Spend a Saturday in New York

Kristen DiLeonardo

From the skaters in Rockefeller Center to the window displays at Barney’s, there’s no sight quite like Christmastime in the city – New York City, that is. Forget what you’ve heard about the crowds and the costs – a holiday trip to the Big Apple is well worth your time and money.

You can’t go wrong with a Broadway show; they are fabulous and a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. But for the Christmas season, there are a few holiday alternatives. The “Radio City Christmas Spectacular” is New York’s favorite Christmas show, starring the world famous Rockettes. This Christmas, the beloved show features a new and exciting 3D short film of a magical sleigh ride through Manhattan.

In addition, you can see clips of the “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,” “Living Nativity,” and “The Nutcracker.” There will also be a special appearance by Santa Claus from the North Pole. (50th St. and Avenue of the Americas, $39 -$129).

Another option is George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker” at Lincoln Center. Just as in the ever-popular children’s classic, the New York City Ballet features toy soldiers and sugar plum fairies (64th and Columbus, $20-$96).

The most Christmas spirit in Manhattan can be found at Rockefeller Center. The larger-than-life Christmas tree is one to be marveled at. On Nov. 30, the 71 foot, nine-ton spruce tree was lit with five miles of lights. Under the tree, friends and lovers ice skate until midnight. Tickets and skate rentals are available for $25.

Ninety-minute sessions begin at 8:30 a.m. and run until 12 a.m. Make sure you get there as quickly as possible because lines are long and only 150 people are allowed in at a time. This is definitely an experience not to be missed (Between 5th and 7th Ave. and 47th and 50th St.).

Window-shopping is given a whole new meaning during the holidays in NYC. If you find yourself near Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s, be sure to visit their window displays.

Macy’s 34th Street windows exhibit the annual tradition of “Miracle on 34th Street.” The Broadway windows exhibit this year’s Christmas hit “The Polar Express.” Pictures with Santa are available from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for $10. (Broadway between 34th and 35th Street).

This year Bloomingdale’s windows display scenes from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera film opening Christmas day. Pictures with Santa are available in packages for $11 to $30, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (1000 3rd Ave. and 59th St.).

In addition, Santa will be roaming throughout Saks 5th Avenue in a Domenico Spano suit with boots by Ferragamo. This Santa is not available for pictures (surprise, surprise) but if you see him you can chat.

After all this activity, you will get hungry. There are countless places to eat in Manhattan and I will recommend a few. Destiny’s magical hold may find you at “Serendipity.”

“Serendipity” is a restaurant and general store made popular after the John Cusack, Kate Beckinsdale romantic hit. For a romantic dinner or sweet treat with friends, visit “Serendipity.” Try their famous frozen hot chocolate or other fun drink and desserts (225 East 60th between 2nd and 3rd Ave). For a quicker hot treat, you can visit one of a million Starbucks every few blocks.

Other fun restaurants to try are: “The Hard Rock Café” for music fans (221 West 57th and Broadway), “ESPN Zone” for the true sports fanatics (1472 Broadway and 42nd St), “Jekyll and Hyde” for a fun scare with friends (1409 Avenue of the Americas) or the famous “Sardi’s” after a show (234 West 44th Street). Watch for celebrity sightings there!

While in the city, you should also visit Times Square and do lots of shopping! Be prepared with comfortable shoes, enough money and lots of patience for lines; everything will be worth the wait.

Enjoy your day in NYC, have fun and try and do as much holiday activities as possible. Merry Christmas!