it lasted a half a second instead of all morning. What can ya do… Happy holidays to you, and thank you for sharing the Manhattan glamor with all those who appreciate it!

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  6. Fantastic pictures! I have never seen the city at Christmas. In Atlanta, we have a bunch of little areas with picturesque “Main Streets” and then there’s the hustle of downtown, where I haven’t ventured. Seeing your pictures makes me wish I’d explored a little bit of my city!

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  7. Beautiful pictures of the city decked in its holiday finest! The hope of the holiday magic drives us through the short daylights, long, cold nights and to the memories of the warm sun of spring.
    In north central Kansas, we also had the dream of white Christmas yanked from under us. We had ice and snow the week previous, but most melted into strips of brown-green grass juxtaposed to sections of white dotted with yellow spots, courtesy of the dogs, by Christmas Day. Not exactly your classic Hallmark scene and, to top it off, it was coupled to minus double-digit wind chills.
    But, even with the disappointments, in eleven months the same spirit of season will again shower us with the same Christmas hopes and dreams and I will again swallow it hook, line, and sinker. I am sure of it.

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