NYC & COMPANY INVITES VISITORS TO BOOK NOW FOR ANNUAL HOLIDAY SEASON IN NEW YORK CITY’S FIVE BOROUGHS
—Approximately 5.2 Million Visitors Expected During Holiday Season, Spending an Estimated $3.7 Billion Between Thanksgiving
and New Year’s Eve—
New York City (November 10, 2015) —NYC & Company, New York City’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organization, invites visitors to explore treasured traditions and festivities throughout the City’s five boroughs this holiday season. As temperatures start to drop and snow begins to fall, the City comes alive with larger-than-life floats in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and glimmering lights adorning the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, as well as new holiday performances at Harlem’s iconic Apollo Theater and the annual return of a beloved family favorite, The New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show in the Bronx. Because of the popularity of the holiday season, NYC & Company recommends visitors book their travel now through their tour operator, travel agent or by visiting nycgo.com/hotels and reserving through the organization’s exclusive hotel booking partner, Booking.com.
“Every winter, New York City welcomes visitors and locals with open arms as the spirit of the holiday season comes to life in all five boroughs,” said Fred Dixon, NYC & Company’s president and CEO. “From holiday classics to festive hidden gems, the City has something to offer everyone, and we encourage travelers to book now for what promises to be a trip of a lifetime.”
Kicking off the holiday season is the classic 89th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 26, followed by the ever popular lighting of the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree on December 2 at 9 p.m. Visitors can spread their holiday cheer through all five boroughs, with Historic Richmond Town’s Candlelight Tours in Staten Island, Wave Hill’s Holiday Workshop Weekend in the Bronx, the New York Hall of Science’s Gingerbread Lane in Queens and the Annual Menorah Lighting at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza.
The holiday season in New York City comes to a close with one of the world’s largest outdoor celebrations—New Year’s Eve in Times Square. The annual ball drop attracts a million people each year to the Crossroads of the World, filled with tons of confetti, celebrity performances and an unforgettable countdown to the New Year. For more information, visit timessquarenyc.org.
Highlights of holiday events taking place in the five boroughs include:
With giant helium balloon characters, performance groups, magnificent floats and clowns parading down the street, the 89th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a New York City tradition taking place this year on November 26. Starting at 77th Street and Central Park West, the parade will make its way through Midtown on Sixth Avenue from 59th to 34th Streets before concluding on 34th Street in front of Macy’s Herald Square (macys.com/parade).
Visitors can see the world-famous Rockettes kick their way into the holiday season as the Radio City Christmas Spectacular returns from November 13–January 3. The 2015 production will delight audiences with dance numbers, elaborate costumes, state-of-the-art technology and traditional fan favorite numbers, including “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,” “Living Nativity,” and “Rag Dolls,” which was re-imagined for the 2014 production. (radiocitychristmas.com).
The iconic Empire State Building will light up the City’s skyline once again with its third annual holiday light show series from December 20 – December 24. The building’s stunning Art Deco lobby will also be decked out with brand-new holiday decorations and custom-designed holiday windows. Along with holiday concerts in the lobby, a live saxophone player will be playing holiday tunes Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights around the 86th floor observation deck from November 30 – December 18 (esbnyc.com).
The 14th annual Holiday Train Show at Grand Central Terminal returns from November 14-February 21 at the New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex and Store. Visitors can watch as Lionel trains zip through a two-level, 34-foot long miniature model of New York City and holiday scenes from the countryside (grandcentralterminal.com).
As the temperatures drop, Manhattan’s outdoor ice skating rinks open to the public for the holiday season. With the world-famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree as a backdrop, visitors are able to skate on The Rink at Rockefeller Center, which opened mid-October (therinkatrockcenter.com). Additionally, they can enjoy delicious treats, free ice skating and unique shops at the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park (wintervillage.org) which opened on October 30, or skate under the snow-covered trees of the Wollman Rink in Central Park, which opened in early November (wollmanskatingrink.com). The Rink at Brookfield Place will also reopen on November 14 for skaters along the picturesque Hudson River waterfront (gpice.com).
The City’s beloved holiday markets are a great place to purchase gifts and festive goods. In addition to Bryant Park, visitors and locals can find homemade treats and presents for family and loved ones at Union Square Holiday Market from November 19–December 24, the Columbus Circle Holiday Market from December 1–December 24 and the Grand Central Holiday Fair from November 16–December 24.
Those looking to see the sights can hop aboard a multi-million dollar motor coach and spread some holiday cheer aboard THE RIDE’s Holiday Edition. Already in its 4th year, guests will be dazzled by New York City’s holiday decorations, special choreographed performances and new seasonal content in celebration of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. This “enchantment on wheels” tour runs from November 12–January 3 (experiencetheride.com).
