New York City is more crowded then ever, especially during the holidays. As a native New Yorker I can safely say that the idea of ‘holiday time in the city’ has grown exponentially. From overflowing lines waiting for Instagram worthy treats to crazy crowds wading through holiday markets. What used to be a fun time in the city has become a challenging one to enjoy. Especially when you’re a local and consider most popular NYC holiday spots, from the Halloween Parade, to the tree Lighting to be amateur hour. So what’s a native New Yorker to do when secretly underneath their annoyance of crowds and anger towards tourists, they actually…..enjoy some cliche, even touristy traditions. Embrace them wholly, or keep them bottled up inside, knowing what mayhem lies ahead? It’s hard enough to get through the streets during the holidays in NYC, but if you’re with a Larry David type, it’s near impossible. Despite it all, I still shed my jaded city brain occasionally to take part in certain traditions. Even if it does mean embracing popular NYC holiday spots I’d normally never find myself going near. Here are my favorites which, even if you’re native to the island, it’s okay to admit you enjoy doing. I won’t tell if you won’t. Just make sure to go on an off weeknight. If not, you’ll find yourself instantly turned into a true New Yorker. Heavy cursing, impatience and all. And you would be right.
1. The Bryant Park ice skating rink. Even New Yorkers occasionally like getting on the ice. But this place has become so popular waiting to go ice skating can take up to a few hours. And who has the patience for that. Tourists, that’s who. But if you find the right time, and night, a local can make NYC holiday spots like these their own.
2. A trip to Rolfs. There are lots of NYC holiday traditions that are fun, but none more than a jaunt to Rolfs during the NYC holiday season. That is, if you can get in. The German restaurant, always known to be decked out in full holiday decoration has become increasingly popular among the ‘I saw it on Timeout.com, Thrillist, etc’ crowd, which has made the already tight space increasingly harder to get into. Literally. Waits can be up to three hours with lines literally overflowing out the door and down the block. Outside, flocks of people wait to get in, while inside crowds enjoy eating surrounded by insane Christmas overload and spiked egg nog drinks.
3. Dyker Heights. I finally got to this famous yearly tradition last year, and it did not disappoint. Not only were some of the homes amazing, but some of the crowds, persistent. Busy sidewalks aside, Dyker Heights is definitely holiday fun worth the subway ride, whether you grew up in the city, or you’re simply visiting for the weekend. It may not become a tradition among locals, but it’s certainly something to see at least a few memorable times.
4. Serendipity 3. Now, a hot spot among tourists, the Upper East side eatery is rich in New York City history. It has been filling up tables with it’s sundaes since it opened in 1954. Although I must admit, this is one NYC spot I haven’t partaken in yet. But every once in a while us New Yorkers have to enjoy a few of our own famous sweets too, even if we can’t cut the line.
5. Brookfield Place. Since last year, Brookfield has seen even more growth with the opening of the WTC Brookfield Mall. Once both that and the Oculus fully came on the scene, it changed the area’s landscape forever making it, again, a holiday destination for the masses. Plus, now New Yorkers can actually get to say they’re going shopping at the mall.