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THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS IN MANHATTAN ON DECEMBER 18

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by Daily Kids Events Editor

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Find fun things to do today with kids in the NYC area in our Calendar of Events

free and low-cost things to do with kids in Manhattan Find free and low-cost things to do with kids in Manhattan today, December 18, including fun activities and events the whole family can enjoy. See what's going on today in Manhattan's museums, galleries, and libraries for some educational fun; in the parks, for outdoor and nature activities; and in the theaters, for children's concerts and performances. Plus, get details and directions on any street fairs or holiday festivals happening December 18. For even more free and low-cost upcoming events in Manhattan, check out our complete calendar of events.

Jazz For Kids with Amy Cervini - 55 Bar
December 18, 2011 - Manhattan

An interactive concert where kids (ages 2-6) listen, dance, and play along to jazz songs. Snacks are provided, but drinks (both kid and adult appropriate) are available at the bar.

An Afternoon with the Sugar Plum Fairy - City Center Studios
December 18, 2011 - Manhattan

A selection from "The Nutcracker" will be performed in an intimate studio setting. This show is an ideal introduction to ballet and the perfect performance for connoisseurs interested in the magic behind the scenes. Take home holiday sweets, an autographed memory pamphlet, and pose for a photograph with the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier.

Family Workshop: Take a Seat! - Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building at MoMa
December 18, 2011 - Midtown West

What makes a chair a chair? Consider some of the design choices that go into the creation of this everyday object, then make your own mini-chair in the studio. For families with up to two adults and three kids (ages 4-6). Registration required.

Mama Doni's Chanukah Fever Show - 92nd Street Y, Bronfman Center for Jewish Life
December 18, 2011 - Upper East Side

Doni Zasloff Thomas (AKA Mama Doni) and The Mama Doni Band celebrate Jewish culture with irrepressible zest in this interactive family rock concert filled with quirky, offbeat tunes that blend reggae, rock, disco, Latin, klezmer, and "Jewgrass." There will be giveaways, Mama Doni CDs, and free downloads for all in attendance, and the band will debut several new songs.

Family Art Project: Sparkle & Shine - Wave Hill
December 18, 2011 - Bronx

Combine shiny foil, glittery beads, natural cones, dried herbs and spices all together into a glowing, fragrant decoration. Ecology Building. Free with admission to the grounds.

Chip Taylor and the Grandkids - 92Y Tribeca
December 18, 2011 - Tribeca

Acclaimed singer-songwriter Chip Taylor, who penned classics performed by the likes of Johnny Cash and Jimi Hendrix, celebrates the release of his new CD, "Golden Kids Rules." Taylor, along with his three granddaughters, celebrates the joy and wonder of family over the course of 13 original songs on his first children's album, which melds husky, time-worn vocals and the musical instincts of a seasoned performer with the charming artistry of his three young grandchildren.

'Latkes & Applesauce': A Family Hanukkah Musical Revue - Merkin Concert Hall
December 18, 2011 - Upper West Side

Explore and celebrate Jewish heritage at this rollicking annual Hanukkah revue featuring songs and scenes by some of New York's funniest writers, including a Hanukkah version of "A Christmas Carol," a parody of "American Idol" and the rousing klezmer-inspired title tune. The Poppy Seed Players are joined by the Kaufman Kids, a troupe of young performers from Kaufman Center's Lucy Moses School and Special Music School.

The Beauty & Urgency of Justice! A Holiday Event of Music & Vivid Comment - Aesthetic Realism Foundation
December 18, 2011 - New York

The Aesthetic Realism Theatre Company will perform choruses from Judas Maccabaeus and Handel's Messiah, including the "Hallelujah" chorus, as well as "The Little Drummer Boy," "Silent Night," "O Chanukah," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," and more, all with commentary on the meaning of these songs.

Little Club Heads Holiday Party - Broad Street Ballroom
December 18, 2011 - Lower Manhattan

Join an afternoon, holiday-themed dance party for parents and kids ages 12 months to 9 years old that features DJs and other live entertainment, face painting, clowns, a balloon twister, cartoon characters, games,and special performances.

Film Society Lincoln Center Presents "James and the Giant Peach" - Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center
December 18, 2011 - Lincoln Center

A boy voyages in a peach with a wondrously weird crew of insects in Henry Selick's beautifully realized stop-animation fantasy. Visitors to the Film Center can stop in at Indie Food and Wine before or after the film for an afternoon treat like the "indie lunch box," a meal featuring a New York State cheddar grilled cheese sandwich on multi-grain bread with an apple and house-made hot chocolate ($6).

Works and Process: Free Holiday Concert - Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
December 18, 2011 - Upper East Side

Celebrate the season with the joyous sound of holiday music in the museum's Frank Lloyd Wright?designed rotunda. George Steel conducts the Vox Vocal Ensemble and the Graham Ashton Brass Ensemble in what has become a revered annual tradition. The museum will close at 5:45pm and reopen at 6:30pm for the concert.

