All photos courtesy of NYC Parks / Malcolm Pinckney
NYC Park’s annual Wreath Interpretations exhibition has returned to the Arsenal Gallery for its 40th year. Now through December 30, the public can visit the gallery, located in Central Park, and view nearly 40 unique, handcrafted wreaths that celebrate the holiday season.
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Shoppers check out a holiday window, via The Library of Congress
Santa rode in on his sleigh at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Christmas Tree is now lit at Rockefeller Center, so you know what that means: It’s officially the holiday season in New York. It’s fitting that Macy’s heralds the beginning of our collective good cheer since R. H. Macy himself revolutionized the holiday season when he debuted the nation’s very first Christmas Windows at his store on 14th Street in 1874. Since then, all of New York’s major department stores have been turning merchandise into magic with show-stopping holiday window displays. Historically, New York’s holiday windows have deployed a combination of spectacle, science, and art, with cutting-edge technology and the talents of such luminaries as Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, and Robert Rauschenberg. From hydraulic lifts to steam-powered windows, take a look back at the history of New York’s holiday windows, the last word in high-tech, high-design holiday cheer.
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All images courtesy of the Empire State Realty Trust
Santa Claus will be visiting the Empire State Building Observatory for the first time ever this holiday season. On two days in December, visitors can meet Santa and share their Christmas wishes on the iconic building’s 80th floor. The landmark skyscraper will be decked out with festive decor and offer musical performances.
How to meet Santa
Image courtesy of Samir Hussein for Getty Images
Here’s a chance to visit Christmas Queen Mariah Carey’s New York City penthouse during the holidays. Hosted by Booking.com, “Mariah’s Ultimate Holiday Experience” consists of a three-night stay at The Plaza hotel, a cocktail hour and Christmas card photo shoot at the superstar’s penthouse apartment, tickets to Carey’s “Merry Christmas To All” concert at Madison Square Garden, and much more. Available to just two lucky fans, the exclusive experience opens for booking on a first-come-first-service basis on December 14 at 5 p.m.
All I want for Christmas is Mariah Carey’s apartment
All photos by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Macy’s Inc
“He’s so kind and nice and jolly. He’s not like anyone else. He must be Santa.” That’s what little Natalie Wood says about the Herald Square Macy’s Santa Claus in the 1947 classic “Miracle on 34th Street.” And to this day, the jolly man in red remains at the helm of the iconic department store’s annual Santaland. Since 1861, Macy’s has been inviting children and adults to experience the wonder of Santa Claus (though the Herald Square building was not erected until 1901), but what people may not know is that, much like the spirit of Christmas, Santaland exists all year long behind locked doors. On the day after Thanksgiving, the doors are opened, letting holiday magic spill out once again.
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Photo of the 2021 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree courtesy of Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Tishman Speyer
New York City’s annual lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has been a favorite holiday tradition for New Yorkers and visitors alike since its inception in the early 1930s. This year marks the 90th anniversary of the festive tradition that draws hundreds of thousands of people daily to the area around Fifth Avenue. From the tree’s humble beginnings as a place to gather during the Great Depression to its 50,000 sparkling lights and 900-pound Swarovski crystal-covered star topper, here are 10 things you might not know about the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
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Photo by Marc Hermann, Courtesy of the New York Transit Museum
Holiday Nostalgia Rides, the New York Transit Museum’s beloved tradition, has returned to the city for the first time in two years. Every Sunday between Thanksgiving and Christmas, New Yorkers will be able to ride vintage subway trains that will depart from Chambers Street and 137th Street-City College stations and make express stops on the local 1 line track. The Holiday Nostalgia Train will feature the Train of Many Colors, a selection of different vintage subway cars from the 1960s representing different eras of the subway system’s history.
Travel back in time this holiday
Photo by Anthony Quintano on Flickr
Kicking off the holiday season, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade returns this Thursday. The 96th annual event will feature 16 giant character balloons, 28 floats, 40 inflatables, 700 clowns, 12 marching bands, 10 performance groups, and of course, one Santa Claus. Ahead, find out what you need to know about this year’s parade, from the lineup and the best in-person viewing spots to street closures and how to watch the festive procession at home.
More this way
Photo by Alex Haney on Unsplash
Some streets in Midtown Manhattan will be closed to cars during the holiday season to provide New Yorkers and visitors a safe way to enjoy the festivities, Mayor Eric Adams announced Thursday. Under the plan, the city will open 11 blocks to pedestrians, including a strip of Fifth Avenue from 49th Street to 57th Street, the first time in 50 years the iconic thoroughfare will close to traffic. Starting next week, certain streets around Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall will only be open to pedestrians during the busiest hours.
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FAO Schwarz at Rockefeller Center; Photo: Charles Sykes/AP Images for FAO Schwarz
The thing about tradition is, it never gets old. And in New York City during the holidays, there are some annual traditions that just make the city magical — the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, lights on 5th Avenue, the Bryant Park holiday market, and Santa at Macy’s to name a few. And while these tried and true mainstays will never go out of style, it is nice to switch it up once in a while. We’ve rounded up some lesser-known holiday events and activities to mix things up this holiday season in NYC.
Check them out