This time last year I was in New York. Like many people that have been there, I too fell deeply in love with the City. I had visited many European cities and liked Paris and London as much as everyone else…but for me, there is nothing like New York.
In my teens I used to watch many American movies set there and once I found myself in Manhattan it felt somehow like living on the set of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” or “Sex and the City”… and it took me a while to give up this fantasy and start to see the real New York.
“living on the set of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” or “Sex and the City”...”
It is an amazing city, full of extraordinary people, with the greatest stories and a great determination to succeed. New York city-life is a fast one, only the taxis go slow and they are expensive, so better walk when you can.
The holidays are a magical time in New York - the Christmas windows displays, the lights, the buzz and happiness that everybody brings to the city, but you’ll pay a premium to be in New York around this time. Plan ahead, budget and be smart!
Before I left for NYC I had a list of 39 things that I wanted to see and do, but I had underestimated how big the Big Apple is. For the first 2 days I rushed around to see AS MUCH AS possible, but after that my daily adventures turned into what I actually wanted to see, rather than ticking off every box of my ridiculous long list.
So here are 12 things to do in New York after you’ve seen a few of the big attractions and you feel like you want to slow down and enjoy the real City:
1. My favourite traditions are the Christmas windows displays, and the spectacular lights show at Sak’s Fifth Avenue. For off the beaten track, go to Dyker Heights in Brooklyn or Whitestone/Bayside in Queens. Dyker Heights is famous for their crazy Christmas lightsdisplays, lighting the whole neighbourhood.
2. Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is indeed magical, but prepare for a long time in the cold with no loos in sight. For something special, the night before the parade, you can have a sneak peek and watch the balloons being blown up between 3pm and 10pm, it’s free. If you head to Central Park West between 77th street and 81st street, you’ll see all the balloons will be in the parade the next morning.
3. Skip the ice skating at Rockefeller Centre, it’s a really small rink and so expensive. Head to the stunning Wollman Rink in Central Park or Bryant Park for the best winter ice skating in New York City.
4. Go to see the Rockettes show at the Radio City Music Hall. Tickets sell out quickly, so be sure to book your ticket as soon as you know you’re heading to NYC!
5. For a lively authentic NYC bar full of lovers of Broadway musicals and resting performers who take turns of singing live at the piano, try ‘Don’t tell Mama’ piano bar on 343 W 46th St.
6. Santacon is an annual tradition to love OR hate. You can dress up with thousands of New Yorkers in Santa costumes to drink all around Manhattan and make lots of new friends in the holiday spirit.
7. The night of the Tree Lighting at the Rockefeller Centre is crowded, but not overrated! However if you do not wish to fight your way through the crowds, you can see it any other day, best dinner time when most people will be looking for a restaurant and don’t miss the NYC Taxi shoes in the fashion store on one side and the Lego miniature Rockefeller Centre on the other.
8. The Top of the Rock or Empire State Building view? Don’t waste your money on a view if you can get a drink AND a view for half the price. There’s so many great rooftop bars in New York City, so don’t feel that you need to go to the top of the Empire State Building.
9. The iconic Central Park is magical in snow, if you are lucky. Stroll around the windy paths, climb the rocks and enjoy a turmeric latte to warm up.
10. Hear the story behind New York City’s park in the sky on a special winter walking tour! Knowledgeable volunteer guides offer their insider’s perspective on the park’s history, design, and landscape. A beautiful Zaha Hadid building can be seen on the way.
11. When visiting a city comfy shoes are recommended, but when visiting NYC there is an invitation to a bit of style and chic over comfort. Head to The Space Cowboy shop for a pair of cowgirl boots in Little Italy neighbourhood. Check out also the black diamonds shop across the road, the nice stationary shop next door and the concrete shop around the corner.
12. To indulge your taste buds, visit Chelsea Market or Flushing in Queens.
Have you been to NYC? Going? There now? What made your trip special?