Works & Process: "Peter and the Wolf" - Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
December 18, 2011 - Upper East Side

Isaac Mizrahi will narrate Sergei Prokofiev's charming children's classic, as New York City Opera's Music Director George Manahan conducts the Juilliard Ensemble. Artist Jason Hackenwerth will bring the production to life with an installation of newly commissioned balloon sculptures representing each character in the story.

Just Drop In! - Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
December 18, 2011 - Upper East Side

Kids can explore exhibition highlights through creative, interactive projects led by museum educators. For families with children ages 3-10.

Hanukkah Family Day at the Jewish Museum - The Jewish Museum
December 18, 2011 - Upper East Side

Construct a sculptural Hanukkah menorah with funky found objects, create a colorfully patterned dreidel, design a scene inspired by Ezra Jack Keats, hear live music, and explore the Museum's world-famous collection of Hanukkah lamps. For ages 3 and up.

The National Yiddish Theatre-Folksbiene Presents 'My Yiddishe Chanukah: A Holiday Feast for New York' - World Financial Center Winter Garden
December 18, 2011 - Battery Park City

Celebrate the Festival of Lights with the fresh and distinctly New York sounds of Yiddish music and theater presented by The National Yiddish Theatre-Folksbiene, including Zalmen Mlotek, Annette Ezekiel, and Alicia Jo Rabins of the Klezmer group Golem, Daniella Rabbani, Dmitri "Zisl-Yeysef" Slepovitch, and other special guests.

New York Theatre Ballet Presents 'Keith Michael's The Nutcracker' - Florence Gould Hall
December 18, 2011 - Manhattan

This perennial holiday favorite features new choreography, costumes, and scenery, with a charming turn-of-the-century Art Nouveau flair. The performance includes an exciting mouse battle at midnight, a journey through the Land of Snow, and of course, a sweet romance between a young woman named Marie and her Nutcracker Prince. From Clockwork Imps, to a luminous owl that flies above the audience, this Nutcracker bursts with energy and excitement.

Sunday Story Hour: A Dutch-English-New York Christmas - Barbara K. Lipman Children's History Library at New-York Historical Society
December 18, 2011 - Upper West Side

Santa Claus arriving in a sleigh? Stockings filled with presents? Hear stories about how these traditions came to be, and the New Yorker Washington Irving's role in melding Dutch and English customs into the holiday we now know and love.

'Seven In One Blow,' or 'The Brave Little Kid' - Axis Theatre
Through December 18, 2011 - West Village

Axis Theatre Company presents the 10th anniversary production of its beloved family holiday show, adapted from the classic fairytale by The Brothers Grimm. This is the story of a child living in the city who kills seven flies with a single swat and makes a belt emblazoned with "Seven in One Blow" to commemorate the event. The Kid travels through the snow and meets numerous colorful characters along the way, including the Scarlet Pimpernel, a Pea, December, a Witch, an Ogre, and a Princess. Most people think this belt refers to seven people and assign the Kid all kinds of difficult tasks based on this faulty presumption. Over the course of the take, invaluable lessons are learned: an Ogre finds that you don't always have to show how strong you are to be strong; a girl realizes that when you tease someone, you may be hurting a person who is just like you; and a scary monster understands that because she is loved, she may not be so scary after all. In the end, after a surprise twist, the Kid discovers that a parent's love and care has no limits.

Making Books Sing Presents 'If You Really Love Polar Bears' - American Museum of Natural History
December 18, 2011 - Upper West Side

Meet Patchy, a little boy who loves polar bears and learns about the important role he can play in saving the earth. Told through music, puppetry, and physical comedy, this 30-minute performance educates children about climate change and the impact it's having on animals' habitats.

Get Ready for Hanukkah at CMOM - Children's Museum of Manhattan
December 18, 2011 - Upper West Side

Kids ages 5 and older learn why oil is important to the celebration of Hanukkah and use modern and ancient instruments to squeeze fresh olives with a hand press to make olive oil (2pm, 3pm, and 4pm). Kids ages 4 and younger can celebrate Hanukkah by making a Festival of Lights Collage using glitter, metallic paper, and other bright materials (10am and 1pm).

Posadas y Pasto Relas: 8th Annual Mexican Family Celebration - Museum of the City of New York
December 18, 2011 - Upper East Side

Get into the holiday spirit a la Mexicana with an afternoon of crafts, music, and food. Highlights include a posada, the traditional singing procession, and a pastorela, the traditional shepherds' play. The event culminates in a party with pinatas and refreshments. Presented in partnership with Mano a Mano: Mexican Culture Without Borders.

"Scrooge & Marley": A Reading - St. Paul's Chapel
December 18, 2011 - Lower Manhattan

Theater at Trinity presents its annual reading of Israel Horovitz's adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," a multigenerational event with audience participation at St. Paul's Chapel.

