christmas

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Features, History, holidays

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.

Look at more holiday history here

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Features, holidays

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.

Get the Santaland low-down

Featured Story

Features, History, holidays

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.

Get the fun facts here

City Living, holidays

Image courtesy of NYC Parks

With the holidays now behind us, there’s no better way to officially wrap it up than sustainably disposing of your Christmas tree. New York City Parks’ annual Mulchfest started on December 26 and will run through January 9, making it easy for New Yorkers to dispose of their trees at 74 drop-off sites across the five boroughs. Mulchfest’s Chipping Weekend will take place on January 8 and 9 at 35 locations, giving participants the opportunity to watch as their tree is mulched and given back to them in a bag to use for further planting.

Find out more

Featured Story

Features, History, holidays

Ever the New Yorker, Santa catches the trolly to Bloomingdales! The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Picture Collection, The New York Public Library, NYPL Digital Collections

Saint Nicholas arrived in New York with the Dutch and became the Patron Saint of New York City in the early 19th century, but Santa, as we know him, is a hometown boy. New York’s writers and artists were the first to depict the modern Santa Claus, transforming the figure of Dutch lore into a cheerful holiday hero. The illustrious Claus gained his sleigh in Chelsea and his red suit on Franklin Square. With a little help from the likes of Washington Irving, Clement Clarke Moore, and Thomas Nast, jolly old St. Nick became the merriest man in Manhattan.

More about Santa’s New York Roots!

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City Living, Features, holidays

Photo by Charley Lhasa on Flickr

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 15 of the best holiday trees, from the origami tree at the American Museum of Natural History to the flotilla of trees in Central Park’s Harlem Meer.

Get the full list

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6sqft gift guide, Features, Shop

44 perfect gifts for every New Yorker

By Michelle Cohen, Fri, December 3, 2021

As much as we all want the same things sometimes, when it comes to the goodies that peek from stockings and hide in wrapped boxes, it can be a real challenge to find the right match. New Yorkers are finicky, have it all, and want everything and nothing–all at the same time. Our 2021 gift guide is up to that challenge.

All of these products have been hand-selected by team 6sqft. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these affiliate links. All prices reflect those at the time of publishing.

This way for the 2021 gift guide

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Features, History, holidays, Midtown

The 1931 tree, courtesy of Tishman Speyer

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, considered the “worldwide symbol of Christmas,” will be lit on Wednesday, marking the 89th tree lighting ceremony. After last year’s event was closed to spectators because of the pandemic, the tree lighting will once again welcome the public to kick off the holiday season. Ahead of the event, learn about the history of the iconic spruce, from its start as a modest Depression-era pick-me-up for Rockefeller Center construction workers to World War regulations to its current 900-pound Swarovski star.

More on the history here

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Features, holidays, NYC Guides

The 15 best NYC holiday markets of 2021

By Michelle Cohen, Thu, November 18, 2021

Photo: FAD Holiday Market

Even a pandemic can’t keep a New York City shopper down. The city’s retail landscape may look different now, but that hasn’t dimmed the sparkle of beautiful baubles, clever crafts, and the company of fellow shoppers. While most of the city’s holiday markets went virtual last year, many of our favorites have returned in their fabulous original form. The big Manhattan markets at Union Square, Bryant Park, and Columbus Circle are still impressive, but smaller, more intimate neighborhood gems shine brightly on their own. They’re all great places to find seasonal delights like ice skating, live music, drinks, food, and family fun designed to keep shoppers’ spirits bright.

Find out where the goods are

Featured Story

Events, Features, holidays

The holidays will undoubtedly look a bit different this year, but just like most special moments during the pandemic, there are still ways to celebrate. From drive-through light shows and massive glowing lantern festivals to curling and ice-skating, there are plenty of fun and safe ways to get in the holiday spirit. Ahead, we’ve rounded up nearly 20 of the year’s best events in and around New York City.

All the events here

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