LIFE IN THE APPLE
by Michelle Carroll
|Rockefeller Center at Christmas–credit|
Yorkers take advantage of the magic of the city at Christmastime? If you’re
asking a tourist, the answer may be “No, not really.”
Growing up in Connecticut, I looked forward to spending a winter
Saturday in New York doing “touristy things” for Christmas. Like thousands of
others, my family came to NYC with precise intentions, a non-negotiable
itinerary, ugly sneakers, and expectations to leave fulfilled and inspired.
trips entailed walking from Grand Central to The Shops at Bryant Park, eating cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery, taking
pictures of The Rockefeller Center
and watching the ice skaters below. We’d eat a mediocre dinner
in Midtown before sprinting back to 42nd Street in time to catch the train back
to “the burbs,” also known as “Orange,” where I grew up.. It all seemed so… “Christmasy!”
|The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center is a must-see for tourists–credit|
of the aforementioned tourist activities. Incidentally, this
year when my mother asked if I had made my rounds to our traditional holiday
destinations, I realized that NYC offers two entirely different Christmas
experiences. It’s amazing what I can experience when I’m not in a rush to experience anything at
all. This may be the true New York Christmas.
may not get tickets to see The Radio City Christmas Spectacular or wait in line to see Santa at Macy’s every year because the majority
of New Yorkers hate crowds. While the big Christmas tree will always be magical
to me, it’s hard to look past the imminent chaos I’d have to endure to get close
enough to the tree for a tourist to hand me their camera. I actually feel more
overwhelmed by sightseers this year as a resident than I ever did as a tourist.
Experiencing Christmas in New York truly is what you choose to
make of it. My morning routine has been full of Christmas since I decorated my
bedroom with paper snowflakes, a bright red Poinsettia plant from Lexington Farm Deli, and a pom-pom
strung dwarf spruce tree from SoHo Garden. On the streets I hear Christmas music playing from anywhere and everywhere — “Little
Drummer Boy” rings from the street lights. I walk past Elizabeth
Street Gallery garden in SoHo on my way to Gimme! Coffee
for a soothing peppermint mocha. I can only dream how picturesque the garden
will be when the statues are covered in snow.
friends. It’s barely a week into December, but it’s never too early to indulge
in the holiday spirit. After we learn how to make present wrapping beautiful in
Paper Source’s Wrapture Workshop on Spring Street, we’ll head over
to Vosges for a cup of their life-changing Aztec
Elixir Hot Chocolate. (I can already taste the chilies and cinnamon!) Once
we’re all warmed up, we will walk into Little Italy for some rainbow layers and
Pignoli Cookies at Ferrera.
and that’s what makes New York such a treat at Christmas. Shopping for gifts is as easy
as walking into Crate & Barrel and buying a grapefruit knife for my boyfriend (creative
stocking stuffer!), the decorating book from Jonathan Adler for my sister, popping by one of the street vendors on practically every corner, or the weekend flea markets in Brooklyn and on the Upper West Side. Sure there will be crowds, but I don’t have to tolerate mall
traffic or parking lot frustration, and I can easily retreat to my Upper East Side apartment for peace and quiet.
said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
goes on around us every day in the Big Apple, no matter the season, but this
well-known phrase could apply to New York City at Christmastime.
definitely see the NYC holiday hoopla in a single day in December if you’re visiting
Manhattan. But as for the eight million people who live in the city? Well,
let’s just say their interpretation of the year-end holidays is an
accumulation of life every single day throughout the season. What could be more magical than that?