curated by Sara Maher

Public service announcement: today is SantaCon. If you don’t want to spend your Saturday weaving through large crowds of tipsy hoodlums, avoid popular City destinations after 10:00 a.m. (although, that could apply to any Saturday between Thanksgiving and, oh, mid-February.) Here are a few activities to get you through the New Year without being street-harassed by a slobbering drunk Santa.

Trees and Trimmings

We’ve already missed most of the lightings for the year, but huddling in the cold pressed against complete strangers isn’t really the most enjoyable part anyway. If you want to check out the trees and decorations, post-lighting, here are a few F-accessible locations with festive finery: the Plaza Hotel (57th St stop; 5th Ave and 59th St); Rockefeller Center (47-50th Sts-Rockefeller Center stop; 50th St between 6th and 5th Aves); the Roosevelt Hotel (42nd St-Bryant Park stop; 45 E 45th St); Bryant Park (42nd St-Bryant Park stop); Herald Square and Macy’s (34th St-Herald Square stop; 6th Ave between 34th and 35th Sts); Washington Square Park (W 4th St stop; Waverly Place at 5th Ave).

ÜF downtown to various stops. Most displays through January starting at dusk; check park or location websites for exact dates. All free.

Quicker ’Cracker

Taking your family to see The Nutcracker is a timeless family tradition, but going to see a traditional staging takes up quite a bit of, well, time. Take wiggly little ones or the ballet-adverse to Keith Michael’s The Nutcracker from the New York Theater Ballet. This reworking is danced to the original Tchaikovsky score, but with colorful Art Nouveau-style costumes and sets – and it only lasts one hour!

ÜF downtown to Lex Av/63rd St and walk southwest to Florence Gould Hall (55 E 59th St), or take the Tram and walk west on 59th St. Dec 12-13; performances at 11am, 1:30pm, 3:30pm both days. Tickets $34 adults and $24 kids 12 and under. nytb.org/calendar-and-tickets/view/Keith-Michaels-The-Nutcracker

Keeping It Green

There’s an odd tale or two about why Christmas celebrations require the chopping and stripping of evergreens into household decorations, but you have to admit they are pretty (and that smell!). NYC Parks keeps in the spirit while saving a tree with Wreath Interpretations, its 33rd annual exhibit of unconventional door décor. 50 fine artists and designers have built wreaths out of everything from surge protectors to Q-tips to a collection of little lost winter gloves, and if that isn’t enough of a commentary, each wreath also represents an environmental, social, or political theme.

ÜF downtown to Lex Av/63 St and walk northwest to The Arsenal (in Central Park, enter at 5th Ave and 64th St.) Through Jan 7; Mon-Fri 9am-5pm except municipal holidays. Free. nycgovparks.org/art-and-antiquities/arsenal-gallery

Easy New Year’s Eve

Wait, you don’t feel like ringing in the New Year smashed between thousands of tourists in the middle of one of the busiest, brightest intersections in the world? How about with fireworks and free hot chocolate instead? Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and the Prospect Park Alliance will get you set for 2016 with live entertainment and refreshments before a fireworks display over the Grand Army Plaza arch.

ÜF downtown to 7th Av and walk east to Prospect Park West; fireworks can be viewed along Prospect Park West from 9th St and Grand Army Plaza. Thu Dec 31; entertainment at 11pm followed by fireworks at midnight. Free. prospectpark.org/news-events/events/2015/12/31#new-years-eve-fireworks-15

Tags: Adventures Off-Island entertainment Sara Maher

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