Sometimes it feels as though New York was made for the holidays — from Fifth Avenue’s glittering stream of holiday windows and Rockefeller Center’s larger-than-life tree to the cozier, quainter charm found in Carroll Gardens, Little Italy and Todt Hill. Streamed with flickering snowflakes, our neighborhood streets transform with a line-up of seasonal additions: Christmas tree stands, holiday curiosity pop-up shops, carolers (we once came across a troupe singing to the strums of a ukelele) and more. We love our New York holiday traditions — amidst all the fast-paced bustle, they give us an opportunity to step back, be still and savor nostalgia. Which brings me to another time-honored holiday tradition: George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.
I remember going every year as a girl; my Godmother would pick me up and we would float to the theater (she typically dressed in something fantastical, drifting & long; I in a smocked sateen dress with princess sleeves and oversized lace collar – hey, it was the late 80s). Oh I’d get so excited to see Mother Ginger & her magical skirt, the Flowers & Dewdrops with their powderpuff costumes… and then there was that moment (it always came, no matter how quickly I shaded my eyes with my fingers) that the Mouse King would take to the stage. Good gracious he frightened me. At some point during the performance I would drift to sleep, dreaming of Marie, Sugarplum Fairies, tea from China, bold coffee from Arabia and our valiant Nutcracker. This happened every year as a child. Yes, that’s right: I’ve been to the Nutcracker more than one can count on a hand and I’ve never actually seen the performance in its entirety.
Well, lucky for me (and you as it happens), we’ve joined with the Ritz Carlton and the New York City Ballet to create a quintessential New York City experience: a night at the Ritz Carlton Central Park, afternoon tea at BG Restaurant with Bergdorf Goodman gift card* on the side and evening for two at the New York City Ballet. While the Nutcracker plays through Saturday, December 31, this singular opportunity continues through February 22 with January’s performance of Paul McCartney’s Ocean Kingdom and February’s Romeo & Juliet. This is the perfect gift to surprise someone with a weekend gift to the City — imagine your seven-year old self being whisked to the bright lights and glamorous pace, perhaps your grandmother took you… your feet dangling above the ground as you admired Central Park views during tea service on our Seventh Floor… and then the flash of sequins and tulle, twirling ballerinas and the fearsome mouse brigade. However also consider Ocean Kingdom with its Paul McCartney tunes and costumes designed by his incredibly talented daughter, Stella McCartney - it’s an under-the-sea fairytale that’s sure to delight. And February wouldn’t be complete without a foray into love’s greatest tragedy: Romeo + Juliet. With Shakespeare’s timeless words replaced by Sergei Prokofiev’s 1935 score, this classic tale has been modernized by Peter Martins’ choreography. Still, first love’s passion, tension, elation and heart-ache pulse on stage. So consider a little culture & couture this holiday season — the Ritz Carlton (and its park-view rooms) always is a good place to begin.
CULTURE & COUTURE
at the Ritz Carlton:
Through February 22, 2012
Overnight accommodations in a parkview room
Breakfast for two in BLT Market or in-room
Afternoon tea at Bergdorf Goodman & Gift Card*
An Evening for two at the New York City Ballet (shows & show dates validity below)
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker: through December 31
Paul McCartney’s Ocean Kingdom on January 19, 21, 27 & 29
Romeo + Juliet on February 14, 16, 18, 21 & 22
STILL LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT PRESENT?
LET THE BG GIFTER HELP!
* with purchase only. Receive $100 gift card for every $500 spent at Bergdorf Goodman