City's Five Boroughs Will Offer Festive Line-up of Unique Holiday Events and Programming to Entice Visitors to Book NYC New York, N.Y. -NYC & Company, the City's official marketing, tourism, and partnership organization, is encouraging visitors to book their holiday travel now as demand for New York City reaches its highest peak between Thanksgiving and Christmas. For those seeking optimal value, visitors should book their stay for the week leading up to Thanksgiving or the week leading up to Christmas-this is a time when business travel to the City drops off and there's more availability at hotels throughout the five boroughs. With a year that is being defined by significant milestones such as the 10th anniversary of September 11 and the 125th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty, there's more reason than ever before to visit the nation's most popular U.S. city tourism destination. "There's no better way to experience the energy and vibrancy of the five boroughs than during the annual holiday season," said George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company. "Travel to the City peaks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, providing visitors with festive and unique experiences that stay with them long after they leave." New York City draws a diverse group of visitors from around the globe each holiday season. A listing of events broken out by the City's five boroughs follows: MANHATTAN: New York City's holiday season officially kicks off when soaring balloons, beautifully crafted floats and of course Santa Claus himself arrive in Herald Square during the 85th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 24. Be among the millions of spectators watching the parade as it begins at 9am on 77th Street and Central Park West. The parade then makes its way to Columbus Circle, turns east toward Seventh Avenue and continues on to 42nd Street. Then it turns east toward Sixth Avenue and goes south on Sixth Avenue to 34th Street, where it travels west until it ends at Seventh Avenue (macys.com/parade). The City twinkles with holiday spirit, particularly as its famed stores and iconic hotels strive to outdo the previous year's celebration. Bloomingdale's, Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and Macy's spruce up their window displays with beautiful holiday-themed decor that awes visitors year after year. Indoor and outdoor holiday markets at Columbus Circle, Bryant Park, Union Square and Grand Central Terminal have become a new must-go for shoppers looking for one-of-a-kind gifts created by local artists and vendors. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting is one of the most popular draws for holiday visitors from around the world. The annual tree-lighting ceremony, which takes place this year on November 30, is an exciting star-studded event. Decorated in festive LED lights and topped with a Swarovski crystal star, the tree, which has become more eco-friendly in recent years, can be viewed until early January. The lighting takes place at Rockefeller Plaza, between West 48th and West 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues (rockefellercenter.com). Now in its 79th year, Radio City Music Hall's Christmas Spectacular continues to amaze both visitors and residents alike. From November 11, 2011, to January 2, 2012, experience the joy of Christmas with outstanding performances by the world-famous Rockettes, which will be performed in "3DLive" for the first time this season. Enjoyed by all ages, the show is sure to become an annual tradition for you and your family. Ticket prices start at $45 (radiocitychristmas.com). Don't miss out on your chance to relive the classic children's tale of Peter Pan in Cathy Rigby is Peter Pan at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. From December 14 to 30, Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby will once again take flight in her Tony-nominated and Emmy Award-winning role as Peter Pan, the boy who won't grow up. Tickets range from $35 to $99 (theateratmsg.com). The New York City Ballet will present one of the season's favorite annual productions, George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. Featuring marching toy soldiers, a glowing one-ton Christmas tree, crystalline snowflakes and some of the most glorious dancing the City has to offer, the show is truly a magical experience-whether it's a family tradition or a once-in-a-lifetime event. The show runs from Nov. 25 to Dec. 31; tickets start at $29 and will be available beginning Sept. 26 (nycballet.com). The Big Apple Circus celebrates its 34th season this year with an all-new show, Dream Big! New York City's circus returns to the Big Top at Lincoln Center, complete with unicyclists, contortionists and animals. Come and see the hilarious and beloved clown, Grandma, in her final season at the Big Apple Circus. Seats are never more than 50 feet from the ring. Performances run from October 20, 2011, to January 8, 2012 (bigapplecircus.org). The Metropolitan Museum of Art will be offering a variety of Christmas concerts, presented in front of the museum's Christmas tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche, on display November 22, 2011-Jan. 6, 2012. A Chanticleer Christmas, which celebrates the mystery and wonder of Christmas with traditional