Visitors can spot iconic landmarks featured in their favorite movies and hidden gems throughout Manhattan aboard a special Holiday Lights & Movie Sites tour with On Location Tours. This annual holiday offering runs daily from November 27 through January 1 at 3 p.m. with an additional tour on Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. (onlocationtours.com).
Free Tours by Foot invites visitors on their New York Holiday Lights Tour to learn about Midtown Manhattan’s holiday lighting and window displays from December 3-January 3. Stops along the tour include St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Lord and Taylor, Macy’s Herald Square and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree (freetoursbyfoot.com).
Those that wanting to learn the best way to photograph the City this holiday season can sign up for NYC Photo Safari’s Holiday Boot Camp. The three day tour teaches visitors tips and tricks on taking the best photos of iconic landmarks all decked out for the holidays, including Radio City Music Hall, Grand Central Terminal and Times Square (newyorkcityphotosafari.com).
Buddy the Elf takes the Big Apple this winter in Elf The Musical for the first time ever at the Theater at Madison Square Garden from December 9 through December 27, inviting visitors to follow along on his fascinating journey through the City in this loveable family-friendly show (theateratmsg.com/elf).
New York City Ballet will present one of the holiday season’s most cherished performances, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, complete with marching toy soldiers, a one-ton Christmas tree that grows before the audience’s eyes and crystalline snowflakes. The show will run November 27–January 3 (nycballet.com).
The Metropolitan Opera will be offering a special “Half-Priced Holiday” promotion, where visitors who buy a full-priced ticket may purchase a second one at half price for guest under 18 years of age. A family-oriented performance of The Barber of Seville from December 16–January 2 and an adult-centric performance of Die Fledermaus from December 4–January 7 will both be headlining the Met’s holiday offerings (metopera.org).
Harlem’s Apollo Theater comes alive this holiday season with The Classical Theatre of Harlem’s The First Noel: A World Premiere Musical from December 11–30. Additional events at the iconic venue include the Coca-Cola Winter Wonderland on December 19, which will bring free holiday-themed activities and performances to Harlem, and the 9th annual Kwanzaa Celebration on December 27 (apollotheater.com).
Returning to New York City Center for a joyous holiday tradition, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s breathtaking dancers will perform world premieres, new productions and the must-see Revelations from December 2-January 3. Dance lovers can also enjoy a free class with their ticket stub at The Ailey Extension (alvinailey.org).
The New York Pops will perform It’s Christmas Time in the City at Carnegie Hall on December 18–19, featuring Tony Award nominees Stephanie J. Block and Brian d’Arcy James. Visitors and locals can watch as the largest independent pops orchestra in the country plays classical holiday favorites in one of the City’s legendary performance venues. An additional concert will take place December 20, ideal for families (carnegiehall.org).
The New York Philharmonic presents Holidays with the Philharmonic from December 18-19, featuring artist-in-residence Eric Owens and the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus performing heart-warming holiday favorites. A timeless holiday tradition, visitors can also enjoy a performance of Handel’s Messiah from December 15-19. The Philharmonic also invites everyone to ring in the New Year with its New Year’s Eve: La Vie Parisienne event, an evening filled with musical performances and festive drinks and food on December 31 (nyphil.org).
Arts Brookfield will debut Luminaries, a new holiday lights installation by award-winning designer David Rockwell in the Winter Garden atrium at Brookfield Place. From December 2 – January 10, visitors will be immersed in this new downtown holiday tradition under a glowing canopy of 650 custom LED lanterns that change in color and intensity (artsbrookfield.com).
New York’s largest holiday festival, Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square, kicks off on November 30 with a tree lighting ceremony at Dante Park. This year’s entertainment will feature the Chapin Family, along with a lineup of other musicians and performers. Visitors can also sample festive holiday treats at outdoor food stalls lined up along Columbus Circle to 68th street (winterseve.nyc).
Returning to the Flatiron District this holiday season is the 4th Annual 23 Days of Flatiron Cheer celebration, featuring popular traditions and performances by local groups, giveaways and a dynamic holiday installation in the North Public Plaza from December 1 – 23 (FlatironDistrict.nyc).
The Metropolitan Museum of Art invites visitors to celebrate the holidays with its annual Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche display, a long-standing New York tradition, from November 24 – January 6. The tree will feature 18th-century Neapolitan angels and realistic crèche figures around the Nativity scene, along with daily lighting ceremonies. In addition, the museum will display a late 19th-century silver Menorah and 18th-century Torah crown from the evening of December 6 – 14. The Hanukkah Menorah is beautifully engraved with elaborate motifs dating back to 1866 and will be on display alongside the silver and parcel gilt Torah crown created in Venice. The Met will also host holiday-themed programming and performances throughout the month of December (metmuseum.org).
