Event: AWNY Christmas Lunch 2017

The silly season is almost upon us! You can’t run from it, so why not embrace it?

Join AWNY for our annual Christmas Lunch and welcome the holidays the right way: with a good meal, great company and lots of laughs.

We’ve secured a member’s only private dining room on the 30th floor at the Metropolitan Tower, where you will be greeted with a cocktail on arrival, followed by a delicious three-course meal. Oh, and did we mention the great company?

Event details:

Date: Friday, December 8, 2017
Time: 12.00pm – 2.30pm
Location: Member’s only private dining room, booked under member “Berzack” – Club Metropolitan – 146 West 57th Street, 30th Floor
Cost: $60 for members | $75 for non-members
Included: 3 course meal, cocktail on arrival, tax and gratuity

Buy tickets

Places are limited and pre-registration is required, so sign up now!


AWNY Guide: Don’t endure Christmas and the Holidays in New York, embrace it!



New York is one of the best cities in the world to experience the holidays, particularly Christmas. Few others can boast the same quality and quantity of all that makes this time of year special. But let’s not kid ourselves; it’s also one of the most crowded and expensive places to pass the holidays. So here’s a guide designed to help you experience Christmas in New York like a local, with a few life hacks to make your festive season merry and bright.

Yes Virginia, there is a Santaland without the queues

Taking a photo atop Santa’s knee is an annual pilgrimage for many people. And Santaland at Macy’s is arguably the crème de la crème of holiday snapshots. But the queues! If you don’t want to wait several hours surrounded by screaming children and delirious parents, do yourself a favor and book ahead online. You’ll be able to waltz straight to the front of the pack. If you’re not fazed which Santa you sit on, try Bloomingdales where the lines are typically much shorter. And if you want to hear one man’s tale of what it’s like being a Santa’s elf in New York, check out David Sedaris’ Santaland Diaries. Perfect to listen to while you stand in line for your photo.

Get a bit of razzle-dazzle

For many, the thought of New York holiday decorations conjures images of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. But there is so much more! The Dyker Heights Christmas Lights have been running since the 1980s and get bigger and brighter each year. If you want to stay in Manhattan, why not pay Rolf’s Bar and Restaurant in Gramercy a visit? It feels like walking inside a giant Christmas tree, plus you get to admire the pretty lights with a cocktail in your hand.

xmas-rolfsPhoto credit: The Three Tomatoes.

Speaking of holiday drinks…

Don’t forget to visit one of the city’s Christmas themed bars for a glass of holiday cheer. Pop-up bar Miracle at Mace returns for another year with some of New York’s best festivity-infused cocktails, while the Boilermaker is offering holiday cheer of the tropical variety, with Sippin Santa’s Surf Shack. Great for those of us who are homesick for a summery Christmas. You could also try the Holiday Hideaway at The VNYL, with elves on the payroll handing out goodies to guests on Monday nights.

Let New York entertain you

Just like every other month of the year, there is no shortage of entertainment options in New York at Christmas. You’ve got the crowd pleasers like the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall or the Nutcracker at the Lincoln Center, but you can expect to pay big bucks for these shows. If you’re on a budget and in the mood for something a little out of the ordinary, this list of holiday shows might be more your style. And for those of us who want to reconnect with the spirit of Christmas, the Cathedral Christmas Concert at Saint John the Devine on the Upper West Side is a unique option.

Holiday Trains Galore

For something the kids and grown ups will equally adore, try the Holiday Train Show in the Bronx Botanical Gardens. It’s cheapest (and quietest) on weekdays, or consider purchasing a year-round membership, which includes access to all of their special exhibits.

And if trains are your thing, why not get on one and take a ride back in time? The MTA’s Holiday Nostalgia Train runs between Queens and Lower Manhattan along the M line. The train is made up of subway cars in service from 1932 until 1977 so jump aboard near the start and change carriages at each stop, so you can experience all of the different time periods.

xmas-nybgPhoto Credit: New York Botanical Gardens.

