Feeling less than festive this holiday season? We’ve teamed up with one of our favorite New Yorkers, Will Taylor of Bright Bazaar, to round up his top NYC spots to help you get in to the holiday spirit (and perhaps pick up some gifts on your list, too!).
Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave, New York, NY 10028
When: Tree lighting events take place daily at 4:30 p.m., with additional ceremonies on Fridays and Saturdays at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.
The Met Museum has a long-standing holiday tradition where it displays a magnificently lit, 20-foot blue spruce Christmas tree surrounded by an 18th-century Neapolitan crèche. The tree is festooned with 19 cherubs and 59 angels, while at the base an additional 71 figures represent the nativity scenes that were traditional to 18th-century Naples. The level of detail is exquisite and includes scenes showing shepherds and their flocks, the procession of the three Magi, and spirited peasants and townspeople. The festive scene is set in front of the 18th-century Spanish choir screen from the Cathedral of Valladolid in the Museum’s Medieval Sculpture Hall (Gallery 305). Be sure to stop by for one of the tree-lighting ceremonies when the gallery is plunged into darkness for a magical lighting ceremony, evocatively set to music.
Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, NY
When: Throughout December; comes alive after dark
It’s worth venturing deep into Brooklyn to experience the city’s most festive neighborhood, Dyker Heights. The residents really go to town with their decorations, from the tasteful to the tacky and it makes for a delightful family outing. Dress the kids warmly and enjoy wandering the blocks of houses festooned with lights and decorations. Insider tip: The best blocks are 11th to 13th avenues from 83rd to 86th streets.
Smorgasburg launched in May 2011 as a spin-off of the popular Brooklyn Flea and has been steadily growing ever since. Normally located outdoors, the market moves indoors during the colder winter months, and the stunning venue is decorated with a large Christmas tree during the holidays. With anywhere between 75-100 vendors selling packaged and prepared foods, beverages, and lots more from purveyors from New York City and across the region, there’s something for everyone. My tip to instantly feel festive? Enjoy a warming glass of mulled wine as you wander the various stalls. Cheers!
Location: Multiple locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn & Queens
When: Hours vary by location
Over the years I’ve heard various NYC residents wax lyrical about the decorations at Rolf’s, a German restaurant in Gramercy Park. “It’s like stepping inside a treasure trove of baubles” and “I’ve never seen so much shimmer and shine in one space!” are just some of the words of praise I’ve heard. So, this year, I duly headed across town ready to step inside this cozy and festive enclave to experience what all the hype was about. I arrived to find that the hype was very, very real. There was an almost two-hour line outside to go in — for a drink! I peered through the window to see that the admiration those bestowed was true – every surface in the petite space was covered with trim, foliage, lights and decorations. However, every surface that wasn’t covered with seasonal jewels had been claimed by a human — patrons were quite literally cheek-to-cheek! Deciding to forgo the line and no doubt delicate dance (squeeze?!) through the crowd to reach the bar, I headed to find a festive sweet spot elsewhere in the city. Well, enter stage right: Doughnut Plant. This small NYC-based chain has a rich history of firsts when it comes to doughnuts, with the owner, Mark, inventing the world’s first crème brûlée and square-filled doughnuts. This holiday season they are offering a range of festive doughnuts including, Marzipan, Gingerbread, Panettone, Triple Chocolate Mint and Roasted Chestnut. They even come in seasonal shapes like Christmas trees and stars.