<![CDATA[NBC New York - holidays]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcnewyork.com/feature/holidays http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.comen-usThu, 25 May 2017 01:32:35 -0400Thu, 25 May 2017 01:32:35 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Produce Pete: Ringing in the New Year With Cooked Greens]]> Sat, 31 Dec 2016 15:06:51 -0400 Produce Pete shares how eating cooked greens is a symbolic and healthy way to start the new year.]]> <![CDATA[In Memoriam: Famous Animals We Lost in 2016]]> Fri, 30 Dec 2016 14:34:41 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/animals+in+memoriam.jpg From Harambe, the gorilla whose death reignited the debate over animal rights, to Pedals, the long-suffering New Jersey bear that walked on two legs, some of the world's most famous animals passed in 2016.]]> <![CDATA[NYC’s 10 Priciest Celebrity Real Estate Moves of 2016]]> Fri, 30 Dec 2016 08:39:08 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_05102806149.jpg As with any year in New York City, celebrities were paying and asking millions for their luxurious homes in 2016. Most of the top celebrity moves were concentrated in the West Village and Tribeca or on the Upper West Side, according to Curbed.com. All of the moves were to or from Manhattan. The apartments and condos sold feature sweeping views, as well as amenities like wine cellars and rich detailing like herringbone flooring. Here are the priciest celebrity deals in the city this year.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Top Tri-State Stories of 2016]]> Fri, 30 Dec 2016 02:02:45 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/CZbi6exWwAAQok2.jpg Political mudslinging, a blizzard, and terror in our own back yard. Many events shaped 2016 for people in New York, the Tri-State, and all Americans. David Ushery has more on the biggest stories of the year.]]> <![CDATA[Goya Committing Food Donations to Charity]]> Fri, 30 Dec 2016 07:34:11 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/THOMPSON+GOYA+DONATIONS+NJ+PKG+6PM+-+00000000_WNBC_000000014438.jpg The food distribution company says it will donate 10,000 pounds of food a month to charity in 2017. Brian Thompson Reports.]]> <![CDATA[NYE Street Closures, Subway Changes Around Times Square]]> Thu, 29 Dec 2016 14:18:38 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/official+street+closure+lead+nye.jpg

More than 1 million revelers are expected to descend on the Crossroads of the World to ring in the new year with the iconic ball drop, and streets in midtown are closing to make room for them. 

Times Square is shut down to vehicular traffic, and police recommend using public transportation to get around town on New Year's Eve (MTA service changes outlined below). And remember, leave the alcohol, duffle bags, backpacks and umbrellas at home.

The following streets will be closed from 6 p.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Sunday: 

  • West 38th Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

  • West 39th Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

  • West 40th Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

  • West 41st Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

  • West 42nd Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

  • West 43rd Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

  • West 44th Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

  • West 45th Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

  • West 46th Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

  • West 47th Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

  • West 48th Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

  • West 49th Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

  • West 50th Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

  • West 51st Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

  • West 52nd Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

  • West 53rd Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

  • West 54th Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

  • West 55th Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

  • West 56th Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

  • West 57th Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

  • West 58th Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

  • West 59th Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

  • Sixth Avenue between 38th and 59th streets

  • Seventh Avenue between 38th and 59th streets

  • Broadway between 38th and 59th streets

  • Eighth Avenue between 38th and 59th streets

MTA New Year's Eve Service Changes

  • From 12 p.m. Saturday to 12:10 a.m. Sunday, Van Cortlandt Park-242 Street-bound trains skip 50th Street. Use the 59 St-Columbus St station instead
  • From 12 p.m. Saturday to 12:10 a.m. Sunday, N, Q and R trains skip 49th Street in both directions. Use the 57th Street-7th Avenue station instead
  • From 7 p.m. to the ball drop on Saturday, N, Q, R, S, 7, 1, 2 and 3 exits at Times Square-42nd Street are subject to closures. As an alternative, exit via the passageway to 42 Street-Port Authority on Eighth Avenue. The 42nd Street Shuttle will operate overnight



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[7 Free New Year's Eve Parties in NYC, New Jersey ]]> Fri, 30 Dec 2016 22:45:30 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/lead+photo+free+nye.jpg

If one of your New Year's resolutions for 2017 is to cut back on spending (you're not alone) why not start when the clock strikes 12? There are plenty of free events going on in New York City and New Jersey on New Year's Eve.

From free entry at bars to family friendly fireworks and midnight fitness parties, here's your guide to celebrating NYE without breaking the bank.

Fireworks at Prospect Park | Family Friendly
The entire family can enjoy a free evening of fireworks and live music at Prospect Park. People can view the fireworks from three locations:
1. Grand Army Plaza
2. Prospect Park's West Drive
3. Along Prospect Park West between Grand Army Plaza & Ninth Street. 
The fireworks go off at midnight, but live music begins at 11 p.m. Just a tip: dress warm, bring extra layers (gloves, hats, scarves) and lots of blankets! RSVP and find out more info here

NYE in Times Square | Family Friendly
Thousands of determined people will take over Times Square on December 31 to watch the ball drop live. If you think you can handle the chaos, get there early in the afternoon or even in the morning to secure a spot. Live performances from pop's biggest stars begin at 6 p.m. Keep in mind there are no public restrooms and bundle up! For more on NYE in Times Square, click here.

NYRR Midnight Run | Family Friendly 
Know somebody running in the NYRR Midnight Run at Central Park this year? While runners pay to run, they can bring a guest for free. The 4-mile run begins at midnight, but celebrations start at 10 p.m. with a dance party and face painting. Runners and guests can also opt for the Tavern on the Green NYE package to celebrate with food and drink before, during and after the midnight run. For more info, click here

Fireworks from the Staten Island Ferry | Family Friendly
So it may not be an official event, but if you hop on the Staten Island Ferry just before midnight, you'll get a spectacular view of fireworks going off in Brooklyn, Manhattan and New Jersey. Dress cozy and warm. Ferry schedules and more here.

