Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Child’s Christmas In NYC

Many families in the greater metropolitan area take a trip to New York City during the holiday season to share in the spectacle. New York City knows how to put on a show. From the gigantic open-air Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center to the recent Santacon in Times Square, New York City does Christmas BIG. When it comes to decorated windows, there's a group of stores—Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys, and Bloomingdales—that make it their business to make their windows worth a special trip. A major stroll through mid-town Manhattan is sure to put you in the spirit of the season. This walking guide will help you plan your route.

Christopher Robin's actual toys.
While you’re in the neighborhood of Macy’s and Lord & Taylor, there are a few very special sites that your children (and you!) may love. If your child is a fan of A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories, you’ll surely love to take a peek at Christopher Robin Milne’s actual collection of stuffed toys that inspired his father’s tales. They are on view in their new home, The Stephen A. Schwartzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, part of the New York Public Library’s Children’s Center. These toys have been well-loved and patched over the years, which makes a lot of sense; toys that nobody cared about would never have inspired such a world of imagination. And while you’re in the neighborhood, fans of Beatix Potter will enjoy an exhibition of her beautifully illustrated letters at The Morgan Library on Madison Avenue at 36th Street. And while you’re at the Morgan, check out the museum’s annual exhibit of the original manuscript of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.

A detail from the Metropolitan Museum's Neapolitan Baroque Tree.

The Origami Tree at AMNH.
If you’re on the trail of an old-fashioned Christmas, a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street will fit in nicely. Their Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche has been a tradition at the museum since 1957. You and your children will love this “vivid, eighteenth-century Neapolitan Nativity scene—embellished with a profuse array of diminutive, lifelike attendant figures and silk-robed angels hovering above—adorns the candlelit spruce,” to quote the Museum’s own description. It’s a wonder to behold, the prettiest crèche you will see in New York City. For a different take on the holiday season, the American Museum of Natural History on Central Park West at 79th Street has their own thirty-year tradition, their annual Origami Tree. Origami is the traditional art of Japanese paper folding. This tree inspires the same reaction you’ll have to all the exhibits here: amazing! So have an amazing holiday season in the city!

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