Category Archives: holidays

Alternative Thanksgiving Plans in NYC

Now that Halloween has passed, we are onto the next holiday…Thanksgiving! I myself am not from the East coast and can rarely go home for the holidays, so here are some things you can do to celebrate the festivities while away from home and family.

FIT Residential Life Thanksgiving Feast

Res-life always hosts a Thanksgiving dinner for students that stay in the city for the holiday. Take advantage of a free meal and hang out with friends on campus.

Thanksgiving Day Parade

This Nov. 28th will be the 92nd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade celebration. Come celebrate an iconic and historic NYC event along with the rest of the city either in person or live on TV. If you want, you can go the night before to watch the balloons get inflated as well.

Bryant Park’s Winter Village

Bryant Park is a wonderful place to stroll through and take a look at all the holiday gift and food shops. This is a great place to look out for that perfect present or to get a cheap bite. There is also the the skate rink which as free admissions but costs $20 to rent skates. It gets cold on the ice so make sure to bring gloves and a jacket.

Friends-giving

Gather a group of friends to have a home cooked (or ordered out) “family” meal. You can make it a potluck to make the menu easier on whoever is hosting, but make sure to contribute something to the group.

(Window) Shop around on black Friday

There are so many online and in store deals to take advantage of. Check off all your Christmas list items or just peruse. You can also stop by the famous Macy’s window displays at Herald Square along your way.

Volunteer with New York Cares

New York Cares is the largest volunteer network in NYC that has opportunities in all 5 boroughs. It requires a quick and simple orientation but after that you are free to sign up for as many volunteer opportunities as you’d like, spanning from gardening to child and senior care to tax prep.

Explore the changing season at Central Park

Get a breath of fresh air at one of the many parks around NYC. Central Park will be showcasing the full force of Autumn with its beautiful foliage. Grab a bite to eat and walk around to one of the many locations in CP, such as the skate rinks, the CP zoo, the boat launches, or the Bethesda fountain.

Visit a Zoo

Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, and Central Park Zoo are all open the day of Thanksgiving. Tickets for all three locations are $13 (unfortunately they do not offer a student discount). View animals such as exotic birds, sea lions, red pandas, grizzly bears, and snow leopards.

Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

Hi everyone!

This past Tuesday was Chinese New Year! This is the Year of the Pig, which means there has been a lot of pink mixed in with the traditional red and gold.

We wanted to try and experience Chinese New Year in Hong Kong best we could, but I think the best way to celebrate it is with family. If you are thinking about visiting Hong Kong, I would suggest avoiding Chinese New Year and the crowds of tourists. Many enjoy the experience, but I personally find Hong Kong on a regular day just as charming and less packed!

Here are the three things we did to celebrate:

The Flower Market

Oranges are used for decoration to invite Prosperity

This was far and away my favorite! The market was packed with plants and people, and has a great energy. There were rows upon rows of the bright Mandarin orange trees. I didn’t buy any orange trees or other CNY decorative plants, but got a few leafy houseplants to keep in my dorm room.

If you visit the flower market, I recommend going in the morning- as the day progresses it becomes more and more packed.

The Parade

The crowds at the parade in TST

Tuesday, the first day of the Lunar New Year, we went to see the parade in Tsim Sha Tsui, a neighboring area to campus. The route was packed, mostly with visitors from Mainland China and other places around the world. It was fun since I went with friends, but overall between the crowds and the slow pace of the parade made it the least exciting activity of the week.

The Fireworks

CNY fireworks over the water

Wednesday night had a 20 minute firework display to celebrate. We viewed from the waterfront near the dorms, which wasn’t the best angle but it was a good show and the weather was great at night. There were more crowds towards the better viewing points, but we found an area that had a lot less traffic so it was easier to see.

Overall, Hong Kong during Chinese New Year is certainly an experience. However, I would personally recommend coming before CNY. Starting about mid-January all the stores began setting up displays, and the flower market began its seasonal transformation. During Chinese New Year however I found that there were many more tourists than usual, and several of the things my friends and I enjoy doing usually were closed. I think the period leading up to the holiday is just as vibrant, less crowded and easier to enjoy the city!

