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A Christmas extravaganza in New York

A city that truly never sleeps, NYC is full of sights and sounds, well dressed people and surprises in December, says Jackie Pinto

Published: 13th December 2012 11:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th December 2012 11:08 AM   |  A+A-

New-York-City

From edgy store window displays to cozy Christmas markets, spectacular performances and fabulous shopping, New York city is the place to be in December.

One of the most glamorous edgy and downright fun cities to visit any time of the year is my all time favourite- New York City. A city that truly never sleeps, is full of sights and sounds, well dressed people and surprises around every street corner. But come December, the Big Apple as it is popularly called takes on a whole different avatar. From the moment you step out of JFK airport, the energy hits you. And the global nature of NYC manifests itself first in your infamous New York cabbie. He can come from anywhere in the world, (our was Tunisian) and he can be chatty like ours or taciturn and surly but he is almost always interesting. It was clearly Christmas in the city. The weather was freezing and a light dusting of snow covered the sidewalks and the tops of cars. People were walking the streets briskly dressed in the latest winter fashions. We could barely wait to check into our hotel in Times Square (where else) and become part of the brisk crowd who seemed to know exactly where they were going.

The first day is always spent getting acclimatised to the magic of NYC all over again, rediscovering old haunts and taking in new sights. The Salvation Army bell ringers true to form were practically on every street corner, and the department stores which through the years have had some of the most creative window displays on the planet, had outdone themselves this holiday season. They were grand spectacles with elaborate holiday-themed wonderlands like Sleeping Beauty and the Nutcracker Suite. But the piece de résistance was Lord and Taylor on Fifth Avenue, and we joined the line of people queuing up just to catch a glimpse of the glorious animated creations. The next few days were spent  trying to pack in as much shopping, shows and sights as we could in a week before heading off to Scardale where we were catching up with family.

Dinosaur-shaped Christmas trees welcomed us at the American Museum of National History,Grand central Station looked spectacular as usual with their amazing led displays and we got tickets for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, a 75-year-old holiday tradition. We watched the world-famous Radio City Rockettes dance and kick, with precision and pointed toes over a three hour extravaganza of light sound and energy. The Christmas markets are another must do while in NYC in December.

Especially at Bryant Park which is transformed into a busy holiday wonderland with over 120 tiny shops selling unique gift items from around the world out of beautifully  decorated stalls. In the center of the park all is a free admission ice skating rink, a French carousel, a brightly lit Christmas tree where you can simply soak in the holiday spirit and  people watch.

Also on our list was a performance of the Nutcracker Ballet, an enchanting ballet, complete with an adorable little girl, an army of tiny mice, an enormous Christmas tree, marching wooden soldiers, a sugar plum fairy, magical sets with cascading snowflakes, and an ensemble of finely tuned dancers dressed in the most deliciously imaginative costumes, all accompanied by the music of Tchaikovski at Lincoln Centre - another must do during any visit to the city.

Of course you must schedule at least a whole day to shop at Macyss. And carry your passport to get the special visitors discount.

The iconic store has the best bargains and some of most exquisite window displays.

Don’t forget to stop for frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity 3, a restaurant at 60th street.

It is the best way to end a visit to this iconic city on a sweet note.

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