New York’s Pandemic Holiday Spirit

Rockefeller Center and Fifth Avenue still shine bright in 2020 with only minor changes


New York City is still filled with its usual holiday cheer despite the COVID-19 pandemic. This holiday season, decorations have gone up and iconic sites are lit for viewing around the city. As 2020 comes to a close, New York has still lived up to somewhat normal holiday season expectations.

At Rockefeller Center, visitors enter a virtual queue where they are notified when it is their turn to enter the tree viewing area. Fifth Avenue is lined with decorated storefronts, giant holiday toys and the magical light show at Saks. Fordham had its own tree lighting ceremony before students left for Thanksgiving.

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  • The social distancing circles on the ground at Rockefeller Center’s tree viewing area are big enough to fit a family and ensure that everyone remains more than 6 feet apart while viewing the tree.

  • The streets around Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center are closed off to allow viewers enough space to safely line up to see the tree.

  • This year’s tree is a 75-foot-tall Norway spruce with 50,000 lights shining bright. On Christmas Day, the tree will remain lit for 24 hours.

  • A bundle of massive candy canes bring some holiday spirit to Sixth Avenue.

  • One of the decorated window displays outside of Saks Fifth Avenue shows a musical performance on Broadway in Times Square. The theme this year is “This Is How We Celebrate,” a tribute to the well-known locations in the city where people tend to celebrate.

  • The facade of Saks turns into an elaborate light show with music playing for spectators along Fifth Avenue.

  • A giant box of toys on the sidewalk of Fifth Avenue, which is part of a collection of similar light-up decorations lining the street.

  • Another Fifth Avenue decoration, this time celebrating the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. The eight-night-long holiday started on Dec. 10 this year.

  • Outside The Plaza Hotel sits a massive 32-foot-high Hanukkah menorah which was manually lit every night of the holiday after a blessing ceremony.

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