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Bright Lights, Big City

Origami decorations or Neapolitan angels may trim a tree tastefully, but nothing compares to good old-fashioned holiday glitz.

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New York Botanical Garden
Bronx River Pkwy., at Fordham Rd., Bronx; 718-817-8700
Though the train show and gingerbread house display are the main attractions, the 26-foot-tall Fraser firs are nothing to sneeze at.
Lighting ceremony: Nov. 16, 4 to 5:15 p.m.
On display: Nov. 16 to Jan. 12; Tue. to Fri., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat. and Sun., 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day

American Museum of Natural History
Central Park W., at 79th St.; 212-769-5100
A team of volunteers starts working in July to create some 500 origami figures for this one. The theme of this year’s tree is inspired by the new The Power of Poison exhibit and features some of the most venomous animals found in the museum.
Lighting ceremony: There's no official event; usually museum employees just gather informally as it's switched on for the first time.
On display: Nov. 25 to Jan. 12, daily, 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.; closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Days


Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave., at 82nd St.; 212-879-5500
If your taste is more romantic than gigantic, the twenty-foot-tall spruce at the Met is adorned with 50 eighteenth-century Neapolitan angels and flanked by hundreds of crèche figures.
Lighting ceremonies: Nov. 26 to Jan. 6; Sun. to Thu., 4:30 p.m.; Fri., Sat., 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m.
On display: Nov. 26 to Jan. 6; Sun. to Thu., 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Fri. to Sat., 10 a.m. to 9 p.m; closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day

Bryant Park
42nd St. at Sixth Ave.; 212-768-4242
Once you've gotten a look at this year's 50-foot Norway spruce, visit Celsius, the on-site restaurant and bar, then burn off the calories on the admission-free skating rink.
Lighting ceremony: Dec. 3, 5 p.m.
On display: Dec. 3 to Jan. 5, 24 hours
Ice-skating: Nov. 1 to Mar. 2; Sun. to Thu., 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Fri., Sat., 8 a.m. to midnight
Holiday market: Nov. 1 to Jan. 5; Mon. to Fri., 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m to 9 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Lincoln Square
Broadway, 63rd St. to 68th St.
The Fourteenth Annual Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square kicks off with the Upper West Side Holiday Tree lighting ceremony in Dante Park. The event also features live entertainment, ice sculpting, food tastings, kids activities, raffle prizes, and more.
Lighting ceremony: Dec. 2, 5:30 to 6 p.m.
On display: Dec. 2 to Jan. 1

Rockefeller Center
30 Rockefeller Plaza, at 50th St.; 212-332-6868
The lighting of the city’s most famous tree—which was first erected during the height of the Depression, before Rockefeller Center was even completed—marks the unofficial start of the winter holidays, particularly for tourists.
Lighting ceremony: Dec. 4, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
On display: Dec. 4 to Jan. 7; daily, 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.; lights are on 24 hours on Christmas Day and New Year's Eve
Ice-skating: Oct.12 to early April, Daily, 8:30 a.m. to midnight (with 30-minute breaks every 90 minutes)

Park Avenue Memorial Trees
Brick Presbyterian Church, 62 E. 92nd St., at Park Ave.; 212-705-4237
Every year since 1945, the trees that line Park Avenue have been lit to honor those who lost their lives defending our country. This year's trees will be lit after a ceremony at the Brick Presbyterian Church.
Lighting ceremony: Dec. 8, 6:30 p.m.
On display: Dec. 8 to Jan. 17

Madison Square Park
Madison Ave., at 23rd St.; 212-538-1884
Though not the city's most famous tree-lighting ceremony, America's first community Christmas tree was lit in Madison Square Park on Christmas Eve in 1912.
Lighting ceremony: Dec. 10, 3:30 to 5 p.m.
On display: Dec. 10 to Jan. 1

South Street Seaport
19 Fulton St., at South St.; 212-732-8257
The Seaport’s 30th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony will feature live music and the opening of the See/Change ice rink.
Lighting ceremony: Nov. 29, 6 p.m.
On display: Nov. 29 to Jan. 1
Ice-skating: Nov. 26 to early March; Daily, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.


Washington Square Park
Fifth Ave. at Waverly Pl.
Sing carols with friends and family while watching this year's lighting of a 45-foot fir under the Washington Square Arch.
Lighting ceremony: Dec. 11, 6 p.m.
On display: Dec. 11 to Jan. 1

Plus: Holiday Light Shows

Winter Garden Holiday Fest
West St., nr. Vesey St.; 212-417-7000
Forty-five-foot-tall palm trees might sound more like spring break than the holiday season, but the Winter Garden still gets in the spirit by hanging a whopping 100,000 twinkling lights overhead.
Lighting ceremony: Dec. 3, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
On display: Dec. 3 to Jan. 1, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.


Dyker Heights
83rd St. to 86th St. between Eleventh Ave. and Thirteenth Ave.; Dyker Heights
Dyker Heights is known for its over-the-top holiday decorations, and the light displays get more and more elaborate each year.
On display: Late Nov. to early Jan., after sundown

Charles A. Dana Discovery Center
Lenox Ave. at 110th St.; 212-860-1370
This Victorian-inspired event features caroling, crafts, and photos with Santa Claus, as well as the lighting of the Discovery Center near Harlem Meer.
Lighting ceremony: Dec. 5, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
On display: Dec. 5 to Dec. 31


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