This month, the Big Apple isn’t short of entertainment, inside or out. Catch a Broadway show, enjoy the Thanksgiving parade, and go strap on your ice skates
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November might just snag top spot as the best month to visit New York. The fug of summer’s heat is over, but winter’s freeze has yet to descend. So chances are you’ll be revelling in crispy cold days, periwinkle-blue skies and a city thrumming with an infectious holiday vibe as its inhabitants prep for Christmas.
Your stay also chimes in with some unmissable culture fixes. First up, the impressively titled Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis is in town. Fronted by Vermeer’s hypnotic Girl with a Pearl Earring, it showcases some of the most fêted oils from The Hague. The fact the exhibit is housed at The Frick – the sedate neoclassical mansion of notorious steel baron Henry Clay Frick – only adds to the appeal. Plus, it butts up to the eastern edge of Central Park, so you are perfectly placed to stomp through autumn leaves for giant maple waffles at the Loeb Boathouse.
The New York Comedy Festival (6 to 10 November) is also in full swing. More than 175 performers play across venues big and small. Stand Up for Heroes is the hottest ticket. Expect Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart, Bruce Springsteen, and many more, to make Madison Square Garden rock with laughter.
News that a Hollywood A-lister is starring in a Broadway show is enough to spark a flurry of anticipation. So the prospect of not one but two stars, in the form of real-life husband and wife duo Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz, taking the stage to perform Harold Pinter’s Betrayal equals instant must-see status. Directed by the multi-Tony-Award-winning Mike Nichols, the show is running for a tantalisingly short 14 weeks and kicks off on 27 October at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.
Of course, few things are as synonymous with autumn as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (28 November). Now in its 87th year, the annual march is famous for its fantastical over-sized balloon characters (think a Buzz Lightyear the size of a house). Nabbing a front-of-sidewalk spot can mean a 6.30am start and coming armed with a thermos of coffee and bulky layers. For a more leisurely bird’s-eye view, book a room at Mandarin Oriental, New York, or take up the I Love a Parade package and watch the festivities from the Mandarin Ballroom.
But don’t leave before getting some ice time at one of Manhattan’s rinks, which often open during the first week of November. Less crowded, but as picturesque as those at the Rockefeller and Central Park, the Citi Pond in Bryant Park sits beneath an enormous, twinkling Christmas tree. It’s also surrounded by a pretty holiday market: a collection of more than a hundred pop-up stores, where you can shop for handmade wallets and colourful mittens while sipping gooey hot chocolate and nursing your skating aches.
Vishaka Robinson is an award-winning, New York-based beauty and travel writer, and a regular contributor to MO