I went into Manhattan this morning to meet someone about possible freelance work. I had an hour or so to kill before our meeting, so I took the opportunity to wander the chilly streets of the City, taking in the Christmas lights and decorations. Sadly I didn' t have my camera, but here is a verbal snapshot of what I saw....
A giant Smurf above the front door of Macy's. And lots of fluffy Smurf toys piled up inside. (Smurfs must be having a comeback - I remember my sister having a similar fluffy Smurf in about 1985. These were selling for a lot more than I am sure hers cost).
A giant Christmas tree made of poinsettias in the lobby of a bank building. I was rather taken with this.
Very lost-looking tourists outside the Waldorf-Astoria. (There was a great story about the W-A in the NY Times last week. A couple had their room given away because some Saudi princes were in town. They were furious - they were given instead rooms at the Hilton, but were quoted as saying that it "just wasn't the same - people were carrying pizza boxes in the elevator!" )
A delicious array of fragrances at Saks Fifth Avenue,including lots of Jo Malone, with which I liberally sprayed myself. (I went upstairs to look at the clothes, but was quickly put off by the price tags, and shocked by the rails full of fur coats. Decided I am more of J Crew and Zara type of girl.)
A Christmas market just off Fifth Avenue that seemed to sell nothing but furry hats.
Several groups of Salvation Army people singing carols on street corners.
Two people carrying gigantic bunches of balloons - they looked as if they were about to float and take off. They must have been for an office party, I reckon.
Quite a few people with British accents on the streets, several complaining about the cold. (Wear a hat, woman!)
A schoolbus full of kids brought to see the massive tree at Rockefeller Center, delight lighting up their faces.
It was certainly very Christmassy. I was trying to think about how it compares to London, though, and realised that I didn't see any one focal streetwith huge arching Christmas lights, (like Regent Street for instance. Although now I can't help thinking of poor old Regent Street being full of rioters shouting 'off with their heads' at the royals). On the other hand, New Yorkers do not stint when it comes to trees festooned with lights, huge wreaths and baubles adorning storefronts and wonderfully Christmassy smells - roasting chestnuts on street corners, stalls selling hot chocolate.
And of course, when it comes to home Christmas decorations, Americans far out-class the Brits. Not only on the outside (stay tuned for photos - I hope to get some next week) but on the inside too - according to this story, several rich Manhattanites now hire interior decorators to dress their tree. My interior decorators, on the other hand, were the Littleboys, armed with a bunch of paperclips. And the outdoor decorator was The Doctor, armed with a stepladder and two strings of Christmas lights to be strung around a little fir tree (as opposed to the several thousand strings, together with reindeer and sled combos employed by some of our neighbours). We will, however, be spreading some Christmas cheer with a mince pie and mulled wine party this weekend. I'll be interested to see how those very British delicacies go down......