Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holiday market at Union Square 2011

Sugar and spices from Spices and Tease

Other than some local merchants such as the dry cleaners, newstands and takeout restaurants, there are limited opportunities for us to shop in small stores these days. Holiday markets offer the opportunities to patronize independent and local merchants and at the same time enable us to purchase unique wares and gifts.

Spices and herbs from Spices and Tease

Browsing through the myriad of stores at the holiday market in Union Square, we came upon the Spices and Tease market with its spectacular troves of exotic spices, herbs  and condiments.. Like a child left loose in a candy store, it was initially difficult to decide which treasure we would like to partake. Fortunately we were allowed to sample some of the products. We particularly loved the aromatic "Hibiscus Strawberry" blend of herbal tea. We also sampled some of the pasta spices.

A variety of spices from Spices and Tease

It has been said that variety is the spice of life. We purchased some of the herbal tea and spices and couldn't wait to add a culinary dash of exotic flavor to our cooking.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree 2011 | Saks Fifth Avenue Christmas Illuminations

Rockefeller Center Christmas tree - 2011

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York city  is lit up each year on the Wednesday after Thanksgiving. This year, the lighting ceremony coincided with a city visit by the President. The confluence of events created the mother of all gridlocks. Thousands of visitors thronged the streets surrounding the tree during the lighting ceremony. New Yorkers were impeded in their attempts to get home quickly during the evening rush hours.

This year, we managed to set some time aside to visit the Rockefeller Center to enjoy the lights and festivities. The above picture was the majestic Norway spruce that we saw. The seventy plus footer hailed from Pennsylvannia and was adorned with 30,000 sparkling lights. Its top was crowned with a Swarovski crystal star. At some intervals, the tree even "twinkled" (like the Eiffel Tower twinkling effect).

As expected, the Rockefeller Plaza area was jammed packed but everybody was in good spirits, busily snapping pictures. There was a long queue of people waiting patiently to get into the ice skating rink while it was being resurfaced by a Zamboni.

Rockefeller Center ice skating rink being resurfaced by a Zamboni

Opposite the tree along Fifth Avenue, the Saks department store also has its own Christmas Illumination spectacular show. Snowflakes, bubbles and other animations were beamed onto the entire facade of the department store building. I just happened to be standing in front of the golden "angels" when the show started and was able to get some good snapshots.

Saks Fifth Avenue Christmas Illumination show - 2011

Heading towards home, we saw these decorations on Sixth Avenue. A tourist exclaimed, "Look at those balls !" We tried to decipher where she was from  based on her accent and concluded she was probably from Australia.  A joyful season to all !

Holiday decorations on Sixth Avenue, New York City - 2011


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