As the display windows of Manhattan shops turn into winter wonderlands and the city’s art deco buildings become the backdrops for spectacular light shows this Christmas season, even the most tourist-averse New Yorker has to admit that at this time of year it’s pretty beautiful. 

With so much to do in the city that never sleeps - from perusing the many holiday markets and checking out Radio City’s iconic Christmas spectacular, here’s a festive guide to this city that never sleeps so you can make the most of the season.

Iberostar 70 Park Avenue is a modern, 4-star boutique hotel in New York City’s lively Midtown Manhattan sector. Surrounded by the brownstones and breathtaking views of Manhattan’s Murray Hill neighborhood, it offers guests luxurious guestrooms and superior amenities and a 24-hour fitness center.

Fifth Avenue’s One-of-A-Kind Holiday Window Displays

The impressive festive window displays planned up to a year in advance make shopping on Fifth Avenue extra special.  This year, in celebration of the 80th anniversary of Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, you can see incredibly detailed vignettes from the Disney classic on display at Sak’s Fifth Avenue.  Also, the 49th and 50th Street windows showcase gorgeous modern-day inspirations of Snow White’s gowns created by four designers, Alberta Ferretti, Naeem Khan, Monique Lhuillier and Marchesa.

At Bloomingdales, you can see circus acts and mannequins sporting bedazzled outfits on display. Partnering with the film The Greatest Showman (out December 20), the displays pay tribute to big-top visionary P.T. Barnum. More than 7,600,000 Swarovski crystals are used to embellish and outfit the costumes and props used in each window.

Barneys’ holiday windows have been decked out by twin brothers and artist duo, Simon and Nikolai Haas and feature whimsical creative interpretations of Earth through the ages. The windows showcase four phases: Primordial, Utopia, Millennium and Mushroom Singularity and incorporate advanced LED technology flashing bright, bold and mesmerizing colors.

'To New York With Love' is Bergdorf Goodman’s iconic display featuring seven different iconic attractions in New York such as the sparkly Swarovski crystal-encrusted dinosaurs as paying homage to the American Museum of Natural History and red neon signs shaped like trumpets as a tribute to the New York Philharmonic.

Henri Bendel’s Lovepop window features flowers, birds and butterflies. Since Lovepop specializes in 3-D cards, 30,000 paper butterflies can be seen fluttering down from the ceiling on the main level of the store (which is visible from outside).

This year’s Tiffany & Co’s displays are all about a perennial favorite—the classic Tiffany Blue Box. Featuring wooden drawing figures posing in fun scenarios such as “fishing” for jewels.

Holiday Christmas Trees

Seriously, you have to see the Rockefeller Center Tree. Not only is the lighting display one of the best NYC events, but there’s also a ton of festive things to do around the landmark.  Whether you’re ice-skating or doing some shopping, you will certainly feel the magic when you witness the wonder of the 78-foot, 10-ton Norway Spruce illuminated in over 45,000 LED lights.

Started in 1933, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has become a timeless tradition for New Yorkers and tourists alike.

And there are other wonderful trees worth seeing. Inside the Medieval Sculpture Hall of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the staff at the Met Fifth Avenue, light a 20-foot blue spruce that is graced with more than 200 realistic nativity figures from Naples, Italy. These collections of cherubs and angels perched among boughs date back to the 18th-century. This display also includes a topnotch Nativity scene.

Placed outside the New York Stock Exchange on Broad Street between Wall Street and Exchange Place, this 60-foot tree gets stocked with 100 strands of multi-colored lights, 500 ornaments and topped a six-foot star. This NYSE lighting has been ongoing since 1923.

This offshoot branch of the New York Public library known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building has holiday decor that will make Charles Dickens fans tickle with delight. In addition to a beautifully-decorated tree in Astor Hall, showings have included a copy of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol that Dickens used for public readings, complete with the author’s handwritten notes.

Adjacent to the New York Public Library, Bryant Park also has quite the towering tree display. Each year, its tree comes from a different location primarily within the Rockland, New York area. The 2017 tree is from Nanuet and is crowned with a custom-made tree-topper. The boughs are decorated with 30,000 lights and 3,000 ornaments.

Another fun tree lighting to witness are the 104 trees from Nova Scotia along Park Avenue. The tradition started in December 1945 as a way to honor the servicemen and women who died in World War II. Nowadays, these trees still serve as a symbol of peace. The lighting ceremony takes place outside of the Brick Presbyterian Church (91st street), upon the minister’s verbal cue, “let there be light.”

Holiday Shows

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular 2017 literally kicks off the holiday season in NYC, and it's one of the best Christmas must-dos. Since 1933, the Rockettes have put on one of the city’s most classic Christmas spectacles. Another seasonal favorite is The Nutcracker from New York City Ballet.

If you’re into jazz, check out trumpet player Chris Botti Holiday Residency at the Blue Note in Greenwich Village. Take in a blend of smooth jazz-funk, glossily Miles Davis-esque ballads and assorted pop and classics at his 12th annual holiday residency.

Indie aficionados will enjoy LCD Soundsystem’s return to the industrial-chic Brooklyn Steel for a string of shows fronted by a new album, American Dream. It's the first number-one album of the dance-punks' career and a possible answer to any who questioned the motives behind the band's quick about-face after retiring in 2011.

If you enjoy thick metal riffs, indoor fireworks and head-spinning light shows, you're in luck. Trans-Siberian Orchestra, a prog-pop-metal-classical spectacular visits town for two sets at the Prudential Center.

They say that the musicians who travelled to New York in the past to seek their fortune were so impressed when they saw the skyscrapers that a lump formed in their throat, as if they were trying to swallow a big apple. This is the origin of the name with which this vibrant city is known. Nowadays, staying in a hotel in New York with Iberostar, you can experience this feeling first-hand.

 

PATRICIA SERRANO CHUNGSATHAPORN | 19/12/17

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