Photo by Rommel Demano for God’s Love We Deliver
The winter holiday season is a time of overflowing bounty for so many. While giving thanks and exchanging gifts, it’s a fine opportunity to share the wealth, good cheer–and extra time off–with fellow New Yorkers in need. There are hundreds of ways to volunteer from now through the New Year (and beyond), and we’ve rounded up 13 ways to help this year, from meal delivery to serving Thanksgiving dinner to preparing your own putlock dish.
The list, this way
It’s impossible to truly know the history of New York City without understanding the experience of the Native Americans who first inhabited the five boroughs long before Dutch settlers arrived. In November, we celebrate Native American Heritage Month as both a way to learn about the culture and contributions of indigenous people and to reacquaint ourselves with the often distorted history surrounding Thanksgiving. From live performances from Ojibwe artist Kelsey Pyro to enjoying a Lenape Harvest in the city’s largest concentration of forest, these events, festivals, and exhibits help New Yorkers understand just how significantly Native Americans shaped our city.
See the full list
Photo courtesy of Conrad New York Midtown
A new hotel in Midtown is offering the ultimate New York City holiday experience. Conrad New York Midtown has partnered with iconic toy store FAO Schwarz to bring a 1,800-square-foot one-bedroom suite full of toys, including 10-foot stuffed animals, train sets, and of course, the famous dance-on piano. The playful stay does not come cheap; the holiday suite package starts at $3,000 per night.
How to book
Photo by Shinya Suzuki / Flickr
For years, residents and community leaders have called on the city to add pedestrian space near Rockefeller Center to make conditions safer for the hundreds of thousands of people who visit the area during the holiday season to see the tree and store windows. This week, the Department of Transportation privately issued a pilot plan to address the major crowds by increasing pedestrian space on Fifth Avenue between East 48th and East 51st Streets. But Mayor Bill de Blasio quashed the plan before it was officially released, claiming “it was not signed off on by City Hall.”
Photo by Elena Gaillard on Wikimedia
To celebrate Native American Heritage Month, New Yorkers can take a free paddling tour of the Bronx River this weekend while learning about the experiences of 16th-century indigenous communities. Hosted by the Bronx River Alliance and Moskehtu Consulting, the event takes visitors on a 30-minute canoe paddle through the Mitshubishi River Walk in the Bronx Zoo and explores the life and culture of Native Americans with a living village.
How to sign up
Image: Business Wire
Work by Yayoi Kusama, the celebrated contemporary artist who gave us those famous polka-dot pumpkins and insanely popular Infinity Rooms, will be brightening the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Japanese artist’s creation, “Love Flies Up to the Sky,” will be part of the parade’s Blue Sky Gallery, a series of balloons that reflect art from the world’s best-known contemporary artists.
Inflatable art, this way
Some were spooky, others political, all were adorable. The 29th annual Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade took place last Sunday, bringing together hundreds of New Yorkers and their furry friends from all over. While the parade is no longer really a parade nor held at Tompkins Square Park, the event remains one of the year’s best. Photographers James and Karla Murray witnessed first hand the canine costumes and shared with 6sqft photos of the cutest and most creative choices, including the ultimate winners: two Yorkshire terries as Snoopy and the Red Baron.
More dressed-up pups this way
The Halloween scarescape on West 69th Street in Manhattan. Photo © 6sqft
October 31 brings New Yorkers of all sizes out of their crypts and crannies in search of treats and fun. This year, long-running favorite neighborhoods rise to the occasion once again, with a few recent additions. Trick-or-treating in the big city has its advantages: Apartment buildings can be like hitting the jackpot and friendly neighbors, stores, businesses and neighborhood events keep the little tricksters busy. Technology helps keep things safe and fun: Local-social site Nextdoor‘s annual trick-or-treat map is back; neighbors can add themselves to if they’re handing out candy. Like so many other topics, New Yorkers love to argue over which neighborhoods offer the best bounty. Below are a few picks for the best treats.
Score more treats this Halloween
Photo via John St John / Flickr
The Village Halloween Parade may not be as completely outrageous as it once was, but this annual holiday extravaganza is quintessential Greenwich Village. Though many parade attendees are there to show off their costumes and check out those of others, there’s a large number of guests who revel in the nostalgia of a New York tradition that’s marched downtown since 1973. But there’s a lot more history to the parade than most people may know. For instance, it didn’t always go up 6th Avenue, and there’s an entire art form behind those supersized puppets.
All the history right here
A 19th-century townhouse in Brooklyn has undergone a creepy and kooky makeover just in time for Halloween. Travel company Booking.com transformed the Clinton Hill home at 272 Lafayette Avenue into a real-life replica of The Addams Family Mansion from the hit 1960s comedy sitcom. For just over $100 per night, guests can spend Halloween playing with Wednesday’s beheaded dolls, calling Lurch on his “you rang” bell, and getting scared by Thing.
It’s creepy and it’s kooky