Time's Up 19th Annual NYE Bike Ride | Family Friendly
Start your 2017 fitness goals early with an NYE bike ride and outdoor after-party in Central Park. Riders can start biking from three different locations:
1. Williamsburg Bridge (Brooklyn side) at 9:45 p.m.
2. Washington Square Park arch at 10 p.m.
3. Madison Square Park (23rd St. & Broadway, Flatiron side) 10:20 p.m.
The final destination is Belvedere Castle in Central Park. Music, dancing and fireworks will all be free, but participants should bring their own food and drink. If you want to party but don't want to ride, meet at the Belvedere Castle at 11:45 p.m. Details on the event can be found here

New Year's Eve Watchnight Service | Family Friendly 
For a quiet celebration, join the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine with a special late-night service. The event runs from 11 p.m. on NYE until 1 a.m. on New Year's Day. The cathedral is located at Amsterdam Avenue and 112th Street. There is also a NYE Concert for Peace prior to the late-night service (7 p.m. - 9 p.m.) with tickets starting at $40. For details on the free NYE late-night service and also on the Concert for Peace, click here

Zeppelin Hall Biergarten, Jersey City | 21+  
It's not easy finding free entry to a bar or club on NYE, but the Biergarten in JC has you covered. The German bar and restaurant has no cover charge, lots of beer, a DJ and dancing to really ring in 2017 with a bang. Hats and noisemakers will also be handed out. Find out more here



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Gary Hershorn]]>
<![CDATA[Our Top 15 Facebook Posts for 2016 Offer Surprising Mashup ]]> Tue, 27 Dec 2016 10:38:42 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/lead+image+for+top+15+fb.jpg

Photo Credit: AP/Suzanne Mapes]]>
<![CDATA[These Are Our Top Tweets of 2016]]> Sat, 31 Dec 2016 14:48:27 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/chelseaexplosionnextdayresponse.jpg

NBC 4 New York's Twitterverse has a thing for breaking news. Of the top 11 tweets from @nbcnewyork over the course of 2016, six were breaking stories. View those, plus some hilarious bloopers from the Rio Olympics here. 



Photo Credit: AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Best Places to Watch the New Year's Eve Fireworks ]]> Mon, 26 Dec 2016 19:05:39 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/fireworksnyccrop2.jpg

New Year’s Eve is around the corner and it’s time to make some plans. Wondering where to get the best views of the New Year’s Eve fireworks? Here are the best places in NYC to take in the fireworks spectacular.

Prospect Park at Grand Army Plaza and Ninth Street is the perfect cozy spot to huddle up with a cup of hot cocoa and watch the fireworks burst over Long Meadow.

Central Park at South 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue is the spot where runners participating the Midnight Run will meet after the run but all are welcome to join the party. Bring your dancing shoes because there will be music and other New Year's celebration activities.

Luna Park at Steeplechase Plaza makes for a magical evening of fireworks by the water. Do something different this year and revel in the excitement from Brooklyn’s own Coney Island. New Year’s Eve at Luna Park is sure to be a packed night of entertainment, food and fun. 

Times Square at Broadway and Seventh Avenue never fails to put on the ultimate New Year's Eve experience for tourists and New Yorkers alike. Claim your spot around the grand ball by 3 p.m. and rock out to show-stopping performances from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Grab a snack and plenty of water to avoid losing your spot in the crowd.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[NYC's Most-Visited Bar, Restaurant of 2016 Revealed]]> Wed, 28 Dec 2016 11:24:54 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/robertas+pizza.jpg

A Bushwick pizza spot and a Williamsburg bar were the most-visited restaurant and drinking establishment, respectively, of the year in the city, according to rideshare company Lyft. 

Lyft analyzed customers' top destination data from 2016 to determine the hottest destinations for both visitors and locals in the nation's most iconic cities, including New York. 

According to Lyft, which bestows a coveted Lyftie Award on each of the winners, Roberta's in Bushwick, known for its wood-fired pizzas, was the most-visited restaurant of the year, while Freehold in Williamsburg, hailed by Gothamist as a hotel lobby hangout without the hotel, was the top-visited bar. 

Barclays Center and Penn Station were the most visited event space and transit stop; Chelsea Market took home honors as the most visited location. 

And, according to Lyft, The Standard High Line is trending up; it was the top-searched destination this year. 

Here are the national winners:

 

  • Most-Visited Restaurant: Acme Feed & Seed (Nashville, Tennessee)
  • Most-Visited Bar: The Abbey (Los Angeles, California)
  • Most-Visited Hotel: The MGM Grand (Las Vegas, Nevada)
  • Most-Visited Transit Stop: Union Station, (Washington, DC)
  • Most-Visited Tourist Destination: Navy Pier (Chicago, Illinois)



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Top 5 Memes of 2016]]> Fri, 30 Dec 2016 22:47:57 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/top-memes-1216.jpg

Social media in 2016 was all about political opinions, loud voices and fake news. But at its best, it was about challenges.

Scrolling through any feed the most "liked" and retweeted posts usually involved a video with either an infectious dance called the "Running Man Challenge" or a bunch of people standing stone still in what became known as the "Mannequin Challenge." We couldn't unite on politics -- but everyone loved those challenge videos. 

They weren't the only viral internet images and videos of 2016. Here are the five biggest memes of 2016:

1. "Running Man Challenge"

In March, Maryland basketball players Jared Nickens and Jaylen Brantley posted a video to Instagram showing themselves doing a dance to the Ghost Town DJs song "My Boo." Their jig bore little resemblance to the Running Man dance that was popular in the 1980s, but it didn't matter. 

