NYC for the holidays: The city’s classic traditions have been tweaked for the times


By Andrea Sachs,

The LuminoCity Festival returns to Randall’s Island with a new theme and a few tweaks, such as timed admission tickets.

Most of us are probably wishing we could go back to Christmas Past, but unfortunately, we are stuck in Pandemic Present. Last holiday season, an estimated 7 million people visited New York City, the epicenter of merriment. This year, fewer revelers will embark on the pilgrimage. As this story went to press, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised against traveling for Thanksgiving; similar guidance may come for Christmas. And New York State has its own restrictions, which also could change, but as of mid-November, out-of-towners from all but five northeastern states — New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont — must obtain a negative coronavirus test result within three days of arrival and retest on the fourth day of the visit. In between swabs, visitors must quarantine. Many hotels are discounting rooms and throwing in such perks as free parking and dining credits, which will help make quarantine more comfortable and wallet-friendly. NYC & Company, the city’s tourism office, has a list of specials on its website, and many are valid through the end of the year, if not beyond.

The motto for New York City could be, “The holidays must go on.” Though Broadway and the Rockettes are sitting out the festivities, most of the big events are still on, though with a few tweaks. (Masks, social distancing, sanitizing and advance reservations are a given, of course.) Here are some of the major celebrations, plus a few ancillary events, that have adapted to the health crisis without sacrificing the joy and cheer of the holidays.

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