Photos: Wendy Thompson/DC Spotlight Newspaper
There are plenty of things to do in New York during the holidays. The Christmas tree lighting in Rockefeller Center, the New Year’s celebration at Times Square, ice skating, plenty of shows on Broadway and more await any tourist traveling to the Big Apple during the festive months of December and January. There are also plenty of museums to see in New York and great places to eat. New York is a very busy city with a plethora of activities.
For lodging there is the Sherry Netherland located on 781 5th Avenue in Central Park. The Sherry Netherland is minutes from Barney’s and Tiffany and Co. and close to Rockefeller Center and Broadway. The hotel features a restaurant, a 24 hour business center, limo and town car service, and express check-out. There is also the Casablanca Hotel located on 147 West 43rd Street. The hotel is close to Broadway and Macy’s. Features include tour and ticket assistance, a business center, and dry cleaning and laundry services. For a more affordable place to lodge, there is the Hotel Stanford located at 43 W 32nd Street. The hotel offers affordable rates and is close to Macy’s Herald Square, the world’s largest department store. It is also half a mile from Times Square near Broadway. At the TKTS Booth, visitors can find discounted tickets to Broadway shows. It is also conveniently located near a subway stop.
Places to Eat
There are plenty of places to eat in New York from fine dining to pizza. One place is Club A Steakhouse located on 240 E 58th Street on the border of the Upper East Side and Midtown East. Club A is managed by famous restaurateur Bruno Selimaj. Club A Steakhouse is a pricey steakhouse, but highly recommended. Dress is business casual. Gramercy Tavern, located at 42 E 20th Street is another place for great dining. Gramercy features seasonal American cuisine with a rustic influence. The restaurant has both a casual dining experience in the tavern and a more formal dining experience in the main dining room. Serving an a la carte menu centered on a wood burning grill, the main dining room features a fixed menu and reservations must be made 28 days in advance. There is also Patsy’s Restaurant located on 236 W 56 Street. The Italian restaurant has been in business since 1944 and is a family run, offering classic Neapolitan cuisine in a warm and friendly environment.
There are a plethora of activities in New York during Christmas. Ice skating at one of the many rinks in New York is a delightful change from the typical shopping and dining activities in the city. The ice rink at Bryant Park is free and open late, however renting skates will cost $15.00. The rink is located at Sixth Avenue, Midtown West and the season is open from October to March. There are also plenty of shops and restaurants in Bryant Park, including the restaurant Celsius to peruse after a day or night of ice skating.
There is also the long running “Radio City Christmas Spectacular” running from November 8th through December 30th at the Radio City Music Hall. The show is on its 86th year and has become a long running tradition. It features a large flying Santa, a massive LED screen and the Rockettes. The Radio City Music Hall is located at 6th Avenue between W 50th Street and W 51st Street. Tickets for the show are from $45.00 a person to $89.00 for premium seating.
If you like trains, there is New York’s Holiday Train Show. In NYBG’s popular diorama, more than a dozen model trains traverse in an incredibly detailed New York City scene, including landmarks, such as the Empire State Building and Radio City Music Hall, made of natural materials such as twigs and bark. It is located at the New York Botanical Garden at Bronx River Pkwy. The price is $20-$25 for adults, $18-22 for students and senior citizens, $8-$10 for kids 2 – 12, and free for kids under 2. It is open from 10am – 6pm on Tuesday to Sunday.
Sights to See
There are many attractions and museums to visit while in New York, such as the Museum of Natural History. It is home to the largest collection of dinosaur fossils in the world. Roughly 80 percent of the bones were dug out of the ground and the museum features a replica of a Brachiosaurus Skeleton. The Museum is located at 79th Street and Central Park West. General admission tickets cost $21.99 for adults; $12.49 for children ages 2 – 12; under 2 is free and $16.99 for seniors.
What trip wouldn’t be complete without a visit to one of the city’s most famous buildings? The Empire State Building, which is 1454 feet tall, was completed in 1931. The Art Deco Design of the lobby was restored in 2009. A high speed elevator brings tourists up to the 86th floor observatory, where all can get a view of the city from open air decks or behind glass. There is an extra cost to go up to the 102nd floor observatory. The Empire State Building is located at 350 Fifth Avenue Midtown West. Tickets are $25 for adults, $22 for seniors and military personnel, $19 for children from 6-12, and free for children under 5 and military personnel in uniform.
Another attraction is the long standing Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge was opened in 1883 when it was considered a feat of engineering. It was the first structure to span the East River, and at the time, the longest suspension bridge in the world. It gives you a spectacular view of lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, and Governor’s Island as well as other sights and attractions. It is located between Brooklyn and Manhattan. There is no admission fee to visit the site.
One of the biggest events during the Christmas season in New York is the lighting of the tree in Rockefeller Center. The event starts at 7:00 pm on December 3 with live performances from various artists ending at 9:00 PM with the lighting of the tree. The tree stands until January 7th. The Rockefeller Center is located between West 48th and West 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues. The event is free and open to the public.
New Year’s Eve Celebration
The New Year’s Eve celebration at Time’s Square will mark its 109th year this year. The event began in 1904 when the owners of One Time Square began rooftop celebrations to welcome in the New Year. The first ball drop occurred in 1907. In 2014, the event will feature live performances from Miley Cyrus, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Blondie, Icona Pop, Jencarlos Canela, El Dasa and Rodney Atkins. Melissa Etheridge will perform her new song, “Uprising of Love,” and a rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” The festivities will kick off at 6:00 PM with a Chinese cultural performance featuring Kung Fu and a colorful fan dance. The celebration will also feature an exclusive trailer of “The Amazing Spiderman 2” with Time Square footage.