Sweet Sixteen in the City that Never Sleeps - My Family Travels
The Rockefeller Tree Lights Up as Angelic Sculptures Surround It

For one of my friends’ sweet sixteen parties, she did not want something traditional. Her father, the owner of a limo company, let her rent out a limo for the day and she invited around ten friends to accompany her into New York City.

Her birthday happened to fall right around Christmas and driving in from New Jersey to New York City is no easy feat on a normal day, but when the holiday season comes around, it becomes that much harder. I personally, although living so near to New York, had never seen it during the holidays. In fact, I’d only ever been to New York City once before, and it was for a class trip. We were not too bothered though. Mostly I watched out the windows as we approached the city, staring at the beautiful skyline just off in the distance

The first place we asked the driver to take us was to Rockefeller Center. When we piled out of the limo, there to greet us was the Christmas tree, standing surrounded by angelic sculptures and covered in row after row of colored lights. We looked down to see hundreds of people ice skating, a glitteringly beautiful statue at the rink’s head. We contemplated going in to skate, but none of us had skates and most of us admitted we could not really skate, me included. The line to skate seemed to wrap around the entire Center and then disappearing, most likely extending far into the city beyond what we could see. So we said goodbye to the tree and moved on to our next stop.

Although we were teenagers and not too far from the city, we all admitted that we’d never seen a place that most people in our area had seen as children. We asked the driver to take us to 5th Avenue because we wanted to see FAO Schwarz. Once inside, everything was larger than life. The shelves seemed to tower over us and the stuffed animals smiled down at us. As we dodged children running from each toy station to the next, I heard a familiar tune and looked up to see two men playing a Big Piano on the balcony. Sure enough, chopsticks was ringing through the store, just like in “Big.” I walked up the steps to watch the rest of their performance while my friends set off in different directions to shop.

If this excursion was not proof enough that, at sixteen, my friends and I still wanted to act like children, our next stop choice was Dylan’s Candy Bar. Although I’d avoided the temptation of buying something at FAO Schwarz, I could not resist the massive wall after wall coated in candy choices. As most of us were teens with not much money to spare, we each grabbed a bag to fill up with different M&M choices, one of the cheaper things that Dylan’s offers.

As the day started to come to a close, my friend directed the driver to one more stop: Queens Comfort. It was a Mac & Cheese restaurant in Queens, serving its statement meal a million and one different ways, in ceramic bowls. I order plain Mac & Cheese, but you could get everything from deep fried Mac & Cheese to cauliflower Mac & Cheese.

Stuffed from our dinner and tired from an exciting day, we piled back into the limo. Most of my friends fell asleep quickly, but I stayed up to watch out the windows again, watching as the skyline, all lit up now, rolled out of sight. 

Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.

Comment on this article

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.