A traditional tree-lighting ceremony is so central to the winter experience in New York City that it’s hard to imagine ringing in the holidays without one. And while our own lighting has already taken place this year, our good friends with the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) are just as keen to celebrate the season of twinkling lights, eye-catching ornaments, and memorable company. This Friday, they’re hosting one of the best kept secrets in the boroughs with their own tree-lighting ceremony—one that boasts a thriving small town spirit you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the city.
If you’ve never paid a visit to this sliver of island east of Manhattan, maybe you’ll recognize its contribution to our Holiday Train Show. The Roosevelt Island Lighthouse was originally built as the Blackwell Island Light in 1872, and since then it’s not only been added to the National Register of Historic Places, but immortalized in natural materials as a seasonal miniature in our Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.
Visiting the lighthouse on Roosevelt Island is a wholly different experience, of course—and one you shouldn’t miss out on! The RIOC‘s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place December 6 at 7 p.m. in Blackwell Plaza, offering music, gifts, and more (not to mention a visit from a particularly special holiday guest). Getting to the island is as easy as hopping the F train to Roosevelt Island Station, taking the Q102 bus from Astoria, or zipping over on the iconic Roosevelt Island Tramway. You know you’ve always wanted to hitch a ride in one of those high-flying red cabins.
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