Before long, dozens of athletes were posting their own Running Man Challenge videos, and the trend spread outside the sports world quickly.

Brooklyn dad did a video with his children, the NYPD got in on the craze with some kids in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The FDNY also put a fiery spin on the dance. 

2. "Chewbacca Mom"

On May 19, Texas mom Candace Payne broadcasted a video on Facebook Live with the caption "It's the simple joys in life..." She talked excitedly about buying herself a Chewbacca mask from Kohls before donning the mask and laughing hysterically. 

Simple enough, right? That video quickly became the most-viewed Facebook Live broadcast of all time, and it's been viewed more than 164 million times to date. 

Payne followed up the video with appearances on the "Late Late Show" and Hasbro later made her her own action figure. She's used her newfound celebrity to inspire people to make the world "a better place."

3. Harambe

On May 28, a 3-year-old boy fell into the enclosure of a Western lowland silverback gorilla named Harambe at the Cincinnatti Zoo. Video from the encounter showed the gorilla dragging the boy, and responders fatally shot Harambe to rescue the child

The zoo's decision to kill the gorilla sparked widespread outrage initially, and dozens created online memorial photos and videos for Harambe. But others grasped on the hysteria, taking tributes to the gorilla over the top or humorously tying Harambe's death to other memes. 

The Cincinnati Zoo deleted its Twitter account due to the haranguing it got following Harambe's death, and college campuses started holding "Harambe Night" during sports games.

4. #PhelpsFace

The Rio Olympics were the biggest thing on TV and online in August, so it was only natural that a meme would come out of the Games. 

So when swimmer Michael Phelps contorted his face into a particularly menacing grimace  toward South African rival Chad le Clos while sitting in a "ready room" before the 200m butterfly final, the internet understandably exploded.

Hundreds of people captioned tweets featuring Phelps' face of everyday experiences that might cause a little bit of anger. 

"When you ask for no pickles in your burger and they still put pickles," wrote one person.

Another captioned the look, "When you're craving Chick Fil A but it's Sunday.

One fan took it another stroke further, getting a "Phelps Face" tattoo on his leg. 

Phelps later said he wasn't glaring at le Clos, like some had guessed -- but was instead staring into the void to psych himself up for the race. 

5. "Mannequin Challenge"

2016 started with a challenge, so it's only fitting that ended with one, too. The Mannequin Challenge is credited to a class at a high school in Jacksonville, Florida, and shows several students sitting in frozen poses as hip hop group Rae Sremmurd's "Black Beatles" plays in the background. 

Like the Running Man Challenge, the Mannequin Challenge rose to widespread popularity first through sports teams -- with NBA and NFL teams including the New York Giants replicating the video in locker rooms and team jets.

Celebrities likewise posted their own Mannequin Challenge videos, and the challenge was used as a promo for an episode of Saturday Night Live.The NYPD again did a version of the video, and more than 4,000 rabbis attempted the feat in at the Chabad-Lubavitch conference in Crown Heights (with mixed results). Kindergarteners in New Jersey did an Election Day themed version of the video in what might've been the most patriotic rendition of the craze.

First Lady Michelle Obama appeared in a video featuring the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton did a version of the video with Jon Bon Jovi aboard her campaign jet


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Top 12 New Tri-State Laws for 2017]]> Fri, 30 Dec 2016 22:44:12 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Bathroom-Sign-Generic-GettyImages-71275003.jpg

The new year brings with it new resolutions, new possibilities ... and new rules on how your local restaurant has to label its bathrooms. 

That's one of the many legal changes that takes effect early next year around the tri-state area, some mundane and some with a significant impact on peoples' lives and health.

This is a list of some other notable rules and regulations that change or go into practice around the start of the year.

New York State

* New minimum wage rules go into effect at the end of the year. The minimum will rise to $11 an hour in New York City ($10.50 if the business has 10 or fewer employees). On Long Island and in Westchester it goes to $10 and in the rest of the state it goes to $9.70. 

* Auto shops that conduct annual vehicle inspections now have to test the tint on your windows to make sure they comply with existing laws on how much light is let into the car. 

* Insurers will be required to cover the costs of naloxone, a drug used to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses. 

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New York City

* A new Division of Paid Care in the Office of Labor Standards will oversee the rights of home care and child care workers and collect complaints related to violation of labor and employment law.

* An overhaul to laundry licensing laws will update hygiene standards and set new rules around industrial laundries so that clean and dirty clothes are properly kept separate.

* All single-occupant bathrooms in businesses around the city will have to be gender-neutral and marked as such. 

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New Jersey

* The state's sales tax drops to 6.875 percent from 7 percent.

* The state's estate tax exemption -- what you can leave to certain people at your death without paying the estate tax -- triples to $2 million. 

* The amount of retirement income excluded from state income tax rises five-fold. 

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Connecticut:

*  In most cases, employers will not be allowed to ask about a job applicant's prior arrests or convictions on an initial application.

* New signs will be required to indicate accessibility for the physically handicapped. 

* Certain insurance policies will be required to cover more advanced mammogram technology at a woman's request. 

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/Image Source]]>
<![CDATA[Boxing Day Shoppers Return Unwanted Gifts to Stores]]> Tue, 27 Dec 2016 04:51:42 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/CN11M_1200x675_841918531712.jpg This day after Christmas finds many of us planning yet another mad dash to stores and shopping malls, but for a far different reason that earlier in the month. This rush has to do with returns of gifts that are either damaged, not working, don't fit, or those you simply don't want.]]> <![CDATA[Unwanted Gifts: The Dos and Don'ts of Returns]]> Mon, 26 Dec 2016 08:45:06 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Generic+Gifts+Generic+Holiday+Shopping.jpg

It's the thought that counts. But sometimes, the gift just doesn't cut it. So when looking through your Christmas and Hanukkah haul, you just may decide there are some gifts that you'll treasure, but a few that you wish you can give back.

