The end of Thanksgiving marks the beginning of Christmas in New York. Manhattan is quickly transformed so that Christmas lights and decorations are ubiquitous throughout the city. Coming out of Penn station, you can hear the bells ringing for people to donate to the Salvation Army and the sound of men and women singing Christmas Carols. The atmosphere and appearance of the city is like something out of a movie. Times Square is lit up with billboards promoting the Radio City Rockettes. Further down in Bryant Park, the Christmas Market is crowded with people scurrying to buy last minute gifts. Street vendors swarm the city and advertise their Christmas specials and the Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center is always a sight to see. Opposite the Rockefeller Center, the Saks light show is a highlight. People gather around as Christmas songs are played and images are illuminated onto the building.
My university, the State University of New York: Stony Brook, is about a ninety-minute train ride from Manhattan. I visited the city almost every weekend in the lead up to Christmas. I would recommend anyone studying in North America at this time, to visit New York City. The best period is probably early December because it starts to get very busy from about December 15. As well as seeing the places mentioned above, I would suggest ice skating in Central Park (do not go to Rockefeller as the rink there is very small and it is extremely expensive) and looking at the window displays on fifth avenue.
Christmas Day is best spent with family. The city is quite empty because the shops are closed and people are enjoying the holiday at home. I went to my uncle’s place in Ridgewood, New Jersey and had a fantastic time with my cousins there.