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Retailers are kicking off the holiday season earlier than ever this year in hopes of avoiding big in-store crowds in November and December, creating a potentially dangerous situation during a pandemic. (Oct. 21)

AP Domestic

If you thought that the 2020 holidays were going to be all “bah humbug” in New York City, think again.

There will be a decorated holiday tree in Manhattan’s Bryant Park when its annual Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park opens Oct. 30, along with the ice skating rink and holiday shops, reports the Rockland/Westchester Journal News, which is part of the USA TODAY Network.

The organizers have scaled things back to be safe during the coronavirus pandemic, so there will be fewer vendors, with more space between and wider aisles throughout the park; there will be no extravagant tree lighting ceremony as in years past.

Skating at the Bryant Park Winter Village. (Photo: Elizabeth Shrier)

To help with crowding, the holiday market will have one-third fewer shops than it had in prior years for a total of about 60. Additionally, the Lodge Deck by Urbanspace restaurant will offer food and beverages outdoors. There will also be food vendors throughout the park including Bun Ramen and Crepe Cafe.

More in NYC: Times Square’s socially distant New Year’s Eve will incorporate virtual elements

While ice skating remains free, you will need advance reservations this year, again as a way to prevent crowding. Also new: Four minority-owned small businesses will have the chance to showcase their products in a rent-free booth.

All visitors will be required to wear masks, except when eating.

LuminoCity Festival

Luminocity Festival aerial view. (Photo: Courtesy Luminocity Festival)

Also just announced are the opening dates for the popular LuminoCity Festival lights show, which debuted in 2019 at Randall’s Island and a new Christmas-themed Bane Haunted House will open in Hell’s Kitchen at 618 W. 46th Street. LuminoCity Festival will be on Randall’s Island from Nov. 27 until Jan. 10. No dates have been announced for Bane. 

Winter Village at Bryant Park is located behind the New York Public Library, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, and 42nd and 44th Streets. For more info, go to bryantpark.org

Karen Croke is the features editor for lohud.com and poughkeepsiejournal.com. Find my stories here. Reach me at kcroke1@lohud.com

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