Can you? The TODAY team has compiled eight tips to Holiday gift returns, to ensure that you get the most back when you return those unwanted gifts. So remember: Save the receipt. Keep original packaging. Be friendly to the store staff. And know which retailers (Nordstrom, Costco) are the most lenient.

Check out the full list on TODAY.com.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[After Fire Guts Apartment, Firefighters Save Christmas for DC Family]]> Sun, 25 Dec 2016 21:28:11 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Dixon+Family+at+Engine+15.jpg

Some D.C. firefighters saved Christmas for a family that lost all their gifts in a fire Tuesday.

"We had just left out of the house at 5:30 and we got a phone call from our landlord telling us that our apartment was on fire," Maurice Dixon said.

Engine 15 is less than a mile away from the Dixons' apartment in Anacostia, so firefighters quickly extinguished the accidental fire, but the apartment sustained significant damage.

Just before the fire, they wrapped their grandchildren’s gifts and placed them under the Christmas tree.

"Everything was lost, all the presents,” Maurice Dixon said. “The whole apartment is gone."

Enter Deputy Chief Ed Pearson, whose duties include surveying fire scenes.

"I noticed a lot of toys that were in the living room area," he said.

So he made calls and sent emails, hitting up organizations like the Marine Corps, Toys for Tots, the firefighters union and the burn fund. They all answered the call, and within days, the grandchildren had a whole new set of gifts.

"Now we feel like all hope is not lost, that we still can do that because of all the people that came out to help us," Cheryl Dixon said.

"We’re just happy to be able to assist the family, in making sure they have a merry Christmas," Pearson said.

But just as they were giving Christmas back to the Dixons this Christmas Eve, the firefighters were cut short. Engine 15 had another call.



Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Produce Pete: Holiday Cheer with Blood Oranges]]> Sat, 24 Dec 2016 12:23:09 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000014375387_1200x675_840981571880.jpg Produce Pete shares how to pick the best blood oranges, and even offers a suggestion for incorporating the fruit into your holiday festivities.]]> <![CDATA[Letter to Santa Travels Nearly 800 Miles by Balloon]]> Sat, 24 Dec 2016 07:45:06 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Santa-balloon-thumb.jpg Six-year-old Ke'ani Page of Lafayette, Louisiana, released a balloon into the air with a letter to Santa attached. Page was asking for a tablet, light-up shoes and a turtle. Four days later, Rachel Goffinet found the balloon, and note, nearly 800 miles away in Evanston, Indiana — about 10 miles south of a town called Santa Claus. Taylor Trache reports.]]> <![CDATA['Tonight Show' Thank You Notes: Santa Claus]]> Sat, 24 Dec 2016 11:34:32 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/tsjf-s4e063-598-thankyounote.jpg Jimmy pens thank you notes to menorahs, ugly Christmas sweaters and other things.]]> <![CDATA[Mom With Cancer's Holiday Surprise]]> Sat, 24 Dec 2016 01:32:19 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Karla+Vasquez.jpg

Unable to work as she fights cancer, Karla Vasquez wasn’t sure how she’d provide for her family this Christmas. But her hospice nurse and his colleagues stepped in to help.

The mother of four thought she’d won her battle with breast cancer two years ago — but cancer wasn’t done with her.

“In 2015, my cancer came back again, more aggressive,” she said.

And it came back in more places, like her liver.

“I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t even take a shower, I couldn’t even dress myself,” she said.

Several months of pills, radiation and chemotherapy seemed to help, until yet another diagnosis earlier this year.

“I had seven tumors in my head,” Vasquez said. The cancer had spread to her brain.

“I called all my kids, sat them down, and told them, and my daughter told me, ‘Mom, do it. I want you to live,’” Vasquez said.

It’s a constant battle that’s taken a toll, and she hasn’t been able to return to work as a club concierge at the Tysons Ritz Carlton.

“I love it," Vasquez said of her job. "And I can’t wait to go back.”

Without her income, she and her husband didn’t have much money to spare for gifts. She wasn’t quite sure what would happen, but she gave what she had: her infectious, positive spirit.

“When you give, you receive three times,” she said.

“She will brighten up anybody’s day,” said her hospice nurse, Barry Smoot. ‘This is a lady who just does not quit.”

He told his colleagues at Capital Caring about her.

“Our volunteers and our staff just poured their hearts out and opened their wallets, went shopping, got gift cards, gave money, bought all sorts of gifts for the children, and made sure they had what they needed and enough to make a little bit of the rest of the year a little better, too,” said Rev. Carolyn Richard of Capital Caring.

“I’m in heaven this year," Vasquez said. “I don’t need to worry about anything.”

Her message to others facing tough times: “Please don’t give up. To have faith, to pray and to keep themselves positive, because that’s what’s kept me alive.”



Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[White House Staff Pranks Obama With 'Creepy' Snowmen]]> Sat, 24 Dec 2016 11:58:13 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Snowman+at+White+House.jpg

For most, Frosty the Snowman is a jolly happy soul. But for President Barack Obama, the snow sculpture gives him the willies.

In an interview with People magazine earlier this month, the commander-in-chief revealed that the army of snowmen decorating the White House are “a little creepy.”

“There’s a whole kind of Chucky element to them,” he said, referencing the killer doll that comes to life in the “Child’s Play” horror films.

The first lady teased her husband, suggesting “we should put one in the bedroom, right by his bed.”

“I would move,” the president joked. “If I see one of those snowmen in my bedroom, I’m moving.”

The White House staff decided to use the president’s admission against him and set off to prank Obama with the help of a family of snowmen parked in the Rose Garden near the Oval Office.