"Twelve Miles of Christmas" Bicycle Ride for Charity - Start Point: Bowling Green Park
December 18, 2011 - Lower Manhattan

Ride with a group from Bowling Green Park to Rockefeller Center (about 12 miles total) to see all of the lighted Christmas trees in the city (with a stop for hot cocoa) and to raise money for charity. Today's ride will benefit Food Bank For New York City. Register at www.twelvemilesofchristmas.com.

Hip N Hop Babies - Manna House Workshop
Through December 20, 2011 - Harlem

This one-of-a-kind 45-minute class brings music to life for babies and toddlers.

NYChessKids Chess Tournament - PS 116 - The Mary Lindley Murray School
Through December 22, 2011 - Manhattan

NYChessKids provide a positive chess learning experience for all ages and levels - from kindergarten to 12th grade - through its after-school classes. Light snack included. For more information, e-mail nychesskids@gmail.com.

PS163 Afterschool Chess - NYChessKids
Through December 23, 2011 - Manhattan

NYChessKids provide a positive chessplaying experience for all ages and levels - from kindergarten to 12th grade - through its after-school classes. For more information, e-mail nychesskids@gmail.com.

Meet Santa at Bloomingdale's Santaland - Bloomingdale's
Through December 23, 2011 - Manhattan

Put on your holiday best and have your picture taken with Santa amid Bloomingdale's festive holiday decorations.

Grand Central Holiday Fair - Grand Central Terminal, Vanderbilt Hall
Through December 24, 2011 - Manhattan

Located in Grand Central Terminal's historic Vanderbilt Hall, you'll find one of the city's most famed holiday shopping experiences, this year featuring 76 vendors with a wide array of goods at all price levels, including unique crafts, jewelry, clothing, home furnishings, and children's gifts.

Union Square Holiday Market - Union Square Park
Through December 24, 2011 - Manhattan

This famous market features more than 100 merchants selling unique gifts, including hand-blown glass housewares, locally handmade leather belts, bags and accessories made from recycled plastic, a variety of handmade jewelry, and Tibetan crafts. Food vendors will also be selling sweet and savory treats. Visit the Information Booth for help on finding your gifts.

Columbus Circle Holiday Market - Columbus Circle
Through December 24, 2011 - Manhattan

This seventh annual holiday market offers items like handmade wooden puzzles, gingerbread houses and kits, French truffles, mother and daughter apparel, and handcrafted home accessories. Local food vendors sell cider and other treats.

'A Christmas Carol' - Manhattan Children's Theatre
Through December 24, 2011 - Lower Manhattan

Modern movement with both traditional and original music brings this well-known holiday tale to life. As the heartless miser Scrooge faces his past, present, and future through the surprise visits of four uninvited spirits, he awakens on Christmas morning with a new heart. This family holiday tradition reminds us all to look within ourselves and renew our spirits of compassion and generosity.

Breakfast with Santa - Rock Center Cafe
Through December 24, 2011 - Manhattan

Children of all ages will have the opportunity to get pre-Christmas face time with Santa himself, followed by skating on the historic Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center, alongside the legendary Christmas tree. A beloved NYC holiday tradition, Breakfast with Santa includes a delicious family-style breakfast and a Christmas gift from Santa and his elves for each child.

Jade's ToyBox Holiday Pop-Up Store - Jade's ToyBox
Through December 24, 2011 - Tribeca

Find great deals on gifts and fun holiday events for kids, plus a chance to pick your own discount from the Holiday Advent Calendar Pick-A-Pocket (10 to 40 percent off toys, books, and games through December 28). Products like the WinGreen tents made by a women's cooperative in India, handmade plush fair-trade made by Peruvian artisans, Plan Toys fire trucks and wooden games made of renewable woods, and Green Toys US-made benefit charities like the Speyer Legacy School Scholarship Fund, Children's Storefront School in Harlem, and The Caroline Wambui Mungai Foundation, a home and school for orphans and vulnerable children in Wangige, Kenya. December 1-12: Get an automatic 15 percent off when you donate gently used books, toys, games, and children's clothing for newborn through 12-year-olds, for the benefit of the Children's Storefront School in Harlem and The Caroline Wambui Mungai Foundation. Activities for Kids and Parents Santa Letter Writing (ongoing throughout the day): Kids can use eco-friendly materials (provided) to create their letters for Santa and mail them to the North Pole. The 'Not A Box' Contest (ongoing): A childhood idea of transforming a brown box into a TV set was the impetus for the JTB product box and the installation at the JTB Pop-Up Store. Show your ingenuity by transforming a simple brown box into the invention of your choice, then explain it and enter to win a $150 Jade's ToyBox gift card. Saturday, December 3 Holiday Craft Workshop (2pm): Using recycled and found objects, transform simple items into beautiful holiday gifts for family and friends with a little help from in-store staff and visiting artists. Sunday, December 4 and 18 Holiday StoryTime, By Kids, For Kids (2pm): Bring your kiddos in for holiday story time and hear special guest kid 'authors' share an excerpt of their favorite prose. Tuesday, December 6 The P.A.L. Workshops @ Jade's ToyBox presents Supporting Early Giftedness Through Play: A Hands-On, Play-Based Workshop for Parents (6:30pm): This play-based session will help parents support their child's strengths, with games and strategies to help toddlers and preschoolers develop a love for learning and get ready for kindergarten. Register at palworkshops.eventbrite.com. Saturday, December 10 Holiday Cookie Swap with MiniMunchers & The Healthy Apple (2pm): Join MiniMunchers and The Healthy Apple for an organic twist on cookie making. They'll teach the kiddos how to make healthy, yummy homemade cookies for a holiday cookie swap. Saturday, December 17 Holiday Craft: Musical Instrument Workshop (2pm): Using recycled and found objects, transform simple items into awesome musical instruments that make great holiday gifts for family and friends.

