In the latest of our series of posts on the holiday season in New York, we’re touring holiday lights. Bright Lights, Big City, is an American novel set in New York. The book’s catchy title has quickly become synonymous with Big Apple. And at no time would it be more apropos than during the holidays when the City amplifies its already renowned displays of lights and color. Over the holidays, New York’s public spaces become places of holiday cheer as Christmas trees, light displays, and festive decorations appear. It’s a great time to stroll through New York’s parks and city streets to see how New York transforms itself to celebrate the holidays. We’ve highlighted a few of the top attractions here, including some of New York’s best holiday window displays.   


Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

If it’s lights you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right neighborhood. Dyker Heights was made famous in the PBS documentary “Dyker Lights” and also made an appearance on TLC’s “Crazy Christmas Lights.” In a Christmas time tradition, this Brooklyn neighborhood pulls together and puts on a show of professional quality lights and decorations. From 11th to 13th Avenues from 83rd to 86th Street in Dyker Heights, almost every square inch of lawn is filled with life-size Santas, over-grown sleighs, reindeer, presents and snowmen. Some houses even play Christmas carols to add to the experience. From 11th It’s best to visit from dusk to about 9 pm, when many of the homes turn off the lights. Walking the Brooklyn blocks is one of the best ways to fully take in the details and magical experience of the lights. And if you’d like to go with a guide there are tours available. A company called a Slice of Brooklyn hosts a Dyker Heights Christmas Lights tour every night in December with the exception of December 24, 25 and 31. The tours are about 3.5 hours in length and are a combination of exploring on foot and by bus.

Rolf’s Restaurant

Rolf’s Restaurant is a cozy spot specializing in Alsacian/Bavarian (Franco-German) food. With four kinds of Schnitzel and lots of charcuterie on the menu, this place is a gem of old-world cuisine and understated authenticity. At Christmastime, minimalism goes out the window when Rolf’s decorates itself from ceiling to floor with a lavish display of twinkling Christmas lights, shiny gold and silver ornament balls, glimmering tinsel, wreaths, toy Santas, and more. To nab a table at Rolf’s is to sit in the epi-center of Christmas time fun. 

281 Third Ave

New York, NY 10010


Rockefeller Center

Each year since the early 1930s, the Rockefeller Center has created a place of holiday cheer with the arrival of its annual Christmas tree. This year’s 77 foot-tall Norway spruce tree from Florida, New York acts as a central holiday beacon for both tourists and local New Yorkers alike. The majestic tree is covered in thousands of LED lights and crowned with a newly redesigned, 900-lb Swarovski crystal star. Gazing up at the shining tree surrounded by golden trumpeting angles gives pause for reflection and gratitude, both of which are easily lost in the commercial business of the holiday season. The tree will remain decorated into mid-January of 2020. Afterward, it will be donated to Habitat for Humanity where the wood is used in the building of homes. 

Rockefeller Plaza

48th to 51st Sts

New York, NY 10111


The Time Warner Center

The Time Warner Center is home to high-end shops at Columbus Circle mall and draws an ample holiday crowd. To celebrate the season, the mall has created a free, indoor exhibit titled Holiday Under the Stars. Constructed in the 150-foot Great Room with a view onto Central Park, the holiday installation features 12, 14-foot tall, LED stars that float above visitors. The stars perform by changing color in choreography to holiday music. 

10 Columbus Circle

New York, NY 10019

Department Store Window Displays

New York’s top department stores are known to string festive lights on the art deco facades of their flagship stores, this alone is fun for a stroll down 5th Avenue. But it gets better,  in addition, nearly all the large stores create mesmerizing and elaborate displays in their biggest windows to celebrate the holidays. 

Bergdorf Goodman

For 2019 “Bergdorf GoodTimes” was the theme at the eponymous department store. The windows feature scenes of revelry and joy made from various mediums such as neon, mosaic tile, needlecraft, soft sculpture, and more. The displays are arranged in such a way that visitors have the illusion of peering into each scene from above.

Saks 5th Avenue. 

At Saks, the theme this year is all about the Disney princess of “Frozen 2”. The six windows are decorated to summarize the movie’s empowering plot. Above the windows, like a giant umbrella, is a light tree that itself appears frozen, branches dripping in icicles.  


This year Bloomies has opted to put on a space-themed display, titled “Out of this World” which attempts to inspire creative answers to the question: how will we celebrate the holidays in space? There’s a rocket, Bowie-esque costumes, and even a faux snake to spark your imagination.

Tiffany & Co. 

Tiffany & Co. also has a small but beautiful window display this year. Featuring its trademark teal color, Tiffany’s has created “Not a Creature Was Stirring” vignettes of the holidays. Perhaps the cutest window is with little mice staring up at an illuminated crescent moon. 


In Herald’s Square, Macy’s holiday window tradition is alive and well. This year’s theme is “Believe in the Wonder.” Macy’s six windows tell the tale of a little girl who wishes to be Santa Claus. All of the pieces and parts that go into telling the moving story are hand-made. The holiday window display takes a team eight months to complete from start to finish. 


Staying in New York City – About The Lombardy Hotel

The Lombardy Hotel is just as iconic to Midtown Manhattan as many of the other historic and cultural attractions in the area. Not only are our rooms comfortable and tasteful, we provide amenities such as a full salon, coffee shop, and exercise room. We also host the American Cut Midtown steakhouse, perfect for a business lunch or dinner on a special occasion. We look forward to hosting you.

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