How about we start getting into some Holiday Spirit?
I don’t about you but I’m a huge believer that is never too early to start preparing for the Holidays!
One of my favorite past-times is actually enjoying the anticipation of the actual Christmas Day and Festivities. The Holidays go as fast as they come, but those couple of months before, where the city is so festive that even the people seem to be more cheerful for once, is what I love the most.
We have a multitude of Holiday-themed things in the city that are offered throughout November and December, and I kind of love doing them all. Plus, for any photography or video lover like me, nothing beats New York "dressed" for Christmas! Right?
The weather decided to collaborate and it got a bit chillier, and the Hot Chocolate places are now my new best friends! I believe that if it's cold out there, our bodies need some energy, so it's absolutely justifiable that we drink Hot Cocoa - calories won't count!
My absolute favorite place is Marie Belle on Broome Street down in SoHo. Their thick white chocolate is to die for - if you ask me.
Another place I love is Max Brenner in Union Square for their chocolate fondue because what else screams Christmas more than making your own S’Mores?!
Marie Belle (SoHo) 484 Broome St, New York, NY 10013
Max Brenner (Union Square) 841 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
WINTER OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
And since it's clear that the cold-weather makes us hungry, let’s start with some good news for our body - the three main Ice-Skating rinks are now open! We can at least attempt to "burn" some of the calories doing something fun!
I personally prefer to go to the ice-skating rink that is all the way up in Central Park, near Harlem Meer, not only because it’s actually closer to my house but also because it’s less touristy and crowded.
Otherwise, the 3 popular ones are Central Park Wollman Rink, Rockefeller Ice-Skating Rink and the Winter Village at Bryant Park. You have seen them countless of times in movies, videos, and photos. At least once, you should really try them!
Central Park Wollman Rink (Central Park South-East) 830 5th Ave, New York, NY 10065
The Rink at Rockefeller Center (Midtown) 600 5th Ave, New York, NY 10020
Winter Village at Bryant Park (Midtown) 476 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018
HOLIDAY MARKETS & SHOPPING
Speaking of Bryant Park, the Holiday Market is back bigger than previous years with over 150 kiosks and food vendors.
Union Square Holiday Market will officially open on November 16th. As every year, we will have plenty of local stores and food options.
Otherwise, another great option is the Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar, although, it will be open only 2 days - November 25th and 26th!
Winter Village at Bryant Park - Open from October 28th to January 2nd - 11am to 8pm Monday to Friday - 10am to 8pm Saturday & Sunday. Location: 476 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018 (Midtown.)
Union Square Holiday Market - Open from November 16th to December 24th - 11am to 8pm / 7pm on Sundays. Location: W 14th St & Union Square West, New York, NY 10011 (Union Square.)
Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar - Open November 25th and 26th from 11am to 6pm. Location: 452 + 501 Union Street, Gowanus, Brooklyn, NY 1123 (Brooklyn.)
FAO SCHWARZ IS BACK!
For those that like me still remember a "little store" called FAO Schwarz on 5th Avenue, my personal wonderland, and my parents' nightmare, you can now enjoy some moments down memory-lane at the new pop-up location on the 7th Floor of Bergdorf and Goodman. Don’t get too excited, it’s really a small pop-up but still, it can take you back a few years!
Bergdorf and Goodman - 754 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019. On the 7th Floor.
The very famous and very celebrated Rockefeller Christmas Tree will be lit on November 29th. This year for the first time I will actually go there. I always considered it a too touristy venture to go there myself but since my new profound passion for videography, I’m trying not to miss these popular events hoping to actually be able to film them!
Other popular Christmas Trees in New York can be found in South Street Seaport, Bryant Park, and Washington Square Park.
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony On November 29th from 7pm to 9pm. The Tree will be will remain lit until 9pm on January 7, 2018. Location: 600 5th Ave, New York, NY 10020 (Midtown.)
Bryant Park Tree Lighting Skate-tacular On December 1st from 6 pm to 6:45pm. Location: 476 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018 (Midtown.)
The Seaport Tree Lighting Ceremony On November 29 at 6:30 pm, presented by Hallmark Channel. Location: 19 Fulton Street, New York, NY, 10038 (Downtown.)
