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Top Places to Celebrate the Holidays in NYC

Seth Conley
Concierge, W New York – Times Square
Seth Conley
Concierge, W New York – Times Square
1567 Broadway

Enjoy latkes at the annual Latke Festival (©Veer)

From twinkling lights in Brooklyn to window displays at Midtown retailers and cozy decor in Downtown eateries, W New York – Times Square’s Seth Conley shares his top NYC destinations alive with holiday spirit.

Q: What are a few lesser-known holiday events happening around town this month?

A: Check out Nutcracker Rouge (thru Jan. 17) at the Minetta Lane Theatre. It’s a sexy version of the classic Christmas ballet. Enjoy an incredible variety of latkes, a favorite Hanukkah dish, at the 7th Annual Latke Festival (Dec. 7) at the Metropolitan Pavilion. At the 42nd Annual Merry Tuba Christmas at Rockefeller Center (Dec. 13), hundreds of tubists play holiday favorites while spectators sing along.

Q: What nonholiday events do you recommend?

A: The Progressive International Motorcycle Show rolls into the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center (Dec. 11-13). The Sixth Annual Battle of the Belgians (Dec. 5) takes place at Jimmy’s No. 43. At the event, beer lovers can sample more than 20 beers and vote on their favorite, while foodies can feast on a whole roasted “Lechon” hog. Four college basketball teams face off in the CBS Sports Classic (Dec. 19) at Barclays Center.

Concierge Seth Conley of W New York - Times Square (©Kelly Doule, Michael Klienberg)

Q: What neighborhoods should visitors explore?

A: Southwest Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights is the mecca for holiday lights. Visitors can see everything from inflatables to statues to millions of lights until New Year’s. With the New York Islanders move to Barclays Center, check out Park Slope for pregame festivities; there are some great bars and restaurants along Brooklyn’s Fifth Avenue.

Q: What restaurants go all out with holiday decorations?

A: Rolf’s German Restaurant, in Gramercy, does Christmas decorations like no other. Also, check out Lillie’s in Union Square. Have a drink in this Victorian era-themed bar and take in the colorful garlands and huge wreath.

Columbus Circle Globe

Q: Where can out-of-towners find only-in-New-York gifts?

A: Look no further than New York City’s amazing holiday markets. Two of the best are Union Square Holiday Market and Columbus Circle Holiday Market. Whether you’re in the market for ornaments, clothing, handmade jewelry or even fine art, chances are you can find it at one of these. Make sure to come hungry, as Columbus Circle boasts some of the best food booths in the city.

Q: What have guests been asking about lately?

A: They want to see the New Year’s Eve ball drop! If you don’t want to stand in Times Square for hours, do a party package that includes dinner, entertainment and access to Times Square right before midnight. Places like Hurley’s Saloon and The Copacabana Times Square are two suggestions. Guests want to know which holiday window displays are worth seeing, so I tell them Tiffany & Co. and Saks Fifth Avenue are two of my favorites.