Annual Holiday Happenings Return to Chelsea, Some with Online Options in Tow

BY SCOTT STIFFLER | For the past two holiday seasons, COVID precautions have either cancelled public gatherings altogether, forced them online, or rendered in-person participants nearly unrecognizable thanks to that essential accessory, the mask. This year, however, public confidence seems to be back, owing to many months of brick and mortar events with roust attendance and the absence of “super spreader” consequences. Which brings us to this roundup of beloved annual events are back or returning as in-person happenings (with some also offering the online option). See the provided links to their websites or social media for details on the public health protocols you’ll be expected to respect, if attending in person.
Holiday Happenings, in the Following Order:

The Flatiron NoMad Partnership’s Holiday Cheer / Amahl and the Night Visitors at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen / Holiday-Themed Walking Tours in the Flatiron NoMad District / Chelsea Community Church’s 48th Annual Candlelight Carol Service / The W. 400 Block Assoc’s Annual Tree Lighting and Annual Menorah Lighting / High Line Menorah Lighting / See You Next Year: Listings for 2022 Holiday Happenings, Come and Gone

The Flatiron NoMad Partnership Presents Holiday Cheer: Thursday, December 1 through Friday, December 23 | Festive programming happens throughout the Flatiron and NoMad (north of Madison Square Park) areas for 23 consecutive days. There will be live performances, family activities, games, sweets and treats, and giveaways. Support local merchants while securing local dealsfor yourself, including the chance to win a giveaway by way of the Partnership’s Instagram and weekly newsletter. For all of the essential info, click here. For a Bonus Activity that falls under the Holiday Cheer umbrella (or perhaps snow shovel?) keep reading this roundup and you’ll soon land on an event listing that, like your snow boots, has been made for walking.

On Site Opera presents Amahl and the Night Visitors at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, December 8-10 | New York City’s largest soup kitchen—Holy Apostles—is the site in question, for On Site Opera’s contemporary, symbolism-rich adaptation of Gian Carlo Menotti’s 1951 one-act opera (the first such work commissioned for television). It follows events that unfold when youthful Amahl and his mother find themselves seeking shelter in the soup kitchen, only to encounter a trio of new arrivals hoping to find a welcoming space to rest ad recharge before resuming their journey to deliver gifts to a newborn with housing issues of his own, having been delivered in a manger located behind an inn with no available rooms.

Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen plays the part of… a Soup Kitchen, in On Site Opera’s contemporary take on “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” | Photo by B.A. Van Sise

Opera soloists and musicians of renown are joined by a “Shepherds Chorus” comprised of formerly homeless individuals that come to the production by way of supportive housing provider Breaking Ground. As for what the audience brings to the table, all guests are asked to arrive with a small donation of non-perishable food items (Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen serves over 1,000 meals a day to hungry and homeless New Yorkers). Thurs./Fri. Dec. 8/9 at 7pm and Sat., Dec. 10 at 2pm & 6pm at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen (296 Ninth Ave. at W. 28th St.). General admission tickets are 50, $25 for children under 12 years old. To purchase, click here.

There’s no snow in the forecast just yet, for walking tours of the Flatiron and NoMad District… but just you wait! | Photo via the BID’s website

Free Holiday-Themed Walking Tours in the Flatiron NoMad District: Sun. Dec. 4, 11, & 18 meeting at 11am at the Flatiron Building, 23rd St. just east of Fifth Ave. | The Flatiron NoMad Partnership offers a variation of its weekly walking tour by making seasonal-themed stops at locations offering insights about the Star of Hope, the country’s first public Christmas tree lighting, the International Toy and Gift Center, and the circumstances under which Clement Clarke Moore wrote his famous Christmas poem (aka the definitive Christmas poem), A Visit From St. Nicholas. These tours are free and there’s no advance registration required. For more information—including current safety protocols—click here.

Chelsea Community Church’s 48th Annual Candlelight Carol Service: Sunday, December 18, 6pm In-Person & Online | The nondenominational, lay-led church whose weekly 1pm Sunday services are streamed via Zoom will conduct this year’s edition of their grand Christmas tradition as a brick and mortar event (at St. Peter’s Chelsea, 346 W. 20th St. btw. 8th/9th Aves.) and via live streaming on the Chelsea Communty Church Facebook page and YouTube channel. Larry J. Long directs the Choir and guides congregational singing, and Christopher Houlihan accompanies on the organ. Singer, actor, and musical theater sensation Karen Mason (Sunset Boulevard, Hairspray, Mamma Mia!) brings those stage chops to her reading of A Visit from St. Nicholas, famously written by St. Peter’s Chelsea founder Clement Clarke Moore. This is a free event, but donations are gratefully accepted. For more info, see the below flyer. Also visit the Chelsea Community Church website by clicking here.

The West 400 Block Association’s Annual Tree Lighting (Wed. Dec. 7, 4:30pm) and Menorah Lighting (Sun. Dec. 18, 4:45pm) in Clement Clarke Moore Park (10th Ave. at W. 22nd St.). | See the two below flyers for details on a pair of beloved West Chelsea events that serve to kick off their respective seasonal obserbances and celebrations. For December 7’s Tree Lighting, the neighborhood’s own Rosanne Cash (Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, and New York Times best-selling author) gives voice to Clement Clarke Moore’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. After that, the tree lighting takes place, candy canes are handed out, and the familiar lyrics to beloved holiday songs fill the air–courtesy of the Avenues Chorus (from Avenues The World School).

On December 18, Clement Clarke Moore Park is the setting for the West 400 Block Association’s annual Menorah Lighting. Chocolate gelt will be handed out, and Dick Gottfried (about to retire as Assembly District 75’s rep in Albany) will continue his tradition of reading the story of Hannukah. At this event as well as the Tree Lighting, “All are welcome,” says the West 400 Block Association.

Chanukah on the High Line: Sunday, December 18, 4:30pm at the 14 Street Passageway on the High Line | Join New York Hebrew and Chabad Center for Jewish Discovery for their sixth annual Grand Menorah Lighting and Chanukah celebration on the High Line. This “celebration of light, unity, and liberty” happens amidst live music, Chanukah arts and crafts, Chanukah gifts and delicacies, Menorah kits, dreidels, chocolate gelt, and donuts! “All are Welcome,” say event organizers, who are “wishing you a joyous and luminous Chanukah!” That’s all very nice, but you had us at “dreidels” and “donuts!” For more info visit:

See You Next Year: Listings for 2022 Holiday Happenings, Come and Gone

Tree Lighting Party: Sunday, December 4, 11:15am at St. Peter’s Chelsea (346 W. 20th St. btw. 8th & 9th Aves.) | This annual event (offering hot chocolate, carol singing, cookies, and the promised illumintion of the tree) is just the second of many Christmas and Advent events from St. Peter’s Chelsea (rescheduled for 12/4 because of anticipated rain on its original 12/3 date). Attend in-person or livestream services via their YouTube presence. For more info, see the below events calendar or click here to visit the St. Peter’s Chelsea website.


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