New York City is an incredible place to be during the holiday season. You are blessed to be a part of it. Treat it like a tourist and do all the things you never have time for during the year. Have yourself a “Staycation” and discover all of the delights that abound you. Most of them are free.
If you haven’t celebrated Kwanzaa yet, give it a shot. You won’t be disappointed. Keep your costs down, save up for that college education or upkeep home your family needs. Show your friends and family how much you love them through your actions. There is no need to keep making Wal-Mart rich.
Kwanzaa is for everyone!
WRITE YOUR OWN PLAY/MOVIE
Film your own family “oeuvre” on your telephone. It may seem corny today, but when you look back at it 20 years from now, you will weep with joy.
Have the family learn a few seasonal songs and sing them outside of your neighbors’ door. Start as soon as they open the door. Give them a memento such as fruit or figs when you have finished the song. You can also ask them to join you as you go to the next neighbor. By the end of the evening, you might have a heavenly chorus.
CHOP DOWN YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS TREE
If you have a car, you can drive a few miles out of the city and select your tree from a tree farm. OR on Christmas Eve, after all of the tree vendors have closed, you can rescue the trees that did not get a new home. Many times, they are a tad straggly, so you might have to take two or three of them and bind them together. Be sure to make the decorations out of popcorn, cranberries and all things homemade in order to stay in the motif. Wrap your presents in newspapers or paper brown packages tied up in string.
THE STATEN ISLAND FERRY
Take the Staten Island Ferry round-trip. Time it so that you can see the sun go down and the lights coming up as you return to NYC.
THE CHINATOWN ARCADE
Chinatown Fair Family Fun, 8 Mott St., NYC, open on Christmas from 11:00am-Midnight, 212-964-1001. The fortune-telling chicken is no longer there but the arcade games are. They are priced from $1.00 to $1.50. You could give each person $10.00 to spend as they like. Perhaps make a game of it, the one who makes their money last the longest, gets a prize.
THE HAYDEN PLANETARIUM
200 Central Park West, corner of 79th St., NYC. Closed Christmas Day but open Christmas Eve.
This is where the astrophysicist, Neil de Grasse Tyson, everybody’s favorite “genius”, weaves his magic.
There is a suggested donation which is okay for those who can afford it. The museum wants to be inclusive, therefore, you can give what you can. I think $1 for each adult and 25 cents for each child is about right. The museum has a line on the city budget, they are not dependent upon donations, and they certainly don’t want you to stay away if the price of admission is too dear.
MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
79th St. & Central Park West. Closed Christmas Day but open Christmas Eve, 212-769-5100.
Pay what you will. There is a suggested donation. My suggested donation is that you pay $1.00 for each adult and 25 cents for each child.
KWANZAA AT THE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY–ONE DAY ONLY!
79th St. & Central Park West. December 30, 2017, from noon-5:00PM. This event is free with your admission ticket, which means that it is included with your 25-cent donation. There will be vendors at this event and I’m sure the museum would be delighted to see your disposable funds go to the individual artisans. It is located in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. The day will have a live musical performance, a history of the Seven Kwanzaa Principles, local artisans vending their Afrocentric wares and a spirit of unity.
MOVIE PARTY IN YOUR HOME
You can show an appropriate kid flick in your home for all the neighborhood children and give the grown-ups a break to go wrap their presents and make surprises at their home. P.S.–If your home is already decorated in Kwanzaa style, it might engender conversation about the holiday and attract others to it. Meanwhile, if you have netflix, it should only cost you a couple of bowls of popcorn (preferably hot with olive oil and garlic) to do a mitzvah for your neighbor.
STUDIO MUSEUM IN HARLEM
144 West 125th St., NYC 10027; 212-864-4500
FREE ON SUNDAYS, NOON- 6:00PM
Featuring: FICTIONS, an exhibition of 19 emerging artists-in-residence.
THEIR OWN HARLEM: including the works of the great masters such as Jacob Lawrence and others and their visions of Harlem.
THE JOURNEY: the work of Derrick Adams.
THE MUSEUM OF JEWISH HERITAGE
36 Battery Place, New York City, 646-437-4202
FREE EVERY WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY FROM 4:00-8:00PM
THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIANS
1 Bowling Green, NYC 10004, 212-514-3700, open every day except Christmas. 10:00AM-5:00PM–FREE EVERY DAY
BROOKLYN CHILDREN’S MUSEUM
145 Brooklyn Ave., Brooklyn, NY 718-735-4400
FREE ON THURSDAYS FROM 2:00PM-6:00PM
HAMILTON GRANGE NATIONAL MEMORIAL (HAMILTON MANSION)
409 West 141st Street, NYC 10031, 646-548-2310
FREE WEDNESDAYS-SUNDAYS FROM 9:00AM-5:00PM