NYC Activities to Jump Into the Holiday Season

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade features many floats and performances. Courtesy of Flickr

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade features many floats and performances. Courtesy of Flickr

By Amanda Giglio

The holiday season is catching up to us and the best place to start getting into the holiday spirit is New York City. Whether shopping for family or trying to find a fun holiday activity in Manhattan, holiday markets, window shopping and live performances are abundant in the city during this time.

For those of us staying at Fordham during Thanksgiving break, there are plenty of events taking place that weekend. The first place to check out is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. To get prime seating for the parade, head to Manhattan early. The best viewing spots are at Central Park West, the Time Warner Center and Sixth Avenue. Viewing starts at 75th Street and is open on the west side of the park, where the parade passes from 9 to 10:30 a.m. The Time Warner Center opens at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, with the best viewing on the second and third floors of the mall. You can also see the Holiday Under the Stars light display from this location. The floats reach Sixth Avenue around 9:30 a.m., which is open if you arrive before 7 a.m. If you are not up for an early morning and crowded atmosphere check out the pre-Thanksgiving balloon inflation on Wednesday, Nov. 26, from 3 to 10 p.m. to watch your favorite character balloons take shape.

After the parade, check out some of New York’s best restaurants for a Thanksgiving feast. Bubby’s (120 Hudson St.), the once “pie-only” kitchen that now serves all-day eats, is perfect for groups during the holidays. With a recommended price of $75, which goes to benefitting the NYC Rescue Mission, this Thanksgiving meal is a buffet-style dinner with favorites, like free-range turkey with gravy and glazed ham.

Miss Lily’s (132 W Houston St.) is a Caribbean hot spot, which combines West Indian and Jamaican foods. This three-course prix fixe menu for Thanksgiving includes cod fritters and Caribbean pumpkin soup for appetizers, followed by a course of jerk turkey, roasted yams, sausage stuffing and mac and cheese pie. With a dessert of your own choice, this meal is priced at $83.

Il Mulino Prime (331 West Broadway) is another three-course American holiday meal that Chef Michele Mazza serves with an Italian touch at this new steakhouse. Starting with fresh mozzarella with grilled vegetables, traditional turkey with stuffing and green beans and a pumpkin cheesecake dessert, this meal goes for $50. Although these dinners are a little on the costly end, if you are willing to indulge in a great meal with friends, these restaurants are worth being thankful for.

Besides Thanksgiving, next weekend begins the holiday shopping season. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is a classic, annual holiday show at Radio City Music Hall that takes place until Dec. 31. This year, Santa, the Rockettes, new music, glamorous costumes and advanced technology bring the audience closer than ever to the performance. WindowsWear takes window shopping to a whole new level, cataloging the current displays of 500 retailers in the cities like New York, Milan and Paris. Until Dec. 31, this show tours Fifth Avenue’s most impressive displays.

If you do not feel like spending too much, take a self-guided tour of the winter window displays. Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s are famous for their intricate window displays each year. By walking up and down Fifth Avenue, you can view a variety of displays from Saks Fifth Avenue, Henri Bendel, Lord & Taylor and Tiffany & Co. Another option would be George Balanchine’s Christmas classic, The Nutcracker, which plays at the David H. Koch theater at Lincoln Center from Nov. 28 to Jan. 3 in its 60th anniversary season with the full company.

Holiday markets serve as another way to add more festive cheer. Flea and outdoor markets are excellent places to find gifts for the holidays. Artists & Fleas at Chelsea Market is a great way to find trendy, non- commercial holiday-themed gifts, where all the items are locally made. Brooklyn purveyors set up shop in this seasonal pop-up bazaar, giving customers a variety from which to choose. Founded by Amy Abrams and Ronen Glimer, Artists & Fleas is also centered in Williamsburg on the weekends. With over 100 vendors inside a warehouse, this unique market features free gift wrapping stations, treats and Christmas carolers.

Another holiday market that takes place inside is the upscale Grand Central Holiday Fair. From contemporary jewelry to African crafts and Christmas ornaments, these 76 micro-boutiques and 22 artists

and businesses are the perfect place to keep warm inside the terminal. Some of the more well-known mar- kets are in the many outdoor parks in Manhattan. The Winter Village at Bryant Park hosts a range of events, including 127 holiday shops, with 27 new kiosks and 26 eateries, and free ice skating in the outdoor rink. Vendors will be there until Jan. 4 and ice skating is open until March 1.

If you want to get more of a Christmas feel go to the tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. on Dec. 6. Lastly, the Union Square Holiday Market boasts the best alfresco shopping experience worth risking the cold for. This European-style winter market has more than 150 local and national vendors, showcasing handcrafted gifts and great food vendors, including Momofuku milk bar, Wafels & Dinges and Bar Suzette.

These are just a few of the many activities and shows that take place during the next month. This holiday season can be unforgettable if you take the opportunity to explore the city and what better way to start than this Thanksgiving weekend.