Rather than putting together a holiday gift guide this year, I compiled a list of some of my favorite things about New York at the holidays. If you’d like ideas for NYC-centric presents, check out my book guide from last year, and this New York book that I featured recently would also make an awesome gift. I think a book is one of the greatest gifts to give anyone at any age. And if you want to know what to get me :), I’m always thrilled to receive a book about New York City! Now, let’s get to some of my favorite things…
The pleasant aroma of freshly cut Christmas trees on most every block in the city. I anxiously await the arrival of the trees each holiday season.
The simplest thing like dining out at the holidays is better in New York because restaurants and bars pull out all the stops with lights, garland, ornaments, trees, poinsettias, menorahs, stockings, and more. NYC is a happier place during the holiday season and everyone who lives here or visits is happier too. The joy is infectious.
I look forward to walking through the city after dark when beaming holiday lights dangle from awnings and twinkle inside lobbies. Peering into New Yorkers’ high-rise apartments for a glimpse at their decorations is a treat on what would otherwise be an ordinary night in transit. Sometimes, tiny apartments put up huge Christmas trees. And often, majestic trees stand in the center of a single, oversized window, a dozen or so stories high, begging for passersby to look up and admire. Some buildings dress their lobbies to the nines! I often wish I could take a tour of New York’s apartment buildings during the holiday season, but just to see those in Manhattan would take weeks. Yes, Christmas is a big deal in New York. The city takes on an enchanting glow unlike any other time of the year.
Luxury shop displays allow some of New York’s most creative souls to show off their talents and shine their brightest. Even if my budget doesn’t allow me to shop in these stores, I can window shop all I want. My favorites include Barneys, Henri Bendel, Harry Winston, Louis Vuitton, and of course, Bergdorf Goodman, where the windows are worth the trip alone.
I’m not a fan of cold weather, but I like the cold during the month of December because a good freeze puts me in the Christmas spirit. After strolling around town in the winter chill, I want to stop by one of my favorite bars, like the Beacon Bar, and warm up with a nice glass or two of red wine. Although it’s a hotel bar (in the Beacon Hotel), a lot of locals hang out there too.
The oversized menorah on Broadway makes a statement! It’s set on the island in the center of the four-lane avenue on the Upper West Side, and no one can miss it. Each night of Hanukkah, another candle lights. I love how New Yorkers can observe more than one holiday at a time, and in a way, they celebrate everyone’s holidays simultaneously.
Staying home in my apartment… Cooking a nice dinner, maybe beef Bourguignon, or (ordering a nice dinner!) and relaxing while I watch a classic New York holiday movie like Elf or Serendipity. All the while, my Christmas tree shimmers in the background as I sip a few pours from a good bottle of wine (do you see a pattern here?). At times, knowing that I live in New York City is enough.
What are your favorite things about New York at the holidays?
Photo of Rockefeller Center tree by Brownpau via Flickr.