The sun was shining on Christmas Eve day and after the two previous days of rain I was itching to go out for a walk with my camera.  I usually keep my distance from the holiday crowds in Manhattan but on this morning, I was struck by a wave of holiday spirit and decided to go strolling along 5th Avenue down toward Rockefeller Center, the heart of New York City’s holiday hullabaloo.

I exited the subway at 5th Avenue and 59th Street coming up on Central Park West  where the horse and carriage trade was in full swing. The horses were decorated in holiday plums of red, green, purple and blue and the coachmen were dressed in thick quilted one piece suits, to keep them from freezing solid being in the open cold air all day. A few of them sported tops hats to complete the high class ensemble. Some carriages had passengers snuggled together behind the driver, under warm fleece blankets as they were chauffeured in and around Central Park, pointing at familiar landmarks and taking pictures of everything they saw.

As expected 5th Avenue was jammed-packed with people of all ages and descriptions enjoying the holiday decorations and excitements that only a big city like New York can provide. It took some clever maneuvering to keep from being buffeted aside as I stopped to take my share of photos. I wormed my way through the crowds to the windows of  some of the most famous and expensive jewelry stores; Van Cleef and Arpels, Wempe, and Harry Winston, to name just a few, where a king’s ransom in jewels sat on display and I left quite a few nose-prints and a bit of drool on some of their windows. Of all the merchant displays along this glittering avenue my pick of the bunch was a colossal slithering scintillating serpent that enveloped the sides of  Bulgari on the corner of 5th & 57th Street, and followed each passerby with penetrating sparkling red eyes.

With a sigh I pulled myself away from the baubles of the rich and famous and made a left turn toward 6th Avenue to take a few photos of the massive Christmas ornaments on display across from Radio City Music Hall and then onto Rockefeller Center.  The street vendors were out in droves busy selling hot chestnuts, pretzels and hot dogs to hungry tourists who munched on these traditional treats as they gazed at the street decorations.

When I arrived at Rockefeller Center, the stately giant Christmas Tree, took center stage twinkling in the sun while the wind blew the gold and silver flags, that lined the perimeter of the ice rink, making them billow wildly in the air. Once again, I squeezed myself into an open space to get a good view above the rink and watched skaters, new and experienced glide, slide and swirl around and around as free and light as winter birds in flight.

Leaving, I took a parting shot of Rockefeller Center and walked back to 60th and 5th avenue taking a few street shots along the way before heading back to Queens and Christmas Eve festivities. I had wished for snow on Christmas Eve but the city did not receive a single flurry so I converted all but one of my images to black and white to achieve the wintry effect I was looking for.

I hope you all had a great Christmas and that Santa filled your stockings to the brim with gifts of joy, sweetness and happiness that will last until next Christmas, when we get to do it all over again!

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2 thoughts on “A Black and White Christmas

  1. Cate! You have such an eye. These images are moment-historical…they have breath. I enjoyed the slide show very much, especially after many, many days of long studio work. I was able to have a bit of NYC Christmas through your pictures. Thanks for sharing them.


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