They say Paris is always a good idea. I say New York is always a better idea. During the winter NYC attracts tourists all over the world. It seems ‘hot’ to spend New Years Eve in here. There is so much to do, so much to see, so much to try. It’s a city of endless options! Museums, Shows, Cinema, Restaurants, Roof top bars, House parties, Theater, Opera… So actually where to go, what to during the Xmas Rush & NYE.
I am not really a big fan of this whole NYE celebrations. I am always looking forward to Xmas, for me it’s definitely a special time. Hanging out with family & friends, nothing is more precious in today’s busy world. But, NYE has always been a nightmare and a big struggle for me. What should I do ? And BTW why the hell should I celebrate that the year is over that we are all going to be one year older. For me it’s a nonsense. That’s why I decided to try something different this year, go to NYC and see how Americans celebrate that time of the year. I still remeber the episode of Sex in the City, when Carrie went to bed on the NYE, run in her pyjamas to hang out with Miranda. The opposide of what I would expect form the party, wild NYC. Before I get into the details of my NYE in NYC, I must tell you one thing- one thing in that version of the NYE in Sex in the City was true- it’s DAMN hard to find any taxi über or anything else, which will drive you to your destination. Better book a hotel close to the place you want to go, it’s too risky & cold to wait for a ‘taxi wonder’ 🙂
Xmas vibe- parades decorations, store displays & shopping
Just to give you an idea of the winter season in New York. It kind of starts with the traditional Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. It takes about three-hours, where you can observe colorfully decorated cars and giant balloons in the form of well-known cartoon characters. Even Santa Claus is located at the parade honor :). I didn’t manage to see it this year, let’s see, maybe next year. Being honest, I feel like this kind of ‘shows’ are better to be watched from the couch, but if you are a crowd lover you should definitely check it out! It’s a big thing here -millions are watching it, many are participating.
Every year luxury stores are surprising New Yorkers with winter displays. It’s a big thing here and everybody is waiting to see it. During the day is not that impressive as in the night with all the lights and installations, some of them are amazing. For me the best was done by Dolce and Gabbana. Really classy, elegant, but modern and the same time. It was an elegant dinner theme with glamorous accessories, attire, etc. Truly a tasteful luxury display! Other, although charming, were not that impressive for me- too overloaded with different motives & commercial. Also, every year, tourists stock up in the metropolis on the Hudson River on trendy designer clothing and exclusive gifts for loved ones. The favorable exchange rate makes it possible for iPhones, jeans and other coveted brands cost much less than at home. Well, people get crazy here over shopping, I saw some fighting over clothes, toys, sweet, name it-that’s insane.
Xmas tree & ice skating
An integral part of New York Christmas tradition is placing a giant Christmas tree in front of the Rockefeller Center. We were there to witness it this year! Guess how many colorful bulbs are needed to decorate this 30-meter high Christmas tree…30.000 ! Ice ring is the next thing, which conjures up a cozy Christmas atmosphere at the Rockefeller Plaza. Ice skating is a tradition (since 1936) people gather here to watch the Xmas tree, listen to the Xmas songs & skate on the ice. Be aware that you might wait 1-2 hours in the long quote before you will be allowed on the ring. It doesn’t seem to discourage tourist though :). Another spot for ice skating is Central Park. There is nothing more beautiful than the view from there and the combination of nature, sky scrapers & ice ring. Pictures don’t lie, it looks even more in the reality! Believe me. But again, long long long queues and a lot of tourists- that’s the annoying part of spending the Xmas time in NYC.
Concerts, Theater, Opera & Museums
However, a winter holiday in Christmas New York is not just shopping. Visiting museums or the numerous theatrical and musical performances dedicated to the best Christmas theme. It’s all beautiful & gives the desired ‘Xmas feeling’ to the lonely New Yorkers. I am sure many of you hear about the Christmas classic-George Balachines ‘Nutcracker’ or the New York City Ballet presented every year at Lincoln Center. In Madison Square Garden (since 2007), the artists of Cirque du Soleilenchant amuse people with their extraordinary acrobatic show “Wintuk”. And much much more. Believe me, this list doesn’t end!
My fav art pieces from MoMA
MoMA is of course the place you have to see! It can be a bit crowded and hot inside, but it’s work it. If you get tired afterwards you can visit MoMA’s cinema or the Modern, hidden restaurant belonging to the Musuem. Those who love classical music should definitely head to the Lincoln centre. We decided to explore the NYC Philharmonic and enjoy the NYE concert ‘La Vie Parisienne’, a musical love letter to Paris by the conductor Allan Gilbert in the David Geffen Hall. The price of the tickets was between 89-275$/person, depending on the seat. Susan Graham was the star of the show (Mezzo-Soprano), a true diva. There were two pianists: Inon Barnatan & Makoto Ozone. Nathan Lane was the narrator, and yes you probably know him from Modern Family & Good wife. A crazy guy who made ‘Carnival of the Animal’ really memorable for me! My fav were “C’est ça la vie, c’est ça l’amour” from Toi c’est moi by Susan- what an unbelievable voice! Overall, it was a great performance. The sad thing is that the av. age of the concert enthusiasts was around 50-60. Seems like young ppl are not really into it, at least not on the NYE.
The Modern – my fav spot after MoMA
My fav Philharmonic at David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center
Restaurants & Parties
Here is the thing. Booking,booking,booking a table! If you don’t make a reservation for NYE earlier there is no chance of getting a spot in a cool place. You can forget it. So the options you will have left are either try to book the place last minute as the av. restaurant- only these have still free spots- let’s be honest. Or just skip the dinner part and go straight to the party. From the Philharmonic I could see the queue waiting to get to Empire hotel. The queue was outside the hotel!! But those who lived in NYC for a while, know that the cool spots are always crowded and queues are inevitable. The same goes for the parties unless you take care of getting an invitation earlier or know somebody who will let you in, you won’t end up in the glamorous place,it’s all set up many weeks before NYE, so be prepared then for ending up in a fucked up place.
Those who want to get away from the whole Christmas rush should head to Chinatown, the ideal escape. Shops and restaurants stay open even on the Christmas day and don’t forget that the Chinese food here tastes delicious! Another alternative is to ignore it completely, stay at home with the friends, watch a movie or just leave NYC. You shouldn’t stay at home in this city. If you are not really into winter just pack your bags and go to Miami. That’s how many spend their NYE. I can understand that, there is a common believe more of a bullshit that how you spend your NYE will direct upcoming year. I don’t really believe that, but if you do have fun, get wild & crazy and loose yourself for a moment and you will never be younger than you are right NOW.