The Wanderer Returns + Christmas in New York

 

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Hello again! I hope you all had a faaaabliss festive season and indulged in as much wine, cheese and chocolate as I did! I’ve just returned to New York after the best two weeks at home and can’t believe it’s all over for another year. I won’t lie though, as much as I LOVED being home and seeing everyone at Christmas, I’m so happy to be back in New York and back to routine. I arrived back to a very snowy New York late Thursday night (after the worst journey of my life, but that’s a whole other story!) and was kind enough to give myself the weekend to settle in again and enjoy one last hurrah before getting back on track and *ATTEMPTING* a dry January!! :/ It’s Wednesday here today and now that we’re well and truly back to reality I figure no better way to get the blog back up and running again following my disappearing act (I know, oops!) than to get stuck in again this week. This post chats all things Winter in New York seeing as that’s what most people seemed so interested in while I was home. Yes, I’m aware we’re on the other side of the holidays now, but no better time than the present seeing as it’s still fresh with me.

 

 

But first…Let’s rewind

Ok so first of all, let’s rewind and address my absence since my last post… in October! Between work (and lots of it!), a never-ending house hunt (which did eventually end, thankfully!) and adhering to the demanding social scene, it all got a bit hectic! A rather pathetic excuse I know, but I’ve promised myself 2018 will be better and I’m looking forward to really going at it full hog. To be honest, much of what has motivated me has been chatting with friends and family at home recently and listening to how much they’ve actually enjoyed the blog so far. It all seemed a bit surreal as people chatted about it and their disappointment as they waited to hear more of my ramblings from the US. Like I said from the beginning, this was something I started solely in the hope of it helping me secure work over here in the digital/marketing/media sphere, and so to be honest it was never something I thought I would fully pursue, or even enjoy let alone others would enjoy! But fast forward a couple of months and here we are. So like I said, I’m going to make an effort this year, especially over the next few months anyway to keep things coming here. It does take time and effort, but now that I’ve realised it’s something I enjoy and apparently others do to, I feel more motivated and obliged to keep it going.

 

 

Thanksgiving 

I celebrated my first thanksgiving this year and it definitely did not disappoint. Although not affiliated with Christmas, Thanksgiving kicks off the start of the holiday season here and is Americas most loved holiday. It’s celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November every year, followed by the almighty Black Friday which we’ve all become so familiar with! I was lucky enough to spend the day with family here in the city where I got to sit in to an amazing home-cooked dinner. The day started with the Macy’s day parade, one of the most iconic Thanksgiving parades. It consists of a whole hosts of floats, from inflatable Disney characters to brass bands to gigantic balloons. It starts in the Upper West Side, making it’s way down around Central Park and finally finishing at Macy’s on 34th St. I was lucky enough to get front row seats as we watch it from a family friends super impressive penthouse overlooking Central Park. What an experience! After the parade we strolled across a very pretty Central Park to the Eastside, making our way back to the apartment where we ate and drank our way through the rest of the day!

 

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My first Christmas in New York

My first Christmas in New York was, without sounding ridiculously cringey, like the movies!! I’m probably contradicting myself here now after yapping on in a previous post about how much I loved NYC in the fall (which you can find here), but honestly, if you take one trip at Christmas in your entire lifetime, let it be New York. The lights, iconic Christmas trees, ice skating, Christmas shows, hot apple cider, snow if you’re lucky, amazing window displays, Christmas markets, the list goes on. Considering all of the above, I couldn’t let the month go by without acknowledging just how lovely it really is to spend time in the city at Christmas. Below are some of my favourite things to do in New York in the lead up to the big day. I’ve also included some other festive recommendations that I didn’t get around to doing but definitely worth checking out.

 

Rockettes Christmas Spectacular @ Radio City Music Hall

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Radio City Music Hall

 

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Rockettes Christmas Spectacular

 

This was such a fun day out and actually one that came about very last minute. It was something I’d hoped to get to over the holidays but I knew tickets were often pricey and the process of actually booking tickets and scheduling it in would be, like everything, put on the long finger. It was Saturday and I had just met the girls for brunch. We were picking our brains trying to think of an activity that would keep us out of the pub after a promise to stay sensible-ish for the weekend. Scrolling online we stumbled on some very reasonable tickets and off we went! From the get go this Christmas spectacular has you in the festive spirit. It starts with a 3D introduction where you join Santa on his sleigh and fly from the North Pole to NYC, and finally to the door of the Radio City Music Hall. This was probably my favourite part, and yes I am a big child really! I 100% recommend it, especially if you plan on bringing the kiddies.

 

Bryant Park Winter Village

There are many different Christmas markets in the city, but the Bryant Park Winter Village was definitely my favourite this year. It hosts much of your typical Christmas market stalls, from delicious hot food, to homemade sweet treats to hot chocolate and hot apple cider. There’s also lots of little kiosks selling all sorts and let’s not forget the huge ice rink! The rink and restaurant actually run through until the end of February so if you find yourself in the City between now and then be sure to check it out!

Facetune

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Rockerfeller Tree (& the rest!)

The Rockerfeller Tree is such an iconic tree in the city here at Christmas, for which we can probably thank Macaulay Culkin. It’s one of the biggest trees in the city, and home to 45,000 fairy lights, which apparently if laid out straight would stretch for 5 miles!! It’s probably the No.1 place you MUST visit when you’re in the city at Christmas. Even better if you manage to make the lighting of the tree. It can be pretty crazy around the area during the lighting event but it’s something you’ll be happy you done! I will admit I’m a sucker for the Lotte’s Palace Christmas Tree too!

 

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Rockerfeller Tree

 

Lotte Palace Hotel New York Christmas Tree
Lotte Palace Hotel Christmas Tree

 

Department Stores Window Displays 

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Saks Fifth Avenue window display from a distance

It’s safe to say New York department stores go all out with their window displays at Christmas. Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor and Macy’s are all worth a visit. But the winner this year (and probably every year) had to be SAKS Fifth Avenue with their Snow White theme. Every single window showcased a different yet equally impressive animated scene from Snow white, featuring all your favourite characters. However, it does get super busy around there once the windows are unveiled as people stop to watch and take photos. I actually heard that up to HALF A MILLION people drop by DAILY(!!) to peer in the windows! Like what?! So don’t say I didn’t warn you. Not alone are SAKS known for their window display though, their light show is insane too and attracts just as many. It plays across the shop front every 10 minutes from 4.30pm and is very impressive.

 

 

 HOMETIME

Before I knew it I found myself packing to go home again for Christmas. I was flying JFK-DUB on the 21st December, but before taking for the skies managed to squeeze in one last Christmas brunch with some family. We went Downtown to a Marketplace called Eataly, which you’ll find on the top floor of the Oculus, at the World Trade. Eataly is home to several different Italian restaurants, wine bars and coffee shops. You can also browse their produce where you can pick up anything from fresh pasta to super stinky but delicious cheese, as well as lots of other artisan goodies. Definitely a more high-end marketplace, and a foodie’s paradise. We chose to eat in La Pizza, La Pasta, and it did not disappoint! Situated in the corner of the top floor and overlooking ground zero, this restaurant makes for some pretty fab views and the food is AMAZING. I definitely recommend it if you find yourself downtown. I’m already planning my next visit!

Flying home for Christmas
Next stop – Ireland

 

And there you have it guys. I hope you enjoyed this post and maybe you can take something from it if you find yourself in the big apple at Christmas.

Thanks for reading,

Aoife x

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