Rocking around the Christmas Tree

Purchasing the perfect tree can be a highlight of the holidays. But not if you pay an arm and leg for it! You’ve got three options: first, wait until Christmas Eve. It will mean less time with your beloved tree in the lead up to Christmas, but will guarantee you the cheapest price. Second, you can shop around. Even on the same block you’ll find marked discrepancies in how much a tree can cost, and neighborhoods with more expensive real estate will charge higher prices to cover their higher footpath rent. Third, don’t be afraid to negotiate. The best time to haggle a decent price is later in the evening when the sellers want to pack up shop and go home.

It’s skating time in the city

For us Aussies, embracing the cold is all part of the charm of celebrating Christmas in the northern hemisphere. But before you line up for hours and fork out $30 for the pleasure of ice skating around a tiny rink at Rockefeller Plaza, consider some of the other rinks in the city that are bigger, less crowded and in some cases, free! Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park is the only free rink in the city (plus skate rental), so you’re not going to beat the crowds at this place, but at least your wallet won’t take a hit. Once you’re done skating you can wander through the Christmas market and pay a visit to the New York Public Library, which always has a fetching tree in the foyer.

With two rinks – one open-air, the other covered – there’s plenty of room to move at LeFrak Center at Lakeside, Prospect Park. And paying just $6 on weekdays and $9 on the weekend, ain’t bad either. Arguably one of the most iconic places to skate in New York City, the Wollman Rink in Central Park is pretty much always crowded. But with gorgeous views of the city and the park, plus a much more reasonable price tag than Rockefeller, it’s hard to ignore. If you really don’t like sharing your skate time, check out the Lasker Rink at the Harlem end of Central Park. This will be one of the quieter and cheaper rinks you’ll find in Manhattan.

xmas-wollmansPhoto Credit: Wollman’s Skating Rink.

How about a free ride home from the airport?

Traveling at Christmas can be a nightmare. Between the bad weather, long queues and less than friendly customer service, it can put a real dampener on your Chrissy. So if you have to travel this Christmas, at least save yourself some money on cab fares. Uber has teamed up with Amex offer free rides home from New York airports these holidays. You can claim up to a $65 credit on your fare, for up to two rides. Did someone say bargain?

I have to tip who? How much?!

Yep, it’s time to start dishing out your holiday tips. As a nationality known for our lacklustre tips (the Kiwis are apparently worse!) the holiday tipping phenomenon can hit Aussies pretty hard. We’re surprised by not just how much we are meant to tip, but the long list of people who are expecting to receive one. This AWNY guide to holiday tipping provides some great pointers and clarifications. But remember, only tip what you can afford. This is not a cheap city to live in, and a thoughtful card and genuine thank you can go a very long way.

For something totally free, very Christmassy Windows

Stroll the storefronts of midtown Manhattan, such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, Bergdorf Goodman and Macy’s to view their holiday window displays. You won’t pay a cent and if you pick the right timing (go early or late during the week) you’ll have unobstructed views of some of the best holiday window displays in the world. If you’re inspired by what you see, check out the documentary Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s, which includes insight into the visual merchandising team and the intricate planning involved with their holiday windows.

What things do you love to do in New York during the Holidays?

Share your tips with our community below in the comments.

AWNY Mums & Dads December update: Farewell NYC

Written by Anita Davison

The Rockefeller Christmas tree is lit, twinkle lights adorn the streets of NYC and songs about snowflakes and Santa Claus are being piped through the speakers of every store you enter; these things, along with cooler temperatures mean Christmas is almost here and 2016 is almost over. It’s been quite a year here in the US. A lot has happened in the media, most notably Donald Trump taking home the blue ribbon for winning the US Presidential Election. Whatever your opinion of the result, or the man himself, 2017 looks to be another interesting year. As none of us possess a crystal ball to see into the future, only time will tell what the future of the world, and this nation we call home, holds.

A little closer to home now, and big changes are ahead for my family. Our time in NYC is quickly coming to an end, and my thoughts are drifting to things like lobster rolls, cream pies, Cheers!, and Ivy league schools; that’s right, we are moving to Boston!