Grandparent/Grandchild Program - New York City Police Museum
Through December 27, 2011 - Manhattan

Grandparents and grandchildren are invited to participate in activity play in the Junior Officers Discovery Zone.

Storytime and Singalong for Kids - Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
Through December 28, 2011 - Manhattan

Kids ages 3 and younger and their caretakers can join Nancy and Beth for reading, singing, and dancing.

"A Christmas Carol" - The Players Theatre
Through December 30, 2011 - Manhattan

A lively, one-hour musical adaptation of the classic Dickens tale. Follow along with Ebenezer Scrooge as he is visited by four ghosts; his old business partner Marley and the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. See what happens when he gets a glimpse of his own future if he doesn't change his life. Will Scrooge catch the holiday spirit and save himself in the process?

Reid Farrington's 'A Christmas Carol' - Abrons Arts Center
Through December 30, 2011 - Manhattan

This imaginative new show integrates media and live theater, featuring haunting images from 35 different film versions of "A Christmas Carol." Through complex technology and choreography, the show mashes together more than 100 years of film history. Performers slip in and out of characters from the Alastair Sim, George C. Scott, and Bill Murray versions of "A Christmas Carol," as well as The Muppets and Thomas Edison variations (and many more), to create an imaginative and new interpretation of the beloved Dickens story.

'Mother The Job' - Museum of Motherhood
Through December 31, 2011 - Manhattan

A multimedia exploration of integrated art forms, including film, sculpture, photography, domestic artifacts, and original writings portraying the day-to-day life of the mother and her relationship with her child, raising questions regarding "human" capital and "economic" capital.

Mystery at the Museum: An Accomplice Adventure - American Museum Of Natural History
Through December 31, 2011 - Upper West Side

On this exciting adventure through the museum - part game, part theater, part walking tour - you'll meet characters, follow clues, and solve puzzles as you unravel a tale that takes you to iconic museum locations and behind-the-scenes areas.

New York City Ballet Presents George Balanchine's 'The Nutcracker' - David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center
Through December 31, 2011 - Upper West Side

A rousing snowstorm sends a blizzard of ballerinas across the stage, sweeping you to exotic locales in the enchanting Land of Sweets. You'll meet marching toy soldiers, little Marie, and the valiant Nutcracker who saves her from the villainous, seven-headed Mouse King. Tschaikovsky's incomparable score is joined by hundreds of dazzling costumes, a one-ton tree that magically grows and grows, and a million watts of illuminated excitement.

Breastfeeding Support Group - 92nd Street Y
Through December 31, 2011 - Manhattan

Meet with other moms, babies, and a lactation specialist from the Parenting Center to discuss topics such as the emotional ups and downs of breastfeeding, what happens when your milk supply is weak, how to juggle breastfeeding and work, and whether and how to supplement.

Breastfeeding Support Circle - Prenatal Yoga Center
Through December 31, 2011 - Upper West Side

Share the joys, concerns, and challenges of breastfeeding in modern times with other moms.

Barclay Holiday Vocal Arts Celebration - The Intercontinental New York Barclay
Through December 31, 2011 - Manhattan

New Yorkers and visitors can celebrate the sounds of the season with live holiday music in the hotel's festive lobby. Vocal groups like The Big Apple Chorus, The Renaissance Street Singers, and the Stonewall Chorale will fill the Barclay lobby with two 45-minute sets of joyful melodies. Now in its second year, the Barclay Holiday Vocal Arts Celebration has evolved into the city's most comprehensive hotel vocal arts series with its broad array of accomplished choral metropolitan area ensembles. The Barclay Bar & Grill's Executive Chef Serge Devesa offers holiday foragers and revelers deliciously-festive dining options including holiday feasts prepared with natural, organic, and local ingredients. An eclectic array of organic hot and cold fresh-pressed apple drinks and cocktails and an extensive Calvados collection are available at The Barclay Bar. Call 212-906-1400 or 212-906-3144 for reservations or visit www.intercontinentalnybarclay.com/dining.

