In many ways, this holiday season is a return to form for some of the city’s most iconic December events and activities. Chief among them is The Christmas Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes which is once again dazzling audiences at Radio City Music Hall with high kicks, plenty of glitter, advanced projections and beautiful music.
In honor of the return of one of the city’s best things to do for Christmas, we spoke with Brooke Averi, now in her fifth season as a Rockette, who shared some of her favorite local things to do in NYC.
You can check out Brooke’s picks below and see her in person at Radio City right now for The Christmas Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes. Merry Christmas!
A go-to bakery and café
"I discovered Bibble and Sip (253 W 51st, Midtown) when I lived in Washington Heights and would get off at the 50th Street subway stop. It became my go-to place to grab a snack and coffee before performances of the Christmas Spectacular. They have a beautiful array of pastries and unique coffee selections like a 'lavender latte.' A great spot if you’re in the mood for a sweet treat."
A friendly local restaurant
"The bar and restaurant Haswell Green's (240 W 52nd St., Midtown) is an NYC favorite. Mostly because of the live entertainment and friendly staff who have become family. Located in the Theater District, you can often find local professionals winding down after shows. If you’re lucky you may catch them spontaneously joining in with the band. Eating a prosciutto flatbread and singing and dancing along with Tom and Nate on Dueling Pianos Night is by far my favorite night in New York."
A favorite neighborhood
"I love The Seaport downtown along the East River. Not only are there a plethora of shops and restaurants, but there is always a cool breeze from the water and a great view of the Brooklyn Bridge. You can find great community, laid-back street musicians, and cool photo ops in this spot. I always feel very connected to my great-grandmother, who was a Brooklyn native, when I sit by the water looking at the bridge.
An old-fashioned cinema
"I frequented the quaint movie theater quite Cinema 123 (1001 3rd Ave., Upper East Side) often the first year I lived in New York City. I was going to college a couple blocks up and would come here to watch a movie, alone, when I needed to escape from the stresses of schoolwork. The selective film choices, and quiet and intimate old-fashioned feel of this theater always remind me why I love New York. It feels like an experience you can’t get anywhere else.
A one-of-a-kind activity
"Not only are thrifted items especially unique, shopping second hand helps reduce our carbon footprint by giving new life to something otherwise destined for the landfill. I love grabbing a coffee and taking the train down to the East Village for an afternoon adventure. From 9th street to 12th street in the East Village, you can find shops like L Train Vintage (204 1st Ave.), Cure Thrift Shop (91 3rd Ave.,), Cobblestones (314 E. 9th St.) and Restoration Antiques (109 E. 12th St.,). Whether you’re a local or visiting, finding a one-of-a-kind item is a true NYC treasure!"
A dessert destination
"Ice cream lovers, unite! Even my vegans out there. There are options for you! Van Leeuwen (1250 Sixth Av., Midtown) is #1 in my book. From traditional options like Vanilla Bean and Mint Chip to unique flavors like Earl Grey Tea and Macaroni and Cheese, Van Leeuwen always satisfies my sweet tooth. Right now, they are featuring 'Peppermint Stick' ice cream and I must confess I stop for a scoop almost every night after a performance of the Christmas Spectacular. Conveniently located across from Radio City Music Hall, it makes the perfect stop for a pre or post-show snack."