The beauty and splendor of New York City shines brightest during the Christmas Season. Holiday activities abound for those who know where to find them. This is a golden opportunity for tourists and New Yorkers alike to enjoy the best of what the city has to offer. Here are a few free and low cost ways to get the most out of Christmas in The Big Apple.
Candlelight tours are a nice departure from our brightly lit, noisy, technology laden modern Christmas activities. A few historical institutions in the five borough metropolis offer candle lit tours into Christmas past. The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden offers candlelight tours on Friday, December 9th and Saturday, December 10th, 2011. A description of the 1830 Christmas season in which details 19th century holiday preparations is provided by a docent. Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for children. The staff of New York City’s first official landmark, the Wyckoff Farmhouse and Museum, will also conduct candle light tours on Saturday, December 10th, Sunday, December 11th and Saturday, December 17th2011 at 4:30pm. Reservations are required to attend. Call the museum in advance at 718-629-5400. A Wassail Bowl Reception awaits visitors who attend the Candlelight Tours in Historic Richmond Town in Staten Island on December 10th and 17th. Prepaid reservations are required for this event contact 718-351-1611, Ext. 281 for more information.
Discover the history of Christmas on Friday, December 9th at The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, one of the seven oldest buildings in New York City. This lunch time lecture on the evolution of Christmastide will begin at 12:30pm. The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden is located at 421 East 61st Street, New York, NY between 1st Street and York. Admission is $8 adults, $7 seniors and students, children under the age of 12 are free.
The New York Public Library will host The Hempstead Stage Company’s production of A Christmas Carol in the Children’s Center of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at 3:00pm on Saturday, December 10th, 2011. Seating is on a first com first serve basis. Admission is free. The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is located at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan.
Grab your ice skates and head over to Citi Pond at Bryant Park. The rink is open daily 8:00am – midnight until February 26, 2012. Admission is free. Skate rental is $14 and bag check is $7.
See the Grand Central Station Holiday Laser Light Show back by ‘popular demand’ on the Constellation Ceiling of Grand Central Terminal. A series of six unique six minute shows are presented every half hour between 11:00am and 9:00pm for a period of six weeks, which began on November 30th 2011. After the light show stop by the New York Transit Museum’s 8thAnnual Grand Central Terminal Train Show located next to the Station Master’s office. The Holiday Train show is open for extended hours from 8:00am – 8:00pm until December 23rd. the exhibit closes on January 16, 2012. Admission is free.
Learn the secret to unwrapping the sweet life from author Dylan Lauren of world famous Dylan’s Candy Bar. Ms. Lauren will have a Q & A and Book Signing from 11:00am – 12:00pm on Sunday, December 11th 2011 in the Real Simple Pop-Up Shop in Bryant Park.
Take a trip to TUBACHRISTMAS on Sunday, December 11th 2011. At 3:30pm dozens of tuba and euphonium players will converge on the Ice Rink at Rockefeller Plaza and perform traditional Christmas music for the 38th Annual TUBACHRISTMAS celebration.
The Central Park Conservancy will host an Ornament Origami Social Hour at The Dana Discovery Center on Thrusday, December 15th, 2011 at 6:30pm. Origami master, author Sok Song, will lead this free paper ornament construction workshop.
On Sunday December 18th, 2011, the New York Historical Society will present “A Dutch-English-New York Christmas!” for its Sunday Story Hour. The program begins at 11:30am. It will chronicle a historical facts and fiction of Christmas in New York City from the 17th century to the present. This program is free with museum admission.
New York City’s oldest Christmas tradition is the annual reading of Clement Clarke Moore’s, “A Visit from St. Nicholas” also known as “Twas the Night before Christmas” at The Church of the Intercession. This simple poem single handedly changed the way Christmas was observed in the United States. Legendary Jazz Bassist will read “A Visit from St. Nicholas” this year on Sunday, December 18th2011 at 4:00pm in the main sanctuary of The Church of the Intercession. The reading will be followed by a Lantern Procession to Clement Clarke Moore’s gravesite. Refreshments will be served after the procession. Admission is free.
Avoid the crowds; enjoy a nighttime view of the holiday windows on Madison and 5th Avenue. It’s a good idea to start your stroll after 9:00pm after the commuters are home and the tourists have returned to their lodgings. Visual presentation merchandisers at Barney’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel ,Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany’s spare no expense wowing prospective buyers during the holiday season. The artistry of their work is a must see event.
So bundle up, fill your thermos with a nice hot beverage, bring your camera and enjoy the sights and sounds New York City has to offer during this holiday season.