Holiday Activities in NYC

In the Northeast, when the leaves start to change colors and the temperature starts to drop, you know it’s time for the holidays. I have been all over the country and I have to say that there is something Magical about New York City in the wintertime. After the Thanksgiving parade, the city transforms into a holiday winter wonderland overnight. Friends, family and tourists come to New York during the winter to witness all of the lights and participate in all of the holiday activities the city has to offer. I would like to share some of the activities you can do in Manhattan during the holidays.

The first activity I recommend is visiting the stores on Fifth Avenue. Every year Almost every store on 5th Avenue puts holiday-themed displays in their windows. Some of the displays are absolutely amazing and very detailed. I would definitely suggest the iconic FAO Schwartz on 49th and 5th Street, and the Ralph Lauren mansion on 72nd and Madison. FAO Schwartz sometimes even has a line. If you see one of the employees dressed as a toy soldier standing at the front door, ask him if you can be moved to the front of the waiting list. Ralph Lauren decorates his five-story mansion every year and there are elevators to all five floors.

You can visit the plaza hotel and see where “Home Alone: Lost in New York” was shot. You can also get tickets to see shows such as the Nutcracker, Twas the Night before Christmas or the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.  After going to see a Broadway show, if you want to experience something special and relax and warm up, I would recommend (and for adults only) going to the Rum House in Times Square for a hot toddy and listen to live piano by the fire.

These next activities I would recommend doing at night. Saks Fifth Avenue puts on a huge lightshow that illuminates the whole block and the lights are choregraphed to music. The lightshow is every night from 5 P.M. to 11 P.M. and runs every 10 minutes.  When you are done watching light show, Head over to one of my favorite chocolate spots, Jacques Torres Chocolates, in Rockefeller Center. Grab yourself a hot chocolate. If the cold is getting to you, ask for their wicked hot chocolate. Fair warning: it’s spicy! Take a few sips then head over to see the most iconic activity in New York: the Rockefeller Christmas tree.

Last year the Rockefeller tree was selected from my neighbors’ yard. It was really cool to see the same tree I passed on the school bus every morning in Rockefeller Center. I always visit the tree every year. I usually go on a Tuesday or Wednesday around 2 A.M. to avoid tourists and security lines. I pull my electric wheelchair up next to a bench by the ice rink and think about my year.

The Rockefeller tree is surrounded by every flag from every country. When I look around, I can’t help but think that no matter what is going on in the world, we are all human beings and we all have a purpose to make the world a better place. It’s a surreal experience to see such an amazing site. I would like to wish you a happy holiday and think about what you can do this holiday season to make someone else’s holiday special. Let me know if you are in New York for the holidays. I will be happy to show you these holiday spots.

About Josh McDermott: Josh is a brand ambassador for Quantum Rehab®. He is a public speaker and has served as a goodwill ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Josh lives in New York and loves to travel. Click here to learn more about Josh.