Pete Souza, the White House’s official photographer, explained in an Instagram post that, for the last three weeks, staffers have been thinking about moving the snowmen closer to the house.

"We've been joking that we should move the snowmen a few feet closer to the Oval Office every day to see if anyone noticed," Souza wrote. "Then, we realized the snowmen were too heavy to easily lift."

But this week, they finally pulled off the prank, moving all the snowmen right up to the president's office windows. Souza captured a photo of one of the snowmen creepily peering through while Obama signed end-of-year bills.

Thankfully, according to Souza, the president was amused with the joke. He even played along in a follow-up post, acting scared to see a snowman outside another window.

The question now is, Mr. President, “Do you you want to build a snowman?”



Photo Credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
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<![CDATA[Mystery Donor Gifts Kids in Need With $20K Toy-Buying Spree]]> Fri, 23 Dec 2016 08:01:19 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/SIEGAL+SPECIAL+NEEDS+CHILDREN+SHOPPING+PKG+RAW+2++-+21423116_WN.jpg

Wide-eyed and eager, young children from dozens of families browsed the aisles of a Long Island toy store just before Christmas, living a childhood dream: they got to pick anything they wanted.

"It was just so fun because I got to pick a lot of stuff," said an enthusiastic 6-year-old AJ Grant Jr. 

The shopping trip at the Commack Toys"R"Us was made possible by one man who wants to remain completely anonymous. He donated $20,000 through a nonprofit in Old Bethpage called FREE -- short for Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. -- and dozens of families were given about $150 each to spend, much more than Santa would have been able to put under their trees at home. The families are all disabled, live in foster care or struggle to make ends meet, especially during the holidays. 

"It's very hard," said mother Tammy Feintuch. "It's a feeling I could never explain to anyone." 

It's not often the nonprofit get to put so many smiles on so many faces.

"FREE's doing a really good thing for people who need a little help around the holidays," said father David Feintuch. "People are short sometimes on the holidays." 

No one knows why the donor chose the organization, or why this cause was so close to his heart. But organizers have a message for him.

"You really have made this Christmas season the merriest that these kids will remember for a very, very long time. And we truly appreciate this generosity," said Anu Arnold of FREE. 



Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[Santa and His Helpers Visit Children in Hospital]]> Thu, 22 Dec 2016 21:57:53 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/CREAG+SANTA+TO+VISIT+SICK+KIDS+LI+PKG+5PM+-+00001526_WNBC_00000.jpg Children forced to spend their holidays in the hospital got some holiday cheer from Santa, Mrs. Claus and helpers. The visit to the Nassau University Medical Center was organized by the Nassau County Ambulance Bureau.]]> <![CDATA[Soldier Surprises Brother at Long Island School]]> Thu, 22 Dec 2016 22:53:33 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/CERGOL+MILITARY+BROTHER+SURPRISES+LITTLE+BROTHER+LI+PKG+6PM+-+0.jpg Leo Medina's Christmas wish came true when he saw his brother, Army Private Justin Purnell. Greg Cergol reports.]]> <![CDATA[Montreal's 'Rockefeller-Style' Christmas Tree Is Epic Fail]]> Thu, 22 Dec 2016 13:16:50 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/MontrealXmasMarket.jpg

Montreal's Christmas tree is getting a lot of attention for all the wrong reasons.

The 88-foot balsam fir has drawn the ire of many Montrealers, who say the funny-looking tree could use some spicing up, according to the Montreal Gazette.

"I am really disappointed, it's not nicely decorated and it's too thin," Sonia, a Hydro-Quebec employee, told the newspaper.

The tree was brought in to celebrate Montreal's upcoming 375th anniversary with a Christmas tree comparable to the world-famous one at New York City's Rockefeller Center, the New York Times reports.

The feeble fir has even drawn comparisons with the scrawny tree pictured in the popular children's holiday special "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

Residents expected a tree adorned in colorful Christmas lights and ornaments — instead, they received a sparsely-decorated fir that's become an internet punchline. Two parody Twitter accounts were created in French and English. 

Twitter users took to their accounts to poke fun.

"I just caught up on memes about the wonky-a** Christmas tree in Montreal," one user tweeted. "Like how did the city allow that?"

Philippe Pelletier, an owner of Sapin MTL, the company responsible for installing the tree, told the Gazette that he was surprised to hear so many negative reactions. He added that the company didn't have the time or budget to decorate the tree to the degree Montrealers expected.

Despite overwhelming apprehension, several tweeters have come to the tree's defense to say they love it just as it is. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[NYPD Officers Deliver Secret Santa Gifts to Brooklyn Kids]]> Thu, 22 Dec 2016 07:00:43 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NYPD+GIVES+GIFTS+2_WNBC_000000014343819+copy.jpg

NYPD officers helped bring Christmas cheer to the families of kids at one school in Brooklyn. 

Officers from the Brooklyn North patrol unit played “Secret Santa,” asking students at PS 323 in Brownsville to make holiday wish lists.

Some of the kids' responses put things into perspective. Instead of the latest gadgets or toys, one student said he wanted shoes for his entire family. Another student wished for cooking essentials like pots, pans and utensils. A third student named Shamar asked only for water and food. 

On Tuesday evening, the officers made deliveries to the students, including those shoes and water.

“He wanted to give you the gift of food for the holidays. And when I asked him, ‘Shamar are you sure?’ he was like, ‘Yes,’” Det. Izora Neal told the boy's family as officers delivered gifts. 

“Everyone deserves a wonderful Christmas,” Neal said. “I’m hoping for Patrol Borough Brooklyn North that we made it happen for a number of our families.”

Officers at Brooklyn North say they have a close relationship with the school and often host assemblies and teach classroom lessons there. 

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<![CDATA[White Christmas: Storms Expected to Leave Holiday Snow]]> Thu, 22 Dec 2016 02:19:10 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_16348687698187.jpg

Dreaming of a white Christmas? Be careful what you wish for. 

