HOLIDAYS IN NEW YORK CITY
—- There’s No Place Like the Big Apple for the Holidays -—
New York, NY (August 10, 2006) – The Rockettes at Radio City and the tree at Rockefeller Center are just a few of the classic icons that embody the holiday spirit in New York City. From the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade through the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square, there is simply no place like New York City to experience magic this holiday season.
There’s plenty to be thankful for this year in the Big Apple. The holiday season kicks off with the world-famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (212-494-4495, www.macys.com), celebrating its 77th year on November 23. This beloved parade features floats, cartoon character balloons and the best of Broadway performed at Herald Square.
The Brooklyn Children’s Museum (www.brooklynkids.org, 718-735-4400) salutes Thanksgiving with family-friendly events. Children can say thanks on November 18 by creating a colorful Tree of Thanks or visit the museum on November 25 to make Thanksgiving Treats and learn about the special foods eaten on this holiday.
Bright Lights, Big City
Holiday lights shine bright in the city that never sleeps. Throughout the season the Empire State Building (212-736-3100, www.esbnyc.com) salutes the holidays, lit red and green for Christmas and blue and white for Hanukkah. Two miles of holiday trees illuminate Park Avenue, and a Giant Snowflake glitters overhead at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street.
Head to the Bronx Zoo (718-367-1010, www.bronxzoo.com) for Holiday Lights where zoo exhibits, entertainment and miles of tree and architectural lighting create a magical experience. The exhibit is open weekends only November 17 to December 17, and nightly December 18 to January 1.
The beautiful sky ceiling at Grand Central Terminal (212-340-2210, www.grandcentralterminal.com) comes to life with the Holiday Laser Light Show, a spectacular display of lights of music in the main concourse. Every half hour from 11am until 9pm throughout December one of six unique five-minute shows will grace the terminal ceiling.
O Christmas Tree
Christmas trees of all shapes and sizes abound in New York City. The American Museum of Natural History (212-769-5100, www.amnh.org) hosts the delightfully decorated Origami Holiday Tree from November 20 to January 1. The theme of this year’s tree is “Origami Safari,” featuring a bountiful array of exotic creatures, including elephants, tigers, lions, giraffes, birds, and camels.
The city’s most famous Christmas tree lights up with much fanfare on November 28 with the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting (212-332-6868, www.rockefellercenter.com) celebration featuring entertainment from top recording artists. The 70-plus foot tree remains lit through mid-January. Lincoln Center gets into the spirit November 27 when the Lincoln Center Tree (212-875-5456, www.lincolncenter.org) is lit during the Winter’s Eve holiday celebration featuring live entertainment and food.
The festivities at the South Street Seaport take Christmas trees to a new level with the Chorus Tree (212-732-7678, www.southstreetseaport.com), a 50-foot structure that serves as a 3-D stage for the Big Apple Chorus. Six performances each weekend in December ensure there’s no shortage of carols.
Carols and Concerts
Sugar plum fairies dance across the stage at Lincoln Center as the New York City Ballet (212-870-5660, www.nycballet.org) performs The Nutcracker November 24 to December 30. Carnegie Hall (212-247-7800, www.carnegiehall.org) hosts the New York Pops Holiday Celebration December 15 to 16 and the renowned Vienna Boys Choir will pay their annual visit to Carnegie Hall in December.
Visit one of the city’s majestic churches this holiday season and catch a performance of the perennial holiday favorite Handel’s Messiah. Churches showcasing this and other holiday concerts include Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine (212-932-7314, www.stjohndivine.org) and St. Bartholomew’s Church (212-378-0200, www.stbarts.org).
The world famous Rockettes return to Radio City Music Hall November 9 to December 30 for the 74th Annual Radio City Christmas Spectacular (212-307-1000, www.radiocity.com), a high-stepping, high-energy show that is a timeless New York City classic.
