During the holiday season, spectators flock from all over the world just to see the festive decorations found in Gotham's restaurants and bars, museums, and public parks. Everyone knows about the gigantic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree — which rises up to a miraculous 94-ft stature this winter — but how about the tree that's adorned with origami ornaments? Or the world's largest Hanukkah Menorah? Catch these special holiday monuments you'll want to take a selfie with before the season's over!
Origami Holiday Tree
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West & W 79th St
Photos: American Museum of Natural History
In the Grand Gallery of the American Museum of Natural History, you'll find a magnificent array of miniature dinosaurs, alligators, birds, and other animals coexisting in harmony on the annual Origami Holiday Tree. Although this tree is the smallest on this list (standing at only 13-feet), what it lacks in size, it makes up for in ornamentation. The tree is embellished with over 800 handmade paper models crafted by artists both local and international, organized with the help of OrigamiUSA. The annual tradition is over 40 years old, and coincides with current and upcoming exhibitions at the museum, this years being Dinosaurs Among Us, ¡Cuba!, and Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World. Be sure to catch the special exhibition before it folds over on January 8, 2017.
Admission: Suggested donation Hours: 10AM - 5:45PM daily, closed Christmas Day
World's Largest Hanukkah Menorah
Grand Army Plaza (Manhattan and Brooklyn)
Photo: Lubavitch Youth Organization, The Largest Menorah
Where can you find the World's Largest Menorah? Well it's hard to say, when the top two competitors are exactly the same height! The Grand Army Plaza in Manhattan and Brooklyn both host a gold Menorah of 32-ft tall, which is the maximum height allowed by Jewish law.
The Manhattan candelabrum is made of 4000-lbs of steel, but has a simple and sleek design as it stands across The Plaza hotel. Celebrate the beginning of the Jewish Festival of Lights on Dec 24 with a lighting ceremony at 5:30PM (candles will be lit daily on 5:30PM, though 3:30PM on Friday and 8PM on Saturday).
For a more lavish celebration on Dec 24, gather around the ornately styled Brooklyn menorah in Prospect Park for a kick-off concert with Moshav Band at 7PM and the lighting at 8PM. For the rest of the week, candles will be lit at 6PM (Friday 3:30PM, Saturday 7PM). Live music, hot latkes, and gifts for all children every night are free for Jews and non-Jews alike.
Grand Army Plaza Manhattan - 5th Ave and 59th Street, across the street from The Plaza hotel
Grand Army Plaza Brooklyn - intersection of Vanderbilt Ave and Flatbush Ave
Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Creche
Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 5th Ave & 82nd St
Photo: Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met Museum is home to some of the world's most admired and adored pieces of art, and its yearly Christmas tree is no exception. The grand display centers around a Nativity scene at its base featuring a variety of biblical figurines, while classic 18th-century Neapolitan cherubs and angels hang above toward the sky on the 20-ft tree. You can find the installation if you follow the soft-ringing Christmas music into the Medieval Sculpture Hall, displayed until January 4, 2017.
Admission: Suggested donation Hours: SUN - THU 10AM - 5:30PM
FRI - SAT 10AM - 9PM
Washington Square Park
Photos: Washington Square Park Conservancy
The Washington Square Association has a tradition of lighting up their annual holiday tree for 90 years now — a tradition older than Rockefeller Center's! After a stroll through the park, snap a photo with the resplendent tree while it's lit up during 4PM - 1PM. And if you're itching to "make the yuletide gay," join the Rob Susman Quartet on Christmas Eve to sing carols from 5PM - 7PM by the holiday tree. No worries if you've forgotten the words, songbooks are provided.
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