Mini Mates Program - South Street Seaport Museum
Through December 31, 2011 - Manhattan

The program features educational activities related to water, boats, animals, sea creatures, and more for tots ages 18 months to 3 years and their adult caretakers. Includes crafts, music, and movement activities, plus light refreshments. Registration required by 3pm the day prior; email reservations@seany.org or call 212-748-8786.

Get Your Gears Turning - The Curious World of Patent Models - Hudson River Museum
Through January 01, 2012 - Yonkers

America's manufacturing success is primarily due to the dreams and inventions of its many citizens. Few people realize that from the time Thomas Jefferson formed the U.S. Patent Office in 1790, and throughout the American Industrial Revolution, inventors were required to submit a working, scale model of their inventions, when applying for a patent. "Problem-solving with American ingenuity" is seen in more than 50 intricately crafted, working scale, one-of-a-kind models of inventions that were submitted to the U.S. Patent Office from the 1880s through the early 1900s. Intriguing to viewers of all ages, gadget- and invention-buffs, and everyday folks, the inventions are now a permanent part of our culture from the first patented rocking chair and foldout bed to a burglar alarm. The Rothschild Collection is the world's largest gathering of viewable U.S. Patent Models. Through January 1, 2012.

Holiday Film Festival - New York Botanical Garden
Through January 01, 2012 - Bronx

Enjoy holiday classics and cartoon favorites, plus an insider's look at the creation of the Holiday Train Show in a PBS documentary. Check times and pricing at www.nybg.org. Through January 1, 2012.

Cirque Shanghai Bai Xi - New Victory Theater
Through January 01, 2012 - Manhattan

Climb a three-story tower of teetering chairs? Piece of cake. Ricochet like pinballs from 25-foot poles? Easy peasy. Balance en pointe on a man's head? No prob. At least not for Cirque Shanghai, the world's premier company of Chinese acrobats. Throughout the holiday season, this supremely gifted cadre of contortionists, aerialists, and gymnasts will perform daredevil feats with mind-blowing perfection, thrilling you and your family with their strength, beauty, and uncanny ability to make the impossible look effortless. Bursting with vivid color, grandeur and traditional Far East pageantry, Bai Xi -- which means "one hundred amazing acts" -- is a circus spectacular that lives up to the Chinese proverb: "It is a great man who can bend and stretch!"

Galli Theater Presents 'Snow White' - National Comedy Theatre
Through January 01, 2012 - Manhattan

A king places an ad in the newspaper looking for a beautiful wife; Mr. 7-Dwarf, the all-in-one Dwarf, rescues Snow White not once, not twice, but three times; and that's just the beginning of all the fun. Saturday shows are followed by a workshop where kids can play acting games, dress up, and perform a show for their parents.

"Farm Boy" - 59e59 Theaters
Through January 01, 2012 - Manhattan

Award-winning children's book writer Michael Morpurgo's compelling sequel to his acclaimed novel "War Horse" is a magical tale of the bonds between grandfather and grandson. This delightful show combines drama, storytelling, and original music. Recommended for ages 7 and up. Please note the following holiday schedule from December 20 through January 1: Tueday-Thursday at 7:15pm, Friday at 8:15pm, Saturday at 2:15pm and 7:15pm, and Sunday at 3:15pm. There is an additional performance on December 29 at 2:15pm.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular - Radio City Music Hall
Through January 02, 2012 - Manhattan

This year's show features a NEW 3DLIVE video game adventure that uses cutting-edge technology to immerse the audience in the scenery, which extends beyond the stage to the ceiling and walls, transforming Radio City Music Hall into a massive, magical canvas. The world-famous Rockettes will perform new numbers along with beloved favorites like the "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" and the "Living Nativity."

Origami Holiday Tree - American Museum of Natural History
Through January 02, 2012 - Upper West Side

This year's Origami Holiday Tree decorations pay tribute to some of the largest and most impressive animals and inanimate objects found in the Museum halls. During the holiday season, volunteers will be on hand to teach visitors of all ages the art of origami folding.

'Angelina Ballerina: The Very Merry Holiday Musical' - Vital Theatre Company
Through January 02, 2012 - Upper West Side

Angelina Mouseling returns to the stage in this holiday musical based on the characters created by author Katharine Holabird and illustrated by Helen Craig.

"Frogs: A Chorus of Colors" - American Museum of Natural History
Through January 08, 2012 - Upper West Side

More than 200 live frogs are shown in their re-created habitats from around the world. The exhibition explores the evolution and biology of these amphibians, their importance to ecosystems, and the threats they face in the world's changing environments. Interactive stations invite visitors to activate recorded frog calls, view videos of frogs in action, and test their knowledge about frogs.

Elihu Vedder: Voyage on the Nile - Hudson River Museum
Through January 08, 2012 - Yonkers

American painter Elihu Vedder journeyed up the Nile from December 1889 to April 1990 and recorded his fascination with Egypt's panoramas. He drew and painted the Nile's sand, cliffs and ancient ruins, often aboard a rented dahabeya, a traditional Egyptian houseboat. His artwork is presented, for the first time, in this exhibition. Museum closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Through January 8, 2012.

