Dec 23, 2021
Christmas, Kwanzaa and Covid testing: 11 (safe) things to do this weekend
To say things feel a little bit different this week would be an understatement, so go to a drive-in or something
Do you know someone who’s tested positive for Covid-19 recently? Odds are you do, because the New York Times is reporting that an average of nearly 1 in 100 New Yorkers have contracted the virus in the past week alone, with that number jumping to as many as 1 in 35 in some neighborhoods across the city. (We’re looking at you, SoHo.)
The rampant spread of Covid-19, exacerbated by the highly contagious Omicron variant, may put a bit of a damper on Brooklyn’s Christmas spirit this weekend. But despite closures and cancelations left, right and center, Mayor Bill de Blasio has yet to impose new citywide restrictions and there’s still a range of activities to enjoy, with proper pandemic protocols in place, of course.
Be safe out there, Brooklyn. Here’s a breakdown of what’s happening around your city this weekend—though please be mindful that these event schedules are subject to change at any time.
Friday, December 24
Go get a Covid-19 test
Right now, maybe?
There’s nothing cooler than keeping yourself, your friends and your community healthy. With cases of Covid-19 once again on the rise in New York, it’s imperative to get tested if you’re experiencing any symptoms or have been in close contact with a positive case—and it’s easier than you think. Use this map to find Covid-19 testing locations in the borough and their holiday hours, or simply test “COVID TEST” to 85548.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden Lightscape
4:30 to 8:30 p.m. nightly
The East Coast’s only Lightscape of 2021 (take that, other cities!), this colorfully illuminated trail continues to wind its way through the Prospect Park-adjacent Brooklyn Botanic Garden and features myriad works from local artists. Advanced reservations required; tickets are priced at $34, though tickets for children under 12 are about half that, and infants enter free.
Help those in need keep warm
5 p.m. to close
How does trading your old coat for a free tequila drink and a chance to win a $100 gift card sound? Because that is what’s on offer during the coat drive-slash-drink promotion at the Brooklyn Country Club bar in Bushwick; it’s running every Saturday until January 18, though it’s far from the only one in the borough, so check online for others in your area to make sure your unwanted jackets go to a good home.
Holiday films at the Skyline Drive-In
If you’re looking to avoid crowded theaters but still need your fix of classic holiday flicks, head to the Skyline Drive-In in Greenpoint, which is showing several different films every night this weekend including love-it-or-hate-it Will Ferrell comedy “Elf,” iconic (and locally set) movies “Home Alone” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York,” and, of course, “Die Hard”—debating about whether this is actually a Christmas movie is optional. Tickets are about $55 per car, but because this is New York, the drive-in also has walk-up seats for moviegoers on foot, too.
Ugly Sweater Party
10 p.m. to 3 a.m.
While Santa’s delivering presents, you can enjoy Caribbean dishes and a live DJ until the wee hours of Christmas day at this festive soirée. The party’s going down at Kokomo NYC in Williamsburg, right across from Marsha P. Johnson State Park; standing room only is free, while tables start at $100-a-pop depending on the size of your group.
Saturday, December 25
How Santa Made Grinch Happy
11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Attention parents: If your kids aren’t tuckered out after a morning of opening presents, you can keep the Christmas party going at Irina’s Dance Studio in Brighton Beach—just a few blocks west of the Kings Highway B and Q line subway stop—which is hosting a three-hour, family-friendly holiday extravaganza featuring dance performances, a magic show and wintry costume characters from Santa to Elsa. Tickets are $40 for children but just $20 for adults; there are two shows per day on both Saturday and Sunday.
Christmas lights in Dyker Heights
Any local knows that the city’s most dazzling Christmas displays aren’t at Rockefeller Center, but rather in southwest Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights. The Christmas light displays on some of these homes can run into the tens of thousands of dollars, and with some neighborly competition to out-do each other, the spectacle approximately between 76th and 86th streets and 10th and 13th avenues is not to be missed. It’s free to walk around the “Dyker Lights,” though more in-depth guided tours are available, too.
Cheer on the Nets
The Brooklyn Nets have a surprisingly complicated and lengthy history of playing on Christmas Day, and assuming their Saturday evening away game against the L.A. Lakers isn’t postponed—it’s a possibility with three of the Nets’ star players currently out due to Covid-19—they’ll take on their 12th such holiday match in the franchise’s existence. Tip-off is at 5 p.m. out west, a.k.a. 8 p.m. in New York … Go team!
Sunday, December 26
Celebrate and learn on the first night of Kwanzaa
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday marks the beginning of this multi-day celebration of African roots, and as it’s been doing for more than a decade, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum in Crown Heights is honoring the occasion with a full slate of all-ages sessions that explore the holiday’s seven principles through cuisine, art, performances and hands-on workshops. Most categories of ticket, including those for adults and children above 1, are $13.
Kwanzaa Crawl 2021
12 to 10 p.m.
If you’re looking for some slightly more adult-themed Kwanzaa activities, why not kick off the holiday with a bar crawl of Black-owned businesses that’s covering Brooklyn as well as Harlem this Sunday? Focused on community-building and support for local businesses, tickets for the Kwanzaa Crawl range from $55 to $65, and while many groups have already sold out, there are a handful of Brooklyn-based teams with slots and waitlist positions still available to be registered.
‘Funny People’ at the BKLYN Comedy Club
After Pfizer and Moderna, laughter may, in fact, be the best medicine. So if you’re ready to laugh off a year that we once thought was guaranteed to be better than 2020—ha!—head to the BKLYN Comedy Club on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg and check out this 21-and-over line-up featuring half a dozen of the city’s best comics. Tickets start at $12, though it’s worth noting that the club has a one drink minimum.
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