New York is a magical place where life breaths at every corner and while each of the four seasons offers something special, there is no doubt that winter is especially magical for visitors. Word goes that in New York Christmas shopping does not seem like an obligation but more like a fun activity that everybody enjoys doing. And what is even more attractive is that in New York City, the winter fun doesn’t stop when the holidays are over, but rather until the end of the season that is highlighted by the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden, Asia Week New York or an international art fair featuring some of the most important work from the 20th and 21st centuries, the Armory Show. But let’s have a look at the things you can do in the winter in New York City.
Ice-skating is one of the most popular activities during winter in New York. We’ve all seen in romantic comedy movies how characters go on casual dates and skate in some of the city’s rinks. Many of these rink open early in the fall so it is close to impossible to not find yourself at Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park or at the Rink at Rockefeller Center. Of course, if you are in town for a longer period of time, you might want to consider going early in the season because as the holidays approaches the rinks grow more crowded.
As I said before, they say holiday shopping in New York is a thrilling experience for everyone. Lovely displays, Christmas spirit, distinctive gifts, going shopping for presents is without doubts something to be looking for. Some of the most popular markets are Union Square Holiday Market, the Holiday Shops at Bryant Park, Grand Central Holiday Fair and the Shops at Columbus Circle.
Between November 7 and December 31 you can go see the extravaganza that is Radio City Christmas Spectacular, one of the holiday season must-see attractions. The show combines classics like ‘Parade of the Wooden Soldiers’ and ‘New York at Christmas’ with cutting-edge digital projections and technology, all of which transform Radio City Hall’s interior into a giant canvas.A New York holiday season is not complete without seeing Balanchine’s ‘The Nutcracker’ performed annually the New York Ballet since 1954, thus becoming one of the city’s traditions.
Perhaps one of the most famous Christmas trees in the world, each year in the beginning of December, the lights of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree light up. Towering above the ice rink below, the sight of the tree is as festive as it can get and the crowning moment when the switch is flipped is one of the biggest events of the holiday season. And because lighting up the Christmas tree is such a big event, lighting the world’s largest Hanukkah Menorah is also a pretty big deal. The annual Jewish Festival of Lights is celebrated around the 32-foot-high, gold-colored, 4,000 pound steel holiday icon at Grand Amy Plaza.
On December 31, the arrival of 2015 will be welcomed by the Time Square Ball Drop. The fun is on the streets where you can watch musical performances before and after midnight. Just make sure you get there early in the day as the streets close during mid-afternoon.
Under the Radar Festival is produced by the Public Theatre and it celebrates its 11th anniversary in 2015. Also, about at the same time in January, the New York Jewish Film Festival takes place which means you will have plenty of cultural activities to choose from. From January to March the New York City Ballet will return to Lincoln Center for a six-week season. ‘The Iceman Cometh’ is also something worth waiting. A Eugene O’Neill’s classics play about false and disillusionment stars award-winning stage and screen actors Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy.
The Westminster Kennel Club 139th Annual Show showcases some of the most beloved breeds in the world. This year the event will be held at the Piers 92/94 which, thanks to the additional space, allowed for the entry to increase to 3,200 dogs.
In February the Chinatown’s annual Lunar Year celebration will feature stunning visuals, treats and impressive performances. Food and festivities for all ages, the parade will go through the main streets of Little Italy and Chinatown and will start at 1:00 pm.
Between February 27 and Marc 22 New York International Children’s Film Festival will happen. The festival will feature some of the most unique and engaging independent films for young people. From animated shorts to full-length, this film festival will bring in almost every genre for kid of all ages.
The Orchid Show, the largest of its kind will celebrate its 13th anniversary in 2015, so expect a lot of brilliantly colored orchids and cultural events. The Armory Show will be held on the Piers 92 and 94 and will combine a selection of the world’s leading galleries, as well as a program of art events and exhibitions.
If you are into Asian culture you might want to consider visiting New York between March 13 and 21 where, for nine days, museums, galleries, auction houses and cultural institutions will be featuring the best of Asian culture. The St. Patrick’s Parade is a famous event in New York City, so make sure you check that out as well on March 17, 2015.
March is full of events and as the cold season ends, the spring is welcomed. I am sure New York has plenty of other things in store for those who will visit it during other seasons but since “winter is coming” let’s make the best of the best of it.