Friday, December 26, 2008

An Xmas Dream Come True

We learned two things yesterday: 1) Half of New York is at Rockefeller Center on Christmas Day and 2) When you're ice skating at Rockefeller Center with half of New York watching, you just don't care. We finally went ice skating yesterday, on Christmas day, at Rockefeller Center!

We tried to go in November but got ice fright with all the onlookers, and we've been trying to go during this Christmas season but it's been too crowded. Since this is our first Christmas here, we foolishly assumed that people would be at home with their families and so we thought the ice rink would be empty. We were way off. There were thousands of people at Rockefeller on Christmas day (think the Macy's Thanksgiving parade crowd mayhem). Even the stores in that area were open.

But we had to do it. We were not about to let the crowd and long lines deter us. Our goal was to go ice skating there one time beneath the beauty of the Christmas tree, and we were determined to accomplish this goal. We stood in line for about two hours. The worst part of standing in line for that long was the cold - your face, your toes, and your fingers get numb. Then finally, the ice skaters from the previous group were told to get off the ice. The ice was clear. Then people started clapping and cheering because there was a proposal on ice - just the two of them on the ice, to his specially selected song of "kiss me," with all of us staring. Once the newly engaged couple skated off the ice, the ice was cleaned, and it was finally our turn.

Each group gets one hour and 30 minutes on the ice and if you get allowed on the ice with only 20 minutes left from that set, that's all you get. Luckily for us, we had the whole one hour and 30 minutes. It was amazing! It was so beautiful to skate as it got dark. We skated our butts off with Prometheus and thousands of people watching, and with Christmas music blaring (unfortunately they didn't play "Christmas Time is Here" from A Charlie Brown Christmas album) . The workers were great - each time someone fell, they quickly skated over to the person to help them up and see if they were o.k. They even happily obliged in taking photos for the skaters. We love that they allowed picture taking on ice (unlike Wollman).

The rink itself is not very large (especially in comparison to Wollman Rink) and it was so crowded that it was a bit nerve wrecking to skate. We weren't scared of falling down ourselves, we were scared of getting knocked down like bowling pins from the other people falling down. There were also some kids that were dangerously speed skating. And of course there were a handful of the Olympic skating types spinning and triple lutzing away. It was so incredible skating there on Christmas day that we really forgot there were so many people watching us skaters. They seemed to fade away with the darkness of the night. Well, until I started to do my goofy dance and was quickly reminded that people were watching and taking photos.

It was a Christmas we will never forget. We felt blessed that we had such a special Christmas. The only part of the night that we could have done without was trying to walk back to our subway stop. The streets were so crowded all the way through fifth avenue, including those trying to make their way to Saint Patrick's Cathedral and to Saks Fifth to watch the Christmas window displays, that we were literally stuck in a mob of people.

We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!