Taylor’s End of Year Experience in New York City!

Ahh, New York City. The Big Apple. Neither my wife, nor I, had ever been there before. So, we decided that the week between the Christmas holiday and the new year would be the perfect time to visit. We wanted to see all the glitz and glamor that decorate NYC during this period. We set out on our adventure on December 28 and arrived around noon. We grabbed a quick ride to our hotel to drop our bags and found a nearby Italian restaurant to grab some lunch. It brought us both right back to our honeymoon days in the Italian motherland as we devoured our first meal of the trip.


After lunch, we headed down Fifth Avenue and checked out all the extravagant (and very expensive) storefront windows with their holiday displays. These stores go all out with their decor and each window depicts a new holiday scene. Kids were playing with snowballs or skating around on the ice. Stars and snowflakes glistened as they fell to the bottom of the window, only to be sucked up into the cycle again and again. Santa Claus flew his reindeer across displays. It was a really neat sight! 

By the time we weaved through the crowds checking out all the windows, we realized that we had made it to the edge of the famous Central Park. This massive green space in the middle of an insanely busy city was just the break we needed from all the people. Don’t get me wrong, the park was still packed, but the noise of the city faded into quieter conversations in all different languages. As we walked through the park, we came upon the skating rink. The weather was rainy and not as cold as you may think (around 50 degrees Fahrenheit the entire time we were there), so we decided to pass. I was especially glad for that as I didn’t want to make a fool of myself by falling on my rear end in front of all the kids who were very experienced on the ice 🙂 


After the park, we were able to get checked into our hotel room for the evening and prepared to go to our first big event – The Christmas Spectacular featuring the Radio City Rockettes – at Radio City Music Hall. The show was incredible. The cast sang and danced to classic Christmas tunes while putting on a play in which Santa delivers toys to everyone in New York City. It had everything from an orchestra popping out of the ground to 3D movie clips to drones that were made to look like frost fairies. If you ever get a chance to see this, I highly recommend it (especially for kids!). Tired from a long day of travel and sightseeing, we called it an evening after the show ended. 



Day two brought with it a lot of walking. I’m talking 30,000+ steps of walking and some really great food. We started our morning by walking to the Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree in all its glory. We had glimpsed it the night before but wanted to get a better view. Then, we headed to our first bagel shop for the trip. It didn’t disappoint. Black Seed Bagel made some of the best breakfast sandwiches we’ve eaten. Taking our breakfast with us, we walked down to the Winter Village at Bryant Park near Times Square. Here, they had a bunch of little Christmas shops with food from all over the world, another ice rink, another huge Christmas tree, and even a few chess boards. We went from Bryan Park over to Times Square to see how things were shaping up for the big New Year’s Eve celebration that was coming in two short days. It was chaotic, but very cool to see all the lights and billboards. If you like your personal space, then stay far away from here. The crowds were tremendous! 

Tired of the crowds, we grabbed a taxi and headed to Greenwich Village to get some pizza for lunch. Our top two pizza places we wanted had 4-hour waiting lines, so we settled for our third choice, which ended up only taking about 20 minutes and would have been well worth waiting for. It’s the best pizza I’ve eaten in my entire life! Bleecker Street Pizza is the place to go in NYC if you’re looking for a slice. We took a walk over to Washington Square Park as our pizza was digested, and we came upon even more chess players. These guys were serious and only playing for money, but they had crowds around them watching every game. Musicians, skateboarders, dancers, and artists of all kinds gathered in this park. It was a truly great place to spend an afternoon. For dinner, we grabbed some excellent Greek cuisine from Ethos near our hotel and the river and then called it a night. 

On our final day, we enjoyed some Danish pastries from a nearby bakery and then headed out to walk in Hell’s Kitchen. This neighborhood is well known for its Italian cuisine and we had a lunch reservation at a highly recommended restaurant. We were not disappointed. Becco delivered us an all-you-can-eat pasta trio that once again had us longing for the Tuscan countryside. We could have stayed here all day and just 20 minutes after we arrived there wasn’t an empty seat in the place. After stuffing ourselves with pasta, we headed back over to Broadway to take in the famous Disney play Aladdin. I loved seeing one of my favorite childhood movies played out on the stage. By the time the show was over, it was nearly time for dinner, and we decided to wait in the 90-minute line for one of our top two pizza choices from the previous day. This location was in Times Square, however, so we were able to be entertained with all the lights and people on the street. We were pleasantly surprised that this pizza was also worth the wait but didn’t live up to the taste of Bleecker Street. With the crowds really moving in for the New Year’s Eve party that was coming the next day, we decided to take the long way back to our hotel, through Bryant Park again before heading to bed and getting ready for our flight out the next day.


There was plenty on our list that we didn’t get to experience on this trip. We missed out on seeing the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center memorial site. We didn’t get to take in a sporting event or see a comedy show. We didn’t even make it out of Manhattan to go to the other boroughs of the city like Brooklyn, Staten Island, or Queens. However, we got to see how magical New York City can be during the holiday season. We ate incredible food the entire time we were there. Most of all, we got to experience a new city together and share in those memories for the rest of our lives. If you get a chance to visit New York City, you should take it. There is so much to see, so I would plan to have more than we did to explore and make sure you do everything you want to do!