In the Neighborhood: 4 Things to Do With Kids This Holiday Weekend

"Nova," Softlab's Holiday Installation at Flatiron Plaza.
“Nova,” Softlab’s Holiday Installation at Flatiron Plaza. Source:

Happy Christmas Eve! Here are 4 things to do with kids this holiday weekend AFTER the madness of holiday present exchanges and big family dinners. The city will still be decked in its holiday glory, and there’s plenty of it to enjoy with your family within walking distance of Waterside Plaza.

1.Take in the holiday lights at Flatiron and Madison Square Park

Empire State Building viewed from Madison Square Park.
Empire State Building viewed from Madison Square Park. Source: Madison Square Park Facebook

If you’re like most New Yorkers, nothing will tempt you to fight the crowds to see the holiday lights uptown, but you’ve got a gorgeous alternative nearby. Madison Square Park will still be in full holiday glory, and the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership’s 2015 Holiday Installation Nova by SOFTlab will let you look through a prism of shifting lights at some of the city’s most iconic landmarks nearby, including the Empire State Building and the Flatiron Building. See your city in a new way this holiday.

2. Walk over to the Grand Central Holiday Train Show

Grand Central Holiday Train Show
Grand Central Holiday Train Show. Source:

Holiday train shows abound in New York, which makes sense for a city with a subway system that never sleeps either. The Grand Central Holiday Train Show is the only one that you can walk to, going north from Waterside Plaza. Trains hold a special place in the hearts of many, and kids especially will be delighted to watch the model trains weave through the city’s iconic landscapes.

3. Show the kids the magic of the “Discovery of King Tut.”

The Discovery of King Tut
The Discovery of King Tut. Credit: Ernst vanDeursen Source:

Just a little north of Madison Square Park at Premier Exhibitions, kids can relive “The Discovery of King Tut,” the most magnificent find of ancient Egypt. With 1,000 meticulous reproductions of real treasures found in the famous boy-king’s tomb, and kid-friendly audio guides, your children will be able to experience this 3,000 year old wonder just as it was at its moment of discovery.

4. Laugh your heads off with Kids N’ Comedy Christmakwanzukah

 Kids 'N Comedy: Christmakwanzukah
Kids ‘N Comedy: Christmakwanzukah. Credit: Julia Slaff Source:

Gramercy Park is the unofficial comedy capital of the city but walking a little further west on 23rd street to Gotham Comedy Club, you’ll find the kid-friendliest comedy show of the season, Kids N’ Comedy Christmakwanzukah, an all-teen stand-up show about the good, bad, and ugly of Christmas, from terrible gifts to more. A perfect way to close out another holiday season.

See Worlds Within Worlds at the “Gazing Globes” Exhibition at Madison Square Park

The artist Paula Hayes's 18 "Gazing Globes" will be on view in Madison Square Park from Feb. 19 through April 19.Credit Yasunori Matsui, courtesy of the artist and Salon 94, New York
The artist Paula Hayes’s 18 “Gazing Globes.” Photography byYasunori Matsui, courtesy of the artist and Salon 94, New York. Credit: T Magazine, New York Times

If the Momofuku Milk Bar Pop-Up Shop hasn’t driven you to Madison Square Park yet, Gazing Globes, Paula Hayes’ magical, mystical winter sculpture garden really should. Mad. Sq. Art hosts a ton of public art exhibitions we love, but Gazing Globes, on view February 19 – April 19, is really working for us right now. Maybe it’s the hushed snowy weather, or the fact that we’re partial to tucked-away oases at Waterside, but we love how it lets you contemplate worlds within worlds in this busy city of ours. Plus, the snowglobe-feeling exhibition is just right for winter (and very ‘gram worthy)! If you’re at Waterside, stroll up to the park at night when the globes are lit and are especially wondrous.

Paula Haye's Gazing Globes at Madison Square Park
Paula Hayes’ Gazing Globes at Madison Square Park, March 5, 2015. Credit: Madison Square Park, Facebook

In the past few years, terrariums have really taken off, especially among us plant-space deprived apartment dwellers, but artist Paula Hayes has been working with them since the 1990s. Gazing Globes is a departure for the artist, who has replaced her usual live plants with landscapes made from the detritus of modern life, “radio parts, acrylic wands and other non-compostable parts, sprinkled in fairy dust made of pulverized CDs.” Hayes is inspired by the long history of the terrarium, which as she says to the New York Times, “is about reflection and divination…looking into something to ascertain the future and figure the past.” It’s a perfect fit for historic Madison Square Park, a tranquil enclave surrounded by busy buildings in a fast-moving city…and it’s definitely worth slowing down for.

Gazing Globes at Madison Square Garden
A closeup of a wintery globe. Photography by Yasunori Matsui, courtesy of the artist and Salon 94, New York. Credit: T Magazine, New York Times