In New York City, there is always something to do, plenty of sights to see, wonderful restaurants to visit and an urban culture that’s unparalleled. That’s never more true than at holiday times, when crowds of people take to the streets for public celebrations that capture the essence of the city and all its diversity.
New Beginnings, New Year
Your New Year’s resolutions might change every year, but one never does: the big New Year’s Eve celebration in New York City. Spectators should begin arriving at Broadway and 43rd street around 6 p.m. Times Square begins to fill quickly with excited, fun-loving people who are ready to count down the last seconds of the year. Theme restaurants, such as ESPN Zone at 1472 Broadway and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company at 1502 Broadway, are open to the public. However, food and beverage vendors are not permitted to set up in the Times Square area. When the ball drops, cheers erupt and party streamers and confetti burst into the air. Old resolutions are completed–or canceled–as people promise to keep new ones.
Be Irish for a day! Attend the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Enjoy the pipers, step dancers and bands as they march by. The parade traditionally starts at 11 a.m. at 44th Street and 5th Avenue, passes St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 50th street, the American Irish Historical Society and the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 83rd Street. The parade ends at 86th street around 4:30 p.m. Many spectators stand at the top of the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art to get a great view of the parade finale. While you are out, visit a few high end-shops along the way, such as Versace at 53rd Street and 5th Avenue or Tiffany & Co. at 57th Street and 5th Avenue.
Taste of the Caribbean
Take the 2, 3, 4 or 5 train toward Brooklyn and get off at the Franklin Avenue stop. As an alternative, take the 4 or 5 train to the Utica stop. When you exit the train, you will be on Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. There you can join one of the largest crowds in New York City, to celebrate the West Indian Day parade. The parade traditionally starts at 11 a.m. on the Monday of Memorial Day holiday and runs along Eastern Parkway. Arrive by 10:30 a.m. to get a good spot, but don’t worry, the floats are visible from both sides of Eastern Parkway. Floats filled with people representing Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua and Trinidad cruise down Eastern Parkway as men and women in colorful costumes dance in the street.
West Indian pride is displayed through colorful, detailed costumes, national flags, large floats and live music. Listen to the rhythm of steel drums, reggae and calypso music while tasting flavorful dishes such as curry chicken with rice and peas, beef patties and coconut cake. Sip a frozen tropical drink and dance at the largest party in Brooklyn.
Give thanks for Thanksgiving at the Macy’s Day Parade. Huge cartoon-character balloons drift through the sky as screaming children wave and grownups take pictures of the spectacle. Celebrity singers, dancers and Broadway performers stop to perform in front of the entrance at Macy’s Herald Square store on Broadway between 34th and 35th streets. The parade starts at 77th street and Central Park West and ends at 7th Avenue and 34th Street. Two great locations to view the parade are both on Broadway: Columbus Circle (at 59th Street) and Times Square.