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Wonder of Christmas alive in New York City

“New York, New York, a wonderful town. The Bronx is up but the Battery’s down.”

This is a line from On the Town, a musical starring Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly that celebrates the city that never sleeps. Having just returned from my winter break in New York, I thought I’d share my vacation stories and thoughts.

OK, so technically, I wasn’t in NYC the whole time. My parents actually live in Bohemia, on Long Island. It’s a quaint little “township,” as they call it, but when the sun goes down, it’s like the world shut off (kind of like Tampa on a Sunday night.)

However, the city is a short 40-minute Long Island Railroad ride away, and that trip was made several times during the course of my 10 consecutive vacation days.

I hadn’t been to NYC during the holidays since I was 7 or 8 years old. To be in NYC during Christmas is almost indescribable. You can smell it and taste it as you turn every corner. Every window in every shop on every street is dressed up — you literally can get drunk on the atmosphere. Lights are glittering all over the place, and even in your winter jacket and hat, you still can’t feel your body; it’s just that cold. But it’s OK because you’re in New York City.

There are certain things one must do when visiting New York. These are common things native New Yorkers take for granted and, therefore, never experience. This girl, however, is all about touristy things. NYC is my favorite place in the world, and I’ll be damned if I waste my time trying to look ultra-hip. Serendipity is a restaurant on 60th St. that has the best desserts in the free world. You might remember the John Cusack movie that introduced the rest of the country to this heaven on Earth. I remember a nice boy who took me there for ice cream.

The teen sightseer thing is to stand outside the MTV building on Broadway and try to get on television. There must have been some pop royalty there the day I walked past, because the street was packed with screaming kiddies.

I think the tourists are one of the major highlights of the city, especially around Christmas: wide-eyed tourists walking aimlessly around, gawking at billboards, advertisements, the homeless. Everyone’s trying to rush to grab up tickets to Thoroughly Modern Millie or Les Miserables (which sadly will end its 16-year Broadway run in March.) And the epitome of the holidays: Rockefeller Plaza, its magnificence being the Christmas tree and the ice skaters. Having never ice-skated, I didn’t venture out onto the frozen water, preferring to people-watch with my $6 cup of hot chocolate.

I left camping out for the Today show in the wee hours of the morn and paying exorbitant cab fares to the real tourists from Kansas and Wisconsin. I did have a few mini-adventures, such as spotting SNL’s Jimmy Fallon in Times Square (at least, I think it was him), and someone committing suicide by jumping in front of the train I was on the day before I left. But, I couldn’t have asked for a better holiday when it began snowing Christmas Eve. Five days later, as I flew out of MacArthur Airport in Islip, and said goodbye to my NYC holiday, there was still snow covering the ground.

Jessica Higgins is a junior majoringin mass communications.