Screw tradition

We asked an elf-and a few other guards of the old guard-what new holiday traditions they'd like to see around the city.

“I like to skip the big department stores and go Christmas shopping on Fordham Road in the Bronx, because the prices are great—and it’s my neighborhood. New Yorkers should look for different places to do their holiday shopping.”
—Caitlin Boyle, Macy’s Santaland elf

TRY THIS: Search for bargains on Fordham Road near Grand Concourse (Subway: B, D to Fordham Rd). Then hop the Bx12 bus to Arthur Avenue and walk south to pick up a holiday panettone at one of the row’s many bakeries. Arthur Avenue Retail Market, 2344 Arthur Ave between Crescent Ave and E 186th St, Bronx (718-367-5686)

“Instead of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, I head uptown and see the newly renovated St. John the Divine and listen to holiday music.”
—Anthony Calicchio, St. Patrick’s Cathedral usher

TRY THIS: Check out the newly reinstalled Great Organ at St. John the Divine. 1047 Amsterdam Ave at 112th St (; 212-316-7490, 866-811-4111)

“My friends and I take gingerbread and eggnog and go sing Christmas songs at a karaoke place.”
—Danny Arias, ice-skating attendant at the Rink at Rockefeller Center

TRY THIS: Sing Sing Karaoke (81 Ave A between 5th and6th Sts, 212-674-0700) or Karaoke One 7 (29 W 17th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves, 212-675-3527)

“Dead or neglected trees make me sad, especially when the sanitation guys throw them in the chopper. I don’t sell cut trees. I’d like New Yorkers to get live, potted trees like the holly tree, the Leyland cypress, the Italian stone pine or an Alberta spruce.”
—Ched Markovic, tropical and outdoor plant salesman

TRY THIS: Find a potted tree at Noble Plant. 106 W 28th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-206-1164)

“I go see the great Christmas lights in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. The people that live in the houses love Christmas, and the displays are really elaborate. It’s pretty amazing.”
—Anthony Cardella, Rockefeller Center tree security guard

TRY THIS: For best viewing, hit the Dyker lights (83rd St to 86th St between 11th and 13th Aves, Dyker Heights, Brooklyn) during mid-December, between 7 and 9pm. Or, take the Slice of Brooklyn Christmas Lights Tour (

“I get dressed up to visit the St. Regis for high tea, and then walk through the Central Park Zoo.”
—Michael Storrings, author of A Very New York Christmas, a book of classic New York holiday scenes

TRY THIS: St. Regis formal tea is held Monday through Sunday from 3 to 5pm. Astor Court, St. Regis Hotel, 2 E 55th St at Fifth Ave (212-753-4500) Central Park Zoo, just inside Central Park at the southeast corner. (718-741-3836,

“I always check out the great cookie stores like Charbonnel et Walker on the eighth floor in Saks. If it’s snowing, you’ll find me tobogganing with my elves in Central Park, just north of the Great Lawn.”
—Santa Claus, Saks Fifth Avenue

TRY THIS: For sleigh riding when the snowflakes show, try Riverside Park at 112th Street and Riverside Avenue or Central Park’s Pilgrim Hill at 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue.

TONY’d like to see

* Elf-tossing
* Board-game nights for those who ain’t got no one to celebrate with
* XXXmas celebrations, but not tacky
* A stuff-your-dad-will-actually-like-and-need emporium
* Free gift wrapping at every bodega
* A big, clean public kitchen, with dedicated bowl-washer, for baking cookies
* Christmas-tree forests in Central and Prospect Parks so we can chop our own
* Christmas-tree-diving tournaments
* Santa boxing
* Artsy shopping fairs in Manhattan, not just Brooklyn
* Pine scent on demand
* A several-block-wide holiday-free zone, with no lights, Santas or carols

This holiday season’s warmest romantic epic, bound to wring tears, comes from…David Fincher.