Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
Origami Holiday Tree
Charlie Brown would be blown away by the Christmas trees New York has to offer, from Rockefeller Center's green giant to the origami-bedecked pine at the American Museum of Natural History. And so you've got a place to stash your gifts, we've also got the scoop on where you can buy your own evergreen and a guide to pimping your Christmas tree with dollar-origami ornaments.
RECOMMENDED: Christmas in New York guide
Other Christmas trees in New York
This year marks the centennial of Madison Square Park’s conifer, for 2012 a 35-foot-high balsam fir with all the trimmings. History buffs should venture to south edge of the park and keep an eye out for the Star of Hope, which sits atop a post. It marks the spot of the city’s first community holiday tree, which was funded in 1912 by a wealthy resident who wanted to make sure no one went without a tannenbaum.
The city’s most elegant tree is an exhibit unto itself, hung with more than 200 18th-century hand-sculpted Neapolitan crèche figures, which are wearing jeweled and embroidered costumes. Many of the ornaments are arranged in pairs, including an angel gesturing to a shepherd.
More than 500 handmade origami ornaments adorn the holiday season's craftiest Christmas tree. This year's theme is "Museum’s Collections," so keep your eyes peeled for baubles representing exhibits and creatures from the AMNH’s trove, including lemurs, spiders, monkeys and even a murder of crows.
The 104 balsam firs that line Park Avenue are more than just festive holiday adornments: The topiaries were first lit in 1945 in remembrance of those who lost their lives during World War II. The tradition continues to this day, and each tree is strung with 25 strands of white lights.
Christmas lights and decorations in New York
More than 100,000 visitors make the pilgrimage to this south Brooklyn nabe every December to see larger-than-life Christmas displays, which in past years have included massive nutcrackers, silicone Santas, and hundreds of thousands of sparkling holiday lights. For the optimum twinkly experience, sign up for Tony Muia’s Christmas Lights and Cannoli tour. The three-and-half-hour bus jaunt takes you through the ’hood’s best spectacles and ends with cannoli and hot cocoa for everyone. Meet at Fourth Ave between 13th and 14th Sts. Subway: L, N, Q, R, 4, 5, 6 to 14th St–Union Sq.
Take a break from Christmas shopping and check out Time Warner Center’s state-of-the-art holiday light display. The spectacle features a dozen 14-foot LED stars that do a colorful “dance,” flashing more than 16.7 million color mixes in time to classic Yuletide tunes. You’ll be so moved, you won’t even care that you maxed out your MasterCard getting Aunt Judy that back massager she’s been wanting. When you're done marveling, don't forget to check out the ten new stores that have recently opened at the TWC.
The Great White North descends on Saks Fifth Avenue’s ten-story facade this season. This year’s LED holiday light projection features snow flurries and a yeti, who according to a tie-in tale by Daily Monster creator Stefan J. Bucher, came down from Siberia to live on the roof of the department store (as is the wont of fashion-conscious horror beasts the world over). The two-minute show repeats every seven to eight minutes and ties in with the Snowflake Spectacular display in the store's 12 windows.
Sweet Polly is like that perfect girl in high school: undeniably beautiful and effortlessly cool, armed with brains to back it all up. At this Prospect Heights bar from Hungry Ghost owner Murat Uyaroglu, the tables are consistently packed with well-heeled Brooklynites; the space is stunning, with gilded tin ceilings and a lush garden wall, and the cocktail execution is fingertip-kissing good. And like with the school-days Polly of your past, there are plenty of times you’ll feel ignored, but just when you’re about to smack-talk her, she gives you an extra sample of beef jerky. ORDER THIS: Bartender–co-owner Bruno Dias’s cocktails highlight unusual ingredients, like green bell peppers, BBQ bitters and yogurt, that are sure to satiate curious palates. The Golden Eye ($13) is a standout: Stumptown cold brew is stirred with Icelandic vodka, herbal Italian amaro and chocolate bitters to create a rich, velvety, caffeine-blasted drink. The bar’s head turner, however, is the rosy Rocket Lunar ($13), which is set in a snifter topped with egg-white foam and a grilled dehydrated pineapple. Inside the cup, BBQ bitters curb the sweetness of the drink’s kalamansi syrup and aged cachaça, along with an added touch of cinnamon from tiki bitters. GOOD FOR: A grown-up date for that prospective S.O. who’s slightly out of your league. Everything is on point for romance: The ambience is sumptuous, the cocktails are unconventional, and the circular, candlelit tables are tailor-made for two. Plus, t
Venue says: “Introducing: -The Komfortably Knumb A play on Smash with Kumquats and Aquavit.Refreshing citrus flavors with touches of caraway and anise.”