December in New York City
New York is an amazing place to visit during the holiday season. The festive window display tradition dates way back to 1870 according to Macy’s who were the first retailer to start the trend and then all the others followed suit. Personally, my favourite was Saks on Fifth Avenue, in particular their light show. This really is something you should not miss. Every 15 minutes they feature a very impressive lighting show on the facade of the building, so try and catch it from a few different angles.
You obviously have an abundance of shopping opportunities and if that’s not your thing, you can go ice- skating in Central Park, Bryant Park or the Rockefeller Centre; stroll through Central Park ( or take a horse drawn carriage); catch a Broadway show (and if theatre or musicals isn’t a major priority of yours it is something that you should experience and are guaranteed to enjoy); or simply take in the lights and atmosphere of night time in Time Square! The nickname “the city that never sleeps” is definitely apt! Its stays populated to well in to the early hours of the morning.
Traffic can be hectic, but the subway system is excellent & you have no excuse not to cover a lot of ground with it. Despite its reputation, it is very clean and while you will always need to have your wits about you, ultimately it feels safe! Even if you don’t use the subway- you should visit Grand Central Station where you will be amazed by both the architecture and indeed the cleanliness of the whole building. They also run a small Christmas Market within the station which is always bustling with activity.
There is a huge variety of dining options from high-high- end to top quality steakhouses and through to late- night pizza joints; make sure to test a hot- dog (with all the trimming) or a salted pretzel from some of the street vendors also.
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge is an experience and on a clear day offers magnificent views of the Manhattan skyline. (Make sure to walk it from the Brooklyn side back toward Manhattan). The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattans west side. It is approx. 2.3 km long & well wont doing at your own pace, again on a clear day.
A visit to little Italy and China town will round off any further shopping and eating desires you might have! If it’s a visit to mark a special occasion- you may consider a river cruise dinner or a helicopter tour of the city- both great experiences.
To top off on experiencing fantastic atmospheres - try Madison Square Garden for an Ice Hockey game, and if the New York Rangers are playing at home – you are in for a treat, the atmosphere is unbelievable! (we can only imagine what a good concert would be like in such a vibrant stadium?) The city that never sleeps doesn’t sound like a place for a relaxing break but despite all the things that you can do, you can do as many or as few of them as you please and at your own pace.
Over 72 hours, you won’t get everything done- but you will definitely leave promising yourself that you will re visit; which is always the best indicator of whether you’ve had a good time or not! We stayed on this occasion in Fitzpatrick’s, Grand Central. Various tales of traditional Irish hospitality all proved to be true from the moment we stepped out of our transfer and were greeted by the concierge. The welcome at reception was warm and genuine. Our Room was spacious and impeccably maintained with nice décor.
The hotel has a classic style yet boasts all the necessary mod-cons; but the real clincher (apart from the staff) is its location. We are not by any means athletic, but a 10 minutes stroll brings you comfortably to Times Square and if you don’t feel that energetic, Grand Central station is straight across the street, so you can access the subway there and traverse the entire city.
Food and service in the Wheeltapper bar was also excellent and it has a particularly good breakfast menu. A real favourite with the Irish and I can see why. We simply couldn’t recommend the Fitzpatrick Grand Central highly enough and look forward to a return visit.
Until the next time New York.