Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Celebrate Christmas in NYC with the Holiday Train Show, Department Store Windows and Santa Claus

It’s almost Christmas in New York City — well, not really. But Christmas festivities and sales start earlier and earlier each year and decorations are popping up all over the city.

Here are three don’t-miss activities to consider:

Credit: AP Photo/Julio Cortez

This year, you’ll have to do a bit more planning if your children hope to sit on Santa Claus’s lap.  Macy’s wants to make the process more efficient and handle the huge number of people lining up to visit Saint Nick. Santa makes his appearance at “the world’s largest department store” from Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve, but you’ll need to reserve online to get a spot. Starting just before Thanksgiving, you can book a spot at Macy’s Santa Land at Macy’s Herald Square, 8th floor, at https://www.macys.com/social/santa-land/. No walk-ins are allowed, so don’t delay. Spots will go quickly, particularly after the ads sure to come during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on Thursday. 151 West 34th Street, Manhattan.

Holiday windows are starting to appear all over the city. Now is the perfect time to visit before the mad Christmas rush.  Particularly appealing, Bergdorf Goodman’s “To New York with Love” windows showcase some of New York City’s most iconic places this year, including the New York Botanical Gardens, the Museum of the Moving Image, the New York Historical Society Museum & Library, the American Museum of Natural History, and the New York Philharmonic. www.bergdorfgoodman.com, 754 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan. Look for others at Saks Fifth Avenue (“Once upon a Holiday”), Barney’s New York (“Hass for the Holidays”), Bloomingdale’s (“The Greatest Showman”), Lord  & Taylor (“The Best and the Brightest”), and Macy’s Herald Square (“The Perfect Gift Brings People Together”).

The 16th annual Holiday Train Show at Grand Central Terminal is brought to you by the New York Transit Museum.  A favorite among children of all ages (and their parents), the show includes movement, lights, sound and color and gets increasingly crowded as shoppers throng the major transit hub closer to Christmas. In the exhibit, model trains travel through tunnels, from subway stop to subway stop, and around skyscrapers as they meander through New York City locations. The show is free and runs from 6am-8pm, through February 4, 2018. 89 East 42nd Street, Manhattan. http://www.grandcentralterminal.com/event/holiday-train-show/

5 Broadway Shows to Add to Your Wish List This Year

After the December frenzy winds down, you might actually be able to fit some shows into your schedule.  Here are two don’t-miss shows for you, two for the family, and one that everyone can enjoy. Theater tickets also make great stocking stuffers!

Dear Evan Hansen – Treating a serious subject with an innovative set, production and score, Dear Evan Hansen is important viewing for adults and teenagers. From the brilliant director of Rent, Grey Gardens and Next to Normal, Michael Greif, the play, score and subject matter might seem familiar, but the production is anything but. Starring Ben Platt, a serious contender for a Tony Award, this musical deals with feelings of not mattering, of not fitting in, and other angst, particularly relevant today. How do you feel about promulgating lies and deception? This musical tugs at every emotion. www.dearevanhansen.com.  Longacre Theatre, 220 West 48th Street. Tickets: www.telecharge.com or 212.239.6200.

Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 – Based loosely on a portion of Tolstoy’s masterpiece War and Peace, the Great Comet is a revelation on Broadway. Sit on the stage, next to a runway where characters and musicians frequently travel, or in a perch in the mezzanine, and you’ll be privy to an experience akin to being in a Russian salon. The music is part-Russian, part-club, part-folk, part a-lot-of-styles, and it’s magnificent as is the talent. Breakout star Denée Benton is brilliant as Natasha, the countess engaged to Andrey (Nicholas Belton)  but seduced by Anatole (Lucas Steele). Josh Groban’s acting debut is as amazing as his tenor (or baritone), with a presence that is magnified with each statement and each song. The other leads are every bit as wonderful and you’ll find yourself wishing they could all sing even more, despite the fact that the musical is virtually an opera with minimal spoken dialogue. Prepare yourself for a boisterous and wondrous ride, special effects included. www.greatcometbroadway.com. Imperial Theatre, 249 West 45th Street. Tickets: www.telecharge.com or 212.239.6200.

Wicked – One of the longest-running musicals on Broadway, Wicked has a charm that appeals to all ages, to anyone who has ever loved The Wizard of Oz. Glinda, the lovely and bubbly “Good Witch,” is a perfect foil to green-skinned Elphaba, her schoolmate and the eventual Wicked Witch of the West.  Bring the kids, come early, don an authentic Wicked costume, and have your photo taken in the Photo Booth. This pre-quel to the Oz story will be around for a long time.  http://wickedthemusical.com. Gershwin Theatre, 222 West 51st Street. Tickets: www.ticketmaster.com or 877.250.2929.

