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The iconic city, Empire State.

When I went to New York as a teenager I didn't really appreciate it – it was just another big city. But returning as an adult definitely changed my mind. I saw why people fall in love with New York.

Probably the best time to find yourself in New York would be the festive season. There is just something magical about New York in winter – the locals are more kind and welcoming, while the skyscrapers shine extra bright in the dark winter skies.

Going just after Christmas you can experience the best mix of festivities, from Winter Villages in Bryant Park to the world-famous Rockefeller Christmas tree – and of course, Times Square getting prepared for the New Year’s Eve ball drop.

The world’s eye is on New York on New Year's Eve, and I was able to tick this major event off my bucket list for the first time thanks to Topdeck.

As two million people headed into the Midtown (Times Square) area on New Year’s Eve, you could really feel the spark of energy in the air. The NYPD was out in force and had the entire area cordoned off with security gates by 6pm. If you weren't already in the area or didn't have a ticket to a party within it, there was no way you’d be getting through.

Just around the corner from Times Square, the Topdeck party was all set up with two floors and a rooftop, along with a buffet dinner and an open bar kicking off at 9pm. The night was long and filled with good music, food and drinks. As Times Square was a short walk away, we had the option to see the ball drop live – but with it being the second coldest New Year’s on record at -15 degrees Celsius, everyone opted to watch via the screen display inside. As the countdown kicked off, everyone's spirits rose even further to cheer in the New Year.

They say the way you spend New Years Eve is the same way you'll spend the rest of the year.

Well, if that's in any way true I'm looking forward to seeing how this year will turn out! As what better way can you bring in the New Year than in NYC?

As New Year's Day came around, we awoke to a quiet city. Fewer people were about, most stores were closed and the city seemed almost empty. It was an eerie, quiet New York, which was an experience in itself.

The following day saw the city return to its usual fast-paced self, with locals and tourists out in large numbers, stores opened and people returning to work. Times Square had been cleaned up and restored, making it seem like New Year’s had never happened… Yet the spark was still in the air. Everyone from shopkeepers to passers-by would wish us a happy New Year, and we really felt part of the city after only a few days there.

Spending New Year’s In New York is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and once you’ve done it you can't wait to go back and do it all over again.

By Flunking Monkey

Neel, better known as Flunking Monkey, is a multi-ethnic biologist recently turned travel blogger. He has taken his longtime love of adventure and unique take on the world and shared it with over 60,000 fans, engaging them with his personal experiences of each country he visits. With a new found passion for photography, Neel wants to take people on a photographic journey around the world.

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