I admit, sometimes I can be a bit of a Grinch – there’s so much Christmas in December in New York, and with it comes hoards of tourists, long lines, and a more crowded commute. However once and a while I remember to stop and see how magical the city can be and enjoy the perks of living here (and make my rent worthwhile).
If you come to NYC during the winter, you MUST see a show, whether Broadway, Second City or Lincoln Center. Showtime on the train doesn’t count. Following my own advice, my mom, and cousin came to visit, and we took a day to be tourists in our home city, seeing the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center.
I live in Brooklyn (forgive my pro Brooklyn bias) so we chose to forgo the Fifth Avenue window shopping for Williamsburg.
Williamsburg is my favorite place to bring family and visitors. It still has that busy city feel, but without the highrise buildings and commercialization (Minus Starbucks, but who could live without a peppermint mocha in the winter). The food is beyond a doubt better, and your options of stores, bars and restaurants is always of locally owned gems.
We went to some of my favorite boutiques and shops, Pema (dresses, booties and jewelry galore), Buffalo Exchange (I can’t say not to high quality consignment) and Brooklyns best craft/flea market: Artists and Fleas. Artists and fleas managed to fulfill everyone’s xmas present needs, and we left with lighter wallets and heavy shopping bags. Carved wood iPhone cases? Check. Funny graphic tee’s? Check. Vintage Choker necklaces cause the 90’s are back in style? You bet.
We ended up shopping longer than intended, so we did quick dinner at Burger Guru. It was about 25 degrees out, and after a few hours of walking around, a burger and beer was all my little heart wanted. Other options on the list included Sweet Chick and The Meatball Shop.
We then rode the L train into the city, and headed up to Lincoln Center. I will probably say this in every NYC article I write: embrace the subway and embrace walking – cabs rarely get you there faster.
This was my first time to Lincoln Center and the first time seeing the Nutcracker live. Lincoln Center is home to the NYC Ballet, the NY Philharmonic, and the NYC Opera. The complex at night is a scene. Unlike Broadway shows, people still dress up for these shows. We’re talking sparkly dresses, heels, little boys in ties. I even saw a few people with furs (hopefully faux!).
Back in the nose bleed seats we felt at home with our jeans, but for the future, I’d take the ballet as an excuse to dress up. Probably for the best I chose to shower that morning.
I will say, for nosebleed seats, the view was still fantastic. Dead center and steep seating gave us perfect view. The tickets were still expensive, but not anymore than a hit Broadway play. The Nutcracker is only shown during the month of December, so the Saturday night show was PACKED.
I won’t go too much into detail, but the show is the same one that has been performed at Lincoln center for 60 years – it’s about as NYC Christmas as the tree itself. It’s magical and beautiful and everything you expect it to be. When the show began in the 1950s, people expected it to fail, the show had become outdated. But instead, people fell in love with the production and were transported back to the 19th century.
My mom forgot one of her shopping bags on the seat after the show, so I slipped back in to grab it. Empty Lincoln center is breathtaking: if you forget something on your seat, having to go back and grab it is a blessing in disguise.
The Useful Stuff:
DO NOT TAKE THE LINCOLN CENTER SUBWAY AFTER THE SHOW. All 3 of the venues get out at the same times, and that platform (and the trains) can not accommodate that many people. I advise that you walk up to 72nd st and grab an express 2/3 train or walk down to Columbus Circle and get a train from there. It’s only 6 blocks and well worth the detour. If your goal it to see the city, walking is the best way to do it.
Book in advance – we bought our tickets 2 or 3 weeks before the show and got some of the last available seats. The Nutcracker only has a seasonal run, so it sells out quick.