Big Apple Circus Presents "Dream Big" - Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park
Through January 08, 2012 - Manhattan

For its 34th season, the Big Apple Circus presents an all-new show under the big top showcasing stunning acts including a juggler with a suit to fit his sweet feats of fancy handiwork, a mechanical doll who comes alive in a sinuous balancing act, spirited horses, frolicsome dogs, audacious acrobats who astound with athletic grace, comical conjurors, a singing ringmistress who will be accompanied by the Big Apple Circus Band, and of course, Grandma, in her last season with the circus.

'A New York Hanukkah' - New-York Historical Society
Through January 08, 2012 - Upper West Side

Hanukkah lamps, or Hannukiot, are candelabra characterized by nine candle branches and used in the ritual candle-lighting associated with the celebration of Hanukkah, the festival that commemorates the 165 B.C.E. liberation of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. The Hanukkah lamp currently on display was made in 1999 by NYC silversmith Bernard Bernstein in his Bronx workshop.

It Happened Here: The Invention of Santa Claus - New-York Historical Society
Through January 08, 2012 - Upper West Side

To celebrate the winter season, this installation traces the modern image of Santa Claus, the red-suited, pot-bellied descendant of the medieval bishop St. Nicholas of Myra, which emerged only decades after the first Congress met in 1788 in Federal Hall in New York. The exhibition features Robert Weir's 1837 painting of a rather sly St. Nicholas and Thomas Nast's Harper's Weekly cartoons of Santa. The desk of New Yorker Clement Clarke Moore, who originally penned the "Twas the night before Christmas" poem, is on display in the Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture.

The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park - Bryant Park
Through January 08, 2012 - Manhattan

The park's tree-lined alleys are transformed into one of the city's premiere holiday shopping destinations, with dozens of custom-designed jewel box kiosks and food vendors. Visit the website for more information.

"The Canterbury Tales Remixed" - SoHo Playhouse
Through January 08, 2012 - SoHO

The show brings Geoffrey Chaucer's timeless "Canterbury Tales" to vivid life in an entertaining virtuoso performance linking today's hip-hop lyrics with the greatest stories ever told. Just like the most heart-wrenching songs by Eminem or Kanye West, these ancient tales are infused with lust, betrayal, infidelity, greed, jealousy, ambition, and the endless struggles between men and women seeking happiness.

'The NYPD Motorcycle Squad: A Century of Service to New York City' - New York City Police Museum
Through January 09, 2012 - Manhattan

Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Motorcycle Squad. See vintage department-used motorcycles, including a late 1940s-model classic Red Indian Motorcycle and a late 1960s model silver Harley.

"From Candlelight to Bubble Light: A 1950s Christmas in an 1850s House" - Merchant's House Museum
Through January 09, 2012 - Manhattan

This holiday season, the museum's halls, which date back to the 1850s, will be retro-decked for a 1950s-themed Christmas celebration, with vintage trees and over-the-tinsel-top decorations, while strains of "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" play in the background. Learn how the holiday innovations of the 1850s became the traditions of the 1950s and today in this doubly nostalgic display.

Gingerbread Adventures - New York Botanical Garden
Through January 15, 2012 - Bronx

Children explore the spices that make up a classic gingerbread recipe. Kids can stop inside a child-sized gingerbread playhouse and decorate gingersnap cookies. Daily, check times and pricing at www.nybg.org. Through January 15, 2012.

Holiday Train Show - New York Botanical Garden
Through January 16, 2012 - Bronx

Experience the wonder of large-gauge model trains and trolleys winding past more than 140 miniature replicas of New York landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, Yankee Stadium, and Radio City Music Hall - all created from plant materials. The show is particularly magical at in the evening, when the lights twinkle. Check times and pricing, and purchase advance tickets at www.nybg.org.

The 9/11 Peace Story Quilt - Metropolitan Museum of Art
Through January 22, 2012 - Manhattan

Designed by the artist Faith Ringgold and created in collaboration with NYC students ages 8-19, this memorial quilt will be on view at the Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education. The quilt poignantly conveys the importance of respect, understanding, and communication across cultures and religions to achieve the goal of peace. Comprised of three 72 x 50-inch panels, each with 12 squares on the theme of peace, the quilt will be displayed alongside several of the students' original works of art that inspired its content, as well as related works made this summer by the Museum's high school interns.

'The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats' - The Jewish Museum
Through January 29, 2012 - Manhattan

The first major U.S. exhibition to pay tribute to award-winning author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats (1916-1983), this exhibition features more than 80 original works - from preliminary sketches and dummy books to final paintings and collages - for the artist's most popular books, including "The Snowy Day," which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2012. Published at the height of the American civil-rights movement and winner of the prestigious Caldecott Medal, "The Snowy Day" became a milestone, featuring the first African-American protagonist in a full-color picture book. Also on view are examples of Keats' most introspective but lesser-known output inspired by Asian art and haiku poetry, as well as documentary material and photographs.

