Wintertime in New York City can be quite miserable for some people. With temperatures so low you can see your own breath, walking about the city can be a long and arduous task. The cold weather isn’t very inviting to tourists, and I think this is something that should be taken advantage of. Just don’t forget to bundle up.
My family and I visited New York City a couple of weeks ago. We used the New York City Pass, but I think you’d be better off using it during a busier time of year. It didn’t matter that we had the ability to skip lines. Everywhere we went, the lines for attractions were far smaller than they would normally be. Sometimes, there was hardly even a line at all. It was the start of February, and the temperatures were hitting lows of 10 degrees (-12 degrees Celsius). Of course, this isn’t nearly as cold as the negative temperatures in other parts of the U.S., and the cold weather my family and I experienced was in the midst of a particularly bad front. As we were leaving New York City, the weather livened back up to a comfortable 40 degrees (2 degrees Celsius).
During our short trip to New York City, we stayed in the penthouse suite at Row NYC. It’s located just around the corner from Times Square and all of its glorious shops, restaurants, and vibrant, flashing billboards. Although cold, Times Square is slightly less uncomfortable than before because the temperatures are too unbearable for women to walk around with nothing but bikinis and body paint.
Unfortunately, you still have to deal with strangers in scraggly costumes that are very keen on drawing the eyes of children. I remember being that child when I was younger, generally confused by the flashing lights and mobs of people. Young children are especially more confused when they see distorted versions of beloved cartoon and t.v. show characters walking toward them, followed along by multiple other favorites such as Minnie Mouse. Then, just as the child reaches out, pointing and smiling at what must be some of their favorite people on the planet, those characters rip their own heads off to reveal human faces and start bargaining with parents on the price of pictures.
My family and I stayed in the Penthouse Suite at Row NYC, and although large and enjoyable, I’m confused as to why they call it a penthouse. Our overall stay was fantastic. We enjoyed the living room and the two separate bedrooms, as well as the large bathrooms and kitchen space, but it’s not located on the top floor of the hotel. My family and I were very happy with our suite, and our only complaint is that it was mislabeled as a penthouse. In the end, I suppose I’m just nitpicking.
Each of the bedrooms has its own bathroom and desk area. The suite also has a smaller guest bathroom and closet space. The beds in both rooms are larger than the average hotel room bed set. Everybody slept pretty well during our trip. We had a nice view, and the bedroom windows have their own special curtains that can be adjusted with a panel on the wall. Although most of our time was spent out on the streets of New York City, our time in the hotel room was comfortable.
Dining at Row NYC
The Row NYC has a fantastic food court called City Kitchen tucked into one of its corners. My family and I ate there numerous times, trying everything from burgers and donuts to ramen and sushi. City Kitchen has seven different counters to order from, each serving a different type of food. If you are a guest at Row, you can show the workers your room key to get ten percent off your order.
There are also plenty of other restaurants close to Row. The Sugar Factory is located right next door, and Times Square has plenty of options. Just don’t look the Elmo impersonator in the eyes.
Take a Bus Tour
Rather than endure a long walk around New York City, you can easily get yourself a ticket for one of the many bus tours that roll around to all of the main attractions. There are also some more obscure and lesser-known places on the tour. My family and I hopped on a bus tour after visiting the Empire State Building. Although our experience was kind of odd because none of us could decide upon a place to get off, it’s a much nicer and more convenient way to roam the city during cold weather.
Our tour guide on the bus was also quite entertaining, cracking jokes and talking with some of the passengers. Unfortunately, he informed us that he would no longer be providing tours because he had just moved back to New Jersey. Those were his last few days on the job. It was entertaining to watch him speak with some foreigners who wanted to get off in Chinatown. They didn’t seem to understand him at all and exited the bus two stops too soon. “You’ll never have a tour guide as great as me,” he humorously reminded the passengers as they got off the bus.
