A classic new york christmas There no city where modern meets classic with quite the same pizzazz as new york. The surface may be hip and contemporary but at its core the big apple is glossy, cosmopolitan and deeply romantic-And never more so than during the christmas season. It was fitting then that my tour guides should be il divo, the chiselled, sharpsuited esperanto-Style quartet, who have taken the album charts by storm with their mix of classically trained voices and popular melodies. The group were fresh from performing at the rockefeller center tree-Lighting ceremony-The official start to the nyc christmas season-Having belted out the kind of diaphragmatic silent night that would earn them Buy Tiffany Keys a fortune carol singing. Christmas in new york is one of those full-On experiences that we brits, with our limp tinsel and jokey slade records, can only marvel at.Rockettes wear santa outfits at radio city music hall, people really do carry piles of presents and even the chestnuts roast merrily on an open cliche in street-Corner braziers. Rockwell paintings are etched into american hearts, and they try to recreate that idea every year, said american tenor david as the five of us wandered through central park, clutching cups of warm cider. On december 1, the city handbagsmk shifts into nostalgic festive americana. Overnight, luscious decorations and twinkling lights blanket the streets, bell-Ringing salvation army soldiers appear en masse, and the iconic department store windows draw http://www.getoutofthemud.com/tiffany-rings.html crowds of tourists, walking tours and new yorkers on their way to work. Sights that would normally seem comical-Such as a jeep full of santas whizzing down broadway-Become strangely normal. Even the soundtrack reverts to retro, and we hummed tony bennett songs along with mitten-Wearing skaters juddering around central park open-Air ice rink. Only the weather wasn playing ball yet-An unfeasibly warm 16c(61F)And no snow, but david assured me it was on its way:Snow in new york is beautiful, although you have to wrap up warm.When winter hits it can be very bitter, especially when the wind blows down the canyons of skyscrapers.Some days, though, the snow falls gently and it magical. Best thing then is to take a carriage ride in central park or walk around times square.It quintessential new york, especially at night.But who needs weather when you have romance? Like love, the key to christmas in new york is getting out there and letting it happen to you.York is so beautiful at christmas, enthused sebastien, the french vox populi and self-Taught singer of the group.Lights, the 24-Hour buzz-It all so big and energetic.Tenor urs agreed:A great city to get lost in.If you come here you have to take time to wander.I love to just go with the flow and have an adventure.A measure of the city larger-Than-Life character that four men in suits mooching through the fake boulders and willow trees of central park don look incongruous-Rather, an armani ratpack who lost their way between cocktail bars. However, i wondered how they manage to have a private adventure these days out on the bustling streets of nyc.But apparently, they get recognised only when they together, and can do their christmas shopping individually without too much trouble. Ah, shopping.It the lifeblood of any new york visit-Especially when there a great exchange rate like now.So, where does a pick up his presents? Got a few ideas of what i want to buy, said urs.This year i might have to get my gifts at airports!However, was more determined:Small boutiques and the flagship prada store on prince street and broadway.And, of course, fifth avenue-Especially fao schwartz, the toy store, because i a big kid at heart.The romantic, sebastien plumped for tiffany and cartier. Spanish baritone carlos, however, was a man after my own heart:Not very into shopping, so i like to go somewhere where everything is under the same roof, such as bloomingdale or macy was an excellent recommendation, and my personal miracle on 34th street the next day was a 20 per cent friends and family week discount-In addition to a storewide half-Price sale. When a cashmere jumper costs $35(About it a happy christmas all round, although the sales assistant told me off for buying presents only for myself. After david weather warning, temperatures plummeted quickly.On the recommendation of urs, i headed for the nearest dean deluca coffee shop for some fortifying hot chocolate and cheesecake. After a hard day shopping, it only fitting to indulge in some classic new york nightlife.Dinner, drinks and dancing are the holy trinity-Metropolitans or lychee martinis at vintage on ninth avenue or the w hotel bar, dinner at french bistro le daniel(East 65th street)For sebastien, small italian trattorias in little italy for urs, and sushi at nobu(105 Hudson Street)For david. And on the latin insistence of carlos, salsa at the china club on west 47th street.For the rest of us, not able to get a table at nobu without being married to the maitre d there is always Next doornobu(Next door-Where the only entry criteria is the stomach for a long queue in the cold). Girlfriend, chimed in sebastien, while urs plumped for easier-To-Wrap cowboy boots or a guitar from rudy music on 48th street.And carlos?No idea, he said ruefully.Last christmas my mum sent me 20 pairs of socks.Which proves that even if you are a jetsetting superstar with the world at your feet, it still a big mistake not to write to santa.