This year we were once more lucky enough to see the Rockefeller Tree Lighting up close. The past couple of years he has been invited to a professional real estate event sponsored by the Tishman Speyer Group. A great opportunity for him to network and get insights and gain more knowledge in his field of expertise, followed by a day off to relax a little. For me? A time to enjoy New York City and take photos! Last year we stayed in Chinatown/Little Italy = pretty far away from the event. So this year we decided to book a hotel closer to the venue. We found one that had just opened three weeks earlier right on West 57th Street. The Quin. Located in an old building, which got renovated. Well, they are still building and transforming it into a very shiny and modern hotel. While we were there the restaurant was not open yet, but you could have room service and their staff was extremely friendly and helpful. A great hotel and perfectly situated for me, because I was in the right spot to take photos. Plus – close to the professional event for David.
The event kicked off as usual with a cocktail & dinner meeting on Tuesday night. But just like the year before we missed half of the reception/dinner due to the wonderful traffic going into the City during rush hour. We really should know better by now and head out earlier. Still, we made it in time for entree and dessert at Le Cirque in the Bloomberg Building on East 58th. And the best part – at least for me: 1) we met a couple of people from Tishman Speyer in Atlanta and Shanghai we had met last year and 2) also a couple from Boston who attended for the first time. We pretty much hit it off with them and had such a good conversation at the dinner table, that we hoped we would meet them again the next evening at the Rockefeller Tree Lighting. Too soon for us the dinner finished and we decided to walk back to the hotel. This gave me the chance to take the first few photos. With my iPhone.
Wednesday morning David left early to get to the podium discussions organized by Tishman Speyer with various VIP speakers. This part he always looks forward to and enjoys a lot. Not only do the participants get a fresh input, views on real estate / economy topics, but are able to discuss topics with leaders of their trade. Questions from the attendees are being answered live on the podium by the assembled national and international VIPs. A great professional networking opportunity. And he comes out energized about his profession.
While David was there, I got ready, grabbed my camera gear and started walking. East on 57th until I hit 6th Avenue. From there I walked or rather zigzagged south. I wanted to go to Grand Central Station to take pictures. Of course, along the way there were many other opportunities. E.g. I went inside the Chrysler Building for the first time since I moved here. You can only get into the lobby as the elevators are secured by gates and guards. But for me, it was like a kid in the candy store. I love this building and it felt just great to stand in the middle of it. Then all I had to do was cross Lexington and I walked straight into Grand Central Station. What a hustle and bustle – always. I mean it is an active train station. I went straight up on to the platform of one of the staircases, grabbed my spot at the rail and started to observe and take pictures. Then I walked around a little and took some more. In between I texted David, because by now it was noon and I knew that his event was about to end around this time.
And sure enough that afternoon he texted that he was done, and was sitting next to a giant mouse. I had not been aware, but he had been just around the corner all the time, as the professional event was held at the Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue. So, we met and walked back together towards the hotel with the intention of having lunch. We found a place close to our hotel on West 56th called Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse – which I highly recommend. It was exactly what we were looking for. We knew that in the evening we wouldn’t have a formal dinner, but rather hors d’oeuvre. So we decided to have a somewhat big lunch. And we did. An extremely yummy one. You could have rolled us out of the restaurant.
Thankfully it wasn’t far to our hotel. And since it was still very early, we started looking for a massage place. David’s foot with all the walking had started hurting. We found one, Yelo Spa that had time for us, so we indulged ourselves for an hour into the tranquility of a spa. Soon after we were done and back at the hotel, we got ready to head out to the Rockefeller Tree Lighting. This time no cab, but also no walking. Meaning the subway. My very first time on the New York subway. The verdict: Crowded and old, as to be expected, but the best way to get around the City.
Is there anything left to say about the Rockefeller Tree Lighting itself? Not really. The Tishman Speyer Group staged their event at the Sea Grill Restaurant. Assembling a big crowd, great music, lots of drinks and direct access to the rink, where artists (The GooGooDolls, Ashanti, Leona Lewis, Mary J. Blige, Jewel to name a few) were performing Christmas songs. We decided to start the evening slow and stayed inside enjoying the show on the big screen as it was telecasted. I even took a few photos – see below. But later we also headed outside, made our way through the crowd to get a better view of the stage and the tree and ended up right under one of the TV camera booms. And surprise – it is here where we met again with Mary and Stephen (the couple from Boston we met the previous night). We enjoyed the music, drinks and Tree Lighting together before we headed inside again. There was no dedicated dance floor, but by now we had enough space, quite a few people had left right after the ceremony. So a few of us started dancing to the tunes being played, while chatting and just generally having a good time. Both David and I sincerely hope to see you all (Vonnie, Chris, Mary & Stephen) again next year at the Rockefeller Tree Lighting 2014, if not sooner. Thank you for a fantastic time!
This post is part of a blog circle of fellow artists and artisans. Please continue your journey to reading the new Sisterhood post by photographer Kay Maguire.
And here are some of the pictures