Kick Off New York Holiday Fun With Tree-Lighting At Tavern On The Green

New York is the place to be for the holidays—storied in movies and books.

And there’s no better place to start than the landmark Tavern on the Green restaurant in Central Park. For Tavern is not just a place to eat. It’s a New York experience, and even beyond, during this wonderful time of the year.

Take tree-lighting. On Tuesday, Nov. 28—the day before Rockefeller Center turns the lights on its massive tree—Tavern on the Green has its own tree event in Central Park. The tree sits in the center of Tavern’s Courtyard, right in its backyard. Thus, in one glittering moment you have the experience of being in the world-famous park and seeing a fabulous lighting.

The fun starts at 5:30 P.M. after you’ve made your way in at the entrance on Central Park and West 67th Street. The 20-foot tree is adorned with more than 2,000 dangling ornaments and, believe it, 10,000 lights. Putting you in a warm Christmas mood, the Manhattan Holiday Carolers and Allyson Briggs will perform. The Tavern is offering complimentary hot chocolate, apple cider, sweet treats and soft drinks to show its appreciation to the visitors.

Attendees will learn about the West Side Campaign Against Hunger, and at 7 P.M. the dramatic tree lighting.

But that’s only part of Tavern on the Green’s holiday goings-on.

On Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 27, it will feature a feast the Colonists could not even imagine: a five-course menu including the traditional free range tom turkey, with sage and sausage stuffing. The fixed price of $135 for adults and $75 for children 12 and under (for reservations, go to

Still hungry? Drop in for a special holiday brunch. On weekends starting Saturday, November 25, you can get ready for your shopping by feasting on sausage and biscuits, or perhaps French toast. These hearty meals will be served through December 31, from 9 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. Prices are $95 for adults and $65 for those 12 and under.

In addition, the Tavern will be having special meals on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve.

But don’t think of Tavern on the Green for its food only. It is a historic part of New York City. The building in the late 19th Century was home to more than 200 sheep who used Central Park as their backyard. But in the 1930s, famed New York master builder Robert Moses decreed that the park needed a restaurant, and not just any old place to eat, but something that would symbolize the greatness of the city.

Hence, the Tavern on the Green. It also took on an international identity when it became the starting—and ending—point for the fames New York City Marathon. In the early days of the 26.2-miles event, a few dozen runners began the run at the Tavern. They then ran up to Harlem, a few miles away—and made enough round-trips to complete the run, back at the Tavern. Now, of course, the race begins on the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge, but concludes dramatically at the Tavern, with most of its 20,000 runners winding up there over the course of the day.

And for this writer, the Tavern has a special resonance. His wife, Rosalind, not only had her Sweet Sixteen at the Tavern (more than a few years ago), but recently celebrated a major wedding anniversary there with family. In fact, family memories continue to be made, in any season.

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