The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in all its glory!
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in all its glory!
It’s Christmas in New York
A couple of weeks ago I visited Central Park’s Conservatory Garden as the Central Park Conservancy workers were planting 21,000 tulip and daffodil bulbs for Springtime goodness. The Conservatory Garden is my favorite spot in Central Park, and is sort of a hidden NYC secret since it’s tucked a way in the less populated northern end of the park. I first “discovered” it when I got lost on my way to a summer job interview to be a park ranger in Central Park . I got the job, and even led tours of this amazing garden. I still get lost in Central Park.
The Central Park Conservatory Garden was created in 1898 when a large E-shaped greenhouse was constructed at Fifth Avenue and 105th Street. It featured an indoor winter garden of exotic tropical plants and outdoor decorative Victorian flowerbeds. In the 1930s, the deteriorated greenhouse was demolished and a new six-acre formal garden was designed for the site.
“The garden is divided into three distinct styles: French, Italian, and English. The French-style garden – closest to the Meer – features an ellipse of meandering boxwood and pansies, and showcases spectacular seasonal displays of tulips in spring and chrysanthemums in autumn. In the center is the charming Three Dancing Maidens fountain by German sculptor Walter Schott. The central Italian garden features an elaborate wrought-iron entrance gate and a wisteria pergola, a large lawn surrounded by clipped hedges, a 12-foot-high jet fountain (3.7 meters), and two exquisite allées of pink and white crabapple trees on either side of the lawn. To the south is the English-style garden, featuring sculptor Bessie Potter Vonnoh’s lovely Burnett Memorial fountain surrounded by flowering trees, beds of perennials and annuals, and a woodland slope.” (Information courtesy of the Central Park Conservancy)
Here are some fun facts about Central Park’s Conservatory Garden:
Law Olmsted luncheon of the Conservancy’s Women’s Committee, where fancy schmancy women dress to the nines and wear elaborate flamboyant hats (see for yourself).
Central Park’s Conservatory Garden Bloom Schedule
Here’s a schedule of the different flowers that bloom in the Conservatory Garden. Also find out fascinating background facts about each bloom.
Astilbe: June – August
Baby’s breath: June – July
Coneflower: July – September
Cornelian Cherry: March
Crabapples: April – May
Daffodils: March – May
Daylillies: June – August
Grape Hyacinths: April – May
Hellebores: March – April
Hollyhocks: June – July
Irises: March & May
Japanese Anemone: July – October
Lilacs, French: May
Lilacs, Japanese: June
Magnolias: April – May
Oakleaf Hydrangea: July – September
Ornamental Grasses: July – October
Phlox: June – September
Purple Coneflower: July – September
Rose of Sharon: July – September
Roses: June – October
Snowdrops: February – March
Spiraea: April – May
Squill: April – May
Tulips: April – May
Water Lilies: June – October
Conservatory Garden Visiting Information
Hours: 8am to dusk
Wheelchair access at 106th Street gate inside Park
Quiet Zone (dogs must be leashed and kept on pathways at all times; no running, rollerblading, or bike riding; no organized, active recreation or sports allowed; headphones required for radios)
Central Park history & trivia, and Central Park visiting information
What’s your favorite spot in Central Park? The Carousel, Strawberry Fields, Shakespeare Garden?
This weekend was surprisingly uncrowded at the Museum of Natural History and I got a great close up of the amazing origami holiday tree, a 41 year old tradition. My holiday season has officially begun!
The theme of this year’s tree is “Wicked, Wild, and Wonderful,” inspired by the Museum’s new exhibition The Power of Poison. The tree is decorated with more than 500 hand-folded paper models and they are really impressive. We even got a little origami lesson from a volunteer and walked away with our very own origami candy cane. Okay, a candy cane is not as cool as the origami “Witches from Macbeth” with their boiling cauldron, but you gotta start somewhere.
The tree will be on display through January 12, 2014 in the Grand Gallery near the 77th Street exit on the Museum’s first floor. Buy tickets to the American Museum of Natural History (and avoid the long ticket lines).
One of my favorite things about the Museum of Natural History is that I discover something new every time I visit (and I visit a lot). This trip I stumbled upon the Museum’s Discovery Room, which is free with admission, and it was such a great surprise. It’s an interactive science space and you can touch real fossils and investigate lots of snazzy specimens. It’s geared towards 5-12 year olds but there were plenty of littler ones loafing about. Passes for 40-minute timed sessions are given out at the Discovery Room entrance.
What Can You Do in the Museum of Natural History Discovery Room?
Museum of Natural History Discovery Room Hours
During the school year (day after Labor Day-June 30):
Monday-Thursday: 1:30-5:10pm; Saturday-Sunday and public school holidays: 10:30am-1:30pm and 2:15-5:10pm
Summer (July 1-Labor Day):
Monday-Sunday: 10:30am-1:30pm and 2:15-5:10pm
While the Queen of NYC Holiday Lights is the Rockefeller Center tree, there are many other awe-inspiring holiday lights to see in New York City. We’ve narrowed it down to five of our favorite tree lighting ceremonies to catch just this week! (See what NYC holiday lights are already on display, as well as upcoming holiday tree and lighting ceremonies.)
