December in New York City

by NYJ Team

One of the greatest cities to visit in the world in December is undoubtedly New York. This is the place where visitors and locals alike can truly experience the magic of the holiday season, as the whole city gets dressed up for the occasion. From the magnificent Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, to the angelic Christmas carol singers on every street corner, to the wonderful department store window displays along Fifth Avenue, New York in December is a treat for all the senses. There are countless holiday concerts and shows to take in, as well as the ultimate ‘Christmas in New York’ experience – ice-skating in one of the parks or at Rockefeller Center under the tree. New Year’s Eve in New York is one huge party, with street events, restaurants and bars participating until the early hours of the morning. Visitors can choose the classic New Year’s Eve experience by watching the ‘ball drop’ in Times Square at the stroke of midnight.    

Temperatures are quite cold during December in New York. Average highs are around 44 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius), while average lows can hit 32 degrees Fahrenheit, or a chilling zero degrees Celsius. This is no reason, however, to avoid the great things happening in the city over this time period. By packing appropriate clothing – long, wind and waterproof jackets, warm trousers, comfortable, waterproof walking shoes, gloves, hats and scarves – visitors will still be able to enjoy all that New York has to offer in December and more! 

New York is also a great time to get down to some serious Christmas shopping. With so much abundance and variety, it would be difficult not to find that right something for everyone! New York department stores simply vie with each other to get shoppers through their doors, with great products, enticing bargains and the most beautiful decorations ever seen.  Happy Holidays!

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

by NYJ Team

Nothing quite epitomizes Christmas in New York City like the legendary Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, which stands tall and proud in one of the greatest cities on earth during one of the most beautiful seasons of the year! The tradition of lighting up a Christmas tree outside this famous center began as far back as 1933 during the dark days of the Depression, in a bid to bring some Christmas cheer to weary laborers. Since then, without fail – except for the wartime period – New Yorkers and visitors are awestruck each year by the splendor of this crowd-stopping, truly magnificent creation.

The beauty of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree lies both in its size and the fact that it is decorated by thousands of lights threaded through its limbs – making it one of the most majestic sites of the season. Below the tree lies the famous Rockefeller ice rink where skaters can glide their way under the branches of the tree and experience the real magic of Christmas in New York City. Christmas carolers take their place under the tree to sing the beautiful psalms and traditional tunes of the season in the weeks leading up to the holiday. Famous horn-blowing angels customarily occupy the plaza that leads to the tree.

Every year, the official lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is broadcast coast to coast, with a celebrity host and all the pomp and celebration expected from such a happy event. This year’s official tree lighting is planned for November 28th at 7 pm. The tree will stay lit each day from 5.30 am through to 11.30 pm. until approximately January 6th. For a true ‘Christmas in New York’ experience, this is definitely not something that should be missed over the holidays.

Click for more information on the Rockefeller Center at NewYorkJourney.com.

New York City Department Store Holiday Window Displays

by NYJ Team

‘Tis the season to be giving and what better place to shop for the holidays than New York City. November is when all the major department stores in the city unveil their magnificent holiday window displays to entice buyers and this is definitely a spectacle not to be missed!  

One of New York City’s most popular department stores, Macy’s, unveils its two holiday windows in early to mid November, prior to Thanksgiving. One window is a changing theme, while the other always depicts a theme from the classic Christmas movie, “Miracle on 37th Street”. Another store famous for its exquisite holiday window displays is Bloomingdales on Third Avenue, which are unveiled towards the end of November or early December. The displays stay in place until well after New Year. Bloomingdales’ displays are always classy and showcase intricately detailed scenes. 

Also displaying their holiday windows in late November is Saks Fifth Avenue, the New York City department store icon conveniently located near Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This store’s window display is especially popular with families as it is always whimsical with a touch of fun. Last year, the department store created a stunning Snowflake theme display, complete with movement and music. Around mid-November, Bergdorf Goodman unveils its sophisticated holiday window displays, usually incorporating stunningly authentic antiques and the height of fashion. Other stores to look out for include Barney’s and Lord & Taylor

Visitors who wish to make a day out of window display viewing should remember to wear comfortable walking shoes and dress in layers in case they are tempted to go into the warm, heated stores! While most of the major store windows can be viewed in less than two hours, visitors should take their shopping time into account as well! Window-shopping has never been such a pleasure!