carols, medieval and Renaissance sacred works and new holiday music, will take place November 29 and 30, at 6:30 and 8:30pm, and December 1 at 8:30pm. Anonymous 4, the acclaimed early music vocal quartet, will perform Noel: Four Centuries of Christmas, on December 15 at 6:30 and 8:30pm (metmuseum.org). Twelve 14-foot stars will "dance" to holiday music at the Time Warner Center, from November 18, 2011 to January 3, 2012, 5pm to midnight each night. One of the most popular holiday attractions in the City, the color-lighted ornaments dance from the ceiling of the 150-foot Great Room. Not only is the show fascinating, but it is also the largest specialty crafted display of its kind in the world. For an even greater holiday experience at Time Warner Center, be sure to join "Inside the Circle" for free information about culinary and fashion events, special promotions, giveaways and prizes (shopatcolumbuscircle.com). Don't miss Klez for Kids, an annual family concert at the Museum at Eldridge Street Synagogue, December 25 at 1pm. Clarinetist Greg Wall and his band Klezmerfest lead the audience on a musical tour of Eastern European Jewish culture while children sing, dance and learn Yiddish. The program ends with an audience-enacted shtetl wedding with children taking on the roles of bride, groom and wedding guests (eldridgestreet.org). The lavish Midtown hotel Le Parker Meridien will host its third annual Gingerbread Extravaganza, during which local pastry chefs display their large-scale confectionery creations from December 1, 2011, to mid-January 2012. For $1, visitors can vote for the best gingerbread design and enter to win a prize. All proceeds will benefit City Harvest, an organization that rescues food to feed hungry New Yorkers (parkermeridien.com). Finally, don't miss the lighting of the World's Largest Menorah at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, right in front of The Plaza. BROOKLYN: Brooklyn comes alive for the holidays with the Lights of Dyker Heights. Truly a sight to behold, the spectacle attracts thousands of visitors during the holiday season. The best displays can be seen on the blocks between 83rd and 86th Streets from 11th to 13th Avenue in this small neighborhood between Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst.Also in Brooklyn will be a Christmas Tree Lighting in Borough Hall Plaza, which takes place on December 5 (brooklyn-usa.org).During the week of Hanukkah, be sure to visit the Menorah of Brooklyn in downtown Brooklyn at Columbus Park, right outside Borough Hall. THE BRONX: In the Bronx, visitors can experience the Annual Holiday Family Day at the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum on Saturday, December 3, from 10am to 2pm. Get into the spirit with the whole family at the festively decorated 19th-century mansion and participate in programs and activities for children, including photos with Santa. Reservations are requested; call 718-885-1461 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (bpmm.org).Also in the Bronx, at the New York Botanical Garden, is the family favorite Holiday Train Show, featuring model trains that zip through more than 100 replicas of NYC landmarks, including the Brooklyn Bridge, Yankee Stadium and the George Washington Bridge. Handcrafted by award-winning designers, the set is made from natural supplies such as orange slices, cinnamon sticks, bark and pinecones. The show will be on display between November 19, 2011, and January 16, 2012 (nybg.org). QUEENS: In Queens, the Queens Historical Society presents the Annual Historic Holiday House Tour on Sunday, December 11, from 1 to 5pm. This guided trolley tour includes stops at five festively decorated museums and historical sites, including the Queens Historical Society at the Kingsland Homestead, the Flushing Quaker Meeting House, Flushing Town Hall, the Voelker Orth Museum and Lewis H. Latimer House. A local historian will narrate the tour. Visitors will have access to all exhibits at each site, which will also feature holiday refreshments and family activities. Tickets cost $10 for adults, with children under 12 free, and can be purchased in advance from the Queens Historical Society or from any of the participating sites the day of the event (queenshistoricalsociety.org). STATEN ISLAND: In Staten Island, see the sights and sounds of Historic Richmond Town at its festive best. On December 4, from 10am to 5pm, Historic Richmond Town will host Christmas in Richmond Town, brought to you by the Women's Auxiliary. The day's activities will close with a tree lighting at 5pm. Get more of Richmond Town with the annual Candlelight Tours, December 10 and 17, when the town will be lit by candles, oil lamps and blazing fireplaces. Prepaid reservations are required; call 718-351-1611, ext. 281, for tour times and reservations (historicrichmondtown.org).For more information on planning your holiday visit to New York City, visit nycgo.com. AboutNYC&Company: NYC & Company is the official marketing, tourism and partnership organization for the City of New York, dedicated to maximizing travel and tourism opportunities throughout the five boroughs, building economic prosperity and spreading the positive image of New York City worldwide. For all there is to do and see in NYC, visit nycgo.com.
###Contact: Chris Heywood/NYC & Company (212) 484-1270