We asked Keoni Boyer, assistant chef concierge at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park, for his recommendations when visiting New York City at Christmastime.
Q: WHAT SHOULD VISITORS EXPECT WHILE EXPLORING NYC DURING THE HOLIDAYS?
A: The holidays are the busiest time of the year, so prepare for long waits anywhere you go. But it’s also the most fun time of the year with all the holiday decorations and great holiday markets.
Q: WHAT SHOULD BE FIRST ON A VISITOR’S “TO-DO” LIST DURING THE HOLIDAYS?
A: Make sure to take in all the holiday window displays on Madison Avenue. The Rink at Rockefeller Center with the Christmas tree in the background is always magical, and definitely make sure to visit the largest toy store in NYC, FAO Schwarz.
Q: ARE THERE ANY HOLIDAY PERFORMANCES YOU WOULD RECOMMEND VISITORS ATTEND?
A: Handel’s Messiah at Trinity Church Wall Street is inspiring and beautiful. “The Nutcracker” is always a fun and classic performance during the holidays, as well as the Rockettes in “Christmas Spectacular” at Radio City.
Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANTS FOR A SPECIAL MEAL?
A: My favorite restaurant is Le Bernardin for any special occasion. The top-notch service and food create an unparalleled experience. Another favorite is Korean steak house, Cote. The butcher’s feast offers fantastic cuts of meat and all the Korean accompaniments for the price of what a steak alone costs at other steak houses. Local French café, Rue 57, always does it up for the holidays with decorations.
Q: WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO GO IN THE CITY ON YOUR DAY OFF?
A: I love the East Village because it still feels like old New York with all its little boutiques and restaurants. It’s a great neighborhood that I can walk around and just get lost in.
EXPERT TIP: “Kids of all ages love Dylan’s Candy Bar. With the largest selection of candies, it’s like Willy Wonka’s factory come to life.”