NYC Holiday Trivia | Episode 174

PAST PROGRAM | Upcoming Programs | Become a Member

Get your latkes and your lussekatter, your pasteles and your pecan pie ready for this evening of holiday trivia! The holidays will be unlike any other this year, so we will have questions looking back at the history of New York City during the holiday season. Between rounds, we will have special guests Sibyl McCormac Groff, author of A New York Christmas: Ho-Ho-Ho at Gothamtide, who will share her knowledge of Rockefeller Center and holiday history, and Rev Jen Miller, artist and author of Elf Girl, who is also a graduate of Bloomingdale’s Christmas Elf Academy. Join us for a joyous and fun holiday evening!

>> Continue reading

Best New York City Books from Our Members

At our December member happy hour, we invited participants to share some of their favorite books about New York City, in any genre – fiction, nonfiction, poetry, photography, travel – and our members did not disappoint! Many showed off their extensive collections, and some even have entire shelves dedicated to nothing but books about the city.

We collectively compiled a list of over 30 books, which you can find below, and we’ll continue to add to it (you can also join our group on GoodReads). Many make great holiday gifts, some are long out of print, and a few were featured on our virtual programs, including John Tebeau’s loving tribute to New York’s best bars and restaurants, and Jennifer Egan’s Brooklyn Navy Yard bestseller Manhattan Beach.

>> Continue reading

Holiday Plants at Urban Garden Center | Episode 169

PAST PROGRAM | Upcoming Programs | Become a Member

Urban Garden Center has been a fixture of Spanish Harlem since the 1950’s, and today their beautiful shop occupies a massive two-block stretch along Park Avenue in the historic La Marqueta. We interviewed third-generation owner Dimitri Gatanas earlier this year to discuss spring plants, and now we’re back to discuss the plants that make the holiday season special. We’ll take a virtual tour of their seasonally-decorated space, learn about Christmas trees and other holiday plants (plus share tips on maintaining them), and discuss how this holiday season will be different from any other.

>> Continue reading

Mayor LaGuardia and the War on Sidewalk Christmas Tree Sellers

It’s that time of year again – we’ve had our first snow in New York City, Christmas music is playing in every shop and store, and Christmas tree stands line the sidewalks.

While most Americans buy their Christmas trees from places like hardware stores, garden centers, churches, or Wal-Mart, New Yorkers rely on a somewhat unique economy of sellers that occupy public sidewalks all over the city for one month a year. So, how did we arrive at this arrangement, and why does it persist when so much of our city’s sidewalk economy has been stamped out?>> Continue reading

Celebrate the Season: Our Favorite Holiday Songs

Last night Cindy and I kicked off our holiday season by decorating our tree, baking some treats, and turning the iTunes music library to “Christmas – shuffle.” Many of the songs you’ll find on that playlist we have learned about, and come to love, from our experiences researching, developing, and giving tours in New York. From Mexican hymns to Trinidadian party anthems, we have incorporated many of the diverse sounds, tastes, and traditions found in this city into our own household celebration of the season. Here are just some of our favorites:

>> Continue reading