Christmas in New York

Old May 27th, 2008, 08:24 AM
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Christmas in New York

We are two adults flying into Newark Dec. 23 and departing Dec. 26. That is as far as our plans go at this point. How cold can we expect it to be? What is the best transportation from Newark to Manhattan? We are thinking of visiting Ground Zero and a museum, seeing a play or a Rockettes performance and perhaps going to the Empire State Building. Any suggestions for what to do and see (or avoid) are appreciated.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 08:33 AM
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NYC is both exciting and a zoo that week. The streets literally become impassable near Rock Center and Times Square.

Be sure to have a hotel and do not overplan.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 08:41 AM
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I think Christmastime is the best time to visit the city. There are decorations everywhere, lots of stuff to do, etc. Of course, it is also expensive then.

As for transportation from Newark, there are several choices. I usually take one of the bus services that have desks near the bag claim area. There are private services and also a Port Authority bus. It is cost effective and doesn't take too long. Of course, once you arrive in Manhattan, you will need to get from the bus stop to your hotel, so factor that in to the cost and hassle. You can also take a taxi, but it will be more expensive.

I agree with Aduchamp that I would plan some time for just wandering around. Fifth Avenue is always done up in decorations and makes for some beautiful window shopping. Same for Rockefeller Center. The windows at Saks, Lord & Taylor, Tiffany, Bergdorf and Barney's are always really special at Christmas. If you want to ice skate, I'd recommend doing it in Central Park at Wollman Rink, rather than in Rockefeller Center where it will be very crowded. But for a beautiful ground-floor view of the rink and skaters, get a reservation for a meal at the Sea Grill in Rockefeller Center.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 09:12 AM
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Yes, the streets are impassable during that time of year. I love NY, but we leave every year from Christmas-New Year and come back only when the crowds subside.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 09:13 AM
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The crowds are pretty bad, but If you don't mind a lot of people around, it can still be a great time to see the city.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 09:27 AM
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Whoa!!!! Sure, it's crowded during the holiday season, but let's not scare people away. The crowds are part of what makes New York City especially exciting that time of the year.
And, believe me, sure, the streets are crowded, but most are passable!
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Old May 27th, 2008, 09:27 AM
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You should reserve your hotel now to try to get even half-way reaasonable rates.

It's the most crowded and probably expensive time of year.

Best transit depends on how much luggage you have and how much you mind schlepping it. A car service (Carmel or Dial 7) will be about $60. For about half that you can take the Air Train to Newark, hop on NJ Transit train to NYC Penn Station and then take a subway to your hotel. Be aware there may be several sets of stairs and long passageways to deal with.

Do not do the ESB - whcih has huge lines. Instead go to Top of the Rock - for which you can get advance timed ticekts.

For discount show tickets (although there may not be many tht week) go to brodwaybox.com about 3 months in advance. If they're not showig discounts you'll need to use ticketmaster for full price.

Avoid Times Square except to see a show. Do go to the Met (check out the web site in advance to see what departments interest you).

And definitely walk up Fifth Ave from Lord & Tayloe (39th) to 57th to see all the incredibly decorted store window, Rock Center and skating rink and St Pat's.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 10:08 AM
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I second most of what's aleady said here...LOL! And, wear layers.

Our 1st trip to NYC was over the holidays and it was fab! (2 adults as well).

We did the train in from EWR once and it was so easy we did it again on our last trip. For us it was the fastest way into the city as we arrived during evening rush hour. If you're not fiesty or mobile, just take a cab as another poster mentioned - there's lots of stairs, corridors and crowds at the stations.

The crowds were really only surprising at the terminals (train/bus/rail) and after Christmas sales.

Be sure to visit the Met and marvel at its Christmas tree. That whole area round Top of the Rock is lovely with its festive decorations. We preferred the ESB to the TotR.

If you happen to be around Grand Central Station, pop in and check out the laser show on the ceiling (and grab some cheesecake from Juniors while there - yum!)

For us the window displays were amazing and fun to wander around to!

Watch something at Lincoln Center.

We got excellent use out of the 7 day Metrocard pass (for busses, subways, etc.). When it wasn't convenient, we just used a cab but most times it's so easy to just hop on a bus or subway. I've not bought a 1-day pass before as we usually stay 4 days, but price it out - it might be a better option for you.

I'm a country bumpkin and the subway and crowds didn't faze us. Have a wonderful trip!

