• Best Of The Holidays: Christmas Tree Lightings

    Don’t miss the most awe-inspiring of 2012’s glittering trees.

    By Maria Bonello

    Rockefeller Center, photo by Mack Male

    This time of year, the city’s glittering trees make New York a real-life winter wonderland. Here are the biggest must-sees of the holidays:

    Rockefeller Center
    An iconic landmark in the NYC holiday skyline, the 80-foot Norway spruce at the Rockefeller center will be lit in all its vibrant glory today, November 28th, at 7pm.  Only the Swarovski star which tops this colossal tree can outdo the 30,000 multicolored energy-efficient LED lights that decorate it.  For an added bonus, live and recorded performances by Mariah Carey, Cee Lo Green, Il Volo, Rod Stewart, Trace Adkins, Chris Mann, and Victoria Justice will animate you and your kids with holiday cheer.
    November 28, 7pm-9pm, Rockefeller Plaza between West 48th and West 51st Streets and 5th and 6th Avenues, rockefellercenter.com

    Citi Pond at Bryant Park
    Revel in holiday cheer,  enjoy a whimsical night of skating and shopping, and marvel at Bryant Park’s 55-foot Norway Spruce this season. Bryant Park’s holiday tree stands gloriously amid our favorite holiday hot-spots, the ideal distraction from the hubbub of the city. 
    Now through January 1, 6th Avenue, bryantpark.org

    Madison Square Park
    Vibrant blue and white lights, ornaments, and sparkling snowflakes adorn this year’s 35-foot balsam fir at Madison Square Park.  2012 marks the anniversary of a tradition dating back to 1912, when Madison Square Park became home to America’s very first public holiday tree.
    Now through January 1, madisonsquarepark.org

    American Museum of Natural History
    Preparations for this American Museum of Natural History’s exhibit began in July, encompassing a whopping collection of 500 origami creations.  The 13-foot tree, now on display through January 6, plays tribute to items in the American Musem of Natural History’s permanent halls, current exhibitions, and collections. For craftsy families, this is a great way way to learn the art of origami folding while becoming familiar with the rest of the museum.
    Through January 6, Grand Gallery, American Museum of Natural History, amnh.org

    Metropolitan Museum of Art
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art boasts a brilliantly lit 20-foot spruce every year, embellished with angels and cherubs and surrounded by a nativity scene. Steeped in eighteenth century Neapolitan tradition, this tree is like everything else in the museum–an intoxicating blend of beauty and history.  Daily lighting ceremonies (which begin November 27), Christmas music, and the ornate crèche makes this a quintessential holiday installation.
    Through January 6, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, metmuseum.org

    Photo by Urban Sea Star

    Park Ave
    Every year since 1945 on the first Sunday of December, the fir trees on Park Avenue are magnificently lit in celebration of the holiday season and in memory of those who lost their lives defending our country. Rejoice with Park Avenue families beginning on December 2!
    December 2- mid January, Park Ave, fundforparkavenue.org

    Peace Tree at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine
    A symbol of longevity and happiness, the thousand paper cranes that decorate St. John the Divine’s massive tree evoke an awe-inspiring message of peace. The tradition is inspired by the children’s book Sadako and The Thousand Paper Cranes. For a multicultural experience, this year’s tree will include contributions from people across the world.
    December 18, 112th Street & Amsterdam Ave, stjohnthedivine.org

    Dante Park at Lincoln Square
    Dubbed New York City’s largest holiday festival, the thirteenth annual Winter’s Eve kicked off the holiday season on November 26 with a lighting ceremony led by the likes of singer/songwriter Suzanne Vega, cast members of “Avenue Q,”  kindie goddess Laurie Berkner. Through out the rest of the season, the glittering, towering tree will continue to greet visitors at one of the most iconic cultural institutions in the city.
    Dante Park, Lincoln Square between Broadway and 63rd Street, winterseve.org

    Washington Square Park
    Illuminating Washington Square Park, a magnificently multicolored tree sits at the iconic archas it has every December since 1924.  The tree remains lit from 4pm to 1am through January.  At the pinnacle of holiday-time fun, join carolers on December 24 at 5pm to spread some holiday cheer.
    Now through January, nycgovparks.org

    Dyker Heights
    The Italian American neighborhood in Brooklyn, known for its elaborate displays of Christmas spirit, is the epitome of holiday cheer. Spectacular displays transform the neighborhood into a whimsical, winter wonderland, made possible by 30-foot toy soldiers, inflatable Christmas decorations, and dazzling lights.
    11th Avenue to 13th Avenue and from 83rd to 86th Street, facebook.com/pages/Dyker-Heights-Christmas-Lights


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