Chritsmas lights New York City
December 10, 2008 9:53 AM   Subscribe

Trying to locate a restaurant in New York famous for its Christmas lights.

This restaurant was featured in a television Christmas lights special last Christmas, that included New York City. Does anyone know the restaurant. And while I'm at it, we'll be visiting NY for 5 days starting Friday. Have Rockettes tickets, but would enjoy any ideas for things special to do there this time of year. Thank you.
posted by rabbus to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Was it a tiny Indian restaurant? 1st Ave between 5th and 6th streets. Can't miss it. I hear tell it was featured on an episode of "Sex and the City" once, too. I have never personally seen this place on TV, but that's simply because I don't watch it enough.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 9:57 AM on December 10, 2008

It's Tavern on the Green.
posted by Evangeline at 9:57 AM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Do you like Christmas trees?
Rockefeller center obviously has the huge famous one.
The Museum of Natural History has an origami one.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a fancy old-fashioned one with a creche.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 10:16 AM on December 10, 2008

It's Tavern on the Green.

Yep. The prettiest tourist trap in midtown.

Exiled here in the culinary wasteland of Salt Lake City, the thought of picking a NYC restaurant on the basis of its decor makes me want to cry. For the love of all that is edible, I urge you to stand outside TOTG to get your fill of the pretty lights and then go somewhere else for your victuals. It seems to be snoozing at the moment - but the Chowhound message boards should be able to tailor advice to your every specification.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:16 AM on December 10, 2008

It's either Panna II (the Indian restaurant where "Christmas lights meet chili pepper lights") or Tavern on the Green for sure.

I highly recommend Panna and don't recommend the Tavern at all. Our holiday Christmas party was there last year and it was subpar.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 10:18 AM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Rolf's, at 22nd and 3rd, is famous for its over-the-top Christmas decorations.
posted by ROTFL at 10:32 AM on December 10, 2008

n'thing the thumbs down on Tavern on the Green. It is pretty to look at though.

The NYC Santacon is Saturday. Don't be surprised if you run into hundreds of drunken Santas. Saturday evening is also Unsilent Night, Phil Kline's annual participatory sound sculpture.

If you have the chance I highly recommend the holiday train show at the New York Botanical Garden. The show is in the big conservatory and features 100+ replicas of New York buildings made from plant parts (bark, twigs, leaves, etc). It is truly wonderful.
posted by plastic_animals at 10:47 AM on December 10, 2008

Response by poster: Hi, and thanks for all the help. To Joe, I hear you. We will have plenty of time to eat plenty of good food. But one of my party of three saw the restaurant on tv and wants to go. Look at it as a quest. :) Since two of us, me being the exception, have never been to New York (and my longest of many stays there was maybe 3 weeks at a time), we'll be doing lots of the normal touristy stuff, Rock. Center, etc. I'd forgotten aobut the holiday train show at the Botanical Garden, and we'll probably try both it and most of the other stuff mentioned here. Thanks for all the help. Chris (Kringle?, no)
posted by rabbus at 11:03 AM on December 10, 2008

I'm with ROTFL, it's gotta be Rolf's. Whenever someone mentions over the top Christmas lights in Manhattan, it's usually Rolf's. They use over 70,000 light bulbs, 20,000 glass balls, and 50 cases of garlands. Photos on Flickr.

What to do in NYC:
NYC Virgin: getting into town, most commonly visited places, the basics of visiting NYC, events listings, and more.
Now in NYC on all ongoing shows, exhibits, events, etc.
Great food experiences
Shopping recommendations

Oh, and Rockefeller Center will be swamped this time of year. Lots of patience required to navigate the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds. Good luck, have fun, stay warm.
posted by kathryn at 11:57 AM on December 10, 2008

as per ROTFL, some of the German bars on third in the mid/lower 20s have tons of lights. Go for a drink.

as peanut_mcgillicuty says, Panna II (fyi; it is above street level, look up if you don't see it).
posted by cestmoi15 at 11:58 AM on December 10, 2008

peanut_mcgillicuty: My company had a party at Tavern On the Green also, a few years ago; I think it was our summer event, not our holiday event. Fancy place, but we got a bargain-basement menu: hotdogs and hamburgers. So chintzy.

I like the funky South Asian place (isn't it actually Bangladeshi?) with all the hanging lights.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 1:57 PM on December 10, 2008

I'm pretty sure the TV show was about Tavern on the Green - it's famous that way and constantly being filmed. Rolf's is fun, but not an internationally known tourist lure.
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:42 PM on December 10, 2008

I came in here to say Rolf's. I know it's not as "famous" as Tavern on the Green, but I saw Rolf's on a Christmassy TV show last year (don't remember if the show was about lights or not, but the segment definitely was), so it may be what your friend saw.

I walked by Rolf's every day for 4 years (it was on the way to school). When I had a night class, I was totally that chick who stood outside the window peering in for a couple minutes. Even if you don't eat there, walk by after dark. It's incredible. If you go there, try to make a reservation. I went there once on a weeknight around this time of year, and there was a 2 hour wait for a table for 2. (It's a pretty small place.) But give it a shot even if you can't make a reservation - you never know! And the food is worth it.

Oh and you didn't ask, but I think the best time to see the tree at Rockefeller is late on a weeknight. I got stuck in the city one night (trains were messed up), and decided to go for a walk instead of sitting around Grand Central. I ended up in Rockefeller Center around 11PM on a Tuesday or something. There were still people around but it wasn't mobbed, and I able to stand there for a little while uninterrupted and watch the tree and people skating.

I have a Thing for Christmas lights.
posted by AlisonM at 3:07 PM on December 10, 2008

I saw Rolf's on a Christmassy TV show last year

My bad, I'm sorry.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:56 PM on December 10, 2008

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