Nothing can beat Christmas in the Big Apple, when shop-fronts come to life with lavish window displays and you can’t turn a corner without running into a festive celebration. There’s a reason that hundreds of Christmas films and songs have been set in New York, and that’s simply because it’s one of the most magical places to spend the season. If you’re lucky enough to be in the States for December, here are our E&V suggestions for a truly happy holiday.
The ice rink in Rockefeller Center Plaza is famous worldwide, so you won’t want to miss the chance to see its huge Christmas tree, which has been in situ since 1931 and glitters with over 30,000 lights. It can get very crowded, especially at weekends, so if you really want to skate you might be better off at Central Park’s equally picturesque rink, or at Bryant Park, where you can warm up after skating with a cup of mulled wine at the Christmas Market.
New York may not understand the appeal of the quaint British pantomime, but it does have the Radio City Music Spectacular; a festive tradition so integral to American culture that it’s even mentioned in The Catcher in the Rye. Watch the famous Rockettes kicking off the show in style for their 86th year, before lines of dancing Santas invade the stage. The show has been updated for the modern era with a 3D ride to the North Pole that’s certain to delight youngsters.
Christmas markets are a European staple, but New York has definitely put its own spin on festive fairs. Flea’s Gifted in Brooklyn is essentially a Christmas flea market, with crafts, antiques, and some admirable vintage pieces on offer. It’s a great place to pick up a unique present for that special someone. New York’s multicultural makeup really comes into its own during the festive season, with the East Meets West Christmas Parade in Chinatown a particular highlight. The city’s Italian and Chinese communities get together to celebrate Christmas with dance troupes, floats and other entertainments in a brilliant culture clash.
As well as the traditional crowd-pleasing events, New York also has plenty of quirkier festive celebrations. The New York City Fire Museum hosts an annual “Santa Rescue,” in which Santa is saved from the roof of the building by members of the fire department. There’s hot chocolate, live music and photo opportunities with Santa himself – this year’s dramatic escapade is scheduled for 8th December.
Finally, simply strolling around New York can be enough to fill you with Christmas joy. The elaborate decorations in Little Italy, the window displays in Barneys and FAO Schwartz’s giant piano should be enough to make even the Grinch himself merry – and if all that fails, it’s time to head home, curl up in the warmth and watch some classic Christmas movies as the snow falls outside.
You can enjoy Christmas in the Big Apple every year when you invest in your own New York home. Whether you’re looking for a palatial pad in Park Avenue or a trendy loft in up-and-coming Williamsburg, Engel & Völkers can make sure you find your perfect property. With a reputation for after-sales service and local expertise, our agents will be there to help you every step of the way.