Don’t let the cold and snow throw you: January is a great time to be in New York. Fortunately, there are countless fun adventures to share, inside, as well as at least one classic outdoor activity. Here are some wonderful ways to pass time with or without kids and whether or not the weather cooperates.
The most natural way of embracing winter is by getting out in it, as in a visit to The Rink at Rockefeller Center, now celebrating 81 years of the most glamorous ice skating in the world. Nearby, the FDNY Fire Zone has great wonderland. The on-site DiMenna Children’s History Museum intrigues little New Yorkers (3-5 year olds) on Tuesdays and Friday afternoons with songs, stories, and crafts between 3:30 and 4:15 pm.
The Times Square area is ground zero for family-friendly fun activities, with a plethora of intriguing venues that entice folks inside. Selfie lovers flock to Madame Tussauds to photobomb A-list celebrities. At the newly opened Gulliver’s Gate, visitors see a world in miniature that reminds us all that we share one planet, even at a time when we seem ever more divided. This ambitious $40 million extravaganza allows visitors to travel the Earth and see Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, Russia, and Europe in incredibly well-crafted detail.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square is a venue where open-minded family members—those who accept the unusual and delight in surprise—appreciate the one-of-a-kind art Kids of all ages will be entranced by Holiday Express at the New-York Historical Society.
Souvenirs of New York’s Bravest, including toys, shirts, and outerwear. It’s also
a multimedia fire safety learning center where kids pick up fun, lifesaving lessons from real live FDNY firefighters. Try on FDNY “Bunker Coats,” explore a life-like fire engine, and bring home one of the fantastic collectibles.
Fans of trains will be delighted at The New-York Historical Society. New York’s first public museum—which recently opened its new Women’s History Center and gallery of stunning Tiffany Lamps—brings back Holiday Express, featuring hundreds of toy trains and related items from the Jerni Collection’s toy train facts, including up-close photo ops with an authentic New Year’s Eve Waterford crystal ball, the eerie tunnel that’s the Black Hole, the chance to dodge laser beams, and looks at beyond-the-ordinary bodies, including authentic shrunken heads and a two-headed animal or two.
New to Times Square are two more terrific destinations: the underwater world of National Geographic Encounter:
January is a great time to be in New York…
After philanthropists saved the USS Intrepid from an impending scrap heap in 1976, it journeyed to New York City to a berth at the end of 42nd Street; by 1982, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum was established to showcase exhibits both inside and on deck. This maritime- museum-on-the-Hudson covers his-
tory since World War I, and displays
the Enterprise space shuttle, the submarine Growler, and dozens of important, restored aircraft. The current exhibit Ports of Call shows the photos, souvenirs, and film footage of young sailors traveling the world as part of the Intrepid crew.
On the Lower East Side, a guided tour of the Tenement Museum is compelling no matter where you currently live, or where your family originated. Special tours feature costumed “residents” representing immigrants from various countries, as they describe their daily lives in this re-creation of a typical tenement building in eras ranging from the mid- 19th to the early 20th century.
Serendipity 3 is a charming Upper East Side re-creation of an old-fashioned sweet shop, complete with stained-glass lamp-shaded chandeliers and either hot (or frozen) chocolate, depending on your mood. The food menu features hamburgers, chicken, shrimp-stuffed avocado, and lemon sole, plus desserts made from the finest international ingredients like Tahitian vanilla beans or Caribbean chocolate. (The boutique menu offers just as much for folks looking for souvenirs as it does take-home treats!)
by Irvina Lew