The Christmas season in New York City…what can I say?
The streets are buzzing with anticipation during December as the city dresses up for the festive season. The centrepiece of it all is the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. It is a beautifully large spruce that sits directly next to the Rockefeller ice rink during December, welcoming many admirers. I’ll admit I did not try ice skating this time around as I know from experience I would’ve more than likely crashed and with an audience in the hundreds I thought I might save myself the embarrassment! But, if ice skating is something you want to try there are a few places in the city where you can give it a go. (Tip: I recommend the rink at Brookfield Place downtown as there is a much shorter wait time)
Across the way lies the relocated Fao Schwartz toy store as well as the Lego store. It’s a bit intimidating to see a designated line up area outside a store due to its popularity but the excitement inside makes it all worth it. My adventure into Fao Schwartz required a lot of navigating around frantic parents and overexcited children. Though this store is more condensed than its original version, it still retains a nostalgic charm that manifests during the festive season. I was particularly fascinated with the sheer amount of Barbie dolls available. Apparently the iconic doll has moved on from her Malibu surfer and Ballerina days and now works as a robotics engineer. Girl power! Their candy section was also particularly impressive, with a large variety of options available to cover every childhood favourite.
Next up was Saks 5th Avenue. Many of the retail buildings in NYC decorate themselves for the Christmas season and Saks was no exception. The impressive decorations and window displays are lit up each night, attracting many who wish to partake in the city’s festive spirit. Though they may have had just a few too many $000s on their price tags for my bank account, it is certainly worth having a look inside this impressive store. I also recommend it because when I was in the city, the daily temperature averaged 3 degrees Celsius (37.4 Fahrenheit) and going “shopping” offered some respite from the cold.
Finally I ended up in Central Park. As I wandered through the park I was surrounded by many passionate buskers who serenaded passerby’s with Christmas tunes. With a very large hot chocolate in hand I wandered the park, taking in the music and the spare rays of sun as they pushed through the trees. Central Park was the coldest place for me in New York but it offers a nice break from the cars and the concrete as you wander past ponds and trees.
Christmas time in New York is definitely something that should be on bucket lists because the city re-energises with excitement and anticipation as it builds up to the end of another year. With the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular and the many Christmas markets and ice rinks, the city comes alive with holiday cheer as people, locals and tourists alike, take to the streets to explore what the city has to offer. However, if you need a little break from it all, go take a quiet walk in the park….just don’t feed the squirrels!