Visit the Empire State Building
After walking through multiple wrong doors, my family eventually found the correct entrance to the Empire State Building. It seemed like employees were specifically placed just inside the entrance of every wrong door and wrong turn so that they could inform us that we were wrong and needed to turn around. They seriously need some more signs.
When we found the proper entrance, my family and I zipped through the practically nonexistent lines for tickets and security. We walked through halls that overlooked some of the lower floors. They appeared to be completely empty except for some fancy red carpet and employees that were probably just standing there to tell other people that they’d come the wrong way. I wonder how much a person gets paid every hour to scold tourists for entering the wrong door.
Ensuing a long elevator ride to one of the top floors, my family and I snapped pictures out the windows. None of us bothered to read the boards full of information and history, although many people did. We made our way to another set of elevators, that would take us up once more, and headed outside.
The sky was clear and calm, so my family and I could see the whole city. The view from the Empire State Building is spectacular. You simply can’t miss it if you’re in the city on a clear day. My mom also got some pretty good pictures of my grandfather looking out on the city in his ridiculous hat. That hat got him dozens of compliments everywhere we went.
Skate at Rockefeller Center
My mom and I were pretty eager to skate at Rockefeller. Although we missed out on the giant Christmas tree, we still had a great time and checked off another item on the bucket list. The process of getting onto the ice was fairly simple. Rockefeller Center isn’t too long of a walk from Row NYC, so my family and I walked over in layers of jackets. Mom and I walked down the steps, into the building, and bought two tickets for the skating session at 8:30.
When I first saw the skating rink, I was kind of surprised. The images of Rockefeller Center are so grand in the movies. Movies give the illusion that the rink is gigantic, but it’s actually about the size of any other skating rink. I wasn’t disappointed. It was just surprising how differently it appeared on film.
We had a good time, although there were many beginner skaters on the ice. I myself am not a stellar skater, but I adjust after a few minutes. If there’s one thing I don’t like about skating, it’s getting stuck behind someone who may or may not fall at any moment. Who can blame them though? Other than that, my mom and I had a good time skating at Rockefeller.
Explore Times Square
Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to New York City without a stroll through Times Square. It’s impressive night and day. Over the course of the past decade, Times Square has expanded to encompass more than the original intersection it is known for. Billboards pan across many of the surrounding buildings, illuminating the whole area. In places where there used to be a street, there are now concrete paths and structures. A large structure for selling show tickets sits in the middle, as well as food carts, benches, and tables. Rather than a busy intersection, Times Square has become the perfect place for tourists to walk up, down, and all around. The surrounding buildings are made up of clothing stores and restaurants. There’s plenty to see and do, although shopping in Times Square might not be the most intelligent decision financially.
Grab Hot Chocolate: Junior’s Restaurant
It’s wintertime in New York City; you simply have to get a cup of hot cocoa. My family and I went to a place called Junior’s Restaurant & Cheesecake two nights in a row. Both times, we got some hot chocolates and a gigantic milkshake with cheesecake on top. Junior’s has two different locations around Times Square. We just went to the one closest to our hotel.
It was late at night when we stopped by for dessert, yet the restaurant was flooded with people. The employees still managed to seat us, and other customers, immediately after walking in. My family and I were happy to be out of the cold, and the hot chocolate was delicious.
Topped off with a great hunk of whipped cream, the hot chocolate was everything you could ask for. It fulfilled our need for warmth and sugar during that late night. The New Yorker milkshake made our stomachs beyond full. I’d definitely return to Junior’s for some hot chocolate and dessert in the future.
After two nights of hot chocolate and a day full of great New York City attractions, our short trip to New York City came to an end. Although we could only stay for the weekend, my family made the most of it. Everyone had a blast, and it’s now been made clear that there’s no bad time to take a trip to the Big Apple.
If you’re interested in watching a slightly odd vlog of our time in NYC, my brother filmed a bit over the course of the trip.