A "significant storm system" is expected to move through the northern Plains on Christmas Day, bringing whiteout conditions and driving winds that could make travel "very difficult to impossible," the National Weather Service said Wednesday. 

Heavy snow is possible beginning Friday over most of Wyoming before moving east to the Dakotas and northern Minnesota over the weekend, the National Weather Service said.

"It's going to be a pretty significant storm," said Ari Sarsalari, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Darron Cummings]]>
<![CDATA[Track Santa: NORAD's Santa Tracker]]> Sat, 24 Dec 2016 18:21:26 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Norad-Santa-2016.jpg

Santa entered North American airspace half an hour before Christmas Eve, at 04:30 Zulu time, according to the mission team in Canada charged with tracking his trip around the world this weekend.

That's right, Canada helps the U.S. track Santa's present-delivering flight. The North American Aerospace Defense Command, run jointly by the two nations, does it each year live online. Click here to watch Santa's progress.

Part of the team is based in Canada, and it's "one of the coolest jobs in the world," says Maj. Gen. Christian Drouin, commander of the Canadian NORAD Region, in a YouTube video that explains just how the tracking gets done.

Anyone can follow the journey online with the Santa tracker website — it's live now and began tracking Father Christmas early Saturday morning — but only a select few actually escort Mr. Kringle into North American airspace. That'd be a pair of Canadian fighter jets based out of Quebec, Drouin and his team explained.

Santa and the military communicate with a direct land line, and when he visits the Canadian NORAD Region headquarters in Winnipeg, he gets to sit in Drouin's chair in the briefing room. "Nobody else sits there but me!" Drouin exclaims.

NORAD monitors North American airspace for missile attacks and other unauthorized objects in the sky, and Drouin says the same technology keeps tabs on Santa's present-laden sleigh.

"Let me tell you a secret: Rudolph's nose glows on our radar. We can see the red nose from miles away," Drouin said, confidentially.

There are other videos live on the tracker website, along with games, music and more. As usual, "Santa Cams" are streaming videos as Saint Nick begins his route, and starting at 6:01 a.m., trackers can call 1-877-HI-NORAD or email noradtrackssanta@outlook.com and ask an operator for Santa's exact location.

Fifteen hundred people are answering phone calls and emails, while more than 9 million unique visitors visit the website from upwards of 200 countries and territories worldwide, NORAD says.

The tracking service began 61 years ago, when a misprinted phone number in a newspaper ad directed children thinking they had Santa's direct line to dial an Air Force base in Colorado that hosted the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center, now NORAD.

The commander on duty played along, checking the radar for signs of Santa for each of the inquisitive kids, and a tradition was born. 



Photo Credit: NORAD
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[7 Ways to Avoid Holiday Shopping Scams This Season]]> Wed, 21 Dec 2016 14:29:42 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/shoppingscams.jpg Nothing says happy holidays quite like new ways to get scammed, overcharged, or have your identity stolen. ]]> <![CDATA[Best, Worst Stores for Gift Returns]]> Wed, 21 Dec 2016 11:45:50 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/cr-returns.jpg Consumer Reports checks out the five best and the five worst major retailers for returns. Among the best are Nordstrom and L.L. Bean, which both allow returns with no receipts and no time limit. Sears and Barnes and Noble are listed as among the worst retailers to return items to for their more restrictive policies.

Photo Credit: Consumer Reports]]>
<![CDATA[An Ice Castle Rises in Wisconsin]]> Thu, 22 Dec 2016 02:28:26 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NC_icecastles1221_1920x1080.jpg An ice castle winter wonderland is taking shape in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. What started as a small idea for Brent Christensen and his family has turned into a family activity for all. ]]> <![CDATA[Wildest and Wacky Stories of 2016]]> Wed, 21 Dec 2016 10:17:57 -0400 NBC's Raphael Seth takes a look back at the lighter side of 2016.]]> <![CDATA[Vanity Plate Lands Santa on Naughty List]]> Wed, 21 Dec 2016 09:58:48 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NC_santaplate1220_1920x1080.jpg A custom license plate has landed an Alabama Santa on the naughty list. Dave Reid, also known as Santa, was baffled when the license plate he'd displayed on his SUV for six years was suddenly deemed offensive when he tried to renew it this year. The tag read "HO HO" and was on a specialty wildlife plate featuring a deer.

Photo Credit: WSFA-TV]]>
<![CDATA[McCartney, Johansson and More Sing 'Wonderful Christmastime']]> Wed, 21 Dec 2016 07:29:06 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/nbc_tjf_hlt_s4e060_595_wonderfulchristmastime_20161220_1200x675_838283843566.jpg Host Jimmy Fallon and The Roots join Paul McCartney, Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Seth MacFarlane and Tori Kelly for an a cappella rendition of "Wonderful Christmastime."]]> <![CDATA[Neighbors Honor Md. Man Unable to Make Legendary Christmas Display]]> Wed, 21 Dec 2016 15:13:52 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/208*120/121916+ted+adleman.jpg

A Maryland man who has created an over-the-top Christmas light display for nearly 30 years is taking a break this year as he fights cancer, but his home won't be short on holiday cheer.

Ted Adleman's neighbors are planning to sing Christmas carols outside his house on Christmas night.

"We asked, 'What can we do to honor him after many years of him doing something for all of us?'" Linda McDonald Hamlett said.

Hamlett grew up in Lanham and invited more than 600 people to sing outside Adleman's house on Christmas Day.

The Adleman family's home on Good Luck Road in Lanham has been bright with light-up reindeer, Santas and gingerbread men for the past 26 years. Generations of Prince George's County residents have grown up stopping to look at the lights every year.

