15 Free and cheap activities in NYC to try this December

Ashley Falzone
Ashley is your semi-above-average 20 something living in Astoria who lives and breathes NYC life. She goes about her days looking forward to all the food she will consume. She also loves referencing Kanye West quotes in her articles whenever applicable.

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It’s the holiday season indeed, and New York has a slew of events to remind you of such. Get your jolly on while shopping at the holiday markets, sippin’ on egg nog and scarfing down some latkes. Sing along to Mariah Carey while wondering how Papa McCallister really affords his home in Home Alone. A month of nonstop joy awaits.

 

NYC Holiday Markets

Who needs crowded malls and insanely priced designer stores when you can shop amidst the city streets? The city is filled this time of year with an amazing array of holiday markets that have gifts for every type of person. The best of the best includes Bryant Park, Union Square and Columbus Circle, but you can find local goods in pretty much any borough. Make sure to try the best food stalls the city has to offer while rummaging through each stall.

Do you have a favorite Holiday Shop?

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Winter Wonderland-Staten Island

If there’s ever a reason to visit Staten Island, let this holiday cheer be it. Winter Wonderland Staten Island is an 85,000-square-foot immersive holiday experience for all ages. Taking place until Dec. 23, this event features an ice skating rink, holiday market, rides, games, nightly light shows, Santa’s workshop, a life sized Gingerbread House and fun holiday treats. The event takes place at Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George, right off of the Staten Island Ferry.

 

Union Hall X-Mas Pop Sing-Along

Who doesn’t love drunkenly belting out tunes from the NSYNC Christmas album for the world to hear? To feed this addiction in a proper setting, Union Hall is hosting a Sing-Along of holiday-hit music videos, with all the lyrics on screen so you can sing alongside your fellow XMAS fans. The $10 admission gets you cookies and milk, a picture with Santa, a Santa costume contest and fun X-Mas drinks! “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” will sound THAT much better with a drink of the same name in your hand.

 

8th Annual Latke Festival

If you are in the mood for delicious latkes and celebrating Hanukkah, head on down to the Brooklyn Museum on Dec. 18 from 6 to 8:30 p.m for the Ninth Annual Latke Festival. Tickets are $70 and include drinks and unlimited latkes from vendors, including Veselka, Baz Bagel, and Kulushkat, to name a few. More than 20 latke dishes will be featured to taste (like a deeply rooted latke with beets, onions, carrots, and horseradish). Obviously, we all need more potato pancakes in our lives.

Holiday Train Show at Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central not only has a great holiday market but is a great location to host a holiday train show. From now until Feb. 4 at the NY Transit Museum, the 16th Annual Holiday Train Show features the metro north, the Polar Express, and vintage subway train sets. Fun for the whole family.

 

New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

The train show at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx from now until Jan. 15 is definitely worth visiting. Model trains will zip through 150 different Manhattan landmarks, including new replicas of the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, General Electric Building, and St. Bartholomew’s Church. Tickets are $23 on the weekdays and $30 on the weekend.

 

NYE NYC 2017

Somehow, 2017 is already ending and time is flying far too fast for any of us. Of course, New Year’s Eve in New York City has some of the best events to offer, minus standing in the middle of Times Square while watching Mariah Carey flounder while singing. There’s a slew of concerts, parties, exercise events, and fireworks to ring in 2018 on a high note.

 

New Restaurant Openings/Art to Check Out:

Louis Vuitton NY Exhibition

Even if you’re not into acquiring purses and luggage with the LV logo on it, this free exhibit “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez – Louis Vuitton” is worth a visit. The exhibition takes place at the American Stock Exchange Building through Jan. 7 and it aims to retrace the adventure of Louis Vuitton from 1854 to the present using portraits, objects and documents and select articles. There is also a display devoted to the artisans of the Louis Vuitton workshops.

Here I am !!

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Luminaries at Brookfield Place

On display at Brookfield Place until Jan. 5, this free mesmerizing holiday light installation is designed by the LAB at Rockwell Group. Visitors are immersed in a canopy of glowing lanterns suspended within the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place, each changing color and intensity. For every wish sent by the public during the holiday season, Brookfield will donate $1, up to $25,000, to the GRAMMY Museum and its music education program, which is a great cause to visit for.

