“Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling.” ~ Edna Ferber
There is nothing more magical then Christmas in New York. The lights. The decorations. The hustle an bustle. The shopping! There is a reason Silver Bells goes “It’s Christmas time in the city…” Because it is such a magical time.
Except for the crowds. Oh the crowds! The horrible no good crowds! While yes I live in a city, my allergies tend to flare up when I am around people. Especially right now. Come November they swarm the city like it is their job to possess and annoy. Whether you want to visit Macy’s or see Rock Center. Don’t! Avoid it if you want to avoid death or at least having an arrest record.
I know what you are thinking then how do I experience a New York Christmas?
Easy, New York is a smorgasbord of Christmas. Yes the touristy is there and always will be, but also the things regulars love to do. Here are five things to do to experience Christmas in the City AND keep your sanity.
This is literally my favorite place in the city. I have written countless (and I do mean countless sorry dear readers) about this diamond in the rough, I probably have annoyed you. While everyone goes to Rock Center, which is great if you want to be smothered by people, and stuck there wall to wall with no one moving for two hours (true story) I prefer the quieter, quainter Bryant Park. With its own tree complete with annual lighting, ice rink, as well as cafés and shops, it is located behind the Public Library and nestled amongst buildings. It is the locals hideaway. The rink is much bigger then Rock Center, and has free skating (you have to pay for rentals and a locker, but come on, in the city…FREE? Mind blown!) Afterwards you can sip some hot apple cider with a real cinnamon stick in it, peruse the shops perhaps finding a gift to give or maybe even one to keep for yourself and if you are really desperate, you can always grab a more adult beverage, at the outdoor bar, complete with heaters.
The Window Displays
Pretty much anywhere you go in the city, their are incredible window displays this time of year. Strap on your hiking shoes (seriously) and take a stroll up and down Fifth Avenue taking in Bergdorfs, Saks, Tiffany’s, and so many more. Just be prepared to dodge those who stop in the middle of the street to stare and take pictures with their iPads (again true story) be weary of Macy’s while fantastic it can literally feel like herding cattle. Yet somehow, Bloomingdales while just as spectacular, always seems to have quieter crowds viewing their stunning displays. Last year, I purposefully kept finding reasons to go there because of the incredible Star Wars display they had. Come on, who doesn’t love Princess Leia?
// Last years window display at Bergdorfs //
The Outdoor Christmas Markets
Every year Columbus Circle and Union Square have Christmas Markets. Booth set up with a hodge podge of unique, hand crafted, and many times fair trade items. It is the perfect way to shop locally in a city known for its market in commerce. It is also a sure way to know that you will probably be unique in your gift giving. Amongst the shops is also a smorgasbord of kiosks with food, from hot chestnuts (yes it is real) to hot chocolate. Definitely the best way to do your shopping!
Move aside Rockettes there is a new show in town! While there is no denying the staple that the Rockettes are to New York. There are also some incredible holiday shows that come to the Great White Way or MSG every year, ranging from the Grinch, to a Christmas Story, to this years Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and a new show based on one of my favorite movies, Holiday Inn. How can you say no to that?
Dyker Heights is literally I have walked into Whoville and they threw up Christmas everywhere! It is literally my favorite part of the Holidays. Dyker Heights is in Brooklyn. You know those movies and shows about decoration competitions and neighborhoods going all out? This is that! You can either walk about a mile from the subway, drive or even take a bus tour through the neighborhoods gazing at outrageous display after outrageous display. There is one house that even has a live Christmas Carousel!
What is your favorite thing to do in the city this season?