The American Museum of Natural History’s famous Origami Holiday Tree marks the start of the holiday season at the museum and will be on display November 23–January 10. On December 27, the museum will have a Kwanzaa International Marketplace and fun activities for the whole family as part of its 37th Annual Kwanzaa Celebration, commemorating the seven guiding principles of Kwanzaa (amnh.org).
A holiday favorite returns this winter to the landmark Merchant’s House Museum. Charles Dicken’s beloved holiday tale, A Christmas Carol, will transport audiences back 150 years with an unforgettable performance and 19th century holiday decorations. The show will run from December 10-14, December 15-20 and December 22-24 (merchanthouse.org).
The New-York Historical Society Museum & Library invites visitors to their spectacular new exhibit of model trains from their renowned collection. The Holiday Express: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection exhibition, which opened October 30 and runs through February 28, expands the first floor of the museum, transforming the space into an immersive experience filled with visual effects, a 360-degree mountainous landscape, scenic elements and holiday toys of the past (nyhistory.org).
Right across from The Plaza Hotel at Manhattan’s Grand Army Plaza, visitors can celebrate the festival of lights with a special menorah lighting celebration around the “world’s largest menorah” at 32-feet-high and 4,000-pounds from December 6-13. Lightings are generally at 5:30 p.m., with Friday’s around 3:30 p.m. and Saturday’s at 8 p.m.
Visitors can see the stunning holiday-inspired window decorations of the City’s famed stores and hotels through WindowsWear, which operates daily tours. This walking tour begins at Macy's in Herald Square and journeys up Fifth Avenue, passing the Empire State Building, Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center, Central Park and more. In previous years, holiday tours have taken place between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve (windowswear.com).
A hidden Manhattan treasure, the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden invites visitors on their special Candlelight Tours December 4 and 5, where they can celebrate the holidays like 19th century New Yorkers. In addition, the museum invites visitors to bring along their teddy bears to the annual Teddy Bear Tea on January 3 for some post-holiday fun (mvhm.org)
The New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show is a must-see New York tradition for families, featuring model trains that hum past more than 150 iconic buildings in a miniature city landscape. The show runs from November 21–January 18 (nybg.org).
Families can enjoy making special holiday-themed crafts during the Holiday Workshop Weekend at Wave Hill from December 12–13. Visitors can create and take home their very own natural wreaths, treasure boxes and other great keepsakes (wavehill.org).
The Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum Annual Holiday Family Day in Pelham Bay Park is set for December 5. Families will love the festively decorated 19th-century mansion and can participate in various kids’ activities, including photos with Santa Claus (bpmm.org).
The Bronx Museum of the Arts will host their holiday market from December 12-13, featuring more than 25 local artists, artisans, farmers, bakers and brewers from around the borough. There will also be free guided tours of the museum and activities for the whole family, as well as an annual flamenco performance (bronxmuseum.org).
Celebrating their 10th anniversary this year, A Slice of Brooklyn’s Christmas Lights Tour offers visitors the opportunity to see the famed Dyker Heights Christmas lights. Every year the neighborhood is ablaze with illuminating exhibitions featuring 30-foot toy soldiers and nativity scenes. The bus tour also offers festive holiday music and old-time Christmas television variety specials. Tours run December 1–31, except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (asliceofbrooklyn.com).
The Coney Island Holiday Market returns to Brooklyn this holiday season on weekends 12-6 p.m. from Thanksgiving through Christmas. Visitors can take their picture with Santa Claus and shop for festive crafts and collectibles to take home (coneyisland.com).
The beautifully restored Kings Theatre will feature two holiday classics this winter. Celebrate a beloved Christmas tradition on December 5 with Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker, featuring 40 world-class Russian artists, larger-than-life puppets and super-sized Matrushka dolls. From December 15-27, visitors can enjoy unforgettable songs in a new incarnation of ANNIE, featuring original lyricist and director Martin Charnin (kingstheatre.com).
Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts kicks off the holiday season with two live holiday performances. On December 12, The Vienna Boys Choir that has entertained music lovers for six centuries will perform Christmas in Vienna, featuring Austrian folk songs and holiday favorites. An annual holiday favorite, The Colonial Nutcracker will be performed by Dance Theatre from Westchester, set in wintry colonial Yorktown and features the full-length version of Tchaikovsky’s ballet set (brooklyncenter.org).
