A guide to the perfect NYC holiday weekend
As anyone who's seen the classic film “Miracle on 34th Street" knows, no city in the world captures the spirit of the winter holidays quite like New York City. From late November until mid-January, the five boroughs of NYC transform themselves from an exciting and sophisticated urban mecca to a magical and wondrous destination unlike any other. To help make your holiday in New York City extra festive, here are some spectacular sights and attractions that you won't want to miss.
The Rockefeller Christmas tree
A merry tradition that dates back more than eight decades, the Rockefeller Christmas Tree is an iconic symbol of the holidays that draws upwards of 125 million visitors each season. This year's tree is a towering Norway spruce grown in Pennsylvania. Standing 75 feet tall and weighing almost 13 tons, the beautiful behemoth is decorated with five miles worth of energy efficient LED lights, and topped with a crystal-covered star priced at $35,000. The tree remains lit from November 29 until January 7, and is the perfect place to begin an unforgettable weekend trip in NYC.
Bryant Park Winter Village
This open-air market in Midtown Manhattan is often referred to as NYC's official winter wonderland, and for very good reason. Featuring delicious snacks from more than three dozen food vendors, as well as luxury shopping and family-friendly seasonal events, it's a one-stop destination for holiday fun. But it's the 17,000-square-foot outdoor skating rink that's the main attraction. From 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. daily, visitors can take to the ice for free under the crisp New York sky. If you forgot your skates at home, don't worry — you can rent a pair for only $20.
Holiday window displays
New York City and shopping are virtually synonymous, which is why the city's biggest and brightest department stores pull out all the stops each year when it comes to their holiday window displays. If you're looking for stunning artistry, make your way to the windows at Bergdorf Goodman. They've partnered with seven humanitarian charities to design their windows this year, and the results are truly incredible. For classic charm, try the colorful windows at Lord & Taylor. This season, visitors can marvel at animated displays with themes like Arctic Adventures, Holiday Circus and Winter Woodlands.
Dinner at Rolf's restaurant
While most restaurants throughout the city add a bit of holiday décor each year, none go as far as Rolf's, a beloved German eatery in Gramercy Park. More than 15,000 Christmas ornaments and 100,000 twinkling lights cover every available inch inside this 50-year-old restaurant, making it a popular attraction that's well worth visiting. As if that wasn't jolly enough, thousands of icicle decorations and hundreds of vintage toy dolls hang from the ceiling, giving the restaurant a surreal quality you'll never forget. The delicious handmade pork sausages and chicken schnitzel are an added bonus!
Tea at the Plaza Hotel
Beautifully decorated with lights and wreaths each year to celebrate the holidays, this landmark destination in the heart of the city personifies the style and elegance of NYC, and is an ideal spot to visit after a walking tour of nearby Central Park. To warm up after a stroll, reserve a table at The Plaza's historic Palm Court, a lovely dining venue with special holiday tea offerings throughout the season. For visitors with children, The Santa Experience at The Plaza is open in the hotel's main concourse from November 24 until December 24.
Dyker Heights Christmas lights
When it comes to dazzling lights and outrageous decorations, this walking tour through the residential Brooklyn neighborhood of Dyker Heights has been drawing huge crowds since the 1980s. Each night in December (excluding Christmas Eve and Day), visitors can enjoy an astonishing guided tour, either on foot or by bus, that will leave them utterly breathless. Though many of the elaborate displays are designed and built by professional staging companies, the majority are crafted by individual homeowners competing with each other to see who can attract the most attention.
Union Square Holiday Market
No matter who is on your gift list this year, you'll have no trouble finding just what you're looking for at this popular outdoor holiday market located in Union Square Park. Open from November 16 until December 24, this European-style shopping destination includes more than 150 vendors selling intricately handcrafted merchandise and artwork in a beautiful outdoor setting. An impressive assortment of local food vendors helps add to the festive ambiance, making the Union Square Holiday Market one of NYC's must-visit winter attractions.
If you go
From Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, the U.S. celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month, a chance to pay tribute to the history, culture and contributions that generations of Latinxs have paved to enrich U.S. history. It is also a reminder to celebrate our differences and spark difficult, yet important, conversations.
To kick off the month, UNITE, our multicultural business resource group for employees, did just that by hosting a panel discussion about the immigrant experience and what it means to be an immigrant in the U.S.
United Litigation and Managing Counsel Elizabeth Lopez, who is a pro bono immigration attorney, moderated the panel, and was joined by Ashley Huebner, Associate Director of Legal Services at the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) and Magdalena Gonzalez, Program Manager, Leadership Development Programs at Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement. The three women shared their insights and personal stories, while addressing some misconceptions and highlighting the contributions of immigrants to our company and country.
From left to right, Elizabeth Lopez, Ashely Huebner and Magdalena Gonzalez
"I started to notice that there were things I was scared of doing, that I needed to be cautious," said Magdalena while sharing her personal experience as a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipient. "My friends, who a majority of them are citizens, did not need to worry about that. As I was able to see that, I realized that, 'oh, there's so many things that revolve around not just being a DACA recipient but revolve around being a person with an undocumented status here in the United States.'"
United maintains a close relationship with the NIJC. In May of 2019, United co-hosted an asylum clinic put on by the legal services organization, where several attorneys and legal professionals were trained on representing asylum-seeking applicants. At the end of the clinic, members of our legal department were assigned an asylum case through the NIJC.