But this year, Adleman, 77, said he is not up to creating the display; he was diagnosed with cancer this year.

Neighbor Sandie MacWelch said going to see the Adlemans' home has been a family tradition for her 14-year-old son's entire life.

"He was 2 weeks old the first time we went," she said.

"It's always been the Griswold house to me," MacWelch said, referencing the blindingly bright lights in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."

Hamlett said she is expecting at least a few dozen people to sing at the Adlemans' home at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Christmas Day, on the 9200 block of Good Luck Road.

Next year, neighbors plan to set up the lights for Adleman.



Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[How to Protect Your Home From Holiday Burglars]]> Thu, 22 Dec 2016 13:12:41 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GLORIOSO+4I+HOLIDAY+BURGLARY+PKG+5PM+-+00002404_WNBC_0000000143.jpg Tis the season for crime. Many homes are targeted this time of year and some homeowners may not even know they’re giving crooks the green light to break-in. Chris Glorioso reports.]]> <![CDATA[Empire State Building Syncs Lights to Mariah Carey]]> Tue, 20 Dec 2016 08:22:22 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/ESB+LIGHT+SHOW_WNBC_000000014311559+copy.jpg

The Empire State Building is lighting the way again this holiday season as it syncs its lights to a Mariah Carey hit in the nights leading up to Christmas.

Carey pulled the switch at a lighting ceremony in the building’s art deco lobby on Monday, ushering in a nightly light show to her song “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”

The light show will be synced every night until Christmas at 7 p.m. on iHeartMedia New York’s Z100, 103.5 KTU and 106.7 Life FM.

The holiday light show features a dazzling display of red, green and white and is visible across much of the city and tri-state.

“I can see the Empire State Building from my apartment,” Carey said. “To have its iconic lights synced to my song is the perfect gift this holiday season.”

Fans can post their photos and video with the hashtag #ESBUnwrapped.

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<![CDATA[Christmas Decorations Alight House in Queens]]> Mon, 19 Dec 2016 21:33:02 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000014307432_1200x675_837068867603.jpg A view of a brightly decorated holiday home at 80th Drive and Chevy Chase Street in Jamaica, Queens, as captured by Chopper 4 Monday evening. See more spectacular holiday homes in New York City!]]> <![CDATA[Last Delivery Dates for Christmas Presents]]> Mon, 19 Dec 2016 16:13:52 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_426990439.jpg

We're getting down to the wire now! If you haven't finished your Christmas or Hanukkah shopping yet, now's the time -- especially if you're planning on ordering online or shipping a package to someone.

Read on for key dates:

SHIPPING SERVICES:

U.S. Postal Service: Dec. 20 is the last day to send via First-Class Mail; Dec. 21 is the deadline for Priority Mail, and Dec. 23 is the deadline for Priority Mail Express.

FedEx Express: You can ship up to Dec. 23 for your package to arrive Dec. 24 if you use FedEx First Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight and FedEx 2Day. Those services will deliver Dec. 24, but a $16 Saturday delivery fee (per package) will apply. Find more info here.

UPS: You can ship up to Dec. 23 for your package to arrive Dec. 24 if you use the Saturday delivery option. Find more info here.

RETAILERS:

Amazon.com: Dec. 19 is the deadline for standard shipping; Dec. 22 is the last day for two-day shipping. If you get one-day shipping (available in select cities), you can get one-day shipping until Dec. 23 in time for Christmas or Hanukkah. Find more info here.

BestBuy.com: You can get free two-day shipping through Dec. 20.

BedBathandBeyond.com: Order by 11:59 p.m. ET Dec. 19 to get free delivery by Christmas on orders over $29.

LordandTaylor.com: Order by Dec. 20 for two-day air shipping on all orders over $99, but you can get a free next-day air upgrade on all orders over $99, Dec. 21-22. Order by noon Dec. 22 for next-day air on all orders over $99.

Macys.com: Order by 5 p.m. Dec. 21 to get your items in time for Christmas or Hanukkah.

Nordstrom.com: Order by noon on Dec. 21 for two-business-day shipping; order by noon Dec. 22 for free standard shipping. Dec. 23 at noon is your last chance for $10 rush shipping on qualifying merchandise (not available in rural areas).

Sears.com: Order by 4 p.m. CT Dec. 19 to get free delivery by Christmas for orders $49 and up.

Shutterfly.com: Order by 7 p.m. ET on Dec. 19 to get free expedited shipping for Christmas delivery on orders $10 and up.

Target.com: Order by 4 p.m. Dec. 21 to get free standard delivery by Dec. 23. Choose "holiday shipping" at checkout.

ToysRUs.com: Dec. 19 is your last chance for free standard shipping. Order by 3 p.m. Dec. 21 for expedidated shipping, or by 11:59 p.m. that day for express shipping. Find more info here.

Walmart.com: Walmart is offering free two-day shipping with no minimum for select toy purchases, or a $50 minimum for other eligible items.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[NYPD Sgt. Who Got Toys from Church as a Boy Pays It Forward]]> Fri, 16 Dec 2016 21:35:44 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NYPD+TOY+FOR+TOTS+DRIVE+SOUND+BROLL+-+14545328_WNBC_00000001427.jpg

An NYPD sergeant who grew up getting his Christmas toys from a local church in Brooklyn is paying it forward to a new generation of needy children.

NYPD Sgt. Shaun Dominicci and his fellow officers in the counterterrorism division collected hundreds of gifts for Toys for Tots and by Friday, they'd filled up an entire truck to send off to the Marine Corps, who will distribute the toys to local children in need. 

Dominicci, a 16-year veteran, said his own vivid memory of receiving a toy from his local church sparked the idea for the drive last year. 

"I grew up, I don't want to say poor, but low income, and my mother used to take me to church as a child, and you get a present," he said. 

