For over 40 years, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has displayed more than two hundred 18th-century Neapolitan crèche figures collected by Loretta Hines Howard and gifted to the museum with a Christmas Tree. The 20-foot-tall blue spruce is decorated with lights, cherubs and features 50 angels among its branches. Each year, there are new angels and crèche figures added to the collection and display.
About the Tree
This is probably one of New York City's most elegant Christmas displays. If you want to fully experience the beauty of the figures, you'll need to get close to the tree, most easily done when there aren't crowds of visitors surrounding it, so try to visit early in the day or on a weekday if possible. Each year they change how the figures are arranged and with so many beautiful pieces in the collection, it's easy to find something new to examine.
The display incorporates three elements that were traditional in 18th-century displays in Naples: the Nativity, with shepherds and sheep; the three traveling Magi and their distinctive, exotic dress; and the quintessentially Neapolitan inclusion of townspeople and peasants depicted doing their daily tasks.
Where to Eat
The Met has a number of different dining options within, from casual cafes to more upscale dining options. Across the street, you can't beat the Neue Gallerie's Cafe for an amazing cup of coffee and sacher torte. Nectar, a Greek diner, and E.A.T., a high-end cafe, are located on Madison Avenue just a few blocks from the museum.
2017 Annual Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche Dates:
The tree goes up the last week of November and comes down after the first week of January.
Cost: There is no additional charge to see the Christmas Tree beyond the museum's usual suggested admission price
It is easy to spend an entire day visiting The Met, but there are also many other attractions nearby. Art lovers can visit The Frick Collection, the Neue Gallerie, and the Guggenheim Museum, all just a short walk away. The Museum offers very easy access into Central Park, which is well-worth a visit, even in the colder months. Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue also offer a vast array of high-end and mass-market stores, so you can work on taking care of some of your holiday shopping list as well.
See more New York City Christmas trees.