Seaport Christmas Tree Lighting

‘Tis the season to be spending our nights with Broadway stars… er… and our family too. If you headed to the annual Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting this year then you made a mistake. Between the apocalyptic crowds and six-foot giants blocking your view, you’re lucky if you even get a glimpse of any of the action. If you’re looking for a Christmas gathering that’s just as grand and iconic (without the massive crowd) look no further downtown than the Seaport District’s Annual Christmas Tree Lighting! Just a few blocks away from the historical Wall Street Christmas Tree and the Oculus’s Winter Village there’s plenty to explore after you watch the big illumination.

This year the Seaport District’s holiday spirit stayed strong as they braved through the area’s first snowfall of the season. It may have been freezing, but the snowflakes brought out the best in the hosts and performers of the night. 106.7 LITE FM radio hosts opened the pre-lighting show with charisma as bright as a tree topper. Charitable presentations were made by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and A Place for Kids. Even The Very Hungry Caterpillar made an appearance at the South Street Seaport Museum for those looking for a bit of nostalgia. Soon after, cast members from Mean Girls and Phantom of the Opera decked out the stage in their best holiday cheer. 

Mean Girls cast members, Becca Peterson and Gianna Yenelli, lit up the night in fabulous pink, while Phantom of the Opera cast members, Meghan Picerno and Jeremy Stolle (the phantom himself) dazzled the audience with classic show music. After performing original music from their shows, the four performers gathered together to serenade the crowd with holiday favorites such as Christmas Queen Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is You”. The performers, hosts, and everyone who made the night possible came together to countdown the tree which warmed everyone’s hearts with its golden hues. After the lighting, the audience was invited to a free after-party at the Pier 17 rooftop ice skating rink where Ingrid Michaelson would be giving a concert. 

No exaggeration, this was one of the most magical nights of my life (that’s saying a lot because I’ve been to Disney quite a few times)! The tree lighting was not crowded considering the abundance of free performances. The snow must have scared away the Scrooges and Grinches, leaving the merriest holiday believers. This worked in my favor as I got a front-row spot, only inches away from the cast members of my favorite Broadway shows. With everyone huddled close together, singing classic Christmas songs with Broadway stars, as snowflakes serenaded the scene I think we all allowed the stresses of reality to freeze over and enjoy a brief escape to what felt like living in a Christmas movie. I was truly reminded of what Christmas is all about. Giving, friendship, love, joy, and gratitude floated through the air and into our hearts. Christmas is a gift that ignites our souls and reminds our hearts that they beat as one. Next year, join Manhattan’s most vibrant community of seaside dwellers as they celebrate the allurement of the holiday season.