New York City Is a Holiday Spectacle You Must Experience
by Hanna Houck
It is the most wonderful time of the year- and it is even more wonderful when spent in the city that never sleeps.
New York City, a large metropolis that is home to approximately 8.4 million people, brings swarms of tourists in every year during Christmas-time. Tourists flock to iconic holiday landmarks such as Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, or Bryant Park.
After spending a December weekend in the city, I have decided which landmarks are absolutely essential to a holiday trip to New York City and those that are not.
You have probably seen the famous Christmas Tree that resides in Rockefeller Center in movies or TV shows. The 85 foot tall tree is located above the ice rink.
Rockefeller Center is overwhelmingly crowded with tourists at all hours of the day. I went to see the tree at 10:30 at night and I had to walk shoulder to shoulder throughout the entire center.
Because of how crowded it is, trying to take a picture is near impossible. In order to take a picture you have to decide where in the walkway you are going to stop and block traffic even more. If you do this you will probably get nasty remarks from people and elbows to your face. An alternative to taking your own pictures is paying a pricey fee to have a photographer take a picture of you in a roped off area.
Seeing the beautiful lights and sculptures in Rockefeller Center was definitely an experience, but the massive crowds ruin the experience. I think that everyone should see it once, but a do over is not necessary.
Bryant Park Shops and Ice Skating:
Located between 5th and 6th avenue, The Bryant Park Holiday shops is home to more than 125 shops, boutiques, and vendors from October 30th to January 3rd.
From artisan jewelry to vegan burgers, the park has all you need in an open air Christmas market.
If you are not interested in the shops, Bryant Park also has an ice skating rink. Admission to the rink is free, but you can rent skates from the rink. Along with recreational skating, the rink also offers skating lessons.
Bryant Park shops and skating is a must for a winter New York City trip. Strolling through the shops with a cup of hot chocolate is relaxing. You can also get all your Christmas shopping done in one trip! The crowds are not as intense as those at Rockefeller Center, making the experience more enjoyable.
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular:
The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall has been a staple in the New York holiday since 1933.
The storyline of the show occasionally changes from year to year, but the famous and perfectly in sync dancers, known as the Rockettes, typically have the same performances every year.
The show lasts 90 minutes and includes an appearance from Santa Claus himself.
The dances performed by the Rockettes will leave you in awe. 36 Rockettes perform on stage at a time and when they do a kickline they are perfectly in sync.
While the dances are beautiful and admirable for the skill required to perform, unless you are a ballet junkie, you may find yourself asleep in your seat before the second kickline.
Macy’s Department Store on 34th Street:
Starting with the Thanksgiving Day Parade, Macy’s Department store at Herald Square becomes the “hotbed of holiday activity from November through December” (www.visitmacysusa.com). Macy’s has been famous for their window displays along Broadway and Seventh Avenue since 1870.
The 8th floor of Macy’s is home to the famous ‘Santaland’ where kids and adults alike can visit Santa and tell them what they want for Christmas.
Another Christmas tradition at Macy’s is the Holiday Lane on the 9th floor. Holiday Lane features Christmas Decor and festive gifts.
When you walk in the door you will be greeted with mass crowds. The majority of people in Macy’s are not shopping, they are there for the Christmas festivities of course. If you are looking to actually shop during the Christmas season, I would not suggest it. The crowds will make it difficult for you to shop leisurely and if you cannot shop leisurely, why do it at all? If you are interested in the festivities, I think a trip to Macy’s is worth it. The decorations are beautiful and the Macy’s staff are full of holiday cheer.
Christmas in the city is truly magical. Despite the occasional rude and Scrooge-like citizens of Manhattan, a trip to New York during the holiday season is a wonderful way to experience timeless traditions.