By Naomi Lee ‘19
‘Tis the season to be jolly! The holidays are right around the corner and Christmas in New York City is magnificent.
If one is spending the holidays in the heart of the Big Apple, there are so many ways to have the best one yet. From shopping to eating, everything can be a bit overwhelming since there is so much to do. And, the popular attractions tend to be extremely expensive and overcrowded.
But no worries, there are still many affordable and fun attractions. Some places go unnoticed and are definitely worth a visit anytime, especially during the holiday season. Here’s the ultimate guide to having the best time!
Ice Skating in a Winter Wonderland at Bryant Park (Sorry, Rockefeller Center)! Some spend hundreds of dollars on things to do during the holiday season. Cross ice-skating off that list! Rental is $20 and if you bring your own pair of skates, ice-skating is completely free. It is the go-to place if one wants to avoid Rockefeller’s overcrowdedness and long lines. Bryant Park is located in Midtown, Manhattan between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. The most eye-catching attraction at the park has to be the big Christmas tree along with festive lights surrounding the park. It’s beautiful and truly makes it look like a Winter Wonderland.
Isha Hassan ’20 said, “The holiday season is all about getting together with your family and having fun. Ice-skating at Bryant is one of my favorite things to do. It’s super fun.”
Christmas Lights in Dyker Heights: Out of all the dazzling light shows that NYC has to offer, the best way to enjoy one is to take a stroll through Dyker Heights in Brooklyn. Other places tend to charge for light shows, but here one can enjoy the light show for free. There is a lot of ground to cover, approximately 20 blocks of Christmas festivity. The best lights are on display from 11 to 13 Avenue, from 83 to 86 street. The residents pour their heart and soul into decorating their houses every year. There are huge inflatable snowmen, reindeers, nutcrackers – the list goes on and on. Christmas carols blast over the loudspeakers. Colorful holiday lights wrap around the houses and trees. As one views the breathtaking light displays, one will truly feel the joy of Christmas seeping in.
Ming Zhu ’19 said, “Since I’m such a huge holiday fanatic, the lights remind me of the importance of giving and appreciating. I go every year with my family.”
Holiday Fair in Union Square: One of the cheap, uncrowded, festive markets lies right in the heart of Union Square. The holiday fair is open from November 16 to December 24, Monday through Friday, 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM. There are hundreds of homemade gifts and goodies (artwork, puzzles, home decorations, etc.) And not to mention, snacks and drinks. A hot apple cider is perfect to sip in this chilly weather as one walks through the market.
Daniel Ryabo ’19 said, “It’s a little bit of everything. It’s a really nice place to check out. The atmosphere is very festive and sets the mood for the holidays. Even if you don’t come across anything you want to buy, it’s great to just look around!”
Not only do New Yorkers and tourists enjoy the fair, many workers enjoy it as well. Maria Cruz, a worker, set up a booth with her husband selling holiday apparel and accessories.
Cruz said, “I absolutely love doing this every year. New Yorkers are known for being stressed all the time. This market is the perfect way for everyone to just relax and enjoy the holidays. It’s nice to see the smile on everyone’s faces, especially after our hard work in creating goods and knitting sweaters. And, it’s also great for business!”
Dine at Rosemary’s: If you’re looking for a cozy restaurant to dine at, Rosemary’s has to be the one. Swing by at any time of the day! It is a hot spot for unique Italian cuisine, located in West Village of Downtown Manhattan. The interior sets a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere; string lights hang across the ceiling along with beautiful green plants surrounding the perimeter of the restaurant.
Fariha Nayab ’18 said, “The food was excellent! The waiters and waitresses constantly checked up on my family and me to see if we needed anything. The Italian cuisine was different from others I have been to. It’s special in its taste.”
Relive your childhood at the Uncommons: Come here with a few friends, buy a cup of coffee and play board games for an afternoon! It is one of New York City’s hidden gems. Uncommons is a café – with a twist. There are a variety of board games! If one is looking for something to do aside from the typical holiday activities, this place is definitely worth a visit. It is located in the center of Greenwich Village.
Tiffany Fu ’19 said, “Uncommons offers a variety of board games appropriate for all ages. Whether you’re a five-year old child or a 30-year old adult, you will have just as much fun!”