The DUMBO Improvement District invites locals and visitors to kick off the holidays on December 3 with their free Holiday Tree Lighting bonanza. The event will feature a special performance of The Nutcracker, live Calypso music, caroling, hot cocoa and a visit from Santa (dumbo.is).
Celebrate the festival of lights this year with a special menorah lighting celebration in Brooklyn from December 6-13. Enjoy live music and hot latkes every night outside Grand Army Plaza. Lightings are at 6 p.m. most evenings, with Wednesday’s and Friday’s at 3 p.m. and Saturday’s at 7 p.m.
The Queens Historical Society will present its Annual Historic Holiday House Tour on December 6. The guided trolley tour includes stops at seven festively decorated museums and historical sites in Queens: the Kingsland Homestead, the Flushing Quaker Meeting House, Flushing Town Hall, the Voelker Orth Museum, Lewis H. Latimer House, Louis Armstrong House Museum and the Bowne House. Tickets will cost $20 for adult admission, and $10 for children ages 12 and under (queenshistoricalsociety.org).
The Louis Armstrong House Museum will also host its annual holiday tours throughout the month of December, featuring Louis Armstrong’s voice recording of “Twas the Night Before Christmas (A Visit from St. Nicholas)” and other seasonal favorites. The 40-minute guided tours of the house, a National Historic and New York City Landmark, offer a look into the life of a jazz legend (louisarmstronghouse.org).
In its 22nd season, The New York Hall of Science presents Gingerbread Lane, the world’s largest gingerbread village, featuring more than 1,050 gingerbread houses spread over 500 square-feet. As visitors walk through Peppermint Central Park, Gum Drop Row and Toffee Boulevard, they can stop by the double-decker Coney Island-style carousel made of gingerbread and see right through a 10-square-foot candy factory. Gingerbread workshops and holiday giveaways will take place throughout the season from November 14 - January 9 (nysci.org).
Visitors can take a tour of the festively decorated Queens County Farm Museum during the Holiday Open House at the Adriance Farmhouse in Floral Park, December 26–28. There, they can warm up with a cup of freshly mulled cider while kids enjoy craft activities (queensfarm.org).
Visitors are invited to warm up this winter at the Alice Austen House as the historic Clear Comfort home is beautifully decorated for the holiday season. In addition, the annual Arts and Crafts Fair on November 28 and 29 will feature unique handmade holiday gifts from local artists and craftsmen such as finely crafted jewelry, knitted holiday sweaters, ceramics and more (aliceausten.org).
A classic holiday tradition continues with the 12th Annual St. George Theatre Christmas Show from December 11 – December 13. Just steps from the Staten Island Ferry, this two-hour production features over 100 actors, a live orchestra and numerous holiday standards set in holiday scenes from the North Pole to the surrounding neighborhoods of Staten Island (stgeorgetheatre.com).
Historic Richmond Town will come alive with holiday cheer at several holiday-themed events that are perfect for the whole family, such as the Traditional Tree Lighting on December 6. An annual holiday tradition, they can also join Historic Richmond Town’s Candlelight Tours, where candles, oil lamps and flickering fireplaces will light up the town on December 12, and visitors can expect a “wassail bowl” reception in the courthouse. On January 2, MakeFest invites visitors to enjoy hands-on activities that will give them a glimpse of the simpler times in the Colonial era, including make-your-own LED paper lanterns, 1715- and 1815-style ornaments and toys, and a complete tour of the grounds. Prepaid reservations are required (historicrichmondtown.org).
Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden will come to life this holiday season with Holidays at Snug Harbor on December 5. The Staten Island Museum, Noble Maritime Collection, Art Lab and Snug Harbor Studio Artists will come together to feature a full day of festivities. The New Brighton Holiday Stroll will feature the 163rd Jolly Holly Fair and the 16th Fine Art & Craft Sale, featuring handmade local items that are perfect to take home for the holidays. The Art Lab in Building H will also host their annual Holiday Fair with handmade jewelry, paintings, knitted hats, edible good and more. The Staten Island Museum’s newly expanded space will be having a holiday sale on ornaments and plushes, as well as hosting local artists who will be selling their works (snug-harbor.org).
For more information on planning your New York City holiday vacation, visit nycgo.com/holidays.
About NYC & Company:
NYC & Company is the official marketing, tourism and partnership organization for the City of New York, dedicated to maximizing travel and tourism opportunities throughout the five boroughs, building economic prosperity and spreading the positive image of New York City worldwide. For all there is to do and see in NYC, visit nycgo.com.
Contact: NYC & Company / Chris Heywood 212-484-1270
NYC & Company / Sean Altberger 212-484-1270