Don’t let the wintry mix snow you in this December. From visiting the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree to digging into the best pies in NYC, there’s a host of stellar seasonal events to shovel your way down to. As always, NYC hosts some of the best Christmas concerts around (Radio City Christmas Spectacular is always a can’t miss)—so might we suggest taking a break from the cold outdoors to catch one of these awesome shows?
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas in New York
Best Christmas concerts in NYC
Fashion celeb and dandy Isaac Mizrahi reads and designs Peter & the Wolf in what may be the finest match of material and narrator that Prokofiev's instructive orchestral folktale has found since David Bowie recorded it. He is abetted by the excellent Ensemble Signal (conducted by Brad Lubman) and choreography by John Heginbotham.
This trumpet players's skills are actually as good as his telegenic looks, even if he rarely puts them to use playing the kind of bop he cut his teeth on. A consummate showman, Botti presents his blend of smooth jazz-funk, glossily Miles-ian ballads and assorted pop and classical chestnuts at the Blue Note for his 12th annual holiday residency.
The seminal NYC indie crew returns to the industrial-chic Brooklyn Steel for another string of shows, this time behind a newie, American Dream. It's the first number-one album of the dance-punks' career and a possible answer to any who questioned the motives behind the band's quick about-face after retiring in 2011: listening to American Dream, it's clear LCD still has something to say. Get to know the new tunes if you haven't already; they'll sound even better when the band serves them up live at this 10-show run.
Dreidel-spinning fingers at the ready, folks: beloved indie-rock institution Yo La Tengo resumes its Hanukkah concerts after a five-year hiatus. The shows have crossed the river to a new venue (their home for more than a decade was the lovely, cozy Maxwell’s in Hoboken, which sadly closed in 2013), but you can count on the usual parade of surprise musical and comedic guests to grace the stage.
Having trouble deciding which one of your friends’ apartments to use to host this year’s solstice bonfire and ritual sacrifice? Avoid all that messy virgin blood, and try a more modern tradition: Paul Winter’s annual concert. You'll see a slew of dance and musical guests, including Procol Harum singer Gary Brooker, and of course, the Paul Winter Consort—with Winter himself on sax, right where he belongs.
Darkside’s Harrington gathers about two dozen (that's two for every day of Christmas) vocalists and musicians from other bands—last year's guests included Hamilton Leithauser (The Walkmen), Nick Murphy (Chet Faker) and Martin Courtney (Real Estate)—to create an epic collaboration. Expect good vibes to abound as the supercrew takes over the stage at new Brooklyn venue Elsewhere.
This trippy musical performance piece, dreamed up by composer Phil Kline, is downtown’s decidedly arty, secular answer to Christmas caroling. Boom-box–toting participants gather under the Washington Square arch, where they are given a cassette or CD of one of four different atmospheric tracks; you can also download the Unsilent Night app and sync up via smartphone. Everyone presses play at the same time and marches through the streets of New York together, blending their music and filling the air with a beautiful, echoing 45-minute piece.