After watching “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” many, many times when I was a child, I always wanted to see New York City during Christmas time. So when I had to go to our Kodak headquarters in Rochester, NY for some meetings at the end of December, I used the opportunity for a quick 2-day stopover on my way back. I stayed in a little hotel directly by Union Square, which turned out to be the perfect location. From Union Square, you have a direct Metro connection to Times Square and also to the Brooklyn Bridge in the South of Manhattan.
So, what do you do in New York in December, if you only have a little less than 2 days?
Pack a warm hat, your camera, and go see your very favourite places – in “fast-food tourism style”, which I have become an expert in it seems!
Right after I was off-loaded by the taxi, and I unloaded my bags in my room I went straight to Times Square. And what did I see first when I came out of the metro station? – The big Kodak sign.
And before I walked towards Rockefeller Center to see “the Christmas Tree” I had to do a quick stop at the American Eagle Store, mostly because I forgot my own advice and had to find myself a warm hat to fight against the cold, headache inducing, winds!
When I finally arrived at The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree I was quite disappointed. You could not even really get that close to it because there was a bunch of people trying to sell you a photo in front of it.
So I left rather quickly and walked back to Times Square passing some much cooler Christmas decorations.
The next day I took the downtown metro train 5 to Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall and walked across the bridge (and all the way back!) for the very first time for some of the most amazing views of the city. You can see by the clothes of the people how cold it was:
Unfortunately, parts of the bridge ware currently getting renovated, but even that looked kind of cool.
After my bridge tour I walked over to Ground Zero to see the status of the Millennium Tower. Last time I was there is more than 4 years ago, but there was still not really a tower to be recognised…;)
I also stopped at Century 21, the big department store directly at Ground Zero, where I used to find really good deals. But this time I could not really be bothered to dig myself through piles of stuff. There were just way too many people trying to find Xmas gifts, so I took the train uptown to Canal Street instead.
From there I walked a bit through SoHo (which I learned means South of Houston) It’s one of my favourite parts of the city! I then went to Midtown Manhattan to meet Nadja, an old friend from Dresden. She works at Bloomberg at Lexington Avenue between East 58th and 59th street and when I walked there from Times Square in less than half an hour, I realised that Manhattan is smaller than I remembered. Together we went to Grand Central Station, as I only knew it from Flash Mobs on YouTube ;). And yeah, the screen doesn’t lie. It is definitely one of the prettiest train stations I have ever seen.
I tried to capture it in some crazy panoramas:
We also did a short stop at Bryant Park http://www.bryantpark.org/ to watch people ice skating on the City Pond http://www.bryantpark.org/things-to-do/pond.html and strolling through the many little huts with pretty Christmas things around the pond… always in search for some cool last minute Christmas gifts!
The main reason we went there was to go to one of the bars next to the pond, but everything was cIosed. I guess Christmas has a way of closing bars for private parties. So we decided to go straight to dinner instead. Nadja took me to Mexican Radio (http://www.mexrad.com/NYC.htm) in SoHo near Lafayette Street. It’s a really cosy place and not only was the food really good but so was the Strawberry Margarita.
The next day, was basically a shopping day for me… Macy’s, 5th Avenue, etc. with the highlight being the Apple Store on 5th Av, where I somehow ended up buying two iPads…. And oh yes, I almost forgot! My search for a proper NY Cheesecake! Apparently, you can’t find one for love or money near the big Macy’s in 34th Street. Which should be Cheesecake central for all the shoppers! I only found my piece later in the afternoon near the apple store in a tiny little Deli.
After that last important part of my stopover in the Christmas Big Apple, I was ready to fly home for German Weihnachten. And luckily I had two new toys to entertain me during my flight. (Just kidding, one was a gift!)