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New York City: Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland

By Melissa Calemera, Guest Columnist and Native New Yorker

While visions of sand and crystal waters may cloud your mind in the midst of a blistering cold winter, there is a place where cold air is a catalyst for magical memories. A place full of towers that scrape the sky, sparkling lights, romantic carriage rides, and soft white snow as far as the eye can see. Winter in New York City has enough pixie dust to rival your favorite fairy tales, and all your dreams of a true winter wonderland are only a cab ride away.

When most people think of visiting NYC in the winter, visions of Rockefeller Center instantly come to mind. With fabulous window displays, cozy cafes, and a world famous Christmas tree, Rockefeller Center is the perfect place to start when it comes to your winter getaway. If you visit during the Christmas season, travelers of all faiths will love the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. First displayed in 1933 to help brighten the Depression-darkened days, the tree has become a NYC winter tradition. To truly appreciate the festivities surrounding the tree, line up with hundreds of other smiling faces to witness the tree-lighting ceremony which takes place the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Musical numbers, celebrity guests and Olympic ice skaters all lead to a truly dazzling display of lights at the end of the night.

While in Rockefeller Center be sure to spend an hour or two at the Rockefeller Center skating rink. Frequented by the Not Ready for Prime time Players on "Saturday Night Live", the rink at Rockefeller Center is open from November 1 to April 8 and admission is generally $9 for adults and $7 for children for a four hour session, but admission may vary. Check for up to date information before you arrive.

Another popular winter destination in New York City is Central Park. Whether you're in the mood for a relaxing stroll or action-packed activities, Central Park is full of fun for the young and the young at heart. Wollman Rink, owned and operated by the Trump Organization, is one of the most popular recreational facilities for NYC locals and tourists alike. Located at 59th St. and 6th Ave. the skating rink offers a spectacular view of the city as you skate your cares away. Prices are $8.50 for adults and $4.25 for children on weekdays, and $11 for adults and $4.50 for children on the weekends. Visit for more information. Another popular activity in Central Park is a romantic carriage ride. Departing from Central Park South between 5th and 6th Avenues, as well as at the Southern end of Central Park across from the Plaza Hotel, rides cost $34 for the first 20 minutes, and $45 for a 45 to 50 minute tour. Bring a blanket and cuddle up with your sweetheart for a truly unique and breathtaking tour of some of the most beautiful sites in the city. Go to for more information.

There are endless ways to have fun in New York City during the winter months. Love to sample world-renowned cuisine? Visit during Winter Restaurant Week which takes place the last two weeks in January every year. With over 200 participating restaurants, you can enjoy a three course lunch for $20.12 or a three course dinner for only $35. For the next three years the proceeds from Winter Restaurant Week will go towards New York City's bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics.  Visit for more information. Love cozy cafes? Check out the world famous Serendipity III Cafe. Known for its tasty grill, Frozen Hot Chocolate (as seen on Oprah) and celebrity sightings, the cafe even inspired a hit movie starring Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack. More information can be found at

Love the action and excitement of football? Take in a game at  Giants Stadium. Home to the New York Giants and the New York Jets, Giants Stadium is located just a short train ride away from Manhattan in nearby Meadowlands, NJ. Tickets sell fast, though, so be sure to get yours in advance. Visit for more information and ticket sales.

Whatever you wish to take away from your New York City winter vacation, you are sure to leave with boundless memories and limitless ideas for trips in the future. Regardless of the weather, come take advantage of all the city has to offer during the winter season. Along with ice skating, carriage rides, tree lighting ceremonies, and the other winter-specific activities found here, you can also experience Broadway shows, historic buildings, cultural museums and the other top notch attractions available for your enjoyment in the city year-round. So don your winter jacket, put on those gloves and don't forget your earmuffs - the winter wonderland that is New York City is waiting!

This article appeared in our February 18, 2005 newsletter -- subscribe to our popular newsletter today for free!

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    Updated 01/23/07 

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