Annual events worthy of Santa’s list

Holiday Perennials


Here’s hoping you didn’t spend every last penny while buying into the false promise of deep Black Friday discounts. Wise shoppers know that the real bargains are to be found at the annual PS11 Holiday Market — where most merchandise is 80% off retail prices. That merchandise includes new housewares, designer clothing, CDs, books, jewelry, seasonal stocking stuffers, sweet treats and children’s holiday crafts. Best of all, the proceeds benefit PS 11.

Sat., Dec. 3, 10am-4pm. At PS11 (320 W. 21st St., btw. 8th & 9th Aves.)


Is there any better place to hide presents from that special someone than at the very bottom (or back) of the closet? Clear out some of the old stuff to make room for new holiday gifts — and help Housing Works in the process. Their mission to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS gets a boost from sales at their 12 thrift shops (the Chelsea location is at 143 W. 17th St., btw. 6th and 7th Aves.). On Thurs., Dec. 1, stop by any of the Housing Works shops (closed for sales that day) to drop off gently worn clothes, shoes or a cash donation. Then, on Dec. 2, shop the Housing Works Best of Holiday Sale for fashion apparel, art and furniture at a fraction of retail price! For more info, visit housingworks.org.


When it comes to giving, The Washington Square Association’s seasonal spirit is willing — to set the alarm clock for a time that puts to shame all but the most hardcore Black Friday shoppers. On Monday, November 28 — while most of us were still sleeping — WSA president Anne-Marie Sumner was delivering coffee (and, presumably, good cheer) to the burly elves who just drove in from Vermont to deliver a 45-foot Christmas tree to its new home under the Arch. That resplendent tree’s multi-colored lights get lit for the first time on December 7 — when Santa Claus shows up to lead the children in the illumination countdown. After that, a participatory event for all ages: the singing of holiday songs — thanks to music by the Rob Susman Brass Quartet and complimentary songbooks supplied by the WSA. The festivities (sans illumination countdown) repeat on Christmas Eve.

The tree lighting ceremony takes place on Wed., Dec. 7, at 6pm. It will be lit for the season, from 4pm-1am daily. The Christmas Eve festivities happen on Sat., Dec. 25, at 5pm. The Washington Square Park Arch is located at the foot of Fifth Avenue, one block south of Eighth St.  For info, call 212-252-3621 or visit washingtonsquarenyc.org.


Founder and director Petr Kotik conducts his S.E.M Ensemble — as they continue a Christmas concert tradition which began in 1984. The ensemble makes imaginative use of its non-traditional location, by strategically placing musicians around Mark di Suvero’s large sculpture being exhibited in the Paula Cooper Gallery’s main space. The concert will feature S.E.M. in John Cage’s “Atlas Eclipticalis” — performed simultaneously with Cage’s “Fontana Mix and Aria” (presented as a preview of S.E.M.’s 2012 Cage centennial concerts). Highlights will also include the New York premiere of Kate Soper’s “cipher,” Luigi Nono’s “Hay que Caminar” Soñando for two violins, and a four-channel work commissioned by the Electronic Music Studio of the West German Radio (WDR) in Cologne, Germany. Soper will be the soloist in Cage’s “Aria” as well as in her own work.

Tues., Dec. 13, at 8pm. At Paula Cooper Gallery (534 W. 21st St., btw. 10th and 11th Aves.). For tickets ($15; $10 for students/seniors), call 718-488-7659 or email pksem@semensemble.org. Visit semensemble.org and paulacoopergallery.com.


Last year’s Christmas Spectacular was so, well, spectacular, that the Church of the Holy Apostles has decided to make this fundraising event an annual thing — providing us all with the rare opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a religious tradition without the hassle of having to set our time machine back 2,011 years. The songs, dances, food, drink and silent auction are all in the name of making sure the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen can keep doing what they do (providing over 1,000 meals daily to the homeless). Since 1982, HASK has helped over 7 million New Yorkers in need.

Thurs., Dec. 15, at 6:30pm. At the Church of the Holy Apostles (296 9th Ave., at 28th St.). For individual tickets ($25 in advance, $35 at the door), call 212-924-0167. Sponsorships are $1,500 for a table of up to 10 guests. For more info on the event, visit xmasspectacular.wordpress.com or call 212-924-0167. To learn about the work of HASK, visit holyapostlesnyc.org.


Born on Long Island in the ’60s, Viridian Artists Inc. grew up in SoHo, spent the ’70s on 57th Street and has called Chelsea home for over a decade. Each year at this time, Viridian invites its regulars (and guest artists) to “create some small but special artworks to share during this season of celebration, contemplation and giving.” In addition to the exhibition of those works, Viridian is bringing back its Holiday Store — stocked with art cards, prints, artist books, small art and art jewelry (items are under $100).

“Holiday Presence” is on view Dec. 6-31 (opening reception, Thurs., Dec. 15, from 6-8pm). At Viridian Artists (548 W. 28th St., btw. 10th and 11th Aves., 6th fl.). Gallery hours: Tues. through Sat., 12-6pm. For info, 212-414-4040 or viridianartists.com.


Founded in 1975, the lay-led nondenominational Chelsea Community Church (CCC) invites people of all faiths to their 37th Annual Candlelight Carol Service. Actor William “Will” Fowle, a Chelsea resident for 35 years and a member of CCC) will read Clement Clarke Moore’s famous poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” That’s appropriate, since the setting (St. Peter’s Church) stands on land that was part of Moore’s estate. This year’s choral program — under the direction of Music Director Larry J. Long — features selections including the historic chant “Hodie Christus natus est,” the Ukranian carol “To the whole world” and George Frederic Handel’s beloved “Messiah.”

Free (offerings accepted). Sun., Dec. 18, at 6pm. At St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (346 W. 20th St., btw. 8th & 9th Aves.). CCC’s regular services are held every Sun. noon at St. Peter’s.  For more information, call 212-886-5463 or visit www.chelseachurch.org.


Come and help kick off the holiday season with the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club. Bring a dish to share — and some mittens, hats and scarves to help keep the Hudson Guild kids warm this winter. Drinks are on the house!

Sun., Dec. 4, from 5-7pm. At Hudson Guild Elliott Center (441 W. 26th St., btw. 9th & 10th Aves.). For more info, visit crdcnyc.org.