Cats – Now in its second life on Broadway, this smaller-set Cats is a great musical to introduce your family to Broadway. Try to sit in the orchestra, where the Jellicle Cats routinely slither down the aisle, making eye contact and feline gestures as they move. The play, based on the poems of T. S. Eliot with music by legendary Andrew Lloyd Webber, doesn’t have much a story. It’s pretty much a succession of profiles about each of the cats. But the music, dance, and energy of the show make for a fun afternoon or evening. And Mamie Parris’s version of “Memory,” the song that helped win Betty Buckley a Tony in 1983, will make your own hairs stand on end. www.catsbroadway.com.  Neil Simon Theatre, 250 West 52nd Street. Tickets: www.ticketmaster.com or 877.250.2929.

Photos by Matthew Murphy

Cirque du Soleil Paramour – Part Cirque du Soleil, part musical, completely theatrical, Paramour is a creative take on the Golden Age of Hollywood.  Watch for the breathtaking aerial pas de deux that flies over the audience in this first Cirque du Soleil musical spectacle, specially created for Broadway.  Actors and singers mix seamlessly with Cirque du Soleil performers in 15 different circus acts. www.paramouronbroadway.com Lyric Theatre, 213 West 42nd Street. Tickets: www.ticketmaster.com or 877.250.2929.

7 Shows Closing on Broadway: Tickets Make Great Holiday Gifts

If you’re thinking about something to give the theater lover in your family this holiday season, tickets to one of these shows soon ending their runs are the perfect gift.

Hurry now to get tickets to these seven gems:

The Color Purple – The musical version of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel closes its Tony-winning revival on January 8. The powerful story of an abused African-American woman in the American South won Cynthia Erivo a Tony Award. The show also features Danielle Brooks (Orange is the New Black) and Tony and Grammy-winner Jennifer Holliday. The gospel, blues and ragtime tunes are brilliant.  www.colorpurple.com.  Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 West 45th Street. Tickets: www.telecharge.com or 212.239.2600.

The Encounter – Unlike anything you’ve ever experienced on Broadway, this smash from London surrounds you in immersive sensory brilliance.  Told by actor Simon McBurney and using 3D audio, it is the startling story of National Geographic photographer Loren McIntyre who was lost among the people of the remote Javari Valley in the Amazon rainforest. Be prepared, there’s no intermission and you can’t leave your seat as you’re tethered to it by your headphones. Closes January 8 as well. John Golden Theatre, 252 West 45th Street.  www.theencounterbroadway.com. Tickets: www.telecharge.com or 212.239.6200.

Photo by Joan Marcus

Fiddler on the Roof – The 50th anniversary revival of this wondrous show ends its run on December 31. Danny Burstein plays Tevye, a character that is truly larger than life, in this musical about a Jewish community on the eve of the Russian Revolution. The show revolves around the marriage of Tevye’s three daughters and includes songs that have become part of Broadway legend like “Sunrise, Sunset,” “If I Were a Rich Man,” and “Tradition.”  www.fiddlermusical.com.  Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway. Tickets: www.telecharge.com or 212.239.6200.

Jersey Boys – The boys from New Jersey will play their final show on January 15. The story of the rise of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons will have you on your feet as you join the quartet in singing “December 1963 (Oh What a Night).” You know all the songs (“Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” but even if you don’t, you’ll still be humming and tapping along to the story behind those wondrous voices that took the radio waves by storm in the latter part of the 20th century. www.JerseyBoysBroadway.com. August Wilson Theatre, 24t5 West 52nd Street. Tickets: www.ticketmaster.com or 877-250-2929.

Matilda the Musical – This brilliant, Tony-Award winning show about the children in Roald Dahl’s book, will no longer be “a little bit naughty” after January 1. Another West End transplant, the musical tracks the life of precocious Matilda, her abusive parents, and her disheartening school experiences and how Matilda decides to change her destiny. The music is catchy and the kids are fantastic. www.matildathemusical.com.  Shubert Theatre, 225 West 44th Street. Tickets:  www.telecharge.com or 212-239-6200.

Photo by Joan Marcus

Oh, Hello on Broadway– In this season of less-than-funny news and change, Oh, Hello has brought welcome laughs to Broadway audiences. John Mulaney and Nick Kroll of Saturday Night Live and Comedy Central fame play two crusty Upper West Side bachelors who have a flair for the theatrical. You’ll have to pay attention to catch all the lines and fabulous zingers, which can sometimes get lost under the audience laughter. Each night’s performance features a surprise performer. For New Yorkers, this is a must-see. Closes January 22. www.ohhellobroadway.com. Lyceum Theatre, 149 West 45th Street. Tickets: www.telecharge.com or 212.239.6200.

