Thursday, December 6, 2012

Make Sure You Know How to do Christmas in New York

It's the home to Miracle on 34th Street.  It's one of the most famous places in the world to celebrate Christmas.  Macy's is the world's largest store and is ground zero for seeing Santa Clause.  That being said, remember that.  Many years ago, I made the mistake of taking advantage of my close proximity to Macy's flagship store to have the idyllic Christmas experience for my son.  I decided to take him to Manhattan for a Christmas extravaganza a couple of weeks before Christmas.

Now, here's the problem.  Macy's is the most famous place in the U.S. to see Santa.  That's right, the line is about 5 hours long.  Not joking, 5 hours.  The store is also about the most crowded place in the world, because everyone and their brother is waiting to see Santa.  So, here's some advice.
Don't go to Macy's.  Sorry, it's just your best bet.  There are plenty of other wonderful sights and experiences in mid town Manhattan to make your celebration great.

FAO Schwarz has one of the most American things in the world and it's open for play during the holidays.  This is the world famous giant keyboard from the movie "Big."  The good folks at FAO Schwarz have it out for all to try during the holidays.  There are also giant remote control Porches and toy soldiers at the doors.  There are a lot of fun things going on in FAO Schwarz and it's a lot of fun.
The bonus of visiting FAO Schwarz is the fact that it's right at Central Park South.  It's only a block or two to catch a horse and carriage ride.  This is a great thing to do at Christmas.  It's a wonderful thing to do after dark when all the Christmas lights are on in the area and it's a winter wonderland of beauty that can't be matched.

Another great thing to do in Manhattan is to walk on the main avenues, Madison, Fifth, Sixth, Park.  You will need to bring your good walking shoes to do it, but the windows at Saks Fifth Avenue alone are worth the effort.  They have some of the most famous window displays in all of New York.

Barney's on Madison is another one with great window displays.

What Christmas would be complete without the Disney Store?  This place goes nuts at Christmas in Manhattan.  They have everything that a kid could want, and you may get a chance to take your picture with a Disney character, like Goofy or Mickey Mouse.  There are times that they offer tea parties with the princesses for your little princess too.  It's a great experience that the kids will never forget.

Of course, there's Rockefeller Center.  It's the image a lot of people have of New York at Christmas.  It is one of the most crowded places in Manhattan during the holiday season.  The most, next to Macy's Santa line.  The difference here is that it's worth the trouble.  It's worth standing in a smothering line to get to the tree area.  It's worth making a reservation to get to the top of the rock.  It's worth whatever you have to do to get to go ice skating.  It's worth it.  Go to Rockefeller Center.

The Empire State Building.  No, not the candy one.  That's in the window, which is another great display to look at while wandering Manhattan at Christmas.  The Empire State Building is the best place in New York to look at all the Christmas splendor.  Take that trip to the top and freeze your butt off.  The view is worth it.  You may have to make a reservation, but do it.  And do it after dark for the best effect.  Christmas is the only time of year that it's best to go up after dark.

Yes, yes, yes, see the Rockettes in the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular.  It's that once in a lifetime experience that you shouldn't miss.

The girls do it up right with a show of shows that is simply unforgettable.  You must have reservations.  This show is almost constantly sold out.
Now, if you still have some energy after running all over and up and down Manhattan to shows and stores for the day, with some ice skating thrown in on the side, there's still one place to see.

That's right, Times Square's Toys R Us.  This place is magical all year round.  They have a ferris wheel inside, which is something that your kids will not let you miss.

The store has so much to see.  There is an entire area of Lego sculptures, including the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty.  There is an almost life size T-Rex that growls at you.  There are Star Wars characters and NASCAR models everywhere you look.  There is so much to see and do in this store that your kids and you will not want to leave.

And if you make it to the train station on time, you may see this.  The wonderful world of subway entertainment.  Don't miss New York at Christmas, just make sure you get it right.
Don't bother with Macy's.  Make some reservations.  Don't go on a weekend unless you can't get out of it.  Wear walking shoes.  Have a wonderful time.

Merry Christmas New York!

Have a very New York Christmas!

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