"I remember I received a toy train set, and that will always stay in my life," said Dominicci. "It's one of the best gifts I ever had." 

The Toys for Tots nonprofit program is run by the Marine Corps Reserve, and distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas. 

"I think these kids, when they receive these presents -- I know it firsthand, it's the best thing you can get. You believe in Santa or you don't believe in Santa, that's the proudness you have when receiving this gift: 'Oh, somebody gave me this,'" said Dominicci. "And the strain it has on the family, on the parents who can't afford to give the gifts, it's great [to help]."

When he got the idea to start the drive last year, Dominicci said he asked his chief's permission and got the green light right away.

"The chief was ecstatic, he said, 'This is great, we want to jump on this 100 percent,'" recalled Dominicci. "He contacted every unit within our bureau."

NYPD Chief of Counterterroism James Waters recalled the touching phone call he received from Dominicci asking if he could set up the drive.

"Shaun said, 'I have an idea about collecting toys for Christmas, but I need to tell you a story first,'" said Waters. "And he relayed this story of his early childhood with his brothers and his mother in Brooklyn, and that they were poor. And that he vividly remembers walking with his mother hand in hand to get a toy."

"It quickly resonated with me that that was going to be his Christmas," said Waters. "And so he said, 'I have an opportunity now to make a difference. Am I OK to do this? Can we put the boxes out in the commands, can we collect money, can we make a difference in another child's life for Christmas?' And I said, let's go do this." 

Among the commands who pitched in were the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the NYPD bomb squad, the Critical Response Command and the World Trade Center police. 

"There's 1,000 people in the Counterterrorism Bureau, and I asked each and every one of them to step up and put a toy in the box or put some money in the envelope so that the team we put together could go do the shopping," said Waters. 

"When I wake up Christmas morning... I'll know for sure that there are children that are going to wake up Christmas morning, and there's going to be a gift for them that they might not have had it had it not been for this collection," he said. 

Waters said Toys 'R Us helped the NYPD with a personal shopper and assisted them in maximizing their money to buy the most toys.

He says they plan to repeat the drive next year, "bigger and better."  



Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[Visit One of These NYC Bars to Try Unique Holiday Cocktails ]]> Tue, 20 Dec 2016 08:50:39 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/160*120/Holiday_cocktails.jpg

The only thing better than a cocktail is a holiday cocktail! Check out one of these NYC bar spots for a yummy festive drink.

Alamo Drafthouse, 445 Albee Square West, makes a mean hot chocolate. Alamo Drafthouse remixes the classic drink by making it with tequila, vanilla ice cream, chocolate and a little spicy habanero pepper.

Delilah, 155 Rivington St., is the place to try the Dessert Christmas made with vodka, brandy, homemade ginger syrup, and lime juice. The sweet treat comes with gingerbread man on top.

Ghost Donkey, 4 Bleecker St., is the spot to grab a brandy-infused salted caramel horchata.

Metropolis Oyster Room & Cocktail Bar, 31 Union Square W., at 16th St., serves up a soothing chamomile Tequila, cinnamon rum and a tequila and cranberry fruit mash up served with cranberries and fresh apple slices!

A Midwinter Night's Dream, 2178 Broadway, a pop-up bar at NYLO New York City's LOCL bar, serves a special drink called Shakespeare's Globe. The dreamy Christmas drink is made with gin, root beer, vanilla syrup, Cointreau and Douglas Fir liqueur. Best of all, the drink has edible disco glitter in it!

Miracle on Ninth Street, 649 E Ninth St., gets in the holiday spirit with a strong punch called Bad Santa. The cocktail includes two types of rum, arrack, pineaple juice, milk, lemon juice, coconut water and clarified coconut butter in a mug shapped like St. Nick. 

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<![CDATA[Fun Places to Celebrate the Festival of Lights This Hanukkah]]> Fri, 16 Dec 2016 16:11:35 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/menorahcropbr.jpg

This Hanukkah will be a holiday of bright lights and magical events. Don’t miss all the family-friendly festive events going on in NYC.

Dec. 16

Glow-in-the-Dark Family Hanukkah Dinner, Lexington Avenue at 92nd St., will be a luminous night for families. The dinner will be in a room all aglow with glow sticks while you try tasty latkes.The dinner is $36 in the Warburg Lounge. 

Dec. 18

Latkepalooza, 36 Battery Place, will be a rockin party for kids ages 3 to 10. For a mere $10 you can enjoy food, music, theater and hands-on activities for both parents and kids. The Museum of Jewish Heritage is offering free admission for children and grandchildren of MJH/WC/NYTF members.

Hanukkah Playhouse, 129 W 67th Street, is a show of songs, stories, sing-alongs and audience participation games. Children will also be called on stage to join in. Come by at 11 a.m. for the book fair. The performance starts at 1 p.m. and it’s free admission.

Hanukkah Family Day, 1109 Fifth Ave, the Jewish Museum will be a chance for the tiny ones to get creative and design their own Hanukkah lamps. Kids will also get to create a menorah out of found objects in the museum. There will also be a live drawing performance illustrating wonderous stories of the seasons. Hanukkah Family Day starts at noon and it’s free admission.

Dec. 27

Chanukah on Ice, 110th St. at Lenox Avenue, is the perfect opportunity to get with the winter spirit. Laser Rink is throwing a skate party. Skate under the glow of an icy menorah and a giant spinning dreidel. Admission and skate rental is $25 and without skate rental, $18 online. Children under 3 are free.

Dec. 24 - 31

Lighting of the World’s Largest Hanukkah Menorah, Eastern Parkway at Flatbush Ave, is going to be an epic night. Gaze at the 32-foot tall menorah while you dance, eat and receive some gifts. Admission is free!



Photo Credit: iamtieshkasmith/Instagram]]>