I don’t think there is anywhere more magical than NYC at Christmas time. Sure the crowds are crazy as visitors and locals merge onto the busy New York streets – this year of course is much different – but there is an energy here that amps up at this time of year like no other time of year or no other place on earth I’ve experienced yet.
As we enter Christmas week, I was thinking about my Instagram and Facebook posts for December 20 where I remember back to 2013 when I, and a dear colleague (who has since passed) got to experience the amazing energy and sights in Manhattan. We were boarding the Norwegian Breakaway on a travel agent Seminar at Sea cruise and flew into Newark a day earlier so we could take the train in and experience Manhattan at Christmas time. Here is just a few of the special moments that I remember from that trip.
As soon as we exited Penn Station at 33rd Street and 7th Avenue, we walked up to 34th Street where we found the famous Macy’s department store with the year’s theme – Believe – written along the side of the building. Having watched the Thanksgiving Day parade every year, it was super exciting to see the iconic store all dressed for the Holidays.
One of the reasons New York City is THE place to visit at Christmas is the amazing storefront windows. Below are a few of the ones I saw that December in 2013 on our trek from Macy’s, along 6th Avenue, over to Bloomingdales and back down 5th Avenue, until we made our way to Rockefeller Center to see THE Tree!
On our way to Bloomingdales, we stopped at E 60th Street on the Upper East Side. We had planned to head to Serendipty3 for Frozen Hot Chocolate but the line was too long so instead we ate across the street at Patsy’s Pizzeria (206 E 60th Street). Delicious pizza at a decades old NYC pizzeria!
After stopping to view the Bloomingdales windows, we meandered our way over to the corner of 59th and 5th Avenue, where sits the grandiose Plaza hotel. From here we head down 5th Ave past Tiffany’s, Trump plaza, the St. Regis hotel (where I had to take a pic with the giant Nutcracker) and St. Thomas Church amongst other iconic flagship & designer stores like Bergdoff Goodman, Harry Winston and Louis Vuitton to name a few.
Rockefeller Center is the meeting place for 1000’s every night as the majestic Christmas tree is the beacon for visitors and New Yorkers to celebrate the Season. Sandwiched between 5th and 6th Avenue, across the road from Saks, the angelic glowing beings herald you into this magical block of stores, tv studios, office space and famous skating rink (which looks surprisingly small in real life). This was the highlight of the night – just like Kevin McAllister in Home Alone 2 – the biggest Christmas tree draws everyone to this spot to fully embrace the Christmas spirit. It did not disappoint!
As we left the Rockefeller Centre Tree, heading west along 50th Street we passed the Radio City Music Hall home of the famous Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular. If we had more time in NYC I definitely would have wanted to catch that show! From here, heading south we arrived in Times Square. Millions congregate on these streets to ring in the New Year in person (but of course not in 2020) or on TV. When we were there, you could see that things were starting to get set up and the ball, high in the sky, seemed to be in place for its big night.
As we left Times Square for Penn Station to head back to New Jersey to our hotel, we grabbed one last look at the Empire State Building all lit up for the holidays! One day, I will get back there at Christmas Time and bring my husband along to share the magic of NYC with him.
All year round New York is a great jumping off point for a cruise. Many ships leave NYC or Bayonne, New Jersey for exciting places like Bermuda in the Summer, Bahamas and Caribbean in the Winter months and New England and Canada in the Fall. Why not consider touring the city for a few days pre or post cruise once cruising begins again in 2021 and 2022.
As a beach and cruise specialist, New York City vacations aren’t my regular wheelhouse, but as a lover of the city, I am happy to assist you and your loved ones in experiencing this fantastic City along with your cruise vacation.
Until next time,
~ Sue ~
Your Vacation Dream Maker