Sports and Entertainment
The Ultimate Holiday Event: Up Close with the Rockettes
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Cardholders Enjoy a VIP Experience
The VIP reception in Radio City Music Hall’s Roxy Suite before the annual Radio City Christmas Spectacular was an oasis of calm in a sea of holiday craziness.
The 50-person, family-oriented event, a perk for Chase Sapphire Preferred® cardholders, included a holiday buffet, drinks, desserts, and a meet-and-greet with Santa and two Rockettes in glamorous costumes.
Two hours before showtime, a Christmas Concierge escorted me from a private entrance at Radio City Music Hall to the iconic Roxy Suite for the event. The space was adorned in its holiday best, boasting gingerbread houses and a Christmas tree with presents galore beneath. Christmas carols played softly in the background.
With a glass of white wine in hand, I sampled the passed hors d'oeuvres, including stuffed baby baked potatoes and tomato soup shots, and roamed the suite, appreciating its history.
Completed in 1932, the Roxy Suite has hosted the biggest names in music and entertainment and is now used for private parties and VIP events. It was a thrill to know that Cary Grant, Judy Garland, Elton John, Bette Midler and many other celebrities had been fêted in this very space.
The suite was designed as a private apartment for Samuel Lionel "Roxy" Rothafel, the visionary behind Radio City Music Hall. Today, many of the side pieces in the room are the original furnishings. The gold-flaked ceiling in the reception room is dramatic at a height of 20 feet, and the walls are paneled in quilted mahogany. There’s even a guest book under glass, filled with signatures and notes from artists such as Harry Connick Jr., John Legend, and more.
The reception room flows into the more intimate dining area, where the other VIP guests and I helped ourselves to the holiday buffet. I feasted on succulent roasted chicken over Mediterranean-style mashed chickpeas, with sides of green beans, smashed potatoes, and a mesclun salad. Guests with children appreciated the kid-friendly pasta option, and anyone with a sweet tooth found it impossible to resist the dessert bar stacked with donuts, holiday cookies and brownies.
A Special Experience
In the dining room, I caught up with Chase Sapphire® cardholder Paul Grimm, who upgraded to the 90-minute VIP Roxy Suite experience after a friend insisted it was worthwhile. “A friend told us that it was worth the extra cash to specifically avoid the lines,” said Grimm. “And if you can do that with food and spirits included, why not?”
This was the first time Grimm, who was visiting New York City from Columbus, Ohio, with his mother and wife, had taken advantage of a Chase Sapphire event. He said he was especially impressed with the concierge service while booking.
As guests participated in photo-ops and video-tapings of holiday messages with Santa and two Rockettes, I chatted with Chase Sapphire Preferred® cardmember Jonathan Haskett. “This was right up our alley,” he said. “It added a bit of an extra Christmas experience, while also taking advantage of perks from our Chase Sapphire card.”
The experience was especially meaningful for his wife, Carrie. "I grew up in dance and was on the drill team in high school," she said, "so this was something I personally wanted to do."
When the reception ended, I took the elevator downstairs, where I was ushered to my prime seat for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. While favorites like the Rockettes, the "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" and the unforgettable "Living Nativity" remain classics of the show, modern technology made for an entirely new experience. In the stunning opening number, 3-D glasses gave the experience of flying over New York City for a festive bird's-eye view of Manhattan landmarks. As the show built to its final number, "Snow," sparkling drone-controlled snowflakes rose from the orchestra pit, floated into the proscenium, and hovered magically over the audience.
It was the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit.
Visit radiocitychristmas.com/chase for Chase Sapphire Preferred® Seats while supplies last.
Andrea Lynn is a freelance journalist based in New York City who specializes in food and lifestyle writing. She is also the author of two books and an experienced recipe writer and editor.