One of New York City’s most spirited events kicks off next Tuesday: the Lunar New Year. With multiple Chinatowns and Asian communities across the five boroughs, there is no shortage of events to celebrate the nearly two-week long holiday, which is said to have originated more than 4,000 years ago. While the most well-known festivity is the colorful parade in Lower Manhattan’s Chinatown, other Lunar New Year events in Flushing, Sunset Park, and Staten Island should not be overlooked. Embrace the Year of the Pig, the 12th zodiac animal said to signal good fortune, with lantern decorating events, dumpling and noodle-making classes, traditional dance and song, and sparkling firecracker ceremonies.
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Image courtesy of Dumbo.is
Like Mother’s Day, there’s something to be said for the idea that every day ought to be Valentine’s Day, candy and flowers included. But if February’s second week has you scrambling for a worthy celebration, it might be the perfect time to try something a little bit different. Take a look below for some Valentine-focused events–from skating and shopping to science and sewage–and lots of other ways to get heart-shaped this V-Day.
Details, this way
The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) is hosting its annual Kwanzaa festival on Saturday, celebrating African-American heritage with programs that focus on community, culture, and creativity. Free with admission, the event takes place on Dec. 29 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the museum’s Milstein Hall of Ocean Life.
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Photo via Peter Stevens/Flickr
Every year as the clock nears midnight on December 31, anticipation runs high as the world holds its breath waiting for the sparkling New Year’s Eve Ball to descend from its flagpole atop One Times Square. We all know that the countdown starts at 10, but there are a handful of other fun facts to muse over when it comes to the city’s most lauded tradition. From the wattage of the ball to the weight of trash produced to how long it takes to get it all cleaned up, see what we’ve rounded up, in numbers, ahead!
More on New Year’s Eve in Times Square here
Trees awaiting mulching, via Flickr cc
If you’re the sort of person who feels down after the holidays come to an end on New Year’s Eve, don’t despair—the fun isn’t over quite yet. From January 4 to 13, NYC will be celebrating its annual Mulchfest, and this year, the city plans to make it better than ever before. On December 17, NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver gathered with a group of city officials in Washington Square Park to officially declare Mulchfest a part of the New York City Holiday tradition. In a nutshell, the City of New York wants New Yorkers to stop “pine-ing” for their discarded trees and mulch them instead.
The city is not only embracing clever wordplay to encourage New Yorkers to bid their trees “fir-well” but also launching a new advertising campaign to raise awareness about their mulching program. As explained in a press release, “The new Mulchfest look celebrates New Yorkers’ post-holiday tradition of dragging their trees to a local park for mulching. An illustrated cast of diverse characters use bikes, strollers, teamwork, and other creative methods to get their trees to the chippers, so that their ever-greens can be turned into mulch that will help to reduce waste, protect and nourish other trees and plants throughout the city.”
How to participate this year
We’ve all been there–the gifts have been opened and what’s left is a heaping pile of wrapping paper, boxes, ribbons, and tissue paper. Instead of throwing it all into a garbage bag, the New York Hall of Science has a fun series of events running from December 27th-30th that will let you “Remake the Holidays.” Workshop topics include turning wrapping paper and catalogs into garland; helping to build a Winter Wonderland using paper, textiles, and cardboard; and “tinkering” with toys and everyday materials to make new creations.
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Santa may not have an engineering background, but he certainly knows his location intelligence, considering he’s long been able to deliver billions of gifts around the world in just one night. But with population growing and delivery becoming faster and faster (ahem, Amazon), the team at Datastory decided to help him out and optimize his Christmas Eve travel. Using the metrics of population, fly times, fireplaces, cookies, milk, and reindeer food (aka grassy areas), they’ve suggested “distribution points that maximize access to everyone on the nice list,” so that, in theory, “his elves could stage the gifts in just the right places, helping Santa complete the job in time.”
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Here’s everything you need to know about getting around this weekend and over the Christmas holiday, whether you’re staying in or traveling outside NYC. The good news is that the MTA is suspending bridge and tunnel maintenance for the holiday, the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North are providing extra service, off-peak fares apply, and there’s a free bus to La Guardia. Read on for some of the bad news.
Know before you go
Image courtesy of MetropolisNYE
New Year’s Eve is one of those holidays where expectations outweigh the realities–freezing weather, scarce transportation, raucous crowds and the prospect of corralling all of your friends in one place to avoid ringing in the new year while packed into a stalled subway car. If you’ve a shred of sense, you’re not headed for Times Square, but the city does its best to offer up options that are suitably festive and possibly even a whole lot of fun. See the list below for some ways to avoid dropping the ball on this year’s NYE plans.
2019, this way
On December 21st, the longest night of the year, neighborhoods throughout New York City will be transformed by the festivities of Make Music Winter, a series of free participatory parades focused on music and representing a range of cultures and traditions. With more than 18 separate events taking place throughout the boroughs, there will be something for music lovers of all stripes this Friday.
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