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Christmas in New York

by Sara Fernández Valladares from Spain

I guess Christmas fans will be with me. It is a time to enjoy the company of the family, meetings with friends, helping and not thinking so much about ourselves and, also, why not, trying to rest and relax a little. Christmas is amazing everywhere, but in New York, it’s really special. The city is dressed in lights and color to receive the arrival of Santa Claus, the elves and all those who want to visit it. Next, I show you some of the things that you should do during these days in the city that never sleeps.

Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center:

At this point, you can not see its live lighting, obviously, but you can approach to see it in all its splendor with all its lights and all the soldiers and little angels surrounding it. In my case, last year I did not attend the lighting but this year I did. It took place on November 29 and, if you go with time, you can see the ceremony well. As you can imagine, it is crowded and also, the police check one by one each and every one of the people who want to enjoy this event (which I greatly appreciate). I saw the ceremony and the performances (Gwen Stefani, Pentatonix, Bret Eldredge, Leslie Odom Jr., Jennifer Nettles, The Tenors and The Rockettes) on a screen in the corner of NBC and, once the tree was lit I only had to move 4 steps to see it in all its glory. Afterwards, I visited it on a different day, to see it from another perspective and be able to take a picture. I would recommend going there during the week, the weekend gets together a lot of people and, if the masses overwhelm you, it is not the best.

Saks windows:

Just opposite the Rockefeller Center, you have the exclusive Saks department store. Like every year at this time, they decorate their windows without sparing any detail. This year, on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, its windows recall the story of the princess and her seven friends. Likewise, if you place yourself on the opposite sidewalk, you can see the light show on the facade of the department store accompanied by sounds and songs from the film. Fully recommended and, as in the previous case, go there during the week.

The Rockettes:

Next to Saks and the Rockefeller Center is the Radio City Music Hall. Within this icon of the city, a show takes place from the beginning of November until January 1, The Rockettes. It is a precision dance company dating from 1925 whose show you must see if you are visiting the city at this time. More info here: https://www.rockettes.com/christmas/. The show is super New York and, as I said before, precision does not fail. For me, the most spectacular part of the show is the soldiers’ performance. Apart from bringing the ticket purchased in advance, it is important to go, at least 45 minutes before to see the show on time as they form terrible lines.

Crazy about Christmas lights:

This was how her neighbors considered Lucy Spata, a neighbor who, at Christmas time in 1986, decorated her house at 1152 84th Street, in the neighborhood of Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, with all the Christmas lights in the store. Neighbors did not it, but she did not care. If they did not like what they saw, Lucy had only one word for them “Move!”. But it seems that it was not like that, the following year, all the neighbors began to follow Lucy and decorated their houses … crazy. When you go between them, you go hallucinating more and more. Hallucinating with the lights and what they will have to pay for the decoration and the bill of the light during all that month. But nothing happens, the area of Dyker Heights is a residential area of large houses or even “mansions”, so they have even for tipping the decorators. Normally, neighbors turn on this nonsense of waste and madness during the weekend of Thanksgiving and turn them off shortly after New Year. So if you are in NY, do not miss it. It is totally worth it. As I mentioned, Dyker Heights is located in Brooklyn, in the Bay Ridge area. You can go by subway taking line D (orange) to 71st Street in Brooklyn. Afterwards, you will have to walk 15 minutes to reach the houses, since the most spectacular ones are from 11th to 13th Avenues in the streets from 83rd to 86th. At this time of year, New York is not the warmest place in the world, so if you do not want to go by subway and you do not have a car, I recommend you go with a tour. I did it basically because I’m hyper-curious and I wanted to know more about the story. In my case, I did it with A Slice of Brooklyn (https://www.asliceofbrooklyn.com/bus-tours/christmas-lights-tour/), they take you by bus, they let you walk so you can take your pictures and so on and , most importantly, you find out why and the different anecdotes of all this. I was the only Spanish on the tour, all the others were Americans, from different states or, even from NYC, who wanted to know more about this “tradition”.

Skating and snow in Central Park:

The first snows of the season have already fallen and, with the white mantle covering the city, it is the best moment to photograph it. Central Park is a spectacle at any time of the year, but the snow gives it an incomparable touch. Likewise, this park also has a fairly large skating rink that lasts until almost April. Particularly, along with Brooklyn is my favorite track as it is quite large and although there are people there is always space. The one at Rockefeller itself, very pretty but very small. And Bryant Park, in my opinion, the same thing.

Christmas markets:

If you want to surprise someone with a special detail brought directly from New York, what a better way than visiting one of the many Christmas markets that sprout like spores these days in the city. Some of my favorites are the ones in Central Park, Bryant Park (in which also, as I said before, you can enjoy the skating rink and admire the Christmas tree they have there) and Union Square. Other markets that you can find at this time in the city, among others, are those located in Grand Central Terminal and the Oculus.

Tree and house of Gingerbread Man in Madison Square Park:

Close to the mythical Flatiron, you have another Christmas tree, the one located in Madison Square Park. In addition, you can enter a little house “made” of sweets for the Gingerbread Man to tell you his story.

Windows and interior of Macy’s:

Another thing to see, are the windows of the legendary Macy’s stores in Herald Square. For my taste, the Saks are more spectacular, but these are also beautiful. The interior is also decorated in the purest Christmas style in NYC.

More things:

If you are a fan of the Gossip Girl series and do not settle for all the Christmas trees that adorn the city, you can always go to the New York Palace Hotel, to see its tree and, meanwhile, wait for Chuck Bass … Likewise, you should not lose the rooftop 230 Fifth that at this time of the year, in addition to bathrobes to keep cool, has igloos to drink your drinks without freezing (http://www.230-fifth.com/). Last, but not least, what if you take a little ice, even if time does not accompany. During these days, the best-known ice cream shops are developing fun Christmas designs in their sweet creations.

Two examples here: https://www.amorino.com/us/shop/new-york-chelsea.103.html and http://taiyakinyc.com/.

If you want see more by Sara Fernández Valladares go to spanishchickinthecity

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