 

MOMA Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village

The East Village definitely has transformed into a gentrification haven, but this Club 57 exhibit at MOMA seeks to immerse the public to the East Village of the 70’s and 80’s. The exhibit is on display until April 1 and aims to examine how the convergence of film, video, performance, art, and curatorship in the club environment of New York in the 1970s and 1980s became a model for a new spirit of the interdisciplinary endeavor. Building on extensive research and oral history, the exhibition features many works that have not been exhibited publicly since the 1980s. It’s also accompanied a three-film series as well.

Step back in time to 1978-1983, to the epicenter of downtown New York counterculture—Club 57. The first of its kind, our newest exhibition explores the scene-changing, interdisciplinary life of this seminal alternative space and its influence on a generation of artists. “Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983” is on view through April 1. Visit mo.ma/club57 for upcoming performances, screenings, and events. #Club57nyc … Image Credits: John Sex (American, 1956–1990). “Acts of Live Art,” 1980. Silkscreen. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Department of Film Special Collections Club 57 bar, 1981. Pictured: Ira Abramowitz. Photograph by and courtesy Lina Bertucci “Lady Wrestling” at Club 57. Pictured: Tom Scully, Tish and Snooky Bellomo. 1980. Photograph by and courtesy Harvey Wang “Acts of Live Art” at Club 57. Pictured: Larry Ashton. 1980. Photograph by and courtesy Joseph Szkodzinski “Elvis Presley Memorial Party” at Club 57. Pictured: Kristine Dreuille (center), Drew Straub (right). 1980. Photograph by and courtesy Joseph Szkodzinski #Club57

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American Museum of Natural History-Our Senses Exhibition

Now on display at the Museum of Natural History, “Our Senses” aims to help you explore 11 immersive spaces that dare you to trust in your senses. Different rooms include secret sounds, a balance interactive, and seeing, and show us that what we perceive is a product of our brains. Obviously, these rooms are also easily instagrammable, making the sense of sight worth it.

 

Pasta Flyer

What is essentially the Italian version of Chipotle, newly opened “Pasta Flyer” in Union Square aims to serve up delicious bowls of pasts in a fast paced environment. This is definitely no Sbarro, although all items are less than $10 and served under 3 minutes. Some standard choices include spaghetti and meatballs, whole grain rigatoni with meat ragu, and fettucine with alfredo sauce. All the classics are featured, but with that classic Italian taste that is hard to replicate.

 

Gino Sorbillo Pizzeria

This legendary Naples, Italy pizza spot has finally made its way to New York, despite our vast array of pizza options. Recently opened in Noho, the Neapolitan pies are small with limited ingredients, and cooked up in a wood oven for the smoky flavor that differs from a typical New York dollar slice. Bill de Blasio has already stopped by, so make sure to check it out before other herds of people do.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BcKlR3ACKW/?hl=en&tagged=ginosorbillopizzeria

 

Tang Hot Pot

Recently opened in the East Village, this Sichuan restaurant is about to bring joy during this cold, winter season. Each table is equipped with burners that hold vessels of bubbling Sichuan broth, which of course has a spicy kick, with various ingredients ready to be thrown in, including Dungeness crab, a Wagyu beef option, and a traditional hot pot called Tang Pot. There’s also a small array of appetizers and cold dishes to accompany the spiciness that your mouth will endure.

 

Ha’s Chinese

Newly opened this week, “Ha’s Chinese” in Astoria is taking the place of the famed Queens Kickshaw, with the old owners in hopes to bring a new element of cuisine to this Queens neighborhood. This vegetarian only restaurant will focus on the Sichuan-inspired Chinese dishes, including fried tofu, rice cake with bok choy, cashews, and chilies, and dried mung bean noodle vegetarian chicharrones. This is definitely a welcome addition to a mostly Chinese take-out food landscape.

Ha’s Chinese is opening this Tuesday, join us!

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