A Q&A to take you backstage with a Rockette to learn everything you ever wanted to know about what it’s like to be one of these iconic dancers.
Growing up in Arizona, some 2,500 miles away from New York City, Heather Langham only knew of the Rockettes from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast—and she was hooked. She had started dancing at a young age, thanks to her mom who owned a dance studio, and by the time high school was over, Langham was off to the Big Apple. Over the span of 10 years, she would audition six times, finally landing the gig in 2009. “It’s been a crazy 20-year process,” says Langham, as she gears up for her tenth season delighting guests at the annual Radio City Christmas Spectacular. On her journey to the stage, Langham got to know New York City along the way.
Who better to serve as a local NYC guide than a real-life Rockette? Heather let us in on her favorite local spots around the city.
Her Own Neighborhood: Hudson Yards
The sun sets on Hudson Yards in Manhattan. Photo: Amanda Voisard / TripAdvisor
“We moved here two years ago when it was still being built, and it was a ghost town then before it opened as a full neighborhood in March. Over the summer, it was a little quiet because I think tourists weren’t aware of it yet. But now for the holidays, I’m looking out my window and it’s pretty crowded!
It’s really cool. You have a little bit of the High Line, you’ve got a mall, there’s the Vessel where you can climb up a bunch of stairs. I’m sure my legs would be burning if I were climbing those stairs. There’s Little Spain, which is right across the street. You can get churros, you can get Spanish pastries—they have everything down there. Being from Arizona, I love malls. Shopping at Hudson Yards is completely different experience from shopping in SoHo.”
Where She Goes When She's Not in Hudson Yards
“I love Tribeca because it’s got its own quiet personality. You’re close to SoHo, you’re close to all the shopping there. But you’re also close to the Financial District and the World Trade Center and you’re even close to the water, the Hudson River. As someone who lives here, I feel that Tribeca offers a quieter feel to New York City, which is nice when you go from the crazy hustle and bustle of Midtown.”
Where to Spot a Rockette After a Show
“We usually head to Del Frisco’s Grille, which is right next to Radio City, where we perform. And there’s also an Italian place a few blocks away, Pazza Notte, which has great pizzas. But Del Frisco’s Grille is our go-to at the end of the night. We know what time their kitchen closes.”
Go-To Spots When Family and Friends are Visiting
Bryant Park Holiday Market. Photo: Amanda Voisard / TripAdvisor
“What I try to do—especially when my mom comes to town because she comes to see the show every single year—is take her to restaurants my husband and I like to frequent so she can get a feel for how we live our lives as New Yorkers. There’s a restaurant down in Chelsea called Foragers Table that I just love. They have fresh organic food and it’s farm to table, so I like to take her there. I’m also a fan of the Bryant Park holiday market and the High Line. It’s getting a bit busier and a lot of people know that it’s there now, but I still feel like it’s a hidden treasure for the West Side.”
Her Can’t-Miss List for New York During the Holidays
Heather Langham in front of Radio City Music Hall. Photo: Ben Sklar / TripAdvisor
“Ice skating at Rockefeller Center is a must. And if you can’t get into the Rockefeller ice skating rink, there’s also an ice skating rink in Central Park, which is really, really cool. Central Park is beautiful—that would be the No. 1 thing on my list to do. But also, you have to see the Rockefeller Christmas Tree and, obviously, you must come see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring the Rockettes!”
Michele Laufik is a writer and editor, covering topics such as travel, wellness, relationships, and event marketing for various print and digital outlets. She has called New York City her home for over 10 years and currently resides in Spanish Harlem. Michele has written for Glamour, the Today Show, Martha Stewart, PureWow, and ShermansTravel, among others.