One of NYC’s most spectacular holiday light shows takes place in the comfort of a garden where winter never comes.
Starting Nov. 28, Luminaries brings a floating sea of over 600 glowing lanterns to the Winter Garden in Brookfield Place in Lower Manhattan (230 Vesey St.)
Suspended over the garden's glass dome to create waves of color-changing light, the lanterns were created by The LAB at Rockwell Group to embody “the season's traditions of giving, sharing, community and light.”
Standing beneath the color-changing canopy feels almost like being under the sea — appropriate, since the Winter Garden is a tropical one filled with palm trees, where visitors can enjoy the holiday lights without Jack Frost nipping at your nose.
Besides being a gorgeous and unique addition to the city’s Christmas light displays, Luminaries is also special because it’s interactive. Holiday dreamers can send a wish to Santa (or whoever may be listening this time of year) by touching one of three Wishing Stations. Each wish then gets broadcast out into the universe with a brief light show.
Not only will you be spreading cosmic goodwill, but each wish is also a $1 donation to support music education through the Grammy Museum.
Luminaries is free and open to the public daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Jan. 5, 2018. You can welcome back the art installation during the Light Up Luminaries community party, featuring caroling, a tree-lighting ceremony, seasonal treats and free ice skating on Nov. 28 from 5:30-8 p.m.
In addition to Luminaries, there’s plenty of seasonal fun happening at Brookfield Place.
Santa has already taken up residence at Brookfield Place on the second floor through Christmas Eve, where a winter wonderland includes a photo op inside his sleigh and kid-friendly activities.
The Rink, the only place to ice skate in the city with riverfront views, is open for the winter through March 2018, with 90-minute skate sessions going on daily ($15, $5 skate rental) along the Hudson waterfront. Private lessons and weekend hockey sessions are also available.
Or watch Olympic pros show you how it’s done at Stars United (Dec. 3, 6-8:30 p.m.) — you can even make a reservation to join them! — along with dance music queen Kristine W, country singer Jason Walker and Autumn Turner from The Voice.
For some free family fun, Keith Michael’s The Nutcracker returns with free performances by the New York Theatre Ballet that condense Tchaikovsky’s seasonal favorite into a one-hour show set at the turn of the 20th century. See it in the Winter Garden on Friday, Dec. 1, 7 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 2, 1 p.m. & 7 p.m.