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Natalie in New York

Natalie from Abbotts Travel went on holiday to New York in December...

"I've visited New York on several occasions and always wanted to go during the Christmas period, and it did not disappoint! The city's shops and streets were decked in extravagant festive displays, trees filled with twinkling lights as well as Christmas music around every corner. New York City has great tourist appeal at any time of the year – each district of the city offers its unique style of architecture, attractions, eateries, and bars. Christmas is a magical time of year, especially in this exhilarating city.

My husband and I stayed in Brooklyn and loved being on that side of the river. We dropped our luggage at the hotel, after a cab ride from JFK. Heading straight out to venture over the Brooklyn Bridge, to see city views at night, then to local bars.

Brooklyn - Highlights: Dumbo, Brooklyn Bridge, park and promenade, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Timeout Market - Cha Cha Matcha Café as well as a nice rooftop bar with views of the city, Jane's Carousel, NY Public Library and Dyker Heights.

Setting off early the next morning, we walked across Brooklyn Bridge, down along the river, grabbing a pastry from a local coffee house, before jumping on a ferry to Liberty Island to visit – you guessed it… the Statue of Liberty!

If you don't fancy walking around Liberty Island, there’s a free ferry service to Staten Island where you can cross and come right back. The Staten Island ferry operates between the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island and the Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan.

Financial and Tribeca District - Highlights: The Bull and Wall Street, One World Trade Centre, Memorial/Gardens, Oculus shops, Transportation Hub, Trinity Church and The Dead Rabbit pub.

Soho and Greenwich Village were next, and we strolled around the most quintessential of New York residential neighbourhoods. Stopping by 'Carrie Bradshaw's apartment' on 66 Perry Street and the Friends building, then popping into the iconic Magnolia Bakery.

Walk down to the East River with views of lower Manhattan, Roosevelt and Liberty Island. Heading up towards the Meatpacking District you'll come to the city's first beach on Gansevoort Peninsula - the beautiful gardens on 'Little Island' are a must-see.

The Standard Hotel has a lovely rooftop bar, shop at Chelsea Market, and visit speakasy Bathtub Gin, at the start of 'The Highline'. The Highline is built on a historic elevated rail line - walk through gardens, view art, experience a performance or savour delicious food, all while enjoying a beautiful and unique perspective of the city. Empire Diner is a great stop for a bite to eat on the way.

We walked to 30 Hudson Yard and visited Edge – the highest outdoor sky deck in the western hemisphere, with its one-of-a-kind design. It is suspended in mid-air, giving you the feeling of floating in the sky with 360-degree views. You can look 100 stories down through the glass floor, or even lean out over the city on the angled glass walls running around the edge of the platform. After taking hundreds of snaps, we decided to ascend one floor to the champagne bar, soaking in the view through floor-to-ceiling windows with a cocktail in hand!

A trip to New York is not complete without a visit to the world-famous Central Park. It serves as a peaceful haven for New Yorkers and tourists alike. It is full of attractions and offers a varied range of flat grasslands, gentle slopes, shady glens and steep rocky ravines. There's a boating lake, water fountains and even a beautiful castle. You can navigate the park in several ways – walking, biking, tuk tuk, or even horse and carriage.

Being there in December allowed me to tick off one of my bucket list - ice skating at the Wollman Rink. Skating around the rink in the winter sunshine with a backdrop of NYC was something I’ve long hoped to do. The tranquillity of the park amongst the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle beyond is quite the contrast.

Central Park - Highlights: Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, Bow Bridge, Belvedere Castle, The Ramble, Strawberry Fields, and The Plaza Hotel.

The rest of our days included the cable car Roosevelt Island Tramway, stunning Grand Central Station, Bryant Park, Summit One Vanderbilt, Broadway, Times Square, Empire State Building, Rockefeller Centre 'Top of the Rock' and 'The Beam', SAKS, Macy's, Radio City Hall. At The Public Library and Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library, just over the road, explore books, get a drink, take in the city from a quiet space on the rooftop.

A great central restaurant is Keens Steakhouse - reservations recommended.


Start your day early to avoid crowds and miss the queues for an attraction. We were out everyday at 7.30 am. It was really special walking across Brooklyn Bridge with hardly anyone around.

The subway is the best way to get around NYC. You’ll avoid all the traffic, and it’s very cheap. The trains run 24 hours a day, and you can download a subway map to make sure you get off at the right stop.

Prepare to walk a lot. With most of the top attractions within easy walking distance of each other, you don’t need to rely on public transportation all the time. It is a very walkable city and you’ll discover a few hidden gems along the way.

You can save up to 50% on entry to attractions, tours, and experiences with a New York Explorer Pass - over 90 options, including Empire State Building, Edge, and museums. Avoid third-party ticket vendors around Battery Park offering helicopters, Statue of Liberty trips, and other attractions.

I'd recommend booking in advance or at the kiosk...or ask us at Abbotts Travel to do it for you!"

Written by Natalie Fox

Contact Abbotts Travel,134 George Lane, South Woodford, E18 1BA, 020 8989 9445 / to book your trip.


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