Hermon couple explored Manhattan during Christmas

Posted Jan. 21, 2014, at 9:39 a.m.
Christmas lights and decorations adorn buildings and streets in Manhattan.
Debra Bell
Christmas lights and decorations adorn buildings and streets in Manhattan.
Despite a December drizzle, visitors to the Central Park Zoo watch as keepers feed the California seal lions. This exhibit is a major attraction at the zoo in the heart of Manhattan.
Debra Bell
Despite a December drizzle, visitors to the Central Park Zoo watch as keepers feed the California seal lions. This exhibit is a major attraction at the zoo in the heart of Manhattan.

HERMON — From the deep freeze to the Big Apple, my husband and I spent our 2013 Christmas holiday exploring the city that never sleeps.

In 11 years of marriage we’ve never spent the holidays solo. But this year we decided it was time to spend the holiday connecting as a couple. And New York City at Christmas was on our bucket list.

So we started our planning with Google and chats with friends.

We chose the Warwick Hotel on 52nd Street and Sixth Avenue. The Warwick, besides being an iconic hotel where Cary Grant lived for a time, was close to everything we planned on doing:

• Window shopping on Fifth Avenue;

• A trip the Central Park Zoo on Monday;

• Watching Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Billy Crudup, and Shuler Hensely perform in “Waiting for Godot” at the Cort     Theater on Monday night;

• Checking out the Rockefeller Center tree;

• Visiting the Comedy Cellar, a landmark comedy on Sunday night;

• Sampling NYC pizza as well as bagels and cream cheese;

• Marveling at the lights and sights in Time Square;

• Rushing another Broadway show if time allowed.

We also knew we didn’t want the hassle of driving or parking in NYC, so Greyhound Bus was the right fit, allowing us freedom once we arrived. We could board at Dysarts, two miles from home.

We knew our trip was bound to be an adventure.

When we left in the early hours of the ice storm, the icy snow mix mired the bus on a southbound ramp in Waterville. After riding 12 hours, we were in warm NYC.

As we explored the city, the first thing we noticed was the vast amount of street food carts. Almost every block had one or two carts featuring hotdogs, pretzels, and various ethnic foods. For diners on a budget, the food carts gave satisfaction.

The second thing we noticed were the amazingly tall buildings and a fast pace of life: Everything seemed quicker, more immediate.

Yet at the same time NYC was a visual feast of lights, décor, and smells.

The subway, which transported us to the Comedy Cellar’s neighborhood, reminded me of the Washington, D.C. Metro. I was intimidated initially, but once we got there, it was a breeze.

Ditto for navigating the streets. The city is set up in a grid network, so once you have the street numbering down pat and are prepared to move briskly, it was a breeze.

We splurged on room service Monday before heading off to a budget-friendly trip to the zoo to see sea lions and penguins and monkeys. We especially enjoyed watching zookeepers feed and train the California sea lions.

We also purposely chose to do “less” and provide chances to rest and wander. Monday night’s trip to see Samuel Beckett’s classic “Waiting for Godot” on Broadway can only be described as amazing.

In NYC, less is truly more. And New Yorkers know how to do it up right. A stop at the Rockefeller Christmas tree was an amazingly perfect end to the night.

Friends recommended window shopping on Fifth Avenue, so after rushing tickets to “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”, we walked to Macy’s while admiring the beautiful displays and tall buildings, as well as the winter village at Bryant Park. That evening we enjoyed a romantic dinner at the Glass House Tavern and a final stop at the Rockefeller tree.

When visiting NYC, less is truly more because adventure and wonder is around every corner.

Thinking about a trip to the Big Apple? Check out these websites:

• Warwick Hotel: warwickhotelny.com;

• Broadway tickets with seat viewer: telecharge.com.

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