The winter holiday season is as much about tradition as it is about twinkling lights and shopping, from the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and the Rockettes to The Nutcracker and as many versions of Handel’s Messiah as there are ways to count ’em–plus a full menu of classics on TV and at the movies. If you’re craving a break from the old chestnuts, these less-traditional alternatives to the holiday hit parade might be just the kind of merry you’re looking to make.
Museum at Eldridge Street
As a media sponsor of Archtober–NYC’s annual month-long architecture and design festival of tours, lectures, films, and exhibitions–6sqft has teamed up with the Center for Architecture to explore some of their 70+ partner organizations.
With stunning stained glass windows and a striking mix of Moorish, Gothic, and Romanesque features, the Eldridge Street Synagogue cuts an imposing figure on the Lower East Side. The Synagogue opened in 1887 as the first and finest Orthodox house of worship built by Eastern European Jews in America and served as a spiritual headquarters for millions of immigrants as they made new homes in New York. By the turn of the 20th century, over 4,000 congregants supported three daily services, and holiday crowds overwhelmed the building.
But, by the 1940s, the congregation dwindled, and the doors of the great sanctuary were sealed; not to be reopened until the 1970s. When preservationists rallied to save the building on its 100th anniversary, they rediscovered the splendor of the sacred structure and spent 20 years restoring it. Following a meticulous restoration, the Synagogue reopened in 2007 as the Museum at Eldridge Street. Today, the museum welcomes visitors from around the world, and preserves city’s immigrant history as well as the structure’s sacred secrets.
Egg Rolls, Egg Creams and Empanadas Festival; Photo via Kate Milford for the Museum at Eldridge Street
If you’re feeling low this week, head to Times Square for a round of artful applause, or to the Rubin for some pick me ups thanks to the world of sound. Step back in time (and flex your history knowledge) for a Jazz Age Drink and Draw, then test your modern New York history knowledge at the New York Now Scavenger Hunt. If you’re itching to learn, join a free history tour of Washington Square Park, take in an artist talk by Martha Rosler, then celebrate the diverse history of the Lower East Side at the Egg Rolls, Egg Creams, and Empanadas Festival. Finally, cozy up with a date for Bryant Park’s first screening under the stars with King Kong.
In a city where hundreds of interesting events occur each week, it can be hard to pick and choose your way to a fulfilling life. Ahead Art Nerd founder Lori Zimmer shares her top picks for 6sqft readers!
Break out after the blizzard cabin fever, and get into an evening at MoMA for their yearly Members Party (yes, that means you need to become a member if you aren’t already!) If architecture is more your thing, celebrate the Van Alen Institute at The Tunnel, or if you’re just not into parties, get cultural at the opera in Bushwick. BBQ joint/gallery Fort Gansevoort welcomes guest curator Hank Willis Thomas for a new show, and Creative Time stages a Shirin Neshat talk at the beautiful Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Enjoy historic postcards of synagogues of the past at Museum at Eldridge Street, then appreciate the surreal illustrations of You Jung Byun. Finally, get an insider’s tour of Grand Central Terminal, including a jaunt across its catwalk to get your very own aerial pictures of the beautiful concourse.
More on all the best events this way
Image courtesy of OHNY
The Museum at Eldridge Street clearly knows that the best way to keep a crowd’s attention is to offer a little something to eat. That’s why their upcoming tour, Passover Nosh & Stroll – Jewish Landmarks of the Lower East Side, sounds like the best way to celebrate the Pesach holiday. Beginning at the landmarked synagogue “with a kosher-for-Passover ‘feast’ of matzo, cream cheese, jam, pickles and chocolate from Streit’s Matzo and The Pickle Guys,” the tour will then visit the historic and culinary institutions of the old Jewish Lower East Side, including the Forward Newspaper Building, Jarmulowsky Bank, Loew’s Theatre, Bes Medrash Hagadol Synagogue and Economy Candy.