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See the Lights! Do-It-Yourself NYC Holiday Lights Scavenger Hunt

Updated: Dec 5, 2023


2023 Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center


Take this New York City Holiday Scavenger Hunt to discover 12 holiday events and displays from Harlem to Wall Street. All the clues are part of New York City Scavenger: The Ultimate Search for New York City’s Hidden Treasures, a newly released book which features more than 350 clues across 15 neighborhoods and areas of Manhattan.


These 12 selected holiday sites start downtown and continue in a northernly route to Harlem (and eventually the North Pole).



1. In the Financial District, this giant Christmas Tree has been lit since November 30 under the watchful eye of our first clue:

She’s reproduced in foreign lands.

She moved one time from where she stands.

She advocates diverse worksites.

She’s raising up her gender’s rights.



2. See a mesmerizing display of Luminaries dazzle in this Winter Garden near the Hudson River through Jan. 6. Here’s your clue:

From subway trains, you tunnel through.

With water taxis, you get there, too.

Two giant “trees” with trunks of steel

Will welcome those who seek a meal.



3. Near the Christmas Tree in this historic square, bring an instrument to play and lift your voice for a heart-warming free musical concert of holiday classics at 5pm on Christmas Eve, December 24 under the arch. Still need a clue. Here’s the story of a man on the arch:

He’s looking up Fifth Avenue,

A street he never could review.

He’s noted for his bravery

Both here and east, across the sea.

 

On Mario's Holiday Gift List

Be a part of it, New York, New York, when you find 350 reasons that Manhattan is the top of the world when you buy NYC Scavenger: The Ultimate Search for New York City's Hidden Treasures. Follow the clues to 15 neighborhoods from Battery Park to Harlem to Central Park.

 

4. A world famous troop of acrobats brings a new holiday show, Twas the Night Before… to this world famous site from December 7-28. Everyone knows the name, but here’s a clue for those not sure:

The first of these was near the site

Where flowers bloom and birds take flight.

This is the fourth to bear the name

Where many come to watch a game.


5. Three different special viewings of Elf, a holiday film, are included in a package deal that takes you to the top of the building where Buddy’s dad worked. The film and special tour are only available December 10 and 17. If there’s no time watch this holiday film, here’s a clue to locate the site:

There’s hardly one who’s never heard

About this place near thirty third.

By day its base is rather plain,

At night, its crown will entertain.



6. The newest shopping mall in Manhattan hovers over a busy train yard near the Hudson River. A remarkable Christmas Lights Show features a lighted hot air balloon, festive evergreens and more than 2 million yellow lights. Even the most jaded New Yorkers have yet to visit this holiday wonderland. A few steps from the main entrance is this six-story wonder:

Even in New York it reigns large,

Especially ‘cause there’s no charge.

Its oddly shaped exterior

Harkens to the ethereal.


7. Opening December 15 in time for the holiday season is a spectacular Field of Lights at Freedom Plaza in a six-block vacant lot in Manhattan near the East River. This is sure to be the hottest show in town (sorry, Hamilton). Not sure where to find the spot? Walk north from the giant spotted dog juggling a taxi as explained in this clue:

This taxi stand is sure unique.

And yes, some say it’s tongue in cheek.

For those who show up at this spot

Some cry when they receive a shot.



8. Christmas is underway here! It’s been in movies countless times, and every year the most famous parade in the world ends here. The windows at this Midtown palace are always worth another visit. The clue is:

In almost every town there’s one.

This one’s so huge, a visit’s fun.

The smell alone of the perfume

Will enchant us so we’ll consume.



9. Most people think of this as place to travel through, rather than stop and shop. The holiday market here offers plenty of unique gifts. From November 16 to early January, descend one floor below for the Holiday Train Show. The clue is:

When people speak of crowded space,

Like we are rats stuck in a race,

Three words are all you need to say

When you invoke this getaway.


10. The world’s most famous toy store is already open. The light show next door sparkled for the first time on November 21 and was seen Wednesday, November 29 on NBC-TV for the big lighting event. Take a moment to observe the wonder of this place as described in this clue:

There’s so much at this grand complex.

People don’t know where to look next.

This mosaic depicts the thought

That evil’s work will come to naught.



11. Take a subway to see the new exhibit, Holiday Express 2023-2024: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection starting November 24. As you enter this historic site near Central Park, see the statue and pay tribute to one of America’s great leaders who is described in this clue:

He gained his freedom in the North,

And on the north, he does hold forth.

With lectures and a special tour,

This place explains the man’s allure.


12. A diversified calendar of holiday events began December 3 with the Double Dutch Holiday Classic. Other holiday events as this world-famous venue include Coca-Cola Winter Wonderland on December 9, Samara Joy: A Joyful Holiday December 14-15 and Kwanzaa: A Regeneration Celebration, December 30. Here’s a clue to one of the legends that have played this stage:

An album made in ’62,

It still has lots of ballyhoo.

His first live disc upon this stage

Is known beyond his golden age.


New York City Scavenger: The Ultimate Search for New York City’s Hidden Treasures is your guide to 15 artfully designed scavenger hunts on the island of Manhattan, arguably the most famous of the city’s five boroughs. Decipher the clues to find the place where Bebop was born, the tavern where Lincoln and Grant were patrons, and the most famous subway grate in movie history. Find New York City Scavenger at all major online book retailers, at book stores throughout the tri-state area or at www.nycscavenger.com for a personalized, autographed copy.


 

On Mario's List for Jersey Shore Friends

What are the best attractions, boardwalks, cultural sights, nightlife and food to sample? Do what TV, film and stage celeb Mario Lopez does when he visits the Shore and pick up a copy of the book, 100 Things to Do at the Jersey Shore Before You Die. Visit www.100ThingsJerseyShore to order your autographed copy.





 

ANSWERS


1. Wall Street Christmas Tree

2. Brookfield Place

3. Washington Square

4. Madison Square Garden

5. Empire State Building

6. Hudson Yards

7. Lot between 1st Avenue and FDR Drive north of NYU Langone Children’s Hospital.

8. Macys

9. Grand Central Station

10. Rockefeller Center

11. New York Historical Society

12. Apollo Theatre


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