Keep in mind that New York City’s holiday lights can be viewed throughout the 2013 holiday season, generally through early January 2014, so if you miss the lighting ceremonies, you can still catch the glorious lights on display! A great way to see more, learn more, and stay warm, is by taking this comfy 4-hour NYC Holiday Lights guided motorcoach tour.
Carl Schurz Park Tree Lighting and Caroling and Menorah Lighting
Date: Ceremony – Sunday, December 1, 2013, 5pm
A cherished, family tradition. Neighbors come together and sing favorite carols as they share cookies, candy canes, hot chocolate and candlelight.
Location: Carl Schurz Park, East End and East 86th Street
Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square
Date: Ceremony – Monday, December 2, 2013, 5:30-9pm, Rain, snow, or shine!
On Monday, December 2, 2013 the Lincoln Square Business Improvement District and presenting sponsor Time Warner will host the Fourteenth Annual Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square – New York’s largest holiday festival! Join Tony Award-winning, Broadway legend Brian Stokes Mitchell, Rosie’s Theater Kids, Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All-Stars and WABC-TV’s Sade Baderinwa with an evening of music, food, dancing and fun for everyone.
There will be over 20 live, free performances featuring Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All-stars, Brianna Thomas’ Jazz Quartet, world renowned DJ David Chang at the Winter’s Eve TD Bank Dance Party, GRAMMY nominated Brooklyn-based children’s band The Pop Ups at Kids’ Central, and Big Apple Circus, Kate Davis presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center and Ice Sculpting at Time Warner Center, and more.
Lincoln Square’s sidewalks and public spaces will come alive with music, performers, processional groups, jugglers, stilt-walkers and more, making for a festive fun-filled evening along the streets.
Location: The celebration begins with a neighborhood tree lighting ceremony at Dante Park at Broadway & 63rd Street and continues along Broadway from Time Warner Center to 68th Street
Bryant Park’s Bank of America Winter Village Tree Lighting Ceremony
Date: Ceremony – Tuesday, December 3, 2013, 5pm
Our 50 foot Norway Spruce tree comes to us from Newburgh in Orange County, New York. This massive green beauty spans 25 feet at its base. We’ll cover the branches with over 30,000 white and red LED lights, along with 3,500 starbursts, balls, snowflakes, and icicle ornaments in wintry silver, pearly white, and iridescent red and blue.
The Tree Lighting Show will feature an array of personalities, musicians, and excitement. Throughout the evening, you can enjoy music performances by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Carly Rose Sonenclar of The X Factor, Loston Harris Trio, Young People’s Chorus, and NY Pops Brass Quintet. There will also be an appearance by New York Yankees Legend Mariano Rivera, and a lineup of stellar skaters including Johnny Weir, and our favorite synchronized skating team The Haydenettes.
The Tree Lighting Show will also kick off Hunger Awareness Week at Winter Village. Bank of America is making your regular activities even more meaningful by connecting them with donations to the Food Bank for New York City. With Skate-to-Donate and Dine-to-Donate programs kicking off December 3, Bank of America will match minutes skated at the The Rink and desserts ordered at Celsius with contributions to fighting hunger in NYC.
Location: Bryant Park, 40th to 42nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenue
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
Date: Ceremony – Wednesday, December 4, 2013, 7-9pm
Enjoy one of New York City’s most celebrated events for over 80 years. You can even attend a private party inside Rockefeller Center with an incredible view of the Tree Lighting ceremony. Or check out NYCVP’s Rockefeller Center Dinner by the Tree Private Party, which includes a guided tour of Rockefeller Center, a 3-course dinner at Brasserie Ruhlmann, open bar, and more. Read more about the history of Rockefeller Center, and details about the tree lighting ceremony.
Location: Rockefeller Plaza, between West 48th and West 51st Streets and 5th and 6th Avenues
Charles A Dana Discovery Center Holiday Lighting in Central Park
Date: Ceremony – Thursday, December 5, 2013, 5:30-6:30pm
Celebrate the season at our annual holiday and winter warm-up in northern Central Park. Make holiday crafts, decorate (and eat!) cookies, and take your photo with Santa (bring your own camera, please). The event will culminate with caroling and the lighting of the Dana Center for the holiday season. Free. Families only; no groups, please.
Location: Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (inside the Park at 110th Street between Lenox and Fifth Avenues)
Enjoy one of New York City’s greatest holiday traditions — NYC Holiday Window Displays. From mid-November through December 2013 many stores along New York City’s Fifth Avenue (and other streets in midtown Manhattan) create their magical annual holiday windows. Barney’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Co., and more!
While almost all windows have been unveiled, you can still catch the long awaited Saks Fifth Avenue unveiling on Monday, November 25. Saks’ holiday windows feature “Snowflake Spectacular,” a light show that will be projected onto the store. Six animated windows will tell the story of the legendary Saks Yeti, from his “life as an under-appreciated snowmaker in Siberia to his starring role as a true snowflake artist in New York.” Performers include violinist Joshua Bell, singer Frankie Moreno, the Young People’s chorus of New York City, and a performance of “Carol of the Bells” by young dancers from the from the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre.
Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets
Tips for Visiting NYC Holiday Windows: