A real winter wonderland – New York at Christmas time

Christmas time in New York is special. Indeed, the only thing that would have made our trip better is a little snow. But maybe next time – and there’ll be a next time.

We went for the 2020 New Year celebrations in but eaked the trip to a full week in the city, giving up plenty of time to really indulge our senses and take time out in the city that supposedly never sleeps (though many eateries close their kitchens by 10pm and it takes a while for things to get going the morning at this time of year).

The decorations as you can imagine, are stupendous. Make sure to stop by Saks on Fifth avenue for its’ half hourly display. The ball drop is best viewed on TV, unless you like the idea of queueing from lunchtime without being able to pee, or drink alcohol or pretty much anything really. Lots of restaurants and bars host their own events which are more civilised.

And there are traditions one must partake in. Ice skating at Bryant Park or the Rockerfeller Centre are a must. As is a trip to see the flawless Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Hall; thank goodness I saw them live now at nearly 50, and not when I was younger, I know I would’ve wanted to be one! The slickness of the show, the graphics, the special effects, the coordination, the quality, is just amazing and very well worth the ticket price. Aim for the First Mezzanine to appreciate the show. Trust me on this.

Food is abundant and its mostly steak and burgers. Salads are interesting and wine is expensive. Street food is what it is, you have to have a hot dog from a cart, you just have to. Brunch is a thing especially at weekends, we were caught out expecting a fancy lunch at The National, only to have only a breakfast menu offered to us. Other places to dine high on my list are Parker & Quin in Midtown, for a finer dine, 232 Bleechers in Grenwich Village which is topped only by Blue Hill, which is rather special.

Shopping actually is quite disappointing. You could very well be on Regent Street in London or any other major street in a major city. Damn globalisation….. unless you like individual makers and new designers. Then you’re in for a treat at Chelsea Markets which is close to the Highline which everyone goes on about but in the Winter is actually quite sad; the plants dead and neglected. Fabric shopping is amazing but you don’t get bargains like you do at JB Stores! You can find anything. Zips in every colour with any fastening made to any length, more studs than in Paceville, button bars which are like candy stores and specialist transfers, patches, sequins and other embellishments that make your heart flutter and your bank manager mutter. Moods, the iconic fabric store from Project Runway, is overwhelming. Fabric is cut in yards and I didn’t struggle to fill a case. A 20kg case.

We planned our trip to make the most of the city and to try different things using airbnb experiences and staying centrally at the Park Terrace Hotel opposite Bryant Park (which I’d highly recommend)

Our itinerary included:

Bike tour through Central Park and alongside the Hudson and see the city’s film locations and other places of interest.

Dualling Pianos – an awesome evening of music and laughter. Think of a song and they sing it.

Gangster tour with retired NYPD officer – an informative tour that puts real flavour into the city – the number one experience in NYC and unsurprisingly so.

Weaving – a short workshop of downtime and creativity (and a new found skill and hobby)

Pay it forward – many local churches act as food stations for the low income bracket and homeless. Very, very worthwhile participating. You meet amazing people volunteering and are touched by the kindness of the guests attending.

Monique Chambers

Monique started indulge in 2011 and has since created Indulge Me GIFT and Indulge Me FOOD and volume 1 of The Artists Directory - Malta. A marketing professional by trade, Monique's passion is to promote local talent and Malta in general. Free time is her biggest indulgence, when she can tinker in her craft room or the kitchen, or be selfish with a book, the sofa and good glass of wine (of course, wearing something beautiful and with freshly coiffed hair!)

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