New York at Christmas + Foodie Side Trip Arthur Ave.

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December 8th 2009
Published: December 8th 2009
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New York is always magical; even more so at Christmas time! We signed up for a bus trip to "The City" sponsored by our friends the Carneys at Carneys Pub so long ago, we had almost forgotten about it. Good thing we jogged our memory as it was a great trip. Our group of about 40 people had decent balcony seats at Radio City for the Christmas Show starring The Rockettes! It was an amazing mix of staging with 3 D projection, flying, mixed media live/animation effects, huge live orchestra, Santa, a Nativity scene with live animals, and the Rockettes. Stand out acts included the a wild ride around Manhattan at Christmas as the 3-D animated opener, a charming adaptation of The Nutcracker, and great precision dancing by the Rockettes. Especially loved the timeless Parade of the Wooden Soldiers with the "domino effect" at the end. Four of us scurried to Grand Central Station and headed to the Bronx to Arthur Ave. This Italian neighborhood is gritty and real. It's a foodie’s celebration of the best cuisine in the WORLD - Italian! We were famished and devoured huge sandwiches of Italian cold cuts, cheeses, roasted red peppers, and eggplant on fantastic
The Christmas Show at Radio City Music HallThe Christmas Show at Radio City Music HallThe Christmas Show at Radio City Music Hall

I wish I took more pictures inside the theatre. It's rare that photos are allowed in a theatre - and it would have been ok to shoot w/o flash here. Just was too into the show to take pix. :(
breads at one of the delis inside Arthur Ave. Retail Market. The market is housed in an old building with multi tenants including a butcher shop right across from our table where easily half a dozen meat cutters were kept very busy. Strolling along Arthur Ave. is nostalgic. On this early December Monday we watched men in cranes putting up Christmas lights across the street, just like in Mechanicville and Cohoes when we were little. The street was bustling with delivery trucks and hand carts rolling boxes of goods into and from the sidewalk openings that hinge up from basements. We strolled past and ducked into bakeries, pork stores, cheese shops, cafes, and odd little variety stores crowded with neighborhood shoppers buying everything from hardware and household items to toys and clothing. Who needs Wal-Mart here? Back at Grand Central we shopped the juried seasonal craft show and headed for 5th Ave. Saks had great windows; but even better (watched from the other side of 5th near the entrance to the Alley leading to the Plaza) was the 8 story facade display of giant twinkling snowflakes set to Manheim Steamroller music. The tree at Rockefeller Plaza was brilliant. Our only disappointment, that the Rainbow Room is no longer operating, was quickly redeemed when we grabbed a few seats at the bar at The Sea Grill on the same level as the skating rink in Rockefeller Center. Four wines and a handful of spicy cashews cost more than the $37. we had spent on lunch for FOUR people in the Bronx; but we aren't complaining. The wine was good, the atmosphere was festive and our bar perches were suitable for people watching. Before heading back to the bus, we nabbed a table out in the concourse, untied the strings on our bakery boxes and munched on Italian pastries from Arthu8r Ave. until it was time to head for home. We were in the door by 11pm after a great day. Thank you to Rosemary and Bob Carney for putting together the trip!

Additional photos below
Photos: 19, Displayed: 19


This is Very RealThis is Very Real
This is Very Real

Arthur Ave. is very real, somewhat gritty and very interesting. We were here on a Monday, a time when many chefs do their meat, fish and other specialty shopping for the week.
Cigar Makers in Arthur Ave. Retail MarketCigar Makers in Arthur Ave. Retail Market
Cigar Makers in Arthur Ave. Retail Market

The Arthur Ave. Retail Market is a huge space that contains a half dozen or more unique businesses; two delis, two meat markets, a cigar production business, and more! The place seems to be guarded by a quartet of men hunkered around a low table playing cards near the entrance.
Zita and George Waiting for Our Deli SandwichesZita and George Waiting for Our Deli Sandwiches
Zita and George Waiting for Our Deli Sandwiches

It seems a little odd to be enjoying watching 6 or so butchers hard at work breaking down beef while waiting for our wonderful Italian deli sandwiches; but that's what we did.
Cigar Store Indian and Al CaponeCigar Store Indian and Al Capone
Cigar Store Indian and Al Capone

Two famous cigar smokers!
Old fashioned decorations strung across the street from one side to anotherOld fashioned decorations strung across the street from one side to another
Old fashioned decorations strung across the street from one side to another

So nostalgic; just like we used to have in Mechanicville and Schenectady back in the day. Would you believe "City Sidewalks (Silver Bells)" was playing on a loudspeaker as we strolled along.
Grand Central StationGrand Central Station
Grand Central Station

It really is GRAND and bustling. We caught our train to the Bronx here and shopped a juried craft show when we got back. The crafters are here everyday during the holidays. There is also a good outdoor craft fair in Bryant Park and one that looked nice at St. Bartholomew's Church near the Waldoft Astoria.

8th December 2009

Joanne, thanks for including us in your travel blog recipients. Loved reading about your adventuring yesterday and Arthur Ave. sounds like a delightful place to put on our "next time" list. Enjoyed visiting with you and Wes yesterday. Hope to see you soon. In the meantime, enjoy the season! Patty
9th December 2009

New York New York
Nice shots!!....fabulous commentary....I urge you yet have got to find a forum for your talent!
9th December 2009

I () NY, too
You folks sure made the most of your time in NY Monday! Your blog is always welcomed at my place! Happy holidays.
9th December 2009

Chicken Parm
Wes noticed I had left out that he had chicken parm on a torpedo roll at the deli inside Arthur Ave. Retail Market --- just so that you know there's more than just coldcuts available!
9th December 2009

Hi Jane - seems like you guys "did it all" too - we are heading down again - this time on the train - next monday.
16th December 2009

Hi Jill
I am practicing for my next career - as a travel writer - looking for constructive criticism - thinking about a unique hook to establish a niche - would love any input from you Jill - please don't be jealous - is the info useful? do you think there is an over 50 of 60 market? HELP!

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