Have you celebrated Chinese New Year? What was your favorite part? I’d love to know!

Best,
Sam

Productivity During Break

Hello Guys,

That’s a wrap! The semester has come to a close and the holidays are just around the corner. Soon, we will be ringing in the new year! While everyone should take this time over break to unwind and well… take a break, it is never a bad idea to be productive either.

The first thing on my list during the break (and after the holiday madness) is to work on personal projects. During the semester, a lot of my time working and creating is spent on in class assignments or portfolio building. The break allows for the perfect time to experiment with different personal projects. This winter break, I plan to spend time painting some scenes from my study abroad trip to Florence from last summer! School projects are a great opportunity for portfolio pieces and growing as an artist. However, it is certainly important to experiment with your own interests and style.

Break is also great for practice; as they say, practice makes perfect! I always like to take the extra time I have to work in a new sketch book. One of my professors always said that you should do a drawing a day in order to improve and grow as an artist. That concept has always stuck by me. I try to draw from life when I can because, not only is it therapeutic, but I can better my skill set!

Last, and certainly not least, I use break to relax! A strong work ethic is so important, but so is giving yourself some time to rest! How do you like to spend your freetime/breaks? Until next time, enjoy the holidays!

Warm wishes,
Annmarie x

Dealing with Snow in the Big Apple:

We all dream of a white Christmas, however, snow in the Big Apple makes life a little crazier. Just a few inches of snow brings out the snow boots and over-sized coats. Here are a few tips to get through the winter while at school:

■ Dress in Layers: Let’s be honest, layers rule during the winter. Loose fitting clothing trap the body’s natural warmth, and do it best with an insulating inner layer and an outer layer resistant to wind and water. The less body area exposed, the warmer you’ll be.

■ Monitor Your Health: Stay well hydrated and well nourished, and wash your hands often. Prevent serious infections by getting an annual flu shot. Keep your skin glowing by staying moisturized.

■ Prepare Your Room: When it’s cold out, the dorms stay warm. A/C is switched to warmer air, and depending on how your room is set up some parts of your room may be a different temperature. Keep throw blankets and comforters on hand!

■ Stay ahead of classes: With unpredictable weather, sometimes the snow gets the best of the city. Snow days are inevitable, so stay on top of your class work just in the worst case scenario things get moved up/back that are unexpected!

Treat Yourself: Bryant Park Winter Village

Hey Guys,

Have you ever heard of the Winter Village at Bryant Park? With finals season in full swing and the holidays around the corner, it is important to take a minute to enjoy the season! The Winter Village is one of my favorite places to go to during the holiday season. The park is usually less congested than the Rockefeller Center tree, and showcases a tree of its own.

It is easy to make a night of fun at Bryant Park. At the center of the Winter Village there is a large ice rink. Spend time skating the rink with friends or (like me) sit this one out and enjoy some cocoa instead. Surrounding the rink are various vendors, restaurants, and of course, the tree! Vendors like Max Brenner (and their delicious, liquid gold hot chocolate) are all around the rink. Enjoy eats from around Manhattan, such as Wafels and Dinges, Home Frite, Domo Taco, Doughnuttery and more! Need to get some holiday shopping done? Bryant Park has a gift for every person in your life. The vendors range from apparel to jewelry, to even artwork! There are so many unique gifts to check out, and a ton of ornament shops as well. My favorite thing to do at Bryant Park is grab some cocoa and look through the shops. I always love looking at the different ornaments and stopping at all the art vendors. Do not forget to take a seat and watch the skaters, or snap a pic in front of the tree! Bryant Park Winter Village is open from October 28, 2017 to January 2, 2018. Be sure to grab a winter treat and check it out!

-Annmarie x


soruce:(x) – Photograph: Courtesy Bryant Park Corporation