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What to Do Downtown on Christmas, from Midnight Mass to Chinese Buffets

By Julie Shapiro | December 23, 2011 12:25pm
The Christmas tree in the South Street Seaport this year is fake.
The Christmas tree in the South Street Seaport this year is fake.
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DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro

LOWER MANHATTAN — Christmas is one of the quietest days of the year Downtown — but there's still plenty to do, whether you're celebrating the holiday or not.

Trinity Wall Street will host its annual Christmas Eve Midnight Mass starting at 11 p.m. Saturday at St. Paul's Chapel, 209 Broadway. The service includes special liturgy and music, along with a candle lighting.

The church will also offer several services on Sunday morning, featuring Christmas hymns and carols.

In Battery Park City, the Lower Manhattan Community Church will hold its candlelight Christmas Eve Service at 4 p.m. on Saturday at P.S./I.S. 89, 201 Warren St. The church will offer special programs for children.

Next to the World Trade Center site, Father Brian Jordan will lead his annual midnight mass Sunday. Jordan has organized this 12 a.m. service for 9/11 family members and first responders every year since 2001, but this will be his last year leading the mass. Participants will gather on Church Street just north of Liberty Street starting at 11:30 p.m. Saturday.

The potato latkes at Kutsher's Tribeca are served with three varieties of caviar, along with the traditional sour cream.
The potato latkes at Kutsher's Tribeca are served with three varieties of caviar, along with the traditional sour cream.
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Kutsher's Tribeca

There are also several impressive trees and holiday displays — from the towering Norway Spruce outside the New York Stock Exchange, to the controversial fake tree at the South Street Seaport.

In Battery Park City, the World Financial Center Winter Garden is decked out in 100,000 sparkling holiday lights, and just to the east, 1 World Trade Center is lit up in bright colors like a giant Christmas tree.

For those who are celebrating Hanukkah rather than Christmas, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, is hosting an all-day family program on Sunday that connects to the museum's current exhibit on the Statue of Liberty.

As part of "I Lift My Lamp: A Statue-esque Hanukkah," the museum will screen "An American Tail" at 11 a.m., "Saboteur" at 1 p.m. and "Ghostbusters II" at 3 p.m., and will also offer craft activities related to the Statue of Liberty from noon to 3:30 p.m. Programs are free with admission, $12 for adults, $7 for students, and free for children 12 and under.

For grown-ups, the 92YTribeca at 200 Hudson St. is offering an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet at 2 p.m. Sunday, with a double-feature of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Jurassic Park." Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door.

Those who want a more educational experience can join Wall Street Walks' "The Jews of Lower Manhattan" tour, which will run at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday. The $25 tour includes a visit to the original site of the oldest Jewish congregation in the country and will also discuss Jews who influenced the neighborhood's history.

Kutsher's Tribeca, the new Jewish-American bistro at 186 Franklin St., is featuring a different type of potato latke each night of Hanukkah, topped with everything from pear butter to melted leeks. Kutsher's is also serving a special Chinese-themed menu on Sunday, but as of Friday morning it was sold out.

Many of Downtown's shops and attractions will be closed Sunday, including Century 21, J&R, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. However, the 9/11 Memorial will be open, and there are still plenty of free tickets available online.