Celebrate Christmas in New York City

It is the ultimate city, a place that more songs have been written about, where more movies have been filmed: it’s the Top of the Rock, “top of the heap, king of the hill,” New York, New York.  If you haven’t been to New York  City at Christmastime, it’s something you have to do at least once in your lifetime.

It’s romantic riding through Central Park via horse and buggy, or driving your car under the snowflakes down Fifth Avenue.  The slower the traffic, the better the sightseeing.   And during the Christmas holidays, no doubt, there’s going to be lots of traffic.  But New York City is also accessible by train, bus, car, and of course, taxi.

Horse and buggy ride along Central Park (web photo)

If you’ve arrived into Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge, you’ll see a sign directing traffic north to the FDR Drive.  Once on the FDR Drive, continue north, and exit on 42nd Street.  You have to make your way across town toward Broadway, the heart of the New York’s Theater District. There are more movies, shopping, restaurants and sightseeing in New York City than any other city in the United States.  Everything you’ve ever wanted to see about New York’s theater district in waiting for you right there.  Blocks and blocks of live theater leading up to the streets numbering in the Fifties where high-end shopping begins.  You are now headed towards Radio City Music Hall and the Great Christmas Spectacular.

Broadway Theater District

Broadway Theater District

Rockettes Toy Soldiers

Rockettes Toy Soldiers

Rockefeller Center is the place for New Yorkers  and out-of-towners to visit during the Christmas Holidays. Go there to see the Big Christmas Tree, wander around 30 Rock, watch the ice skaters on the rink, smell the cold crisp air of the “City that Never Sleeps”.  After all,  “Tis the season to be jolly!”  And every year New York puts on it’s lights for all to see.  For some reason, hot chocolate even tastes much better watching the skaters.

Some do’s and don’ts:

Do visit Carmine’s Family Style Restaurant in the Theater District.  You haven’t eaten in New York if you haven’t been to Carmine’s.   Sitting at the bar and ordering a hot antipasto and a glass of wine is my family’s favorite.  Watch the people come through the door, there is generally a line forming outside.

Don’t try to get into Carmine’s right before a show or immediately after.  It’s jammed packed during those  hours.  An off hour is best.  Or better yet, make a reservation if you’re a going with a large group.

Don’t order too  much food.   Carmine’s is known for their double portions.  Many times three people can share the meal.

Do order a salad, pasta and a meat or fish dish.  That will be enough food for five people.

Do stay alert in New York City.  Be street-smart.  If you watch your belongings, you won’t get ripped off.   There are plenty of police patroling during the Christmas Holidays.  Just be aware of your purse, shopping bags, and cameras.

Do visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  If you’ve not been to St. Pat’s, it is something that you want to see, especially the Manger toward the left side of the altar. Located at 14 East 51st Street, St Patrick’s receives 5.5 million people per year.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral


Photos: Horse & Buggy (web photo)

Photos: Patricia Florio