By Emily Baer
Throngs of people turned out for the annual Winter’s Eve Festival at Lincoln Square. The unseasonable balmy late November evening began with folk legend Arlo Guthrie singing classic songs like “This Land is Your Land” and “Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer” as organizers lit the sparkling tree. It is estimated that approximately 4,000 people attended this year’s tree-lighting ceremony.
After the ceremony, festival-goers made their way up and down Broadway between 68th street and the Time Warner Center, where restaurants joined in the holiday fun. Various eateries located in tents on the sidewalks offered samplings from their menus. People who were brave enough to stand in the long lines early in the evening were treated with a spicy tuna hand-roll from Bar Masa, braised sticky short ribs from Dizzy’s Club, and various other delights.
Stilt-walkers (left) and ice sculptors decorated Broadway and bands such as the Klezmatic’s and A Cappella Soul Singers performed.
In past years the festival was a small neighborhood happening, but this year it seemed that New Yorkers from all over and tourists alike came out to take part in the various activities. It struck me as odd and a bit frustrating that given the amount of people present and the small space the sidewalks provided that Broadway between 68th street and 59th Street wasn’t shut down to allow for more space for the crowd and tents.
During the tree lighting itself, most of the crowd was situated on the steps of Lincoln Center, across the street from Dante Park, where the main stage was located. Huge trucks, buses and other loud motorized vehicles passed during the performance and tree-lighting ceremony, drowning out the noise and blocking the view. I don’t think the festival organizers were prepared for how many people would be present and I hope for future festivals they are more prepared with both traffic and crowd control.
Photos by Avi.