Chew Chainz is a New York City based business, and while there are plenty of times when the city drives us crazy (like riding the 1 Train in July), December just ain’t one of them. As Andy Williams sings, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” With apologies to Bethlehem, NYC is the Christmas mecca.
Now, don’t get me wrong… You’re going to have to deal with heavy crowds, extortionary pricing, and potentially bitter cold. And, of course, New Yorkers have never been famous for their universal goodwill towards men. But, put that in the rearview mirror, cozy up with some egg-nog, and enjoy this Chew Chainz guide to celebrating the holidays in the Big Apple.
- The Tree in Rockefeller Center - Yes, the crowds are crazy, but it’s the most famous Christmas Tree in the world. This is non-negotiable. Your Christmas visit does not count if you skip the tree.
- Macy’s Santaland - Macy’s by itself is a sight to see, but Santaland is on another level. Lines to see the Big Man can often exceed 3 hours. They do it right…elves in full regalia, and the whole “Miracle on 34th Street” vibe, but that’s a tough wait. Go early in December to beat the lines. We made it through in under 30 minutes on Friday the 5th this year.
- Bryant Park Winter Village - On the backside of the New York Public Library (of Ghostbusters fame) is Bryant Park, which gets transformed into a “winter village” every holiday season. Fun shops, lots of good food and ice skating. You’ll find similar shops at Columbus Circle and Union Square.
- 5th Avenue - If you’re going to hit Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park, you might as well walk 5th Avenue. Check out the holiday window displays at Lord & Taylor and Saks among others. If you’re looking to do some shopping, better take out a second mortgage.
- Skate in Central Park - There are other ice skating options out there (Roc Center & Bryant Park), but Central Park is the least crowded. You’ve got to pay, while Bryant Park is free for those who bring their own blades, but if you’re actually looking to open up the throttle a bit, this is probably your best bet.
- Rolf’s - OK. We’ve hit the obvious spots, now let’s touch a few under the radar options for merry-making. Rolf’s German Restaurant on 22nd & 3rd turns into an explosion of lights, garland and nutcrackers every December. It’s a festive atmosphere to enjoy a bratwurst and Pils.
- Arthur Avenue, Bronx - They celebrate Christmas in the other boroughs too. Arthur Ave. is a more authentic version of Little Italy in Manhattan. So, if you’re looking to celebrate the holidays (like I sometimes do) with meatballs, chicken parm, a bottle of red, topped off with a cannoli and an espresso, it’s worth the trip out to the Boogie Down.
And, of course, the final New York City holiday marquee event is our annual Christmas Party at Chew Chainz HQ. We usually buy up all of the egg-nog in a five block radius and the Buble plays on repeat until sugarplums are dancing in my head.
What else is on the playlist? That’ll be our next blog post, coming soon, counting down our favorite carols.