New York Vacations
The lights are twinkling. The scent of roasted chestnuts permeates the crisp December air. Seasonal tunes flow from every store, metro and street corner. There is a palpable sense of excitement as the holidays approach. It’s the happiest time of year in New York City, when the whole city takes on a festive air with timeless traditions and festivities.
Broadway shows are live again. New stores and restaurants continue to appear. And the city – where a year ago you could safely walk the empty streets of Midtown during rush hour – has returned to its bustling 24/7 state of mind, welcoming visitors to return. .
No winter trip is complete without a stroll to see Manhattan’s decorated storefronts. Start at Macy’s on 34th Street with its legendary vibrant exhibits and nighttime light show. Then head to Fifth Avenue to experience the elaborate vacation-themed facilities at nearby Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Co., Bergdorf Goodman, and Bloomingdale’s. It is best to go early in the morning, before 9 a.m. or late at night as the crowds make it difficult to view in the front row during the day.
Christmas is special at Rockefeller Center with the city’s tallest tree, an iconic symbol of the season. Nearby, the winter village of Bryant Park has another decorated tree, an ice skating rink with ice bumper cars, cozy heated igloos for sipping hot chocolate, and an outdoor market with dozens of handcrafted gift vendors. the hand. Even Patience and Fortitude, the giant marble lions of the adjacent main public library, sport holiday wreaths.
For the most unusual tree in town, covered in origami creations, head up the town to the American Museum of Natural History. You can also see the world’s largest collection of dinosaur fossils, the museum’s iconic 94-foot blue whale model, and the recently reopened Halls of Gems and Minerals, with over 5,000 specimens, including an emerald from 632 carats and the largest blue star sapphire in the world.
Make sure to visit the museums; there are dozens of them including the Met, MoMA, Guggenheim and Whitney. Shift to the Museum of Sex, the Museum of the Dog, and the Fashion Institute of Technology exhibits. Or do what the locals do and browse Chelsea’s art galleries. The exhibitions are free and filled with works by well-known and up-and-coming contemporary artists. Then get a unique perspective of the city as you travel the 1.45 mile High Line, an elevated railway park.
Discover the city from above. The Empire State Building is celebrating its 90th anniversary with new heat lamps on its observation decks, historical exhibits, live music, and even a sunrise entrance to see the city come to life. The lights illuminating the skyscraper tower change color every night.
To view the building from afar, you have plenty of choices: there’s the Top of the Rock Observatory at Rockefeller Plaza as well as the Edge at Hudson Yards, the tallest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere. The SUMMIT One Vanderbilt just opened, a three-story immersive observatory / experience in the skyscraper next to Grand Central Terminal, with glass and mirrored floors, exterior elevators, and 360-degree views. Or take the tram to Roosevelt Island for great views from the Panorama Room on the rooftop of the new Graduate Hotel on the 18th floor.
Once downtown, visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, where you can see the reflective twin pools in the footprints of the original World Trade Center towers. Admire the Oculus, a transportation hub and mall built to resemble a hand releasing a dove.
Cross the Brooklyn Bridge for a skyline view from the Freedom Tower. Then, take the Staten Island ferry, the city’s best free boat ride, past Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty for Instagram-worthy photos.
Get into the holiday spirit with the Rockettes’ kicking precision at Radio City Christmas Show until January 2. Buy last-minute, discounted Broadway Theater tickets at the TKTS booth on 47th Street. Previews open this month for The man of music, a cover with Hugh Jackman at the Winter Garden Theater.
No trip to New York is complete without shopping. Kids will love the Harry Potter flagship store, just steps from the Flatiron Building on East 22nd St., with interactive exhibits, virtual reality experiences, and butter beer (non-alcoholic). Also new to the scene: a large LEGO store around the corner, and further downtown, a Sour Patch Kids candy store in NoHo.
New York is one of the culinary capitals of the world, so dive in and explore. Go upscale at the Bernardin or the Gramercy Tavern, or settle into a private ski-inspired cabin at The Greens, a venue on the rooftop of Pier 17. For New York classics, try the rye pastrami with a pickle half sour at 2nd Ave Deli, or a Gray’s Papaya hot dog. Head to Chinatown for some soup dumplings or dim sum.
Remember, the “city” is not just Manhattan. Venture into the outer boroughs. Board Train 7 to Flushing, Queens for authentic Asian cuisine and peek into the Unisphere from the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. Stroll the streets of Bushwick, Brooklyn to see creative street murals, and discover Dyker Heights, a neighborhood where locals go out of their way to decorate their homes for the holidays.
Head to the upscale Little Italy neighborhoods of the Bronx to feast on authentic Italian culinary delights on Arthur Avenue, then explore the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden, where model trains run along a train track. ‘half a mile surrounded by miniature city landmarks handcrafted from natural materials.
There is so much to do that we will have to come back for spring or summer. Remember rule number one: wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be walking more than you imagine, but it’s the only way to see the city. What’s this real New Yorkers are doing it.