Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Show Tapings: Various

The Wendy Williams Show
If you are lucky enough to have free time in NYC during the holiday season, I would highly recommend getting tickets to some of the numerous shows that tape in NYC.  Among them are The View, The Nate Berkus Show (this is the last season, as it was not renewed), Martha Stewart, The Wendy Williams Show, and Rachel Ray.  I was fortunate enough to get to three of these shows before I went on vacation and it was a blast!

This is the season of audience-give-aways.  At The Wendy Williams Show, it is a big dance party.  The music is blasting, and the audience is hip and jamming.  It is not for the faint of heart, but if you are up for a morning party, it is fantastic.  I walked away with gifts that were valued at up to $250.

The Martha Stewart Show
At the Martha Stewart Show, I noticed that the gifting was a little lighter than in the past (I had heard that Martha Stewart Omnimedia is dealing with some financial concerns), but our audience went home with a book and a one-cup coffee maker.  Besides the entertainment provided by Joey Kola was great.

Finally, for The Nate Berkus Show, I responded to an executive producer email, asking for volunteer participants and was rewarded handsomely.  I brought an old shirt about which I was able to ask Isaac Mizrahi about re-freshing/salvaging.  Isaac drew a sketch for me with his ideas, and Nate gave me a $300 gift card!  Plus the whole audience received gifts valued at over $800--yes, we lucked out and were in the BIG holiday gift show.

The Nate Berkus Show
Even if you aren't able to coordinate requesting tickets online in advance (they are free directly from the show websites so don't fall for online re-sellers/aggregators), you can also try to get stand by tickets. 

Although it is after the holiday gifting season, I may try to go on the Monday after Christmas or the Monday after New Years Day when our work office is closed.  Can you tell?  I'm a little obsessed.  What can I say?  Who doesn't love getting free things?  And while not all the gifts are things I could/would use, don't worry I'm not hoarding things in my small NYC apartment.  There are worthy charities as well as eBay to help manage the potential clutter.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Time in NYC: Various

Christmas time in New York City--what could be more festive?!

Bryant Park (42nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues) has an ice skating rink outdoors (see above) surrounded by pop up shops that include fabulous kettle corn, a pickle shop, and a place mimicking an outdoor porch in the Southwest (see right) complete with heat lamps and swing benches.  The shops that line the passage ways also have lots of shops that sell items for great gifts like one of a kind metal sculptures, artisan jewelry, and stocking stuffers like ear muffs and scarves.

Then there is Rockefeller Center (50th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues), with its ice skating rink and huge Christmas tree (which was first lit by President Obama--yes, he was back clogging up traffic again).  I was there the day before the tree was fully assembled (did you know it comes in parts and gets screwed in together?) (see left) as well as a few days after it was completed (see below right).  Generally I try to stay away from the masses of tourists and frenzied shoppers, but I had my own holiday shopping to do, which led me unavoidably through this area.

If you can't get your fill of Christmas trees, there is also a pretty one in the courtyard of the Palace Hotel (50th Street and Madison--the place the Pope stays whenever he comes to NYC), which is flanked by two men dressed as toy soldiers (great for photo opportunities). 

If you'd like a more sophisticated looking tree, then I think there is nothing as striking as the tree in the courtyard by the famous Le Cirque restaurant (59th Street between 3rd Avenue and Lexington) (see below).  With its white lights and the white Moravian-style lighted ornaments, it really is beautiful--plus, you can get some shopping done nearby at the newly opened CB2 or Home Depot (my secretly favorite store).

Finally, as always, NYC has its share of spectacular outdoor sculptures and exhibits, and the holidays bring out the best.  As an example, on 6th Avenue just around the corner from Rockefeller Center, there are huge ornaments along the east side of the street (see below).  

There are innumerable holiday sights to take in around New York City.  Not least of all, the famous Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall (6th Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets) with the Rockettes (tickets are still available).  So if you happen to be in the City during this wintertime, I hope you have a chance to enjoy all that the City has to offer.