The idea behind the annual cosplay event is solid: A “charitable, non-political, nonsensical Santa Claus convention that happens once a year to spread absurdist joy.” With booze, of course. But after entering the mainstream and picking up steam for a full 25 years (the event took a year off in 2020, because, you know), the annual pub crawl seems better suited to a 1980s frat house than the streets of NYC. And we’re pretty sure there are better ways to spend a day of drunken debauchery than yelling across Midtown bars over a horde of sloshed Santa clones. This year’s SantaCon details are here, so you can figure out where not to bring a first date on Saturday, December 11. A few more suggestions, ahead.
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The 1931 tree, courtesy of Tishman Speyer
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, considered the “worldwide symbol of Christmas,” will be lit on Wednesday, marking the 89th tree lighting ceremony. After last year’s event was closed to spectators because of the pandemic, the tree lighting will once again welcome the public to kick off the holiday season. Ahead of the event, learn about the history of the iconic spruce, from its start as a modest Depression-era pick-me-up for Rockefeller Center construction workers to World War regulations to its current 900-pound Swarovski star.
Photo: FAD Holiday Market
Even a pandemic can’t keep a New York City shopper down. The city’s retail landscape may look different now, but that hasn’t dimmed the sparkle of beautiful baubles, clever crafts, and the company of fellow shoppers. While most of the city’s holiday markets went virtual last year, many of our favorites have returned in their fabulous original form. The big Manhattan markets at Union Square, Bryant Park, and Columbus Circle are still impressive, but smaller, more intimate neighborhood gems shine brightly on their own. They’re all great places to find seasonal delights like ice skating, live music, drinks, food, and family fun designed to keep shoppers’ spirits bright.
After a virtual ball drop last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of thousands of revelers will once again gather in Times Square to ring in the new year. All attendees must show proof of vaccination and photo ID to attend the December 31 event, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.
All photos by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Tishman Speyer
With the arrival of this year’s Rockefeller Christmas Tree in Midtown, the holiday season in New York City has officially begun. Donated by a family in Elkton, Maryland, the 79-foot-tall Norway spruce was cut down last week, hoisted by a crane, and arrived in Manhattan this weekend following a roughly 140-mile journey via flatbed truck. Considered one of the world’s most famous holiday trees, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will be decorated with thousands of multi-colored lights and a sparkling star topper. The official lighting ceremony is planned for Wednesday, December 1.
Photo: George Comfort & Sons via Landmarks Preservation Commission
One of Manhattan’s grandest lobbies is officially a New York City landmark. The Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to designate the ornate, T-shaped first-floor lobby of 200 Madison Avenue on Tuesday. Designed by Warren & Wetmore in 1925–the firm behind Grand Central Terminal–the Murray Hill lobby features a 200-foot-long through-block arcade that boasts a beautiful vaulted ceiling, polished marble walls, and other stunning elements reflective of the era.
Roughly four years since late chef and author Anthony Bourdain canceled his proposal to build a massive Singaporean-inspired food hall in New York City, the plan for the market has been revived. Urbanspace and KF Seetoh, founder of Makansutra, which runs several food courts in Singapore, are teaming up to bring a food market with 18 street-food vendors to 135 West 50th Street in Midtown Manhattan. The market, described as the first authentic Singaporean hawker center in the United States, will open in early 2022.
Photo: Angelito Jusay
Bryant Park has once again transformed into a winter wonderland. The Bank of America Winter Village opened for the season on Friday, offering New Yorkers the only free admission ice skating rink in the city, an open-air holiday market, and cocktails rinkside. The village, now in its 20th year, will be open daily from October 29 through March 6, 2022.
All photos courtesy of Tishman Speyer
Rockefeller Center last week kicked off a nearly two-week celebration of Mexican culture and Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, with the installation of larger-than-life Mexican folk-art sculptures and other artworks around the plaza. As part of the campus-wide commemoration, see an 11-foot dragon and a 13.5-foot feathered jaguar, an exhibition of fashionably dressed skeleton figures, a Día de Los Muertos display altar, and a floral installation adorning the center’s iconic bronze statue Atlas.
Photos courtesy of Alexandre Ayer / @DiversityPics for the Garment District Alliance
Seven supersized origami-inspired sculptures are now on display in Midtown Manhattan as part of the neighborhood’s latest public art exhibit. Installed by the Garment District Alliance and the Department of Transportation, the exhibition, Hacer: Transformations, features brightly colored steel sculptures of animals that vary in size and resemble the paper-folding art. Created by California-based artist Hacer, the installation will be on display along Broadway between 36th and 39th Streets through November 23.