Photograph Courtesy of LargestMenorah.com

The holiday season is in full swing! This first week of December marks the start of Hanukkah and all over the city there are different ways to celebrate the season. Here are out picks for 11 things to do in New York City this week:

Friday, November 30th

Photograph by Susan Povich, Courtesy of the Red Hook Lobster Pound 

Missed the Rockefeller Center Tree lighting? Head to the Lobster Trap Tree lighting ceremony at the Red Hook Lobster Pound. This fun and free event starts at 6:00pm with the “tree” lighting taking place at 7:00pm. There will be complimentary food, grog and caroling!

Saturday, December 1st

Explore the abandoned Ellis Island Hospital complex on a special behind-the-scenes hard hat tour with Untapped Cities. Gain exclusive access to areas of the 22-building complex that once served as contagious disease wards, autopsy rooms, laundry facilities and more. This often looked over section of the south side of Ellis Island was once the standed of American medical care and was once used as headquarters by the FBI, but has been left to decay and off-limits to the public for nearly 60 years.

Behind-the-Scenes Hard Hat Tour of the Abandoned Ellis Island Hospital

Have a red carpet experience at Brooklyn Public Library’s first People’s Ball — “a free party celebrating imagination, style and freedom.” The event, which starts at 7pm and runs to midnight, will offer all who attend a red carpet arrival and the chance to strut their stuff and express themselves on the open catwalk. The party in the library’s Grand Lobby will feature special guests, public addresses, drinks, food and DJ music. Registration required, you can sign up here.

Travel back in time to the turn of the century, to the elegant The Grand Victorian Christmas presented by Gemini and Scorpio events at the historic Mount Vernon Hotel Museum. The night will start with guided tours through the garden and beautifully preserved mansion. At 9pm the historically accurate party starts in a secret candlelit ballroom with a fully trimmed tree, hundreds of candles, live music from Lacy Rose and her Starling Quartet, carols, mulled cider, food and parlor games. Ticket prices vary and you can add on a portrait with Santa!

Sunday, December 2nd

Enjoy the great outdoors on a nature walk through Caven Point, one of the largest and last remaining salt marshes in New York Harbor led by the co-vice president of the Friends of Liberty State Park. On this special tour travel through uplands, wetlands, and beaches while your guide, a train naturalist, helps identify plant and wildlife. Hear remarks from the Friends of Liberty State Park’s president and learn about the history of the park (along with some cool secrets), and about the environmental history and state of the harbor today. If you are an Untapped Cities Insider, you can join this event for free! Not an Insider yet? Become a member today to gain access to free behind-the-scenes tours and special New York City events all year long.

Celebrate the first night of Hanukkah at the lighting of Brooklyn’s largest menorah in front of Grand Army Plaza. The celebration starts with a concert at 4:30pm and the menorah is lit at 5:30pm. Every night of Hanukkah Rabbi Shimon Hecht, with the assistance of a 60-foot boom lift, lights a candle on the giant menorah. Admission is free and every night there will be live music, hot latkes, and gifts for kids!

Photograph by John Suhar Courtesy of The Poetry Brothel

Get a private poetry reading at The Poetry Brothel’s 4th Annual Holiday Office Party at the House of Yes in Brooklyn. The Poetry Brothel is an immersive literary cabaret that fuses poetry, burlesque, live music, vaudeville, visual art, magic, mysticism, and private one-on-one poetry experiences to provide guests with one-of-a-kind experience. If you are an Untapped Cities Insider, you can attend this event for free! Not an Insider yet? Become a member today to gain access to free behind-the-scenes tours and special New York City events all year long!

Monday, December 3rd

Image Courtesy of COOKFOX Architects

See inside the working studios of COOKFOX Architects, one of New York City’s leading architectural firms, on a special tour presented by Untapped Cities and 6sqft. On this private tour of COOKFOX’s midtown office space led by Jared Gilbert,Director of Communications, discover the intentions behind the design of the space that features wellness technology, functional outdoor spaces, and exemplifies the firm’s the biophilic principles. You also learn about some of the firm’s biggest projects like the proposed St. John’s Terminal addition and mixed-use tower at the Domino Sugar site. If you are an Untapped Cities Insider, you can attend this event for free! Not an Insider yet? Become a member today to gain access to free behind-the-scenes tours and special New York City events all year long!

Tuesday, December 4th

Learn how to make the perfect latke at the first class in a new three-part food series Holiday Eats at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space.  Each event will include tips from top chefs, new recipes and techniques to try at home, and seasonal treats for everyone! The series kicks off with “Brush Up Your Latkes,” with James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook, co-owners of the Philadelphia restaurant Zahav and authors of the new cookbook, Israeli Soul; and Deb Perelman, creator of smittenkitchen.com. The following two classes are “Sugar and Spice: A Cookie Master Class,” and “Feliz Navidad: Tamales and More.” You can get 20% off when you book all three classes at once.

Thursday, December 6th


View an expansive collection of menorahs from around the world and over five centuries of Hanukkah celebrations at the opening reception of Lighting the World: Menorahs Around the GlobeThis new exhibit at the Museum at Eldridge Street celebrates Jewish tradition and the Hanukkah holiday while illuminating cultural history, the evolution of customs, and Judaic heritage through artifacts from Jewish communities in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas displayed in the stunning historic sanctuary. The free opening reception starts at 6pm and will feature remarks from the museum staff and the collector. The exhibit will be included in the price of museum admission and open to the public on Friday, December 7th.

Photograph by Carly Hoogendyk, Courtesy of Caveat 

Find out how well you can tell New York City fact from fiction at Caveat’s holiday edition of New York City’s Secrets and Lies. This live storytelling show returns to Caveat with five storytellers who will entertain you with tales about our city’s secret history. The catch? One of the bunch is a liar. Your mission is to figure out who’s lying, cast your vote, and then snag the big prize at the end of the evening. This special holiday edition will also have additional prizes and surprises. If you are an Untapped Cities Insider, you can attend this event for free! Not an Insider yet? Become a member today to gain access to free behind-the-scenes tours and special New York City events all year long!

See our full list of Untapped Cities Insiders Tours and our upcoming Public Tours!

 events, nyc events, things to do, Top 10 NYC Events

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