Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest travel times across the country and can be especially overwhelming in NYC. With the annual Macy’s parade taking over Manhattan on Thursday (despite a windy forecast threatening the parade’s iconic balloons) and Black Friday frenzy, your commute is sure to be affected whether you’re planning on staying in the city or venturing out. Ahead, we’ve rounded up the service changes that will impact the city’s subways, buses, train service, and more.
New York is a prime spot for holiday shopping, in large part because of big department stores like Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s, designer flagships that line the Upper East Side, and whatever hell awaits you in the Disney Store in Times Square. But true New Yorkers should avoid the major shopping hubs, and instead seek gifts and other goods in some of the city’s slightly less crowded and infinitely more interesting ‘hoods, including the many holiday markets and pop-up shops found across the five boroughs. Find our favorite neighborhoods for holiday shopping this season, ahead.
Map via Google Maps/Macy’s
It’s almost time for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and with 2.5 miles of public viewing areas along the route this year, anyone eager to claim a good spot should be able to with a little planning. This interactive map put together by the parade organizers outlines the stretches that have the best views as well as all the areas that will be restricted to the public. The map also notes where you can find essentials like restrooms, coffee, and food.
Photo by Cameron Blaylock
A bright and colorful public art installation has opened in front of the Flatiron Building just in time for the holiday season. Ziggy from New York-based firm Hou de Sousa was selected last week as the winner of the annual Flatiron Public Plaza Holiday Design Competition by the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership and the Van Alen Institute. The structure is made up of painted rebar and 27,000 feet of iridescent cord and allows visitors to walk through, sit down, and peek through its vibrant openings. “Hou de Sousa’s spectacular installation invites us to rethink how we interact with public space, and with one another, “Deborah Marton, Van Alen’s executive director, said. “Their design creates delightful and unexpected ways to connect with others.”
Don’t let apartment life stop you from hosting! Forget the turkey and tradition, or start one of your own with a November (or December) dinner to remember. You can even tackle the classic Thanksgiving, or have a low-key, festive “Friendsgiving.” The key is to find your own collection of small-space, less-fuss entertaining ideas and go-to goods. Below, a few suggestions to get you started.
The city will expand pedestrian space around Rockefeller Center and Radio City Musical Hall during the holiday season, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Friday. Starting Nov. 29, 49th and 50th Streets, as well as Fifth and Sixth Avenues, will be partially closed to cars to alleviate congestion caused by the roughly 800,000 people who visit the Christmas Tree every day during the season. The expansion marks the first time the city has created a defined pedestrian space for the area.
If you can’t get enough of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, you can extend the festivities by attending the yearly Balloon Inflation event that takes place the day before Thanksgiving. On Wednesday, November 27 you’ll be able to see the balloons come to life as they get filled with helium outside the Museum of Natural History. It’s the perfect opportunity to get a first glimpse of the five new balloons debuting this year, including Love Flies Up to the Sky by artist Yayoi Kusama in partnership with Macy’s Blue Sky Gallery series.
All photos courtesy of the Armour–Stiner House
Not only is Westchester’s Octagon House the stuff that Instagram dreams are made of, but it is the world’s only eight-sided, fully-domed Victorian home. This holiday season, the Armour–Stiner House, as it’s officially known, will open its doors at night for a special event that invites guests to tour the restored 1872 house while it’s full of seasonal decorations. There will also be hot refreshments served and “dramatic interpretations of Washington Irving’s ‘Old Christmas.'”
Photo courtesy of Grand Bazaar
New York is a city of shoppers, and though the retail landscape may be undergoing a sea change, there’s still a lot to be said for perusing yards of beautiful baubles and quirky crafts you won’t find online in the company of other shoppers and plenty of good cheer. There’s no shortage of holiday markets this season, with one in practically every corner of town; and each one is unique in its own way. The big Manhattan markets–at Union Square, Bryant Park, Grand Central Station, and Columbus Circle–get points for sheer volume, but some of the best finds can be had at smaller, more intimate neighborhood affairs. And they all sparkle with winter wonderland delights from ice skating and music to drinks, food, workshops, tarot readings, nail art, and family fun to keep shoppers’ spirits bright.
Photo courtesy of TWA Hotel.
Yet another cool way to experience the Eero Saarinen-designed TWA Hotel at JFK Airport arrives this month: Starting November 30, a custom 56-by-44-foot Runway Rink will be open for ice skating on the hotel’s tarmac surrounding the 1958 Lockheed Constellation Connie airplane-turned-cocktail-lounge. In addition to sharpening your figure-8 skills, you can catch nostalgic ice skating shows and chill with frosty beers, sno-caps and more.