Best NYC Holiday Lights
At 10 stories tall, the famous Saks Fifth Avenue annual theatrical installation is the largest light show in Manhattan, completely illuminating the façade of the Saks Fifth Avenue building with spectacular dancing 3D projection technoology. This year pays homage to the grandeur of the Broadway stage, The light show lasts just three or four minutes, so you can watch it more than once. The show is choreographed to playful music and complements this year’s window theme, Theater of Dreams, designed in alliance with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids.
A bonus is that the world-famous Rockefeller Center tree less than a block away, and the newly re-opened FAO Schwarz toy store is one more block. We call that a three-fer.
- Location: Fifth Ave. at 50th St.
This is one of New York City’s most popular holiday light displays, returning again for the 2018 holiday season to dazzle us with ever-changing color covering the canopy of the ten-story, glass-enclosed Winter Garden. Its 650 giant LED lights are controlled by visitors, for a unique and ever-changing show of dancing colors and intensity.
Three glowing Wishing Stations allow guests to send a “wish” to the lanterns above by placing their hands on the touch-sensitive stations.
- Location: Winter Garden in Lower Manhattan, open daily to 10pm, through January 4th.
This is the largest exhibit of illuminated color mixing in the world. Twelve 14-foot stars hang from the ceiling on Time Warner Center’s 150-foot glass atrium, changing color every half hour, choreographed to Christmas Carols. The display is much more dramatic at night, viewed from outdoors, but you miss the music. The light show is every half hour, on the hour and on the half hour. Viewed from inside the atrium, there’s a spectacular view of Central Park.
My choice is to see the display after dark, when the lights shine without the competition of the view.
This year, under the massive stars and through tiny doors is the world-famous Astolat Dollhouse Castle, valued at $8.5 million and built and furnished by master artisans. It features 29 rooms filled with 10,000 miniature pieces, including elaborate furniture, oil paintings, mirrors, fireplaces, gold miniature jewelry, rare-mini books more than 100 years old, fine rugs, fabrics, and pieces made of and silver and gold. This is the first ever public viewing of the famous dollhouse.
The Astolat Dollhouse Castle will be on daily display on the second floor Mezzanine through December 8 during normal shopping hours. Admission to both the Astolat Dollhouse Castle and star viewing is free, courtesy of The Shops at Columbus Circle. For more on the dollhouse and specific viewing hours visit: www.astolatdollhousecastle.com.
- Location: 10 Columbus Circle
Each year, more than 100,000 people flock to this Brooklyn neighborhood for this crazy wonderful holiday extravaganza. Dozens of residents decorate their homes in over-the-top multi-colored displays, competing with one another for whose is the most fancy, most colorful, most complicated. There are angels, dancing bears, prancing reindeer, snowmen and more, including Santa, of course. It’s been going on for more than 20 years and seems to get bigger each year.
- Location: 11th to 13th Avenues from 83rd to 86th Streets, Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, through Dec. 31.
New York’s first ever Winter Lantern Festival is definitely worth a ferry ride to Staten Island. This Chinese cultural celebration lights up seven acres of the Snug Harbor Botanical Garden with more than 3,000 lanterns and LED installations, some of which are 30 feet tall, including a massive light tunnel, a kingdom of glowing animals, and a lit-up Wonderland to wander through.
There is also be a food court, a fun zone for kids, a long list of live music and dance performances including like traditional Chinese Lion Dances and Water Sleve Dances, plus martial arts demonstrations, sugar painting and more.
- Through January 6th at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island