The city's oldest holiday tradition–and a newer one that's fast becoming a classic–are almost here.
The 108th annual reading of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" at the Church of the Intercession in northern Harlem–free and open to the public–is set for next Sunday, December 16 at 3pm. Assembly Member Al Taylor will be doing the honors this year.
Afterward, attendees can join a candlelight procession to author Clement Clarke Moore's grave across Broadway. Yes, Santa Claus as we know him today–jolly, bearded and dressed in fur–is a New York invention. The visit will include festive caroling and a ceremonial wreath-laying.
Right before the recitation, author, scholar and living encyclopedia of uptown history Eric K. Washington will be leading a separate event with a similar connection, the 9th annual Uptown Trinity Church Cemetery Holiday Tour, which is held directly across the street from the Church of the Intercession.
Photo via @erickwashington
Washington's guided walk through the hilly, western section of the Trinity Church Cemetery–"The more dramatic one," as he calls it–will stop at the graves of Moore as well as some of his contemporaries, including David C. Colden, a friend of Charles Dickens who was probably the first New Yorker to get a copy of “A Christmas Carol.” Another nearby peer is David Hosack, who served as both Alexander Hamilton's and Aaron Burr’s doctor.
Ask nicely after the two-hour tour and Washington will point you in the direction of naturalist John James Audubon's final resting spot in the eastern section.
Whether you decide to attend both events or just one, make sure to wear sturdy footwear: a stroll through this stunning graveyard can at times feel like a romp through the woods.