featured photo: Tom RitsonUnsplash

This week’s On The Go with Chris Manzo is all about leap year with tips for making the most of the extra day that comes only once every four years.

An extra day in the year? And this year, an extra Saturday? Leap day is definitely something to celebrate. I say let’s make February 29 an official national holiday! Because I grew up in a family events business at The Brownstone, I always wanted to throw a massive party every four years to celebrate leap day. 

Yes, it’s an extra day. But not in a productive kind of way. It’s a “go-live-your-life” kind of day. Not a “do-your-taxes” kind of day.  

I’m kind of jealous of people born on February 29 – leaplings or leapers as they’re called. I like “different” and having a leap-day birthday is definitely different, especially when you’re young. Like when kids are 12, they can say they’re three because they’ve only had three birthdays. 

My extra day this year starts at whatever time I decide to wake up. Then I’m all about doing things I like to do, but never take the time to do. We’ve got an extra 24 hours!

"I’m still planning my leap day, but no matter what I do, I know at the end of my extra day, I’ll learn something new, see people I care about and if I’m lucky, find a new favorite thing."

- Chris Manzo

Harry Knight / Unsplash

Something You Put Off

Everyone has that friend they say they’ll get together with, but never really do. Well, leap day is the time for the get-together that always gets put off. I look at it as not even taking time out of a real day to do something that makes a big difference. And if you can use the entire leap day to knock out two or three friend hangouts, doing something fun that you don’t often get to do, even better.

Something To Enjoy Every Four Years

No matter where you live, leap day gives you a chance to be a tourist in your own city – and for New York City, at a time of year when there’s not a lot of tourists. We’ve spent our whole lives knowing about places, and usually never make the time to go as adults. I’d choose a museum I haven’t been to, like the New York Historical Society. Or visit the places tourists flock to, like Ellis Island or the top of the Freedom Tower. And that cool neighborhood that always makes me think, “I don’t go there enough,” – and go. I’m convinced these every-four-years kind of visits will even reignite my love of New York.

Something To Experience

Because of the extra time you get with leap day, you could also lose yourself in an experience in some unexpected places. Central Park Zoo tops my list. One of the perks of going to the zoo in colder weather is that many animals are active, but the crowds are smaller. Or for a different experience with creatures, Jurassic World Live takes over Prudential Center with “edge-of-your-seat entertainment” – now that would be a leap day worth remembering. Call me crazy, but I love Coney Island any time of year. The beach, boardwalk and New York Aquarium are open all year and the photo opps are endless. On leap day, the Coney Island Beach Stewardship is sponsoring an event for volunteers to prepare beach grass stems for planting. Making a difference on leap day is definitely something worth experiencing.

Something To Savor

Like any holiday – and I count Super Bowl among my favorite holidays – there are no rules when it comes to enjoying food on leap day. I like to try different types of cuisine like Ethiopian (Awash in East Village, Harlem and Brooklyn) or Vietnamese (PhoBar in Greenwich Village and Chinatown). Or go completely old school NYC-traditional at Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs original restaurant (1310 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn), the legendary Katz’s Delicatessen (205 East Houston Street) or the sixth generation family-owned Randazzo’s Clam Bar (2017 Emmons Avenue, Brooklyn). Bottom line, make a memorable food experience part of every leap day.

Something To Share

According to Irish tradition, leap day is the one day of the year when a woman can propose to a man. It’s the premise of the Amy Adams movie “Leap Year” (2010) – and the inspiration behind the Leap Day Cocktail, invented by bartending pioneer Harry Craddock at London’s Savoy Hotel on leap day in 1928. Listed in The Savoy Cocktail Book, the cocktail is known to “have been responsible for more proposals than any other cocktail that has ever been mixed.” Not sure about a proposal, but a special holiday cocktail is always fun to try.