by Robert Reid
Who does Christmas spirit better than New York? The famous poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ was supposedly inspired by the festive atmosphere in one of the city’s downtown markets in 1822, and, according to Miracle on 34th Street, yes, there is a Santa Claus, and he presides at Macy’s. Unsurprisingly, some of New York’s Christmas landmarks have turned into well-worn touristy ruts, and worth every second, but there are a few things you simply should not do.
DO go to Rockefeller Center Plaza (aka the Capital of NYC Christmas), and see the big tree (here since 1931, now boasting 45,000 LED lights), and snap a photo or two. It’s worth fighting the crowds, particularly after dark when the lights bounce off the bare shoulders of the golden Prometheus statue. Lights click off at 11:30pm through Christmas, then at 9pm through New Year’s Eve.
DON’T skate the ice rink here. It’s tiny, expensive ($30 + $12 rental), and lines regularly take up to two hours to get ice time. Save the skating for after January 4 (when there’s a shorter wait, and off-peak rates are $3 cheaper), or go to Central Park’s Wollman Rink, which is bigger, slightly cheaper ($11.25/18 weekdays/weekends + $8 rental) and equally as atmospheric.
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