A Spin on the Ice
Indoor ice skating rinks include the Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers (212-336-6666, www.chelseapiers.com), where you can skate 24 hours a day, and the 18,000-square-foot World’s Fair Ice Skating Rink (718-271-1996). The rink at Rockefeller Center (212-664-3700, www.rockefellercenter.com) is a yuletide classic and the Pond at Bryant Park (212-768-4242, www.bryantpark.org), is a new state-of-the-art ice rink that is free of charge to guests who bring their own skates.
The two rinks in Central Park – Lasker Rink (212-534-7639, www.nycgovparks.org) and Wollman Rink (212-439-6900, www.wollmanrink.com) – are spectacularly scenic, as is the 25,000-square-foot Kate Wollman Rink (718-282-7789, www.nycgovparks.org) in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Staten Island’s Clove Lake Park is home to the Staten Island War Memorial Ice Skating Rink (718-720-1010, www.nycgovparks.org).
From the red awnings and understated elegance of Saks Fifth Avenue (212-753-4000, www.saks.com) to the lavish Yuletide glow of Macy’s Herald Square (212-695-4400, www.macys.com), New York’s legendary department stores offer a window wonderland at holiday time. These fantasies are usually unveiled in November and thousands line up to view the creative celebrations of New York’s singular style. Animated figures carry out imaginative themes that range from best-loved ballets to Dickensian characters and modern-day Muppets. Lord & Taylor (212-391-3344, www.lordandtaylor.com) is known for its extravagant windows and magical animation. The windows at Bloomingdale’s (212-705-2098, www.bloomingdales.com) are a study in urban chic and displays at Tiffany & Co. (212-755-8000, www.tiffany.com) have a holiday sparkle all their own. Look for a fabulous Toyland theme from the soon-to-reopen, fully renovated FAO Schwarz (212-644-9400, www.faoschwarz.com). And, here’s a hint from savvy window shoppers – wait until after closing hours to take in the displays – the lines will be shorter.
The World’s Largest Menorah will shine bright for eight nights at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 59th Street starting December 15, the first night of Hanukkah. The 92nd Street Y (212-415-5500, www.92y.org) will celebrate Hanukkah with a series of events including a Make a Menorah workshop on December 7, a Family Hanukkah Festival on December 10, and a concert by Israeli superstar David Broza on December 24.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage (646-437-4202, www,mjhnyc.org) celebrates the season with a gospel brunch on December 25 featuring Joshua Nelson and his Kosher Gospel Choir.
The Central Park Conservancy (212-360-2276, www.centralparknyc.org) marks the African-American “first harvests” holiday with a musical Kwanzaa Celebration at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center on December 26.
The American Museum of Natural History
(212-769-5100, www.amnh.org) salutes Kwanzaa on December 30 with a day full of activities and performances from the Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble, the nation’s largest professional African dance and drum ensemble and the McCollough Sons of Thunder, an electrifying shout band led by Ed Babb.
Ring in the New Year
New York City is the most famous place in the world to celebrate New Year’s Eve as more than half a million people ring in 2007 at the legendary Times Square New Year’s Eve Celebration & Ball Drop (212-768-1560, www.timessquarenyc.org).
Celebratory fireworks will ring in the New Year above Prospect Park (718-965-8999, www.prospectpark.org), the Statue of Liberty (212-363-3180, www.nps.gov/stli) and Central Park (212-360-3444, www.centralparknyc.org) where they will signal the start of the 4 mile New York Road Runners Midnight Run (212-860-4455, www.nyrrc.org).
For the ultimate guide to New Year’s Eve parties check out www.newyears.com (212-843-2400) where partygoers can search for a variety of parties hosted at restaurants, clubs, bars and lounges throughout the city and purchase advance tickets. Other top party resources are www.noo.com (212-591-2461), www.clubplanet.com (212-843-2400), www.joonbug.com (212-255-4223) offering information and tickets to the city’s hottest places to ring in the New Year.