Trees are on everyone’s mind this time of year. Not even on Arbor Day (which is now Earth Day, but some of us still remember the holiday before it branched out and turned over a new leaf) do trees get more attention than they do at holiday time. You’ve got your choice of fancy, lit-up trees around New York, but take an afternoon to have a look at one loaded with history. Head over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, at 1000 Fifth Avenue, and take in the beautiful Christmas tree and Neapolitan Baroque crèche!

Neapolitan Tree and Creche 1

A History of Angels

This particular tree is a holiday tradition at the museum, and it’s become a favorite with both New Yorkers and visitors alike. Cherub ornaments, and more than fifty larger angels, hang from the tree in all their Baroque splendor. These figures date back to the 18th century, and show a complexity and level of detail you won’t find in ornaments today.

Neapolitan Tree and Creche 2

The Gilded Nativity

At the base of the tree is a Nativity scene, which turns the angels on the tree into a glorious host celebrating the birth of a savior. While the scene features the principle elements you would expect, with the Holy Family watching over the newborn child, it goes much further. The three Magi, an assortment of sheep, goats, and camels, and an entire little town of merchants, travelers, and peasants.

Neapolitan Tree and Creche 3

There are even the ruins of a Roman temple, and an Italian fountain with a lion waterspout. These decorations are each works of art in and of themselves. Put together, they’re a holiday masterpiece. Every day at 4:30 PM, you can see the tree lit for the night, too!

Whether you’re toting gold, frankincense, and myrrh, or just some packages to put under the tree, Seastreak will get you there! There’s always room on the ferry! (No guarantees about the inn.)


Sea you soon!

The Seastreak Family



Filed Under: Historical Christmas at the Metropolitan Museum of Art