By the end of August, my mind begins to fast forward to my winter holiday. For most, ski trips, log cabins and hot cocoas — with that perfect little addition of fresh whipped cream — come to mind. For this writer, though it’s all about New York City. For me, its the one place that brings the holiday season to life in all its glory.
Ask any non-New Yorker if they’ve been to the Big Apple during the holidays and they’ll tell you, there is something different about NYC in December. It’s almost palpable. The moment you step foot off the plane you can feel the momentum shift.
I recommend taking an evening flight to La Guardia Airport and purchasing a window seat. When the pilot announces that your descent has begun, slide open your window shade and watch the city unfold before your eyes.
Step off the plane and smell the cold air. A shiver will run down your spine, suggesting it’s time to put on your winter tweed. Your taxi will navigate the streets of New York, bobbing and weaving through traffic. Just pray, you’ll be okay. Gaze out the window into the urban jungle to enjoy a sprawl no mere photographs can prepare one for. Open the car door and listen to The City sing it’s unique melody.
When you go, I beg you please not to try and fit every inch of the city into but one visit. It just won’t happen. You’ll burn out before you even start, and then you’ll feel cheated that you never had a chance to experience the real New York. Slow and steady is the key. Especially during the holidays, remember, “baby it’s cold outside,” and wet!
While New York is naturally, a place of wonder & excitement, it can also be an intimate place. And its just this intimacy that visitors are often so pleasantly surprised to find in this ‘city that never sleeps’.
With this in mind, I wouldn’t leave out a visit to this magical place without mention of Rockefeller Center. While it’s touristy, it’s still quintessentially New York. Even those of us who consider Manhattan home, make this stop a holiday tradition. Perhaps surprisingly, I wouldn’t recommend you ice skate there. That’s something New Yorker’s don’t do. Rather, go to Central Park and skate in NYC’s backyard.
p.s. this photo is taken in the spring...so don't be fooled!
During your time at Rock Center, be sure to cross the street and stand in line for the world-renowned Sacks Fifth Avenue holiday windows. But first grab yourself a bag or two of roasted peanuts. The smell is enough to derail any diet.
Whether it’s a Broadway show, a trip to the top of One World Trade Center, a jazz club, a swanky hotel bar, a hot toddy with a view of the top of the Empire State Building, a snowball fight in Central Park, a Bloomingdales little brown bag moment, or a Christian service at my family’s church, Trinity Baptist Church, NYC will leave you inspired and ready to take on the New Year.
NYC is a once in a lifetime trip for many. However, I have the blessing to call it my neighborhood, my city, and go back as often as my schedule allows. And maybe that’s just why I have an admittedly biased admiration for this city, especially during the holidays. Wherever you decide to go this holiday season, arm yourself with the whole armor of God, find joy in the small blessings that He provides each day, laugh when you get lost, and gracefully accept when He divinely interrupts your day.
Are you ready for a “New York state of mind” kind of holiday?
Mariagra = Shorten version of my real Italian name, Mariagrazia
Pa = Father in Sicilian
Bodega = Corner store usually owned by Spanish or Indian people. Looks sketchy but always serves the best breakfast sandwiches
Subway = Underground trains
L = Aboveground trains