The past 3.5 years in NYC have been great, it’s such an amazing city with so much to experience. We always dreamed of living in NYC, not anywhere else in the USA, just NYC; but our mindset has shifted over the past few months and we are excited to experience a new city and lifestyle. At the end of the month, we will trade in our subway pass for a new car, city living for a house in the ‘burbs and step back into a similar lifestyle we once knew back in Sydney – although instead of spending summer weekends on the Northern Beaches, we will spend them at ‘The Cape’ and our winter weekends will be filled with snowboarding lessons and snowball fights. The hardest part of this transition is saying goodbye to our wonderful friends and the networks we have become apart of or created, but thankfully we will only be 4 hours away instead of the other side of the world!

It’s been an honor to sit on the AWNY committee and lead the Aussie Mums & Dads Group. Since taking the helm almost 2 years ago, we have nearly doubled the number of members on our Facebook page, held our inaugural Spring Picnic, and have been featured in a round up in the best Aussie communities in the USA.

Co-lead Sally B. will step into the lead role of the M&Ds group and continue to attend regular AWNY committee meetings. Some positive changes are coming to the way the group is managed, these will be shared with you after our AWNY committee meeting next week. With these changes I hope to create a more inclusive and open group for our members in all boroughs of NYC to have a say, create events and make the network for Aussie (and Kiwi) Mums and Dads in New York even stronger.

I will be staying on as an administrator of the Facebook group, continuing in a social media capacity only, so this isn’t officially goodbye. You will continue to see my name pop up on the page and perhaps I’ll contribute to an occasional update or attend an event when I’m down for a visit (which will be regularly!)

Our Mums & Dads End of Year Drinks will be held this month on Dec 15, the event details are below, along with a link to AWNY ‘What’s on in December’ update. I hope to see you there!

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and safe and happy New Year. Try not to max out those credit cards!

Until next time, whenever that may be…

Anita xo


Got a craving for meat pies?

Four n Twenty Pies will be delivering in NYC again at the end of December check out their websiteFacebook & Twitter feed for updates and how to order!

Upcoming Event

Aussie Mums & Dads End of Year Drinks

Thursday, December 15 at 7:30pm
Joe’s, 480 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10024

Cost: Drinks & food available for purchase
Not essential, but if you would like to let people know you are going, feel free to RSVP via the Facebook event page.

Fun things to do in New York this December

Lot’s of ideas in this ‘Whats On’ blog post.

Event: AWNY Christmas Lunch, Dec 1, 2016

The silly season is almost upon us! You can’t run from it, so why not embrace it?

Join AWNY for our annual Christmas Lunch and welcome the holidays the right way: with a good meal, great company and lots of laughs.

We’ve secured a cozy private dining room at Harding’s in the Flatiron district, where you will be greeted with a cocktail on arrival, followed by a delicious three course meal. Oh, and did we mention the great company?

Event details:

Date: Thursday, December 1, 2016
Time: 12.00pm – 2.30pm
Location: The Den at Harding’s Restaurant & Bar, 32 East 21st St, New York 10010
Cost: $65 for members | $70 for non-members
Included: 3 course meal (menu here), cocktail on arrival, tax and gratuity

Buy tickets

The wonderful team at Harding’s have already pulled together a mouth-watering menu for our celebration – take a look at it here.

Places are limited and pre-registration is required, so hop to it!

For further information, contact Danielle Pilc at danielle.paull@yahoo.co.uk.

Buy tickets

Rolf’s at Christmas: About as festive as it gets

by Hannah Gandevia

Are you partial to a little sparkle during the holiday season? Maybe you’re one of those people with a secret soft spot for Christmas deccos. Then boy, oh boy, do I have the place for you.

Every year, the folks at Rolf’s Bar and Restaurant (22nd St & 3rd Ave) adorns their space with a jaw-dropping array of baubles, fairy-lights and festive cheer. It’s basically like dining inside a Christmas tree.

They serve hearty german plates and giant schooners of beer. And while the food is nothing to write home about, and their menu is a little overpriced, be sure to pop on your best/worst Christmas sweater and head over to check out the spectacle.

In fact, it reminds me a little of Panna, that crazy Indian restaurant in the east village chock-a-block with multi-colored lights.

Progressive dinner anyone?