New York is one of the most magical cities to visit during the holidays. Ice Skating in either Central Park or Rockefeller Center, admiring the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, having drinks at Top Of The World, Shopping on Fifth Avenue, buying toys at FAO Schwarz, having dinner at Tavern On The Green, Carbones, or Il Mulino, taking in a Broadway show (or two), seeing the Rockettes and the Christmas Spectacular show at Radio City Music Hall, climbing the Bee Hive to see spectacular views at Hudson Park, enjoying the lights and action at Times Square, walking through Central Park and the zoo, getting mouth-watering desserts in Little Italy, and paying your respect at the Freedom Tower are just a sampling of the hundreds of things you can enjoy in New York City. Here are our favorites, which will make for a a great few days in the Big Apple for the holidays.
The JW Marriott Essex House. There is no shortage of outstanding hotels in NYC. Many have spectacular locations, ambiance, suites and restaurants. We recently had the opportunity to review the JW Marriott Essex House and it has become our newest favorite hotel in the city. The entire luxury hotel is a work of art that has been an icon in NYC since 1931. With ornate gilded doors and rich wood paneling throughout that bring you back to the Art Deco years, current cutting-edge technology seamlessly blends the past and present. The JW Marriott Essex House is a 44-story luxury hotel with 509 Art Deco style rooms, located across the street from the southern border of Central Park. The building also includes a large number of condominium residences. It is immediately recognizable by its original red neon rooftop sign. Their contemporary guest rooms are comfortable, immaculate, and homey all at the same time with breathtaking views of Central Park and Manhattan as a bonus. And, all of the usual suspects are available, including Internet TV and WiFi. We stayed in a Junior Suite (with a King bed) and couldn't wait to jump in to their sumptuous bedding at the end of our day. The room is 500 square feet which is plenty big, especially for NYC, and there is an additional, separate sitting area. The suite also boasts a plush sofa that turns into a queen bed for additional family.
General Sites To Visit:
- Bee Hive at Hudson Yards (the newest centerpiece in the newest hot spot)
- Times Square (go in the evening -- it's lit up!)
- Freedom Tower (pay your respects)
- Central Park
- The Tree At Rockefeller Center
- Fifth Avenue
- FAO Schwarz
- Top of the Rock (for drinks)
- Newhaus Chocolates (the best around -- mouth watering)
Tavern On The Green.
This wonderful restaurant is full of holiday spirit. A Central Park staple, the historic Tavern on the Green has also been capturing the spirit of New York City since 1934. In 2014, co-owners Jim Caiola and David Salama (previously of Beau Monde and L’Etage in Philidelphia) re-opened Tavern with a completely redesigned space and menu that harkens back to the original landmark featuring warm, celebratory dining spaces, seasonal American fare, classic cocktails, and a robust wine list. Jim and David selected Bill Peet (formerly of Asia de Cuba, Café des Artistes & Patroon) as Executive Chef for the revival of Tavern, who has reinvigorated the menu with creative takes on classic dishes. A MODERN TAVERN nestled in a bucolic Central Park setting, Tavern on the Green is an iconic, landmark restaurant unlike any other. Centered around a hearty, rustic menu shaped by local, seasonal ingredients, Tavern on the Green invites patrons into a warm, celebratory gathering space that captures the spirit of Central Park and the energy of New York City. Originally designed by Calvert Vaux and built in 1870 to house the sheep that grazed in Central Park's Sheep Meadow, Tavern on the Green has proudly served locals, presidents, royalty, artists, actors, and first-time visitors since 1934. In November and December, you MUST dine in the Central Park room with it's open kitchen and glass wall that beams the light inside. It's our favorite place to dine during the holidays.
This magical Broadway musical takes one of the most beloved Disney animated films and turns it into a live production that will entertain and mesmerize you. All of your favorite, familiar scenes are surely part of this extravagant production. The characters are all spot on, the show-stopping numbers are beautifully executed, and the sets are gorgeous. Additionally, the costumes and set design are gorgeous. And wait until you see Aladdin and Jasmine's carpet ride... it's jaw dropping. The entire show was gorgeously produced and it's a joy from beginning to end. All of your beloved characters are perfectly played by their real-life counterparts, especially Genie (Major Attaway) who steals the show with his humor and wit.
Just in case you haven't seen the animated film, Aladdin is the beloved story of a poor street boy who has the chance to change his life with just one rub of a magic lamp. His story takes you on a wonderful journey from street boy to Prince in this timeless romantic comedy.