Rockefeller Center Doesn’t Rock

What are you supposed to do in New York City in December? Go to Rockefeller Center and see the Christmas tree, of course. Dutifully, I made the trip.

I’ll cut right to the chase: it’s a Christmas tree. Sure, it’s a big one, with lights and everything, but in the end, you’ve walked blocks in the freezing cold and done battle with fierce crowds just to see a Christmas tree. If that’s the sort of thing that gets your blood flowing, okay, but otherwise it might be a bit of a letdown. It doesn’t even photograph well; I tried.

About all you can say for it is that it isn’t as much of a waste of time as Times Square on New Years Eve, which is best experienced on television if at all. (Really, if you think that would be fun, you are wrong; I tried it one time.)

The crowd is elbow-to-elbow. If you’re used to New York, this is no big deal—part of the fun, really. There are extravagant Christmas displays, some street performers, and of course the NBC Store. If you ever wanted a Dunder Mifflin Paper Company t-shirt, here’s your chance. Oh, and the other well-known attraction, the ice skating rink, where you can fall on your butt while thousands look on.

I have no idea how long you have to wait on line to skate here, but don’t expect to be in a hurry. I had to wait a few minutes just for the opportunity to take this picture. The line for the Top of the Rock observation deck is also unbearable this time of year, but if you’re the type to plan ahead, you can buy tickets for a specified date and time online.

What I was unable to find despite being determined was a public bathroom. If there are any, they are well-hidden—and the line would be distressingly long anyway. I hoped to find one in the NBC Store, but no luck there. I ended up leaving and walking the few blocks to Times Square, where public restrooms are provided by Charmin (who else?) during the holiday season.

If you want to go to this thing, and you’re not familiar with New York, I just took the subway to Times Square and walked from there. Go up to 49th Street, head east a block, and you’ll know it when you see it. The B/D/F/V line stops closer.

This should be familiar from “30 Rock”.