Free This Week
by Alyssa Grossman and Christina Parrella, 12/19/2012
- events in nyc/
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December 19–January 1
Wednesday, December 19
Before the holiday-eating spree begins in earnest, enjoy a refreshing session of yoga at Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center. Yoga, a spiritual discipline, relaxes the mind and body through poses that build strength and increase flexibility. The session begins at 9:30am; organizers suggest wearing comfortable clothing.
Thursday, December 20
Harlem Meer Social Hour: Kwanzaa Dance
Kwanzaa doesn't begin until December 26, but you can celebrate the holiday early at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center in Central Park. Harlem-based arts troupe Forces of Nature Dance Theatre Company will perform a routine that illuminates the seven principles of Kwanzaa through movement. (Kwanzaa's precepts are unity, faith, creativity, purpose, cooperative economics, collective responsibility and self-determination.) The festivities begin at 6:30pm. Enter the park at West 110th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues.
Friday, December 21
Winter Solstice Festival
Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden celebrates the shortest day of the year with a long night of holiday programming, from 5 to 10pm. The Winter Solstice Festival, in partnership with Make Music New York, features live music and activities for kids. Highlights include a modern take on Franz Schubert's Winterreise (which requires audience participation via the use of handheld radios) and a choir performing traditional sea chanteys. Kids will love dancing along to songs by preteen band Radioactive and participating in a musical scavenger hunt. The exhibition Island Sounds: A 500 Year Music Mash-Up—which explores Staten Island's musical history—and the Noble Maritime Collection, the Staten Island Museum, The Art Lab and the Staten Island Children's Museum will have extended hours and be open until 8pm.
Saturday, December 22
Hubley Fest: Animation for the Holidays
Animator Emily Hubley's first feature film, The Toe Tactic, debuted at The Museum of Modern Art in 2009, and she's known for the sequences she created for Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Head to the World Financial Center to view a selection of Hubley's works, as well as classic films from Storyboard Studios, which was started by her animator/filmmaker parents, John and Faith, in the mid-1950s. Saturday's showing runs from noon to 2pm.
Sunday, December 23
Holiday Films: Miracle on 34th Street
Revisit the charming holiday classic Miracle on 34th Street, part of a special seasonal film series at the New York Public Library. The movie tells the story of Kris Kringle, a man who becomes a hit with customers and employees at Macy's Herald Square after he takes on the job of playing Santa Claus. The problem, of course, is that Kris actually believes that he's Saint Nick, and, after purposely failing a mental examination, is recommended for permanent commitment to Bellevue Hospital. A formal hearing for Kris' release tests the City's Christmas spirit. The movie begins at 2pm.
Monday, December 24
The Castle and Its Kingdom Tour
Put on your comfortable shoes and charge your camera for this walking tour of the 55 acres surrounding Central Park's Belvedere Castle. The Gothic-style edifice, built in 1869, is located on Vista Rock, one of the highest natural elevations of the Manhattan green space, and boasts wonderful views of the park and City beyond. The one-hour guided tour starts at the castle at 12:30pm and focuses on the history of the parkland and its natural elements. Enter Central Park at Central Park West and West 79th Street.
Tuesday, December 25
Holiday Window Displays
Macy's Herald Square, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue: holiday window displays are up all around Midtown. See Roaring '20s–inspired windows at Henri Bendel, Christmas folklore tableau at Macy's and Lord & Taylor, and even a yeti take over Saks' windows (accompanied by digitally rendered snowflakes on the building's facade). The sites are best seen during evening hours, when windows are illuminated. For more information, check out our holiday windows slideshow, in which we explore these (and other) festive displays.
Wednesday, December 26
Holiday Train Show at Grand Central Terminal
The magic of Christmas lasts through February 10 at Grand Central Terminal. The day after unwrapping gifts with family and friends, head to the New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex & Store to see a brand-new Holiday Train Show display. This year's edition features Lionel trains chugging through a two-level, 34-foot-long miniature New York City and countryside scene. Vintage trains from the museum's collection, including New York Central railroad models, and posters from the 1920s through the '40s will also be on display, making this a one-of-a-kind way to keep the festivities going strong.
