11/30/2010 02:11 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A Manhattan Christmas Tradition 42 Years in the Making (Video and Photos)

New York City is alive with Christmas spirit. Larger than life decorations and wreaths adorn buildings, trees intricately outlined in tiny white lights from top to bottom fill the avenues, and the famous Macy's windows are decked out with a new Christmas story. Manhattan is truly magical at this time of year, but nowhere does the magic come alive more than at Rolf's German Restaurant (281 Third Avenue, near 22nd Street). From the moment you step in the door, you're transported to a Christmas wonderland unlike any you've ever experienced.

The tradition was started by Rolf 42 years ago and at his dying request it's been lovingly maintained and enhanced by Bob Maisano, who became owner in 1981. Their friendship began at the restaurant and grew over the years. When Rolf lost his battle to cancer he willed the restaurant to Bob. Not only has he kept it flourishing and the menu true to its German heritage, he's also dedicated nearly three decades to creating a spectacular tribute to the holiday and to his friend.

Christmas at Rolf's German Restaurant