The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center may be the most popular conifer in New York City, with 125 million people visiting the tree each year, but it certainly is not the only one. Every holiday season, spruces adorned with colorful lights and ornaments pop up across the five boroughs. The city’s many holiday trees each offer a unique take on the tradition, which began in NYC in 1912 when the first public Christmas tree was erected in Madison Square Park. For those looking to skip the Midtown crowds this year, we’ve rounded up 20 of the best holiday trees and lighting ceremonies, from the origami tree at the American Museum of Natural History to the flotilla of trees in Central Park’s Harlem Meer.
Located in between two of Manhattan’s best green spaces, Morningside Park and Central Park, a new rental has launched a lottery for 32 middle-income apartments. The 13-story building at 251 West 117th Street in Harlem sits behind the former St. Thomas the Apostle Church, which has been restored and converted into a community and performance space. Qualifying New Yorkers earning 130 percent of the area median income can apply for the units, which include $2,357/month studios, $2,526/month one-bedrooms, and $3,044/month two bedrooms.
Central Park, Conservatory Water, ice skating race, published Manhattan Parks Dept. Annual Report, 1928. Courtesy of NYC Parks.
It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but New York is already a winter wonderland. How do we know? The skating rinks are open. If you choose to glide through the holiday season on ice, taking a spin anywhere from Central Park to Coney Island, you’re sliding into a New York winter tradition that includes the nation’s first organized ice rink, a decade of “Icetravaganzas” that drew millions, a glittery trend of hotel ice gardens throughout midtown, and even the a relationship to origins of baseball. So lace up, and read on for a history of ice-skating in New York City.
As part of the city’s plan to diversify public art and recognize figures overlooked by history in New York City, Central Park is getting another statue, as the New York Times reports. The privately-funded monument will commemorate Seneca Village, the predominantly black community that was thriving until the 1850s in what became Central Park. Once again, however, the city’s commemorative statue planning has fallen afoul of historians. The proposed structure won’t be located at the site of Seneca Village, which for nearly three decades stretched between West 83rd and 89th streets in Central Park. Instead, the monument’s home will be in the park, but 20 blocks to the north on 106th street.
As New York City’s many ice skating rinks start to open this month for the season, two Central Park arenas will debut a slightly updated look. The Trump Organization has removed President Donald Trump’s name from Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink, marking the first time the business has voluntarily distanced itself from its owner, according to the Washington Post. City officials told the newspaper that the president’s company informed them about the plan to remove the signage this past summer but provided no reason behind the change.
A 1/3 size clay model of the statue; Photo by Michael Bergmann
New York City’s most famous park will get a new statue honoring women for the first time ever. The city’s Public Design Commission on Monday approved a design for a new Central Park monument that depicts women’s rights activists, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Set to debut next summer on the 100th-anniversary of the 19th amendment’s ratification, the statue’s approval comes as the city looks to address the lack of women honored in public spaces. Currently, all 23 historical monuments in Central Park are of men.
Photo and map courtesy of Central Park Conservancy
Some of the most breathtaking fall foliage can definitely be found outside NYC, but when it comes to autumnal bliss within the boroughs, not many places can compare to Central Park. To make the most of this beautiful season, the Central Park Conservancy has released its annual fall guide, complete with ideas for exploring the park, a list of upcoming programs and events, and their super handy fall foliage map, which lets you know the best spots to see the park’s 18,000 trees in all their yellow, orange, and red glory.
The north end of Central Park around the Harlem Meer is one of its most beautiful vistas, but because of the large, obtrusive Lasker Rink and Pool, it is currently disconnected from the North Woods below it, as well as the rest of the park. To better connect the area, the Central Park Conservancy and the City of New York today revealed a $150 million project to build a new pool and rink that will bring year-round recreation, as well as integrate into the surrounding landscape and restore lost pedestrian connections.
New York state is home to many spectacular waterfalls that are worthy of any bucket list, but if you know where to look, there are a surprising amount of waterfalls to discover right here in the concrete jungle of New York City. They’re not all “secrets,” but they do tend to exist well off the beaten path, tucked into the more remote parts of Central Park or in small Midtown plazas. Once you’ve found one you’ll likely have a new favorite spot perfect for escaping the city’s unrelenting noise—if only for a short while.
John Giorno’s “Now at the Dawn of My Life”; all images courtesy of Apple and New Museum
Ready to experience a new dimension of Central Park? Apple has partnered with the New Museum to launch free, guided walks of the Park highlighting a series of site-specific, augmented reality artworks. Artists Nick Cave, Nathalie Djurberg, Hans Berg, Cao Fei, John Giorno, Carsten Höller and Pipilotti Rist—most of whom are working in AR for the first time—were tapped to transform the park into a virtual, interactive gallery of sorts, as part of the experiential project called Apple [AR]T Walk, which kicks off from the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue.