It’s hard to find a better place than New York to vacation. There are the lights, the post-Covid crowds roaming the streets and the holiday spirit filling the air and your glass. New York is a romantic destination for couples of all ages. But from Halloween to New Year’s Day, there is no shortage of activities to fill the shorter days of young and old alike.
The first requirement for exploring New York is a sturdy pair of shoes. You will also want to group up; it’s often cold on the Staten Island ferry or on the circle line. The winter wind whips between the skyscrapers, or if you’re strolling across the East River on the Brooklyn Bridge wooden footpath.
You won’t be driving in Manhattan, and for short trips your feet are faster than a taxi or Uber stuck in traffic. Walking in New York is special, as you watch people deliberately moving down the street as fast as an airport moving walkway.
From city streets to the Highline to the Brooklyn Bridge, there are plenty of places to stroll. A special walk is to walk down Fifth Avenue to look at the lights and shops. Regardless of your faith or lack thereof, this walk should eventually take you to Rockefeller Center Plaza (49e Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues) to see the huge Christmas tree. From December 1st, the large common spruce is ablaze with light from 6 a.m. to midnight.
You can also watch the skaters spin Rockefeller Center Ice Rink.
You can skate for free nearby at the Winter Village at Bryant Park by Bank of America. The one-block park is right next to the New York Public Library at 42n/a with its famous “library lions”. This fall and winter, it will host the Bryant Park by Bank of America Winter Village with shopping, food, holiday glitter and, of course, ice skating.
The park packs a 17,000 square foot Ice skating The ice rink is free to use if you bring your own skates. (Rentals are also possible.) The park’s winter village offers more than 170 food and shopping kiosks.
Another wonderful place to take a walk is the South Street Seaport. You will need to take a subway from downtown (a true New York experience in itself). It is worth a visit to explore the piers, the museum and its fleet of ships, a reminder that New York was (and is) a major seaport. The area was once home to the noisy and quaint Fulton Fish Market.
The New York Botanical Garden Glow, from November 18, 2022 to January 14, 2023, illuminates the grounds with thousands of energy-efficient LED lights and festive installations. The 1.5-mile experience after dark includes illuminated exhibits as well as dance performances, ice sculpting, and snacks.
Similarly, Brooklyn Botanic Garden brings back Lightscape, an after-dark illuminated art trail with over a million lights, plus music. You won’t go hungry during your one-mile walk, as vendors will be offering snacks including s’mores and fortified hot chocolate for adults.
Visitors to the Botanical Gardens may want to start their tour of the area nearby Brooklyn Museum, open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The museum has an excellent art collection and hosts new exhibitions. On November 18, a retrospective on Thierry Mugler will open, exploring the avant-garde universe of the French designer, fashion visionary and creator of iconic perfumes.
One way for families to see New York’s Christmas lights is via The North Pole Express. The bus adventure begins with hot chocolate and cookies as passengers listen to the elves tell a Christmas story. The bus tour then takes a trip through New York to see the holiday illuminations, from the Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Light Show and the Rockefeller Christmas Tree and Radio City Music Hall to the Cartier Holiday Lights and Bryant Park Winter Village.
During the tour, passengers can sing Christmas carols and spend time with “Santa Claus”. Children are encouraged to wear pajamas and coats. They are given a warm Christmas hat and a winter blanket to keep warm on the open upper deck. Maybe tomorrow they’ll see Radio City Musical Hall Rockettes Christmas Show!
After all this good humor, many of us will need a drink. Post-pandemic, New York hotels are helping out with their secret weapon: the hotel bar.
New York is full of hotel bars like El Quixote in Chelsea Hotel, Jazz Café, Le Club Bar, Promenade Bar, Le Salon, Thompson Central Park, The Raines Law Room at The William, Chrystie’s Bar at public hotel and Bemelmans at The Carlyle.
Calico Bar, located in the freehand new york in the Flatiron District near Gramercy Park, offers drinks based on the flavors and tones of the American Southwest, as seen in the work of artist Georgia O’Keeffe. The bar may have originated from a Prohibition-era speakeasy, but the inspiration for drinks like Under My Cucumberella, Body Cosmo and Coyote Cuddles came from photography of O’Keefe and his home. from the southwest, Ghost Ranch.
If you’re bar-hopping, stop by the famous Algonquin Hotel, home to the “Round Table” of minds like Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, George S. Kaufman and New Yorker editor Harold Ross. The hotel is elegant blue bar, opened in 1933 at the end of Prohibition, is decorated with the art of Broadway cartoonist Al Hirschfeld. His ink portraits always featured the name of his daughter, Nina.