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Get Your Holiday Fix in the Outer Boroughs

Straight from the outer boroughs
By Jerry Del Priore
Over-the-top holiday lights in Dyker Heights are a must-see for Brooklynites--credit
With the holidays in full swing and shopping hitting a fever pitch, you’ll surely need a release valve in order to help keep your sanity intact.

While Manhattan gets most of the attention for places to visit during the holiday season, we've created a list of fun recreational pursuits in the city's outer boroughs.
Dyker Heights Holiday Lights
If you want to see the most spectacular, over-the-top light and Christmas decorations  in Brooklyn, venture over to the neighborhood of Dyker Heights — from 11th Avenue to 13th Avenue and from 83rd to 86th Street. 

Most of the displays are professionally done, and every year it has evolved into a pseudo competition, as each home does its best to outshine the next. Since the closest train stop (18th Ave, D/M) is located at 85th Street and 18th Ave, a bit of walking distance away from the best displays, if you have a car, we suggest driving and then parking your car a few blocks away so you’re not caught in the traffic crawl as peeps gaze in amazement. But dress for warmth, and bring a thermos full of hot chocolate or soup so you don’t freeze out the enjoyment.  

For Brooklyn’s Jewish population, we like two of many charming Hanukkah Menorah Lighting events:
Grand Army Plaza – Now thru Saturday, December 15, daily at sundown. There will be free latkes, music and some children's gifts.
Brooklyn Borough Hall - Through Hanukkah, daily at 5pm

American Ballet Theater’s Nutcracker at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music). The Nutcracker Ballet is based on the story "The Nutcracker and the King of Mice" written by E.T.A. Hoffman. It’s a story about a young German girl who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and a ferocious battle against a Mouse King with seven heads.
The Nutcracker is a family favorite every Christmas--credit
Now thru Sunday, December 16. Ticket prices start at $25.00.

The Bronx
New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show with Gingerbread Adventures. This annual tradition is one of the hidden treasures in the Bronx, delighting people of all ages. Marvel at the charming model trains and New York landmark replicas such as the original Penn Station and Yankee Stadium, Radio City Music Hall, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, The New York Public Library on 42nd Street, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Stroll the breathtaking grounds, decorate (and eat!) gingersnaps; break for lunch and hot chocolate, and shop for everyone on your gift list.
The train show at the Botanical Gardens is for all ages--credit
  • Runs through January 13th - Weekdays: Tuesday–Friday, 10am - 6pm
  • Weekends: 10am – 7pm
  • Holiday Weeks (Monday, December 17 – Tuesday, January 1) 10am - 7pm
  • Early closings: December 14 and 24; 3 p.m.
  • Closed: December 25 (Christmas).
  • Prices vary, so please go to their website for different packages.
The holidays wouldn’t be complete without engaging in a triple axel, or, in my case, clutching the boards of the rink. With that being said, Queens has got you covered with two ice skating facilities: City Ice Pavilion and World Ice Arena at Flushing Corona Park.

City Ice Pavilion – Located at 47-32 32nd Place in Long Island City.
Looking for someone special to skate with? How about Santa, who will be there every weekend from 1:30pm - 2:00pm. Don’t know how to skate well? Sign up for the free 15-minute lesson at 2:20pm.

World Ice Arena
Looking for a special skating partner? Come skate with Santa every weekend in December at 1: 45 pm. {credit}

Staten Island

The Christmas Show at St. George Theatre - 35 Hyatt Street (in walking distance from the Staten Island Ferry); 718-442-2900

In its ninth year, the Christmas Show is a two-hour musical dance extravaganza featuring holiday favorites such as "We Need a Little Christmas," "Let it Snow" and "Silver Bells" as well as spiritual classics including "O’ Holy Night," in one of Staten Island's most charming hoods.
Show times: Friday, Dec 14 at 7pm, Saturday, Dec 15 at 3pm and 7pm, and Sunday, Dec 16 at 3pm and 7pm. Ticket prices range from $10 to $40 on Friday and Saturday, and Sunday shows are $10 to $20.

 Historic Richmond Town's two-hour Candlelight Tours (441 Clarke Ave at St. Patrick’s Pl; 718-351-1611.   

Hark back to the seventeenth century, and observe the evolution of today's Christmas traditions (the Dutch custom of gifting a wooden clog stuffed with fruit led to other forms of present-swapping). Then, help light a Christmas tree's candles in the village's Stephens-Black House.
Saturday, December 11 – Saturday, December 18 – 4:50—8:30pm, with tours leaving every 20 minutes; $10—$22).
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