Your Christmas Alternative

If your December 25th doesn’t involve a tree or gifts or carols (or even if it does!), you may be wondering how to spend your day. Though most places are closed, many of the city’s zoos (Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, and the New York Aquarium) are open, as are many of the skating rinks (Bryant Park and Brookfield Place, among others); be sure to check websites for special holiday hours. Whether you choose to partake in any of the aforementioned activities, or you decide to just take a nice, long walk, the weather is going to be beautiful so I strongly encourage you to spend some time outside!


Of course, the classic non-Christmasy New York Christmas is as simple and delightful as grabbing some Chinese food and going to a movie. Everyone has their favorite neighborhood spot, but my favorite is Chef Ho’s (1720 Second Avenue between 89th and 90th). This restaurant is definitely a cut-above, and many of my non-vegetarian friends have developed a near-obsession with Chef Ho’s sesame tofu.


Yes, I know, there are movie theaters everywhere and if your interest lies primarily in seeing the latest Star Wars film, you need look no further than your local AMC. On the other hand, if you might be interested in a more unique theater-going experience, I’ve compiled a list of a few of my favorite movie theaters.


Paris Theatre (4 West 58th St) – Last time I was there (seeing Dame Judi in Philomena), I got reprimanded by the highly sensitive man seated in front of me because I was eating popcorn “too loudly” (I was eating at a normal volume, I promise), but that hasn’t made me think any less of the theater itself. There is only one movie offered at a time at the Paris, but it’s typically a film that you won’t find at most other theaters, and its location next to the Plaza Hotel might trick you into thinking that you are on (a very expensive) vacation.


IFC Center (323 Sixth Avenue between West 3rd and West 4th) – If I lived in the West Village, I would definitely get a membership here. The IFC has lots of interesting, independent films from which to choose; I especially love catching the Oscar-nominated shorts in January. The concession stand also has some fun and unexpected food options!


Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35 Avenue, Astoria) – OK, so it isn’t open on Christmas Day, but you should have this on your list for any other day. The movie theater at the museum is new and very spacious and comfortable, and the museum has wonderful film festivals. I’ve also enjoyed watching rare Muppet clips here.


No matter how you spend your day, I hope it’s a good one! Happy holidays!


~The New York Native






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