Thursday, December 27
Winter Garden Holiday Lights
Lower Manhattan shines brightly this season—especially inside the Winter Garden at the World Financial Center. The glass-enclosed section of the stunning complex will be decked out in 50,000 sparkling white lights, dangling from palm trees and providing a seasonal backdrop for an ongoing series of visual art displays, film screenings and cultural events happening at the center. Plus check out our Lower Manhattan Events calendar to find even more things to do downtown.
Friday, December 28
The 30th-Annual Wreath Interpretations Exhibition
The traditional Christmas wreath gets a creative makeover each holiday season at the Central Park Arsenal's Wreath Interpretations Exhibition. This year, crafters whose backgrounds range from artists to gardeners have decorated more than 40 eclectic hangings, working in materials ranging from bike tubes to takeout containers to make statements that range from topical and environmental to the purely whimsical. (But all of them run rings around the usual evergreen offerings.) The gallery will be open to the public through January 10, 2013, Monday through Friday, with the exception of holidays.
Saturday, December 29
Dyker Heights Christmas Lights
Residents of Brooklyn's Dyker Heights neighborhood outdo themselves year after year in creating holiday light displays that have earned top seasonal decorating honors, plenty of media coverage and even an appearance on HGTV's special "What's with That Decked Out Christmas House?". As the story goes, the towering and twinkling displays got their start in the 1980s, with a single house that wasn't entirely met with rave reviews at first. But eventually, the over-the-top decorating approach caught on and quickly became a neighborhood tradition. Now everything from the outlandish to the classic beckons City residents to flock to the South Brooklyn neighborhood to spend some time admiring the hard work of these festive folks. Locals recommend taking in the bedazzling sights from 11th Avenue to 13th Avenue and from 83rd Street to 86th Street.
Sunday, December 30
Richard Artschwager, Blps
Even for those who traverse the High Line on a regular basis, the elevated park offers an almost overwhelming number of City sights to take in from this unusual vantage point. Before New York rings in 2013, make a resolution to see the City in a whole new light, thanks to the latest exhibition, Richard Artschwager, Blps. The displays, in collaboration with the Whitney Museum of American Art, consist of eye-level marks in the shape of a lozenge, strategically placed on and around the elevated park. As with Artschwager's past projects, the "blps" will draw visitors' eyes to notable structures. Among the West Side highlights included in the project are the Whitney Museum's future home at Washington and Gansevoort Streets, the David Nolan Gallery, the West 30th Street smokestack and The Standard Hotel. The "blps" will dot the High Line through February 3.
Monday, December 31
New Year's Eve Grand Army Plaza Fireworks
If braving the crowds and the chilly air along with 1 million other revelers at the annual Times Square New Year's Eve Ball Drop feels a little daunting, consider Brooklyn's tamer alternative to welcoming the new year. At midnight, the borough puts on a dazzling fireworks display over Grand Army Plaza that's decidedly more family-friendly (and crowd-averse spectator-friendly) than Manhattan's festivities. The party kicks off at 11pm with entertainment and warm treats. For optimal viewing, pick a spot along Prospect Park's West Drive between Grand Army Plaza and 9th Street.
Tuesday, January 1
Midtown hotel Le Parker Meridien has a sweet way to celebrate the holidays. Through January 3, the gingerbread house creations of area restaurants and bakeries will be on display inside the hotel's 56th Street atrium lobby. This year's theme for the edible architecture is Landmarks Around the World, and include Mexico's Chichen Itza pyramid created by Butterfly Bake Shop, Kyotofu's four-level replica of Japan's Toji Tower and Baked Ideas' winterized version of Washington, DC's Lincoln Memorial. Gazing at the confections is completely free, but you can also cast a vote for your favorite design with a $1 donation to City Harvest (or vote eight times for $5).