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If you’re heading to New York City to watch the Rockettes high kick at Radio City Music Hall, view the department store holiday windows, take a peek at the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree or generally soak in the holiday atmosphere, you’ll have lots of company.
Crowds in midtown Manhattan are fierce at this time of year, and, in front of certain attractions, you might find yourself jostled or even unable to walk forward or move for several minutes because of the tightly packed hordes of humanity around you.
Further, because of President Elect Donald Trump’s residence in Trump Tower, you may be subject to police and Secret Service searches of your bags if you’re viewing the windows and decorations along Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th streets.
You’ll pass heavily armed officers around Trump Tower, and, inside the front door of the Trump building, you’ll have your bags screened by Secret Service agents before you can walk into the building.
If you have theater tickets or have to catch a bus or train back to Lancaster County, be sure not to get caught in the scrum of tourists a field of cell phones held aloft trying to capture the light and music show projected on the facade of Saks Fifth Avenue, at 611 Fifth Ave.
The Saks viewing crowd swells even larger as it meets the crowd heading into Rockefeller Plaza to see the Christmas tree.
The Saks light show is impressive, but once you get caught in that crowd, it can literally be hard to move sometimes for several minutes. The crush of the crowd can get a little overwhelming or even frightening, especially for children walking or in strollers.
While Big Apple stores’ lighted holiday windows and the Rockefeller Center tree are more impressive at night, viewing them first thing in the morning will help you avoid the crush of people that collect in front of these attractions after dark.
Morning is a great time to check out the animated windows of Macy’s in Herald Square,151 W. 34th St. The windows, which are decorated in a “Believe in Magic” theme this year, include spinning mice, twisting elves and animal holograms. Placing your hand on a handprint on the window registers your level of Christmas cheer on a lighted board inside: Are you naughty, nice, merry ho hum or jolly?
Before you head out into the wilds of midtown Manhattan, plan your route for viewing as many holiday department store windows and other Christmas attractions as you can.
You might start your day with a visit to Macy’s in Herald Square,
on 34th Street, where the display windows feature moving elves and mice, animal holograms and the annual display of “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” figures.
Head into Macy’s and take the vintage wooden escalator to the eighth floor and Santaland. A recent Sunday morning wait to see Santa was about two hours.
Lord Taylor, the windows of which are filled this year with “Enchanted Forest” animals, is at 424 Fifth Ave., between 38th and 39th streets.
You might take a side trip to Bryant Park, between Fifth and Sixth avenues and between 40th and 42nd streets,to enjoy the annual holiday market and skating rink.
Then head up to Rockefeller Center, between 49th and 50th streets and between Fifth and Sixth avenues, to see the famed Christmas tree and watch the ice skaters on the Rockefeller Plaza rink. The early bird gets the best view of the tree, without the massive crowds that descend later in the day.
Whether you’re in Midtown during the day or after dark, a great path through the Fifth Avenue area store windows might be:
Visit the holiday market next to Central Park at Columbus Circle. Head east on East on 59th Street, and then walk up to Barneys at 660 Madison Ave., between 60th and 61st streets. This year, Barneys’ windows are dubbed the “Love Peace Joy Project,” and feature artwork by Nick Cave and South Park’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
Taking a side trip to Bloomingdale’s, at 1000 Third Avenue at 59th Street, will lead you to display window views of chandeliers designed by a variety of artists. The theme this year is “Lights Up a Child’s Mind.”
Then head back to Fifth Avenue, and view the windows and decorated buildings along the way:
Check out the lights in the evergreen foliage at The Plaza’s fountain, at Fifth Avenue and Central Park South.
View the giant red bow on the side of the Cartier jeweler building, 767 Fifth Ave,; the cascading crystal lights on the Louis Vuitton store,
1 E. 57th Ave., and the “diamond” clusters on the outside of Harry Winston at 718 Fifth Ave.