There’s no Christmas like Christmas in NYC

I know it’s cliché, but Christmas in New York City is unlike anything you’ll ever experience. It’s been immortalized in countless films and TV shows, but nothing can replace actually being in the city that never sleeps.

I had the pleasure and the privilege of living in Manhattan for most of my childhood and I can say that, without a doubt, Christmas was my favorite time of year. It had nothing to do with the presents under the tree, or the prospect of Santa Claus coming down our artificial fireplace. It was living in that amazing city, and the experience of Christmas in a real “Winter Wonderland.”

I remember trudging up the wide sidewalks of Madison Avenue with my family, with a huge Christmas tree slung over our shoulders. I remember sledding in the snow-drenched Central Park. I remember walking into FAO Shwartz and being overwhelmed at the huge teddy bears and the intimidating escalators leading me to a Barbie paradise.

I have so many happy memories from my childhood in New York, I could go on and on. But instead, I’m going to give you an insider’s look at the hot spots of the city at Christmas time.

Here are a few of my must-see’s

• Rockefeller Center, boasts the world famous, 80-story Christmas tree, which lights up every year on Nov. 29. If the lines aren’t too long I’d recommend a skate around the huge rink too.

• Fifth Avenue is a must-see. Every year at Christmas time, all of New York’s finest department stores have a major competition for the most elaborate holiday window display. There’s Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord and Taylor and then Macy’s, which usually wins hands-down. Plus, Fifth Avenue now boasts both an Abercrombie and Fitch and a new, state of the art, Mac Apple store, located across from the decadent and world famous Plaza hotel.

• Try to get to the Empire State Building, to see the breathtaking view of the city. If you have time, hop on the Staten Island Ferry and climb up the Statue of Liberty. It’s a wondrous sight, even with the notable absence of the Twin Towers.

• Other amazing places to visit: There’s the world-renowned Metropolitan Museum of Art (I recommend the Ancient Egypt gallery) and the Natural History Museum (look out for the giant whale!) Care for ballet? Head to Lincoln Center for an breathtaking performance of “The Nutcracker.” There’s dozens of Tony Award winning Broadway productions to attend (“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” is phenomenal, and for the Monty Python groupie in you, I recommend the side-splitting farce, “Spamalot.”)

• If you dislike crowds, I strongly discourage a trip to Times Square. Any time, day or night, that place is packed with tourists, many of which are screaming teenage girls in town for “TRL.” New York is famous for its diversity, so make a trip to China Town or Little Italy and you’ll see why.

As you can see, there are a million ways to entertain yourself in this booming metropolis. It is said that New York is the cultural core of theater, music, art, literature and everything in between. If you have the opportunity to visit, please take advantage of it. As you can see, there’s no place else I’d rather be at Christmas than New York City.

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