The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Most Iconic Holiday Experiences in New York City

Featuring the most memorable holiday activities, New York City provides patrons with annual cheer, joy and celebrations.

During the holiday season, New York City is filled with rich annual traditions. From markets and events to ice skating and Christmas tree lighting, here are some of the most iconic holiday experiences NYC has to offer! 

Bryant Park Winter Village

Torch Photo / Sara Kiernan

Opening in 2002, Bryant Park’s holiday market is a famous Midtown attraction, with thousands of visitors browsing shops, food stands and skating at the Bank of America Winter Village. The booths open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., but on weekends the village opens at 10 a.m.

With over 165 businesses and booths in the park, the village offers gifts ranging from jewelry, clothes and artwork. 

In the middle of the market is where the iconic Bryant Park ice skating rink. Ice skating is free of charge, but if you do not bring your skates they must be rented. The skates can cost between $18 to $55to rent. The rink opens every day at 8 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m. with some weekends having extended time to skate till midnight

The market will close in the new year on Jan. 2, but the ice skating rink will remain open until March 3. 

Union Square Holiday Market

Known as the first holiday market in Manhattan, the Union Square Holiday Market opened in 1993. This market encompasses the front half of the park, with booths lined up and down in rows, with both shops and food options. This market does not get as crowded as Bryant Park, but the recommendation would be to go during the week instead of a weekend. The market opens during the week and Sundays at 11 a.m. and Saturdays at 10 a.m. while closing at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. with the market officially closing on Christmas Eve. 

The Pook booth at Union Square showed off their merchandise.
Torch Photo / Sara Kiernan

Some of the booths at Union Square are also present at Bryant Park, with some businesses just beginning their adventure at the holiday markets. Pook, a company selling wool socks,stuffed animals, gloves, socks and clothes, has been a part of this market for the last decade. According to Pook employees, the business seems to increasingly grow each year. The company’s “cult” following has made New Yorkers excited for the brand’s future. 

Like Bryant Park, those attending Union Square should bring a good range of money to spend on possible gifts for themselves, friends or family. The market will be open till Christmas Eve. 

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

Photo Courtesy / YouTube The NYC Walking Show

This neighborhood in Brooklyn has been bringing holiday cheer for decades. Dyker Heights has been lighting up between 83rd and 84th Street between 10th and 12th Avenue where houses are covered in bright lights and large decorations

This holiday tradition started back in the 1980s, with Lucy Spata decorating her house up for the holidays with angel figurines in her yard. Each year her collection grew and her neighbors started to join in. Everything set up on these houses is done by the homeowners with no professional or outside help.

This is a very fun option that does not involve as much as the craziness of going into Manhattan; in fact, it is an atmosphere of home, as you see a neighborhood coming together for something that can bring so much joy. 

Like almost everywhere in New York City, parking is not easily accessible, so the best mode of transportation would be to take public transit to see these amazing displays of holiday cheer.

With a daily light showing starting at 10 p.m., Dyker Heights attendees require getting on site early to ensure a good visual spot to enjoy the display.

Rockefeller Center

Torch Photo / Dea Hoxha

When people think of Christmas in New York, the first thing that pops into their mind is the Rockefeller Center tree and ice skating. The Rockefeller tree has been a tradition since 1933 and brings joy to all New Yorkers and tourists who want to see the beauty of the 80-foot-tall tree. 

As the pinnacle of a New York Christmas, trying to get in close proximity can be difficult, as swarms of up to a hundred thousand people go every day. Though it will never be a small crowd, the best time to go would be during the week in the daytime, since the weekend attracts more people. If planning on going at night, be prepared for the colder weather and a busier area, as the lights on the tree are more prominent in the darkness than during the day.

The ice skating rink of Rockefeller is just three years younger than the tradition of the tree, opening in 1936. Skating at Rockefeller is seen as a holiday tradition for many families, or even as a once-in-a-lifetime memory for tourists who do not come to New York often. 

Even though many want to experience skating under the tree, preparations must be made for a smooth activity. Open daily from 9 a.m. to midnight, the rink is sporadically closed throughout the day for the Zamboni to clean the ice. 

A ticket for skating can range from $11 to $73 depending on the age of the person skating; spots to skate require a reservation before heading over to the rink. 

These are some of the most iconic and traditional New York City holiday events that bring people into the holiday spirit. With these, there is so much more to do throughout this month to celebrate the joy of the season. Even if this is not your first time celebrating Christmas in New York, going to these markets can bring anyone into a holiday mood and joy.

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About the Contributor
Sara Kiernan, Sports & Photo Editor
Sara is a senior journalism student serving as the Sports Editor & Photo Editor. She is minoring in government and politics and is a sister of Phi Sigma Sigma's epsilon omicron chapter. She has been able to take photos at some amazing places including the Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden. If she is not taking photos on the court or writing, she has an iced coffee in hand with friends, walking around the city or watching any sports game that is on! LETS GO YANKEES!  Sara can be reached at [email protected] and [email protected] 

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