Hypothetically, say you were to work a half a day and then skip out to take in New York City’s holiday preparations. You walk out into the brisk autumn—it's not winter, yet!—air at the corner of West 18th Street and the West Side Highway. You can make out the skyscraper hub of Midtown in the distance, and you're on your way for the walk. The crystal shine of the glass that covers the IAC Building—home to Tinder, Vimeo, and our own The Daily Beast—fades into a glow in the background, a silhouette cut through by the dramatic line in the horizon cut by the elevated Highline Park. It's about a forty-minute walk to Times Square, which means 4,012 steps, but walkng north on 7th Ave up to 42nd means you get to check out the holiday lights coming out in Chelsea, wrapped around fire escape balustrades and shining through drawn curtains.
Times Square, legendary den of sensory overload, has an average of 300,000 pedestrians and 115,000 cars stuffed into its area, so you can’t stroll right through. You steel yourself against the onslaught of no-less-than-four Elmo impersonators and three scantily clad cowboys, all of whom want your hard earned money for the privilege of snapping a photo with them. Holiday card with Big Bird’s older, molting brother? No thanks. You move on in a hurry. Neon slogans strobe for your attention on all sides, massive glowing billboards announcing fashion lines, new cars, upcoming TV shows, and endless reboots of movies from the nineties. There are 170,000 people working in the walls of shops here, but if you play your cards right, you won’t have to argue with even one of them about whether or not you should buy a life-sized plastic Santa hugging the Statue of Liberty, or other horrific only-in-New-York gifts. No, you know to avoid the tourist traps on this trip.You did it, without diversion: 528 steps to get through the crush.
You’re off to 47th Street, and after about a quarter mile or 633 steps, you reach the famous 30 Rockefeller Center. Home to, among other things, all forty seasons of Saturday Night Live, it rises like a dark monolith before you, the Mount Olympus of entertainment, all that granite and glass climbing so high up it hurts your neck to look. In front of 30 Rock, waterfalls and fountains spray even in the near-freezing air, while gaggles of tourists wielding selfie sticks and strained smiles jockey for position. They want a spot, of course, in front of the Christmas tree.
This year’s tree lighting ceremony took place on December 2nd, when the tree—usually a 100-foot tall spruce—was lit with enough juice to make Times Square feel jealous. Its crown: a 550-pound Swarovski crystal star, made of 25,000 individual crystals, 720 LED bulbs, and 44 circuit boards. Impressed? You should be—it’s worth a cool $1.5 million. Add to that another 30 thousand energy efficient LED lights cascading down the rest of the evergreen’s branches, and you can understand why New York’s Christmas tree is a world-renowned spectacle. Bonus fact to help spread the seasonal cheer: Every year the tree is repurposed after the holiday season, taking the shape of everything from wood chips for walking paths to paper for a book whose proceeds went to charity.
You continue a few more blocks until the neighborhood around you quiets down. After 1,056 steps, you see Central Park ahead, large and dark, its tree-lined pathways beckoning with quiet in a hectic city. Next thing you know, you’re in the thick of the Park, hoping to catch some tinsel in the trees, or at least a few flecks of snow. You figure you'll walk until you get bored, but—as plenty of New Yorkers know—once you're in the Park, it's pretty tough to force yourself to leave. So, you end up walking all the way to the Reservoir, a solid 4,857 steps as you wind your way, perhaps inadvisably, through the dark, calm park. Along the way, you’re treated not only to the green space of the park, but a smattering of old statues, a view of the greenhouses, stone-faced bridges in the shape of arches, and glimpses of landmarks such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s a stunning visual tour, but exhausting.
You are, of course, beat. After all that tourist-ing, who wouldn’t be? On the bright side, your holiday exploration helped you burn around two thousand calories.
And you know what that means.
It’s pizza time.
Since you burned a whole day’s allotment of calories, the good news is you get to take them right back in. And that means at least five 99-cent slices of pizza, slightly stale and overcooked, but a classic New York meal nonetheless. With a Fitbit activity tracker, you'll know just how many calories you burned with your wassiling, or your sledding, or your chimney climbing. But just because you burned 'em, doesn't mean you need 'em all back. You order two slices and pay for five, leaving good cheer for three souls who step up to the counter later. Tis the giving season, after all. Whatever your holiday traditions, Fitbit's there to help you stay active, healthy, and ready for the new year.