The first sign of the holidays followed Hurricane Sandy and arrived one week after a presidential election. The occasion found thousands of children accompanied by their parents bustling through the doors of Radio City Music Hall for the annual Christmas Spectacular.
A diverse assembly united with disregard to politics, color or creed watched with glee a 90-minute tradition that this year marks 85 years of holiday treat.
Four shows daily and on some days five will have 36 Rockettes, or 62 legs render eye-high kicks.
All fit the five feet six to five feet 10 and a half inches requirement, fulfill routines requiring 1,300 costumes and throughout maintaining cadence to an orchestral symphony that only the acoustically-perfect showplace could fully deliver.
The variety showcase is measured by live sheep, camels, donkeys and a convoy of characters simulating the age-old story about three gifted wise men from the east that followed a bright star that led to a baby and his homeless parents hunkered down inside a stable.
This year, when the spectacle marks its 85th year, children will relate to a storyline following a parent in search of a special gift for her daughter.
If you think mom is in search of the latest iPad mini or latest smart phone. You are close. Santa has the right idea and onstage the gift is magnified, amplified, digitized and 2012.
Some of the classic routines are revisited to the delight of die-hard fans and traditionalists. Annual favorites — march of the wooden soldiers; Santa’s arrival in 3-D and the more recent staple — a bus tour to Central Park’s skating rink provide holiday thrill to tourists and residents.
“Look daddy, a choo choo,” a tot excitedly said to his father when an overhead train swirled the domed interior.
And while the spectacle offers the best theatrical treat before Christmas, any visit to the famed showplace is always well worth the effort.
The chandelier in the lobby, the carpet, the seats, the first, second and third mezzanines, the acoustics, the merchandise, the courteous ushers, the location at Rockefeller Center, and after the spectacle inside, outside, a burst of snow provides adds fantasy regardless of the temperature. A nine-week run ends on Dec. 30.
For those yearning to see animals stroll through the streets of the city, the notion is not far-fetched. With a little luck on any given day that vision is highly probable as camels, donkeys and sheep in the show exercise daily by doing just that.
Radio City Music Hall is located at 1260 Sixth Ave. at 50th St.