Enjoy-la!
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Old May 27th, 2008, 10:17 AM
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Ah yes, the Metropolitan Museum's christmas tree with its Neapolitan nativity is one of the highlights of the season. Don't miss it!!
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Old May 27th, 2008, 10:25 AM
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I'm kind of surprised by the comments about how crowded it will be that week. I've been there over Christmas several times and both Dec. 24 and Dec. 25 were VERY quiet (in fact the 25th was almost desolate in midtown -- except for right around Rockefeller Center). Since those two are the only two full days being talked about, I'm not sure about those "zoo" comments. I would expect a lot of traffic though on the 23rd and even more on the 26th when you are leaving.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 11:36 AM
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Patrick, your comment is right on!
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Old May 27th, 2008, 12:03 PM
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Christmas Day was the only time I ever found free on-street parking in Manhattan.

The week between Christmas and New Years is the busiest of the year.

Keith
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Old May 27th, 2008, 01:34 PM
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That may be true, Keith, but since the poster is leaving town the day after Christmas, they'll miss all that. As a matter of fact, I've been surprised in the past to get very low prices for hotels during the full week (until New Year's Eve when they of course skyrocket). I assume that's because there are no conventions and virtually no business travelers. But that only applies to the "slowness" of hotels -- not how busy the city itself is!
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Old May 27th, 2008, 02:57 PM
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That week is madness in midtown. The extraordinary shopping creates immense crowds. Three of the gridlock alert days last year were Dec 19, 20, 21.

People flock to see to the store windows and the ice skating. And if the weather is somewhat mild it will be even worse.

Yes Christmas morning may be quiet but the evening, it will be nuts.



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Old May 27th, 2008, 03:22 PM
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I don't disagree with anything you just said -- except that Christmas night will be nuts. Define that -- and where are you talking about, certainly not midtown? But did you bother to read the original post and question? The person isn't even going to New York until the 23rd. Why would they care about the crowds on the 19th, 20th, and 21st. Maybe you should also be pointing out how bad the traffic is midtown on Thanksgiving Day -- that has just as much to do with this post!
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Old May 27th, 2008, 04:56 PM
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Sure, New York City is crowded during the holiday season, but honestly, it's not as if everything is at a standstill because of teeming crowds.
I think some of the comments are examples of hyperbole gone wild!
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Old May 27th, 2008, 05:17 PM
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I worked on 55 Street for a couple of years and for whatever reason vistors, business I have been at Rock Center and Times Square during Christmas and the streets were literally impassbale and that includes the shopping days leading up to Christmas.

Do I remember the exact day of the week and time. No. But when I worked there I wouldn't even hit the streets at lunch time.

And now unless there is an extenuating circumstance I avoid the area. That said try eating in other areas if all possible, in a residential area. Those areas will be much quieter. That would include the East and West Villages where there are great selections to begin with.

By the way, the three at the Met Museum is the epitome of elegance.

There are three markets that sell unusual gifts From Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve, Union Square, Grand Central Station, and Bryant Psrk. Anyone who is town during that time might want to stop in. Most places have reasonably priced items.

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Old May 27th, 2008, 05:17 PM
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The week before Christmas is my all-time favourite week in NY. Yes, the streets are crowded but the areas in front of many of the store windows are roped-off so that those who want to see the windows can stop while the walkers can get by. The streets are not 'literally' impassable. That would mean that people are at a dead stop and of course they're not. It's crowded, sure, but you'll manage and it's so engergizing and exciting at Christmastime!

One thing you should absolutely not miss is the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Radio City Musical Hall itself is absolutely beautiful and the show is so much fun. You can't help but be in the holiday spirit when you see it.

Broadway shows are great but if you can only manage one theatre event then make it the Christmas Spectacular!

Gosh, I'm so jealous!
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Old May 27th, 2008, 05:23 PM
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Well, call me wacky but I can't understand why anyone would go to NY at Christmastime so they could spend time in quieter residential areas.

That said, Nellie, if you want a quiet, homey type of Christmas (always nice, I agree) this might be the wrong time to visit NY. If you want excitement, crowds, glitter, lights, well, then NY is the place for you.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 05:49 PM
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I do not expect people to be close readers. The suggestion was to eat in residential areas if possible. It is easier than fighting the crowds in mid town.

I was simply trying to prepare the original posters for what could otherwise be a surprise, possibly an unexpecred surprise.

And yes, the traffic is so bad on Fifth Afvenue, the stops on the bus routes are changed at Christmas time to alliviate some vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

But what do I know, I have only lived here all my live.
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