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.
Follow the music
Photo via Marianne O’Leary on Flickr
The chance of getting a White Christmas in New York City this year is sadly unlikely, but not impossible. The team behind the Omni Calculator Project created an online tool that provides the probability of snowfall in major cities across the United States as well as the closest White Christmas–meaning at least one inch of snowfall on Dec. 25–near that city. While the White Christmas Calculator says NYC has a roughly 12 percent chance of seeing snow next Tuesday, there are four nearby cities with a nearly 50 percent chance of enjoying some flurries.
Dreaming of a White Christmas?
Ringing in the New Year via NYC Parks
Every year on December 31st, the eyes of the world turn to Times Square. In fact, New Yorkers, and revelers worldwide have been ringing in the New Year from 42nd Street since 1904, when Adolf Ochs christened the opening of the New York Times building on what was then Longacre Square with a New Years celebration complete with midnight fireworks. In 1907, Ochs began dropping a ball from the flagpole of the Times tower, and a tradition for the ages was set in motion.
But long before Adolf Ochs and his proclivity for pyrotechnics, New Yorkers had been ringing in the New Year with traditions both dignified and debauched. From the George Washington and the old Dutch custom of “Calling,” to the rancorous tooting of tin horns, one thing is clear, New York has always gone to town for the New Year.
Via Victoria Pickering on Flickr
Feeling whimsical? Holiday Nostalgia rides are back this season, with vintage train cars and buses replacing regular service through New Year’s. The New York Transit Museum invites New Yorkers and visitors alike to celebrate the magic of the city during the holidays with train rides that run along the F line from 6th Avenue to 47th-50th-Rockefeller Center, with stops at stations like Columbus Circle and 125th Street, all spots known for being major holiday shopping centers.
Roll this way
Photos courtesy of Roey Yohai Studio
Gracie Mansion, the residence of Mayor Bill de Blasio, is officially in full holiday spirit. The historic home, which dates back to 1799, is showing off decorations that promote some of the mayor’s top initiatives, plus the overall theme of togetherness. It’s all the work of New York City’s First Lady Chirlane McCray and renowned event planner Bryan Rafanelli, who have been refining the vision since this summer. This is Rafanelli’s second year working with McCray to decorate the people’s home of New York. For 2018, they selected jewel-toned colors, lots of ribbon, and even worked in some participation from New Yorkers.
Keep reading to figure out how the pair made it happen, an effort that includes bringing a 17-foot-tall tree through a narrow French door into the mansion’s ballroom. The images are sure to put you in a New York holiday spirit.
Photo via Flickr cc
From 6-7pm this Christmas Eve, the Gramercy Park Block Association will open the park’s iron gates to the public for its annual holiday caroling hour with the local Parish of Calvary-St. George’s. And though this may not seem like much time, it’s probably the only chance New Yorkers will get; all other times, Gramercy Park is only accessible to those who live in the 39 building surrounding the square and are lucky enough to have one of the 400 keys.
Photo via Flickr cc
Update 12/17/18: Following the public poll, the Port Authority says they will move the Christmas tree over the A and remove the wreath over the U in Tunnel.
The Port Authority is asking commuters to weigh in on the great Holland Tunnel holiday decoration debacle that many are calling an “OCD nightmare.” While the decorations have historically been placed to sit aligned symmetrically above the tunnel lanes, workers who were tasked with decking out the tolls created an eyesore by placing a triangular tree over the N in “Holland” and by putting a wreath over the U, turning the “Tunnel” into a “Tonnel.” As the New York Post reported, Cory Windelspecht of Tribeca decided to start a Change.org petition to challenge the decor faux pas. “I look at it and it makes me itch. It gives me anxiety and anger,” he fumed. “Why wouldn’t they just put [the tree] in front of the A?”
Find out more
Where else can you see 25-foot toy soldiers, a two-story Santa, or a house decked out with 30,000 lights other than Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. The suburban neighborhood, historically a quiet, Italian-American enclave, has been putting on its legendary holiday spectacle since 1986, when Lucy Spata moved to the area. Her over-the-top Christmas displays started as a way to honor her mother’s memory (she also loved holiday decorations) and quickly her neighbors followed suit. Today, Lucy is known around town as “Mrs. Claus” and the Dyker Heights lights attract up to 150,000 visitors each season. 6sqft’s resident photographers, James and Karla Murray, recently visited Dyker Heights and captured the outrageous lights and decorations in all their glory. And they were even lucky enough to meet Lucy herself!
See this year’s insane Christmas light extravaganza
Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress
Did you know the nation’s first public Christmas tree went up in NYC? Or how about the fact that Santa Claus was born here in both literature and drawing? And have you seen the famous restaurant decorated with 15,000 Christmas ornaments, 10,000 lights? Join 6sqft’s managing editor Dana Schulz for her Christmas in Gramercy tour with the Municipal Art Society to see and learn about all this and more. Taking place, Saturday, December 15th, the two-hour event will reveal the surprising origins of our most beloved holiday traditions.
Enter to win tickets here!