Tunes with Tina - Bar on Fifth at Setai Fifth Avenue
Through January 29, 2012 - Manhattan

Singer/jazz pianist Tina deVaron will take center stage at this interactive weekend brunch where kids and parents are invited to sing along and request songs while enjoying a prix-fixe menu.

'Building Connections 2011' - Center for Architecture
Through February 11, 2012 - Manhattan

This exhibition highlights the creative talent and hard work of the K-12 students who participated in the Center for Architecture Foundation's architecture and design education programs during the 2010-2011 school year. This year's exhibition also commemorate the Foundation's 20th anniversary of K-12 built environment education programs.

'Charles Dickens at 200' - Morgan Library & Museum
Through February 12, 2012 - Manhattan

This exhibition explores the inspiration and creative energies of Charles Dickens, Britain's first literary superstar. It includes quite a bit of Christmas-themed material, including the one-and-only manuscript of "A Christmas Carol" and the story's first edition.

Park Here's Mommy Mornings - Openhouse Gallery
Through February 15, 2012 - NoLita

Openhouse Gallery provides moms with an escape from winter in a private, safe, and warm space. Park Here's Mommy Mornings at the pop-up park features mom and kids yoga, trunk shows, musical singalongs, arts and crafts workshops, and organic coffee and tea. For more information on specific daily activities, call or visit the website.

'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' - St. Luke's Theatre
Through February 25, 2012 - Manhattan

Off Broadway Family Theatre presents an adaptation of C.S. Lewis's beloved tale from the Chronicles of Narnia in which two actors play eight characters, both human and animal. Travel to Narnia through the old wardrobe with the four Pevensie children, and get swept into their journey to stand with the great lion Aslan against the evil White Witch.

Bilingual Birdies: Spanish Program - Ottendorfer Public Library
Through February 25, 2012 - Manhattan

A Spanish language and live music program for children ages newborn to 5 years old with a parent/caregiver. The bilingual musicians teach through music, movement, puppetry, and games.

Ice Skating at Citi Pond at Bryant Park - Citi Pond at Bryant Park
Through February 26, 2012 - Manhattan

Skate away at NYC's first and only free-admission ice skating rink. The 17,000-square-foot rink offers 360 degree viewing access and can accommodate up to 500 people. There will be themed family-friendly and children's events throughout the season complete with giveaways and promotions.

The Amazing Max and The Box of Interesting Things - Manhattan Movement & Arts Center
Through March 10, 2012 - Manhattan

Objects appear out of thin air, the laws of physics are defied, and miracles are performed inches from spectators' faces in this magic show where the props onstage seem intent on surprising even the magician himself. Be prepared for striking visual magic, comedy and juggling, and loads of audience participation. For more information on the show: www.theamazingmax.com.

R&R at the JCC - The JCC In Manhattan
Through March 24, 2012 - Upper West Side

Make your Shabbat afternoon special with workshops, art, yoga, meditation, food, music, study sessions, film, origami, creative art projects, spa experiences, indoor and outdoor play, and more. There are programs for both children and adults.

'Make Art (in) Public' - Children's Museum of the Arts
Through March 31, 2012 - SoHo

This exhibit includes works by artists such as Keith Haring, Swoon, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Remed, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Moondog, and Tranqui Yanqui. The exhibition explores the accessibility of the arts for the public; the ways in which public art is a product of and a contributor to the cultural fabric of communities big and small; as well as the positive impact of the arts on building and bettering society.

'Remembering 9/11' Exhibit - New-York Historical Society
Through April 01, 2012 - Upper West Side

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the New-York Historical Society presents this special exhibition, which includes a selection of several hundred photographs taken by professional and amateur photographers in the immediate aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center (originally collected in the independent exhibition "here is new york: a democracy of photographs"), as well as letters written to policemen and firemen; objects that were placed in makeshift shrines around New York; images and texts from The New York Times "Portraits of Grief" series; photographs of the Tribute in Light; and drawings of the National September 11 Memorial. When the renovated and transformed New-York Historical Society opens fully to the public on November 11, 2011, "Remembering 9/11" will be joined by a permanent installation of photographs from "here is new york" in the Robert H. and Clarice Smith New York Gallery of American History. Approximately 1,500 photographs by 790 contributors will be on display, along with a large fragment of a fire truck destroyed during the 9/11 attack.

Ice Skating in Rockefeller Center - Rockefeller Center
Through April 01, 2012 - Manhattan

Take a spin around this world-famous rink, below the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and other festive decorations. Check the website for special events.

