The 2008 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree came from Hamilton, New Jersey. The '08 Tree was donated by the Varanyak family. Tree Facts from the 2008 Tree Facts Postcard (photo by Bart Barlow): Norway Spruce. 72 feet tall, 40 feet wide. Approximately 82 years old. Weight- approximately 16,000 pounds. 30,000 LED lights. (This was the second year that LED bulbs were used on the Tree). A portion of the electrical energy used to light the Tree came from a new installation of photovoltaic panels installed in 2007 on the roof of 45 Rockefeller Plaza. The Tree was topped with a crystal star designed by Swarovski. The 550 pound star is 9 feet in diameter and 1.5 feet deep. It is decorated with 25,000 crystals, with one million facets. The Tree was lighted on December 3, 2008. The Tree's last day on Rockefeller Plaza was January 9, 2009.

Winter is about to get into full swing, which means that New York is going to transform into a wonderland of seasonal specials and holiday attractions. The city is famous for so much of its winter highlights, so don’t pass up the opportunity to enjoy some of the classic pastimes and the lesser-known treats. Here are eleven on the list of things not to miss this winter in NYC:

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1. Ice-skating 

Yes, this one is obvious but for good reasons. Don’t let this winter come and go without finding one of the city’s downtown ice rinks with that special someone. When Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park, and Wollman Rink in Central Park get busy or too touristy, Prospect Park is another great skating option with its newly opened rink.


Wollman Rink in Central Park

2. Serendipity 3  

Food is something to remember this winter in New York, and one of the best seasonal things to make sure you find is the frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity. Located at 22 East 60th St., this dessert destination is famous for its holiday specialty treats, which are perfect for any winter night in the city. Tons of people make a special trip to this spot every year, so you know that it will live up to the hype.

3. Window-shopping

Another classic NYC winter activity, catching the must-see holiday windows at landmarks like Tiffany’s and Saks 5th Avenue is something that delivers every single year. The crowds might be something to contend with, but the windows are something that only come around once a year in winter, so don’t wait!


4. Winter Bar Crawl

Winter is the perfect time to go find some specialty drinks at some of the coziest bars in the city. While the city is in full swing with holiday décor and special winter themes, many NYC drinking spots are no different; some to check out include: Little Branch, Refinery Rooftop, and Lillie’s Victorian Establishment, which goes all-out with the winter finery.

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5. Christmas Tree Tour

If you are the person who can’t get enough of the season’s Christmas trees, take a day this winter and go on the rounds to find NYC’s best. The lighting at Rockefeller Center Plaza is always ideal, but there are some other great ones in the hotel lobbies and courtyards of places like the Plaza and the Palace that rival the trees of your dreams.


Christmas Tree at The Plaza

6. Coney Island New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge

Join the oldest winter bathing club in the country for a one of a kind ritual that is sure to start your new year off like no other. Every year, members of the Polar Bear Club in Coney Island welcome any and all New Yorkers to join them as they plunge into the frigid Atlantic Ocean. The Polar Bear Club does this regularly during the winter, but on New Year’s Day, thousands of people take a dip right alongside them.

7. Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

Every year, homeowners in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn transform the neighborhood into a true winter wonderland of lights. It’s definitely worth the trip, featuring some of the most ridiculous and over-the-top lights displays found anywhere in the country. Lights go up right after Thanksgiving weekend, so the winter extravaganza starts as soon as the calendar unofficially turns to winter. Take a guided tour or just drive in yourself and weave up and down the streets–just follow the lights!


8. Arthur Avenue

Although this Little Italy destination in the Bronx is not exclusive to winter, it is the perfect place to find yourself to do some holiday shopping and eating away from the larger crowds of other holiday markets. Arthur’s boasts some of the best Italian food in the city, paired during winter with some killer Christmas lights.

9. After-Hours at the Holiday Train Show

Every year, the NYBG puts on the seasonal train show, featuring over 150 landmarks recreated on a model train-track that is over a half mile long. But the true treat is the after-hours show with specialty drinks and performances not seen during daytime hours.

10. Astoria

The Astoria Market is one of the best places to find yourself this winter, featuring artisan works and holiday specials from artists and craftsmen all over the city. This market is also the home of the famous Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, the oldest beer garden in the city and arguably one of the best drinking holes during the winter season.


11. City Bakery

If you’re looking for that perfect cup of hot cocoa this winter in New York City, don’t miss out on the dessert wonders at NYC’s City Bakery and its Hot Chocolate festival. Swing by and indulge in the multitude of specialty holiday flavors and other baked goods.

Check out more amazing eats around the city!


From food to festivals, there are so many attractions this winter in the city that only come around once a year and shouldn’t be missed. Don’t let this winter and holiday season pass without enjoying some of the classic events as well as some of the lower-key spots with winter flair.

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