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Christmas in NYC? Start your planning

The kids are still in the swimming pool, the lawn still needs mowing again, and the air conditioner is still running non-stop. It's time to start planning your trip to New York City for the Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall.

No kidding. Tickets are already on sale by Internet and telephone for the annual extravaganza starring Santa and the Rockettes at Radio City. Check out http://

index.html. This year's show starts Nov. 2 and continues until Jan. 7.

Be sure to click on "Virtual Tour" for an advance look at the renovated landmark, the world's largest indoor theater when it opened in 1932.

After satisfying your need for Christmas pageantry at Radio City, stroll a few blocks west and take in a Broadway show.

But first, stop at (

com) to see what's playing, both on and off Broadway, and who's in the cast. You can arrange for tickets and listen to samples of some of the top tunes. Pick up additional theater information from Telecharge, the ticket-selling agency, at

As long as you're going all the way to the Big Apple for a Christmas or Broadway show, you might as well use the Web to learn what else there is to see and do.

The city government has one of the Web's more comprehensive municipal tourist guides with the Attractions and Events section of its NYC Link, http://

You'll find links to information on restaurants, major attractions from the Statue of Liberty to the Guggenheim Museum, theater, neighborhoods, a photo gallery and history.

Be sure to click on Tourist Resources to get to the Better Business Bureau's cautionary visitors' guide to shopping, plus tons of other information resources. The Current Events section will take you to happenings that run the gamut from city park nature tours to parades and major art exhibits.

And in a city that can quickly bewilder newcomers trying to find their way anywhere, don't miss NYC Link's Getting Around page, at http:// culture/html/around.html. It has maps; guides to the subways, buses, tunnels and airports; and a link to an address-finding service.

Unless you're lucky enough to have friends in the city with spare bedrooms, try Travel USA's New York hotel site, http:// hotels/newyork.

html, for lodging suggestions from Manhattan to the suburbs.