The Christmas magic was in full swing by day 3 of our trip to New York. Danielle and I both felt so drawn to the energy of the city.
The night before we took a bit of a trek out to Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, an affluential neighborhood where the most amazing Christmas light display takes place every year and has been coined “The undisputed capital of Christmas pageantry”.
These homes are unreal in their commitment to conjuring Christmas magic. The rest of the world has picked up on this seemingly local-known attraction and we found food trucks on several street corners selling to light-gazers, and plenty of fellow tourists to join us on our walk.
The neighborhood light display dates back to the 1980’s and seems to grow more and more extravagant by the year.
This makes for a truly special night and it’s so fun if you’re visiting New York during Christmas time! Just wear layers and opt for a cup of hot chocolate from the local food vendors parked along the street.
It really helps take away the chill 🙂
We felt so full of the holiday spirit by the morning of our 3rd day.
Every coffee shop was a cozy oasis waiting to be discovered, every street corner a prior movie set location. The very sidewalks we tread upon were once walked by a multitude of artists, celebrities, and innovators. We were in a city of dreams.
Tea at The Plaza
So naturally we had to make our way to one of the dreamiest locations in all of New York, The Plaza Hotel.
Iconic is an understatement.
We made reservations for their famous tea in the Palm Court. I highly, highly, recommend reservations if you’re interested in this time-honored tradition. To be allowed access into the hotel, you either need to be a guest, or have a reservation. They’re serious about privacy.
At 1:30pm on a Wednesday, the Palm Court inside the Plaza was buzzing with tourists and locals alike.
We had arrived in New York just in time for their special Holiday Tea. $20 more than their regular afternoon tea, this holiday themed tea offers gingerbread man shaped desserts and Christmas-themed morsels, in addition to the regular assortment of scrumptious sandwiches and warm baked goods.
Visually, it was a masterpiece, but I don’t know if it was worth the extra $20 they attach to the seasonal tea.
Danielle and I each had our own pot of tea and we took turns trying the other person’s. I went for a light, melon citrus blend while Danielle opted for a decadent caramel tea (hers was better!). We shared the three tiers of goodies and, my goodness, we were full by the end of it! 3 people can easily share one of these spherical arrays of gastronomic joy.
After milling around in the underground shopping mall and food court of the Plaza (Danielle had to see the famous Eloise store, which was darling!), we made our way across the street to the park.
Central Park is just…
It’s hard to put into words, but I’ll try. The park is a wonderful green space right in the middle of some of the most congested parts of the city. There are hills and rock formations and you truly forget you’re in a big city.
People are out walking their dogs, selling art, and taking in the beauty around them. There’s also a skating rink with the most beautiful views of the city. I’d say it’s the most scenic of the rinks in the city, with better views than Rockefeller and Bryant Park’s ice skating rinks.
With Danielle’s artful direction we were able to shoot some of my most favorite photos to date!
It was very, very cold when we took these pictures, so I alternated taking some with my coat on and off. I also had TWO pairs of fleece-lined leggings under my skirt and a black thermal under my red turtleneck.
Staying Warm, While Still Looking Cute
A major key in staying warm in New York (or any cold weather place) is layers. You don’t have to walk out of your hotel or airbnb looking like a lumpy sausage though! Think layers like a camisole and a long sleeve shirt UNDER your top layer, this can make a big difference. I did this every. single. day. in New York and rarely felt too cold to enjoy myself.
Also, hats really do keep your head insulated and hold the warmth in.
Don’t skip out on gloves, it’s not worth it. Your extremities are the first to go numb in the cold.
Remember, you can always take your coat off for a quick picture, and once inside you’ll be able to show off any outfit you’ve put together and many places have complimentary coat check.
I’m so excited for the next blog post about New York at Christmas time! Get ready for museum admission tips, luggage stowage secrets, and more food and coffee recs.
Missed part 1? No worries, read it here.
(until this series is over)
All photos by Danielle McBrayer.
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