Litigation Managing Counsel Elizabeth Lopez, Commercial Transactions Counsel Tiffany Jaspers, Global Compliance and Ethics Counsel Nancy Jacobson and Employment Litigation Senior Manager Dorothy Karpierz were partnered with attorneys from the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery to take on an immigration case of a mother of three from Honduras. Recently, after a years-long court battle, the legal team was victorious, changing the life of the woman and her family.
United is committed to connecting people and uniting the world. Whether you're an immigrant, a child of immigrants or simply want to learn more about the immigrant experience in the U.S., discussions like these, related to this hot-button issue, are important to have in order to understand the human lives behind it.
Your voice matters. Voting is one of the most influential civic activities we can engage in as Americans. At United, our mission is to connect people and unite the world — and one of the most important ways to do that is to engage in the democratic process. That's why we've long provided our employees with resources to help them get registered to vote.
This year, we're taking our support a step further as the official airline of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). Since the start of the pandemic, we've overhauled our cleaning measures through a program we call United CleanPlusSM , and the CPD has placed their trust in United to fly Commission production staff to each of the four debates, starting with the first one on September 29, hosted by Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University.
Today, on National Voter Registration Day, we also want to make sure our customers have access to information about how to participate in the 2020 Election. Over the past several months, you've heard a lot from us about how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed air travel. We've learned that with some planning and extra effort, it's still possible — and safe. That's true of voting, too.
No matter which party you support or how you're planning to vote, we know our democracy will be stronger if you make your voice heard and make a plan to vote.
Brett J. Hart
Since its launch 20 years ago, Year Up, one of our critical needs grant recipients, has helped more than 10,000 young adults gain access to corporate business and technical experience at large companies like United while offering the invaluable perspectives they bring with them.
On Wednesday, the nonprofit inducted United into its Opportunity Hall of Fame – a selection that occurs once every five years.
Year Up's mission is to help close the opportunity divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Since 2018, our partnership has allowed talented student learners the opportunity to gain corporate business experience and technical skill training at the airline while bringing their unique perspectives to our United family and culture. One of those students is Emily Lopez, who graduated from the Year Up program in January 2019 and was hired to be part of the United family as an analyst in Revenue Management.
"I moved from Venezuela to the United States in July 2016 and being a young immigrant with no resources can be difficult to pursue a career in a new country," said Emily.
After learning about Year Up and ultimately being accepted into the program, Emily landed an internship with United, an opportunity she is very grateful for.
Emily Lopez - Analyst, Pricing & Revenue Management
"Feedback from my mentors, coaches and managers was key during my internship phase and helped me convert my internship at United to a full-time position. I am grateful for the opportunity United has provided me and my Year Up Alumni colleagues to keep building a professional career within the company. I am so excited to continue building a professional career with the company and to see United being inducted to Year Up's Hall of Fame. Let's continue closing the opportunity divide!" said Emily.
Although the coronavirus pandemic has made this year's partnership a bit more difficult, we continue to do our part to support the Year Up student learners. Last month, we surprised 145 graduates of this year's Year Up Chicago program with roundtrip tickets to pursue career and networking opportunities within the United States.
"I've been personally honored and inspired to be an advocate for Year Up since I joined United," said CEO Scott Kirby. "This program gives young people from challenged backgrounds an opportunity to get their foot in the door as interns at United. This year's graduates are entering a challenging job landscape, but we have one thing that can help: a route network that provides easy access to major business markets across the United States."
Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. United Together, we rise to meet that challenge.
Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Here's a fun way to take your next video call….from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude. We're introducing United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom and Microsoft Teams, video conferencing tools that many people are using to stay connected.
So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started. If you've already downloaded Zoom you can skip ahead to updating your background image (see instructions below).
To use on Zoom:
- Start here by downloading your favorite United image to your computer or mobile device. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- Next go to your Zoom app (you'll need to download the app to access backgrounds) and click on the arrow to the right of your video camera icon in the bottom of the screen.
- From here select, "choose virtual background" to upload your uniquely United photo.
- Start by downloading your favorite United image to your computer. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- If you're using a PC, copy the image you want to use into this folder:
- C:\[insert your device user name here]\AppData\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads
- If you're using a Mac copy the images to this folder on your computer:
- /users/<username>/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/Backgrounds/Uploads
- If you're using a PC, copy the image you want to use into this folder:
- Once you start a Teams meeting, click the "…" in the menu bar and select "Show background effects" and your image should be there
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This is why we fly.
20 UCSF Health workers, who voluntarily set aside their own lives to help save lives, are on their way to New York City.
We are humbled by your selfless sacrifice.
In celebration and appreciation of all first responders and essential workers. 👏🏻👏🏼👏🏽👏🏾👏🏿
This is the story of Jason and Shantel. You see, Jason and Shantel love each other very much. They also love traveling and they love the classic Adam Sandler film, The Wedding Singer.
It all began when Jason reached out to United's social media team, hoping for assistance with his upcoming plan to propose. Some phone calls and one borrowed guitar later, the stage was set for Jason. Put all that together, mix in some helpful United employees and, voila, you have a truly memorable marriage proposal. Congratulations to this fun-loving and happy couple, and here's to many more years of making beautiful music together.
A big thank you to Chicago-based flight attendants Donna W., Marie M., Karen J. and Mark K. for making this proposal come to life.