Photo Joan Marcus

Something Rotten – Shakespeare was never as cool as in this wonderful musical about the creation of the world’s first musical. Adam Pascal from the original production of Rent plays the Bard. But all good things must come to an end, and so must the Renaissance: Something Rotten closes on January 1.Broadway musical fans should pay attention to all the shows mentioned especially in the opening number. Something Rotten is a tribute to every musical that ever was and is. www.rottenbroadway.com.  St. James Theatre, 246 West 44th Street. Tickets: www.ticketmaster.com or 877.250.2929.

@ Joan Marcus

Want to See the World’s Largest Gingerbread Village? It Opens November 13 in Queens

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, although it feels like the Fourth of July. Did we skip Thanksgiving? It’s so confusing, but at least we have the time to start our holiday shopping (Christmas, Black Friday) without wearing a winter coat or heavy boots.  And you can also get your holiday inspiration going by visiting the New York Hall of Science starting November 13 to see what might just be the world’s largest gingerbread village. Again.

Jon Lovitch, master chef and creator of GingerBread Lane, has achieved the Guinness World Record for the past two years for building the largest continuous gingerbread village in the world. While others have contended that theirs might be larger, GingerBread Lane has been the winner hands down, meeting all criteria: only edible ingredients, handmade craft, and contiguous structures.

Last year’s village was laid out in a circle, allowing a complete circumlocution around the village. This year’s version promises to be even more creative, covering 500  square with more than 1050 houses, a double-decker carousel (like the historic one on the Coney Island boardwalk), and the S.C. Kringle & Co. Department Store reminiscent of New York City’s own long-departed Gimbels of the 1900s.  Also new will be a candy factory you can see inside of as you climb the stairs to view the exhibit.

The exhibit runs from November 13-January 10, 2016.  On the last day at 1pm, all gingerbread houses are given away free.  The line starts early, sort of like getting into a Rolling Stones concert.  Kids unable to visit due to illness or other personal situations can contact info@gingerbread-lane.org to have a house shipped to them. www.gingerbread-lane.org.

New York Hall of Science, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, 47-01 111th Street, Queens; www.nysci.org.

Caroling, Cocoa and Jazz Cruises: How to Tour the City This Winter

Caroling, Cocoa and Jazz Cruises: How to Tour the City This WinterDo you hate the commotion in the city this time of the year? Instead of feeling like Santa Claus, are you scowling like Scrooge? We completely understand it.  A simple taxi ride takes four times as long as it should, assuming you can even find a taxi. Busses are full up at 7am. And you have to endure police stringing “do not enter” tape across streets near Rockefeller Center in the most simplistic and makeshift type of traffic management technique ever concocted.  Help! we need a way to enjoy our city at this most magical time of the year.

Enter Classic Harbor Line. I really love what they’re offering to get you off the city’s crowded streets and out of the crazy NYC commercial scene. Grab your spouse, your significant other, your BFF and all of your family for a tour of the city decked out in its holiday splendor…. from the water. On a cruise leaving from Chelsea Piers (Pier 62, West 22nd Street and Hudson River), you’ll get to see the city lights on a one and a half hour sail, seated indoors in complete comfort, with live carolers or jazz musicians as your hosts.

Pretty cool?  Actually, quite warm. You’ll be back to singing “it’s a holly jolly Christmas” in a flash as you snuggle up in a heated back-deck salon on a 1920s-style sailing vessel.  Aboard the Luxury Yacht Manhattan, you’ll soak in the scenery as you stay toasty with cocoa and cookie treats.  (Adults have a choice of beer, wine, spiked hot cocoa or champagne as well).

Caroling, Cocoa and Jazz Cruises: How to Tour the City This WinterBattery Park, South Street Seaport, and the Financial District are your twinkling downtown sights, along with gorgeous views of Governor’s Island, The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  Depending on the weather and the course taken, you’ll also see some areas of Brooklyn and Queens, and, of course, the Manhattan skyline.

Jazz concerts take place Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Caroling (with guest participation encouraged) is scheduled for Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Now through January 2.  Adult tickets are priced at $56; children’s tickets are $36. Cruises start as early as 4pm, with the latest sailing at 8pm. Check https://www.zerve.com/SailNYC/Cocoa for available dates and sail times.  www.sail-nyc.com

Christmas Eve and Christmas Brunch Dining in Manhattan

New York City has no scarcity of great restaurants offering special holiday meals for Christmas Eve or Christmas Brunch.

In the next two articles, we’ve gathered some of the best from this year’s crop.  Enjoy, and Merry Christmas.

More on Christmas Eve and Christmas Brunch Dining in Manhattan

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