Holiday decorations are now fully up all around the city, and uptown is no exception. From east to west, here are some of the best spots to find festive cheer to melt even the coldest, weariest heart:
It's always fun to take a stroll past Neil Patrick Harris's townhouse on Fifth Avenue just north of 125th Street to see how Hollywood does the holidays. This year the actor's home has it all: giant ornaments, Santa, a wreath and even a small, decorated Christmas tree. For more holiday glamour, check out the "73 Questions" Harris did with Vogue this time last year. The guy goes all out.
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When you think about it, there's nothing so pretty as holiday lights reflecting on water. In Harlem, there are two spots where you can catch that special magic. On the northeast corner of Central Park there's the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center within Harlem Meer, where the building and trees look like they're straight out of a fairy tale.
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Or, for something completely different, head over to West Harlem Piers to find the Baylander IX-514, a former US Navy Helicopter Landing Trainer that is now a floating museum. It had its tree lighting ceremony last week, and while there's no real tree involved, the results are still ever so shiny and bright.
Lenox Avenue's sidewalks are so wide that most restaurants on the strip have generous outdoor seating areas. This time of year they're being put to another good use: as stages for holiday trees. On a recent day the four blocks from 125th Street to 129th Street had a total of eight trees from seven different restaurants. They include from south to north: Chez Lucienne, Red Rooster, Corner Social, Cantina, Babbalucci, Lenox Sapphire and Jacob Restaurant (which has two!).
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The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is another lovely place to soak up the holiday atmosphere. Stop by its "Peace Tree" and make a wish for a better world.
Simplest is often the best, which is the result when a park or green space uses a live tree to serve as its symbol of the holidays. Two of the most charming examples in Harlem are the strung-with-lights firs in Montefiore Park in Hamilton Heights and St. Nicholas Park near 135th Street.