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Christmas Day 2009 in New York City: Last Minute Plans

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ChristmasinNewYorkNew York is famous for its Christmas tree and skating rink at Rockefeller Center, for the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, for the astonishing window displays in Fifth Avenue stores during Christmas shopping season. It’s a mecca for shoppers, eaters, tourists, museum- and theatergoers all month long. Less known is how much there is to do on Christmas Day itself in New York City.

Want to eat out? So many restaurants are open in New York on Christmas Day that when I went to Open Table, the online restaurant reservation service, to find what would be available for two in Manhattan at 2:00 p.m. on December 25th, I got back 207 restaurants — 7 p.m. for four people 248 restaurants. (They might not all be available by the time you make your reservations.)

3047494538_5e8de126ae_mWant to see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall? You can see them on Christmas Day three times; there are shows at 1, 4 and 7 p.m.

Care to see the city on Christmas Day serenity from on-high? Try the Empire State Building from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. (the last elevators go up at 1:15 a.m.) or Rockefeller Center’s Top of the Rock, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (the last elevator up at 8:10 p.m.)

FinianBegat2Want to attend a Broadway show on Christmas Day? According to Playbill, there are many to choose from on Christmas Day (far fewer on Christmas Eve, although several have matinee performances at 2 p.m. December 24th, including, as of this writing, “Hair,” “The Lion King,” “Mary Poppins,” “Ragtime,” and of course “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas). On Christmas Day itself, there are 8 p.m. performances of “The 39 Steps,” “Billy Elliot,” “Burn the Floor,” Chicago,” “Fela!,” “Finian’s Rainbow,” “In the Heights,” “In the Next Room,” “Jersey Boys,” “A Little Night Music,” “Mamma Mia!,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Race,” “Rock of Ages,” “Shrek,” “South Pacific,” “Superior Donuts” and “West Side Story.”
There are also plenty of shows to see Off-Broadway.

melbrooksblazingsaddlesPrefer a movie? Check out the schedule at MovieFone or Fandango. If you can stand another viewing, the Christmas classic It’s A Wonderful Life is showing at the IFC Center. More to your taste may be the Mel Brooks double feature, “Blazing Saddles” and ” Spaceballs” at 2 p.m. at 92YTribeca — which includes an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet!

If that’s not quirky enough, how about a walking tour?
Try the Big Onion’s 19th annual Christmas Day Jewish East Side Tour at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. (Meet at the corner of Delancey and Essex St.) — or the Municipal Art Society’s Rockefeller Center: Art Deco Masterwork at 10 a.m.

How about a bike ride? Critical Mass Manhattan offers a two-hour bike ride around what may be one of the only virtually car-free days in Manhattan. Meet at Union Sq North Plaza, Broadway at 17th St. 7pm, free.

Want something to do with your kids? How about the Big Apple Circus — there are performances scheduled for both 12:30 and 4:30 p.m.–
or Klez for Kids at the Eldridge Street Museum at 11 a.m., where you can “sing, dance, learn Yiddish and “get married” at our annual family concert.”

How about a concert? There is a plentitude of jazz:

Bending Toward The Light: A Jazz Nativity at Birdland – 6 p.m.
Freddy Cole at Birdland – 8:30 and 11 p.m.
Chris Botti plays the Blue Note – 8 and 10:30 p.m.
Melissa Nadel plays the Blue Note – 12:30 a.m. (early Dec.26)
4 Generations of Miles- Mike Stern, Sonny Fortune, Buster Williams, Jimmy Cobb at Iridium Jazz Club – 8:30 p.m.

strawberryfieldstributebandOther concerts:
Beatles tribute band Strawberry Fields plays BB Kings Blues Club – 8 p.m.
Michael Feinstein & David Hyde Pierce Holiday Show at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency – 8 p.m.
More Than Enough dance party at Le Poisson Rouge – 10 p.m.
230 Fifth rooftop lounge – 4 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Museums
Jewish Museum with the Alias Man Ray: The Art of Reinvention exhibition and Family Celebration events – 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Museum of Jewish Heritage – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Discovery’s Times Square Exhibition featuring “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition” and “DaVinci’s Workshop” from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens – 10 a.m. to sunset
Madame Tussauds wax museum on 42nd Street – 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium – 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.; last ticket sold at midnight

Zoos & Carousels
Central Park carousel – opens 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Central Park Zoo – open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Prospect Park Zoo – open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Queens Zoo – open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

New York Aquarium – open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Skating rinks
Prospect Park’s Wollman Rink in Brooklyn – 10 a.m. 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The Rink at Rockefeller Center – 9 a.m. to midnight
The Pond at Bryant Park – 8 a.m. to midnight
Wollman Rink in Central Park – open, but times not yet confirmed. Probably 10 a.m. to at 7 p.m.
Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers open for indoor ice skating – noon to 6:50 p.m.

2110178669_dec12c2fd4_mReligious services and concerts
St. Patrick’s Cathedral Christmas Day mass – celebrated at 7, 8, 9, 10:15 a.m., noon, 1 and 5:30 p.m.
Choral Eucharist at Trinity Wall Street at 11:15 a.m.
Christmas Day Eucharist at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine at 10:30 a.m.
Festival Choral Eucharist at St. Bartholonew’s Church on Park Avenue – 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.