'The Game of Kings: Medieval Ivory Chessmen from the Isle of Lewis' - The Cloisters Museum and Gardens
Through April 22, 2012 - Washington Heights

In 1831, a hoard of luxury goods - including more than 70 chess pieces and several other objects, all made of carved walrus ivory and dating from the 12th century - was unearthed on the Isle of Lewis off the west coast of Scotland. More than 30 of the life-sized chess pieces (thereafter known as the Lewis Chessmen), today arguably the most famous chess pieces in the world, will be on display in this exhibit, which takes the form of the endgame of a famous chess match. The fallen pieces, organized by type, are displayed in auxiliary cases along the edges of the room. The Lewis Chessmen are known in popular culture from their appearance in the film "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."

'Storytelling in Japanese Art' - The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Through May 06, 2012 - Manhattan

Japan has enjoyed a long tradition of storytelling through paintings and illustrated books, which continues today in the popular art of manga (comic books for children and adults). Showcasing more than 90 vibrant works drawn from the New York Public Library and other local collections, as well as works from the Metropolitan's own holdings, this exhibit traces the rich history of illustrated narratives that thrived in the medieval and early modern periods of Japan. The focus of the exhibition is some 20 rare, illustrated handscrolls called emaki.

'The Butterfly Conservatory: Tropical Butterflies Alive in Winter' - American Museum of Natural History
Through May 28, 2012 - Upper West Side

This annual exhibit invites visitors to mingle with up to 500 iridescent butterflies among blooming tropical flowers and lush green vegetation inside a free-standing, balmy, 1,200-square-foot enclosure.

Jazz for Kids - Jazz Standard
Through June 03, 2012 - Manhattan

The Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra (JSYO), which includes about 25 talented musicians between the ages of 11 and 18, burns through jazz classics while listeners enjoys Blue Smoke's brunch menu (lunch menu, kids menu, and full bar are also available). Jazz Standard donates $1 from each kid's menu item sold to Spoons Across America.

The Berenstain Bears LIVE! in "Family Matters, the Musical" - Marjorie S. Dean Little Theatre
Through July 29, 2012 - Upper West Side

Adapted from the classic children's book series by Stan and Jan Berenstain, this open-ended Off-Broadway musical features everyone's favorite bear family in a live show, plus a free post-show dance party, face painting, and photos with the Berenstain Bears.

"Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration" - American Museum of Natural History
Through August 12, 2012 - Upper West Side

This exhibit launches visitors into the exciting future of space exploration as it boldly speculates on humanity's next steps in our solar system and beyond. The exhibition features a full-sized recreation of a lunar habitat, a model of an elevator reaching up into space, a walk-through diorama of the Martian surface, and challenging interactive simulations. See authentic equipment and models of historic spacecraft from select voyages in the past. Learn about robotic missions that are currently headed deeper into our own solar system and what they might reveal. And explore some possible missions of the future: mining the Moon, landing on and deflecting a potentially deadly asteroid, and even establishing colonies on Mars.

Sam Eaton Presents 'The Quantum Eye' Magic & Mentalism Show - Theatre 80
Through December 31, 2012 - Manhattan

In this longest running Off-Broadway magic show, Sam Eaton explores mentalism, magic, perception, and deception, mixing extraordinary ability, humor, and audience participation to make for a different performance every time.

"Dialog in the Dark" - South Street Seaport
Through December 31, 2012 - Manhattan

This groundbreaking exhibit will lead visitors through a series of New York City environments highlighted by city-centric scents, sounds, temperatures, and textures, all in complete darkness. Relying on blind and visually-impaired guides, exhibit goers will "see NYC" and visit many well known landmarks without the sense of sight while armed with an authentic walking cane. Imagine taking a rumbling subway to your favorite location or maneuvering the crossroads of the world in Times Square while not being able to see a thing. Rest assured, the sounds and the smells will all be there to greet you. But will that be enough to guide your safe passage? The experience will forever change your perception of what it means to be blind or have low vision.

Nybelwyck Hall: A Mansion in Miniature - Hudson River Museum - Glenview
Through January 08, 2013 - Yonkers

Nybelwyck Hall, a dollhouse representing Lilliputian life at its most luxurious, makes its appearance in Glenview, the Museum's 1897 river home. The 24-room, granite-and-mortar Glenview, and Nybelwyck, the 24-room dollhouse, share architectural features - a Great Hall and a double staircase that curves from the top floor down to the Hall. Nybelwyck's central facade is loosely based on the Hudson River estate, Staatsburg, the Ogden Mills House. The orange-and-green colors on its Victorian addition are reminiscent of Wilderstein, in Rhinebeck, the family home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's personal secretary. Dollhouse enthusiast Mark O'Banks created Nybelwyck Hall over the course of a decade and looked to the wisdom of a ouija board to name his creation. The house is furnished with found objects in its 24 rooms, as well as rugs O'Banks designed. Among its 900 objects are minute musical instruments that play, doors with intricate locks that work, and a tiny dollhouse within the dollhouse's nursery.

ElectriCity: Powering New York's Rails - New York Transit Museum
Through December 31, 2016 - Brooklyn Heights

This long-term exhibit engages visitors in a compelling and participatory exploration of electricity's role in powering the metropolitan region's subways and commuter rails.

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