Washington Sq. Park Tree Lighting Ceremony On December 7th at 6pm. Location: Washington Square N, New York, NY 10012 (West Village.)
Tip: In Washington Square Park, on Christmas Eve, December 24th, at 5pm, Christmas Carols will be held under the Tree!
The Rockettes at Radio City Hall, the most Christmas-y show of all will start again on November 10th, and I'm going on the 29th!
This year, I already got my tickets to the Nutcracker at the New York City Ballet which starts on November 24th at the Lincoln Center.
Plus, the very popular A Christmas Carol, the Off-Broadway Show, will be back on Thanksgiving.
The Rockettes From November 10th to January 1st at Radio City Music Hall. Location: 1260 6th Ave, New York, NY 10020 (Midtown)
The Nutcracker From November 24th to December 31st at the New York City Ballet. Location: 20 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY (Lincoln Center.)
A Christmas Carol From November 24th to December 17th at the Theatre Row. Location: 410 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036 (Midtown West)
CHRISTMAS WINDOW DISPLAYS
Nothing says New York + Holidays like the Christmas Window Display - they are the quintessential essence of Christmas in the city. Mainly every single department store in the city will have a special Holiday Window Display usually from Mid-November till after New Year's Eve.
Saks Fifth Avenue - Starting November 20th
Bergdorf Goodman - Starting November 14th
Macy's - Starting November 16th
Tiffany & Co - Starting November 13th
Lord & Taylor - Starting November 9th
Barneys - Starting November 16th
Henri Bendel - Starting November 15th
Bloomingdale's - Starting November 21st
Many rooftops are starting to either enclose their outdoor space, use standing heaters or plaster the entire area with those funny-looking see-through heating igloos. Have you ever seen one?
There are plenty of Rooftops in the city but those that to me are very Christmas-themed are Baita Rooftop at Eataly, The Lodge at Gallow Green and the 230 Fifth Avenue.
Both Baita and The Lodge are recreating an Alpine Lodge with fake snow, fennel blankets, bunk beds, twinkle lights, trees and more! At the Lodge, there is also an outdoor fire pit with several evergreens all-around to make it look just like a mountain retreat.
230 Firth Avenue the very popular Winter Igloos are back! Location: 230 Fifth Ave (Corner 27th) Manhattan, NY 10001(Motown South.)
Baita by Birreria Rooftop inside Eataly. Location: 200 Fifth Avenue, Roof, New York, NY 10010 (Flat-Iron.)
The Lodge at Gallow Green at the McKittrick Hotel. Location: 542 West 27th Street, New York, NY, 10001 (Midtown South.)
The CHRISTMAS HOUSES OF DYKER HEIGHTS
If you want to venture outside Manhattan then jump on the train, or grab a cab, and go to the lovely quaint neighborhood of Dyker Heights in Brooklyn. The area is located closer to the Verrazzano Bridge, and it's about 45-minute drive from Midtown and about 1-hr with the train (D Train to 71st Street) + Bus to 12th Avenue (B4 to Sheepshead Bay) but it's so worth it. They are known internationally for their amazingly over-the-top Christmas Decorations. You can walk around the neighborhood sipping hot cocoa and talking to the residents and home-owners. They will be glad to share with you why and how they got started with this Christmas Tradition!
Tip: The area with the most lights and decorations is from 11th to 13th Avenue from 83rd to 86th St with 84th Street being the most iconic one with the original Houses that started this tradition back in the 1980s - Polizzotto's and Spata's.
THE CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS HUNT
While I was shopping at Macy’s, I also saw that the classic Holiday Lane is in full swing on the 9th Floor. Also, Begdorf & Goodman is all set up for some Christmas ornaments on the 7th Floor, which makes it clear that every single department store in New York is now selling Christmas "stuff" in the classic "It's never too early to get started!"
Macy's, 9th Floor, 151 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001
Begdorf and Goodman, 7th Floor 754 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019
Saks 5th Avenue, 611 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022
Bloomingdale's, 1000 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022
Now the only thing left to do is some Christmas Shopping with a capitol S! I, for one, can’t wait to get started!
I created this Top-10 list of things that "scream" Christmas in New York - Check out the video, hope you like it!
Happy Holidays Everyone!