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  • Kara Kimbrough

Survive January with a quick (and affordable) trip to New York City

Struggling through an unseasonably warm Mississippi Christmas with sunny skies and near-80 temperatures was made bearable through incorporating elements of a chilly December 2019 trip to New York City. Reminiscing about the trip filled with magical sights like the Rockefeller Christmas tree, ice skaters at Bryant Park and the famed Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular got me through a hot, albeit enjoyable day. Another anti-dote to a summer-like holiday was the addition of favorite dishes from the culinary capital of the world.

First, recreating outstanding Italian food enjoyed at Carmine’s in 2019 and most recently, memorable meals at Tony di Napoli and Becco was a welcome respite from baking and gift-wrapping on Christmas Eve. These popular family-style restaurants near Times Square are sometimes looked down upon by die-hard foodies who consider Little Italy the only place in which to enjoy Italian cuisine in NYC. Today, many “true” Italian restaurants are located throughout Manhattan, in nearby Brooklyn (my niece’s favorite area) and the Bronx. Visiting some of the recommended Italian restaurants in these and other areas is on my list for a 2022 return trip.

For Christmas Eve, I used memories from the three Italian-centric restaurants I’ve visited to create meat sauce paired with bucatini, focaccia and a semi-close version of Becco’s rosemary-lemon white bean dip. If you’d like the recipe for these and any other dishes I enjoyed in NYC, drop me an email at

Pasta dish at Cecconis Restaurant in Brooklyn NY
Photo courtesy of Cecconi’s Restaurant

Speaking of NYC, I’ve received many emails from readers asking for, in addition to restaurant recommendations, advice on ways to travel to the Big Apple on a budget. I’m also happy to share transportation tips, favorite hotels and must-see attractions. If you’d like to receive my travel tips, feel free to reach out via email and I’ll send them your way. I’m a writer, so expect a long list.

A fall ‘22 trip to NYC was on my horizon, but there are travel costs to consider. However, after yearning for cold weather and learning of a special promotion offering major discounts in the coming weeks, I may return a lot quicker than anticipated and here's why.

With the exception of CityPass, a lifesaver on attraction entry fees during both of my visits, it’s rare to find discounts on a trip to NYC, much less on hotels, dining, Broadway, museums, cultural institutions, performing arts and tours. After doing a little research (my go-to is NYC & Company, the official destination marketing organization and convention and visitors for the five boroughs of NYC), here’s what I learned in preparation for my winter ’22 trip.

Discounts are being offered as part of NYC Winter Outing, a promotion offered by NYC & Company Jan. 18 –Feb. 13. The program combines three signature programs: NYC Restaurant Week, NYC Broadway Week and NYC Must-See Week, and a new program, NYC Hotel Week. I’ve already located savings at my favorite NYC hotel, The Sheraton at Times Square at – and 114 additional hotels are offering discounts.

Further details on NYC Winter Outing and CityPass are available at

Even if a trip to the Big Apple is not possible this year, it's fun to browse the organization’s website ( to view hundreds of articles and informational recaps of the “best of the best” taking place in the city and adjacent boroughs. I promise you’ll quickly realize NYC is a magical place everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.

NYC sky line view of buildings and 9-11 memorial
Visiting One World Observatory at the site of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum is an unforgettable experience that provides amazing views of the city and boroughs. Photo courtesy of One World Observatory

Happy New Year – here’s to a healthy, blessed 2022!

Kara Kimbrough is a food and travel writer from Mississippi. Email her at



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