Wintertime New York Beckons Imaginative and Resourceful Travelers

I love my wintertime guests. I admire the special energy and resourcefulness that brings a person to New York City when the trees are bare, when the outdoor cafes are closed, and when the street fairs and outdoor concerts are in hibernation. It’s harder to travel “light.” One needs a bulky winter coat, a pair of boots, a sweater or two. And there’s always the chance that one arrives in New York on the eve of a snowstorm, compelled spend the next few days trudging through slush and tiptoeing on ice.

On the other hand, there are fewer tourists in town, so the queues for the Empire State Building are shorter and discount theater tickets are easier to find. Some outdoor activities move indoors, and even on a gray, cold day, Central Park is magnificent and welcoming.

Here are some of the things that guests have enjoyed in recent weeks:

http://www.brooklynflea.comBrooklyn Flea. This is a gigantic Saturday and Sunday flea market, housed in the very grand banking hall of the Williamsburg Savings Bank. The market specialises in local vendors, including wonderful artists and craftspeople. According to my guests, the food offerings were also local and artisanal.

http://newyorkclassical.orgNew York Classical Theater. In summertime, New York Classical Theater offers free outdoor Shakespeare … with a twist. The audience follows the cast as they move to a new location between scenes. Last summer, for a performance of Henry V, the troupe and audience boarded the ferry for Governor’s Island, as the play shifted its setting from England to France. New York Classical Theater has just begun its winter season with a Moliere festival in the Winter Garden at the World Financial Center.

Sunrise on the Staten Island Ferry. Travelers from the UK or Europe to New York often find themselves awakening in the wee hours of morning for the first day or two in New York, due to jet lag. Last month, visitors from London found an ingenious solution for their early awakening. They took the subway down to the southern tip of Manhattan, boarded the free Staten Island Ferry, and watched the sun rise over New York harbor. On the return trip, they were accompanied by hundreds of commuters, recalling the opening scene from one of my favorite movies, Working Girl. While the actual film footage cannot be viewed online, here is a music video made by Carly Simon.
Let The River Run

Wollman Rink in Central Park. Photo: Julienne Schaer for

Ice skating. More choices than ever! As a child growing up in New York City, I spent Sundays ice skating in Central Park or Rockefeller Center. Now we have rinks in Bryant Park, Riverbank State Park, Chelsea Piers, and other locations. Click here for a guide, compliments of NYCgo, our official visitor’s information service: “New York Skate of Mind”

Several weeks ago a friend and I went to a FREE concert by the fabulous Mexican singer, Lila Downs, at El Museo Del Barrio. El Museo, located at Fifth Avenue and 103 Street, is a museum and cultural center dedicated to the arts of the Caribbean and Latin-America. It has wonderful exhibitions, lectures, films, and a special free event called Super Sábado on the third Saturday of every month. After the concert, we headed over to Lexington Avenue, to a strip of new restaurants dubbed “East Harlem’s Restaurant Row.” We had a terrific margarita and Mexican dinner at El Paso, on the east side of Lexington at 104th Street. (There is also El Paso Taquería across the street — same owners.)

New York Photo LeagueIn addition to El Museo del Barrio, there are several other wonderful museums along the northern part of “Museum Mile” on Fifth Avenue, including the Jewish Museum at 92nd Street and The Museum of the City of New York at 103rd Street. The Jewish Museum currently features a photography exhibit entitled “The Radical Camera: New York Photo League 1936-1951” and at the Museum of the City of New York, you’ll find exhibits on costume designer Cecil Beaton and the New York City grid. And the northeast corner of Central Park is a gem, well worth exploring. More details to come …

The crocuses are in bloom, daffodil shoots are several inches tall, and spring officially begins in three weeks. But there are plenty of cold days ahead, and plenty of room for creative thinkers and adventurous travelers, here in wintertime New York City. Enjoy!

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