Residents celebrate Stuyvesant Town Christmas tree lighting

Dickensian Carolers stroll through Stuy Town. (Photo by David DuPuy)

On Friday evening, residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village gathered for the annual Christmas tree lighting on the Oval. Highlights from the event included Dickensian Carolers singing as well as General Manager Rick Hayduk reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Prior to the lighting, cookies and hot beverages were served.

In addition, Santa Claus will soon make his annual appearance on Monday, December 11 and Wednesday, December 13 from 5-7 p.m. for residents who wish to take pics with St. Nick. The venue is the ice rink (no rink admission required for photos).

The Hanukkah menorah lighting will take place on Tuesday, December 12. Rav Shoshana Mitrani Knapp will lead the blessings at 6 p.m. The menorah lighting will be followed by dancing, music, donuts and hot beverages until 7:30 p.m.

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THANK YOU: Readers donate hundreds of toys to T&V holiday drive

Bonnie Robbins, coordinator of children and family services at Mt. Sinai Beth Israel, stands by some of the donated toys. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Bonnie Robbins, coordinator of children and family services at Mt. Sinai Beth Israel, stands by some of the donated toys. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot
Each year during the holiday season, Town & Village holds a toy drive benefitting a local hospital and, thanks to our generous readers and other community members, hundreds of new toys were donated.

All of the toys (we stopped counting at 300 but there were plenty more) were brought to Mt. Sinai Beth Israel last Friday. As always, the toys are given to kids who are stuck spending their holidays in hospital rooms as well as the children of patients of the hospital’s outpatient programs and clinics. In many cases, those patients can’t afford for shop for presents for their kids.

For this drive, Town & Village partnered with Stuyvesant Town management, Waterside Plaza management and M&T Bank on First Avenue, who all provided convenient donation dropoff sites.

The drive, which began in mid-November, ended last Thursday. However, it was during the last week when many of the donations were made, including, in one case, an entire truck load at once. (This was after a Stuy Town family held a party at which guests were each asked to bring a donated gift.) The haul included Barbies, Lego sets, remote control operated helicopters, tricycles, sports equipment, jewelry making kits, board games, books, action figures, toy instruments and stuffed animals.

Bonnie Robbins, Ph.D., the coordinator of children and family services at Mt. Sinai Beth Israel, noted that the variety of donated items means it’s that much easier for hospital staffers to match gifts to kids’ interests.

While sorting out the toys at her office, Robbins said, “This year the community has really outdone itself in terms of its generosity and words cannot express how appreciative we are.
“The toys,” she added, “really make a difference between our kids having a happy holiday or not. Sometimes the presents they get from the program are the only gifts they receive. When they see them, their faces just light up and we want to thank each and every person for their thoughtfulness and continued support of what we do.”

The staff of Town & Village would also like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our readers for their generosity as well as to CWCapital/CompassRock, Waterside and M&T Bank, for their participation.
We also wish all in the community a Happy New Year.

The holidays in Stuy Town throughout the years

Santa (Town & Village publisher Charles G. Hagedorn) arrives at the Oval where he took over 250 photos with kids in 1949. (Photo from T&V archives)

Santa (Town & Village publisher Charles G. Hagedorn) arrives at the Oval where he took over 250 photos with kids in 1949. (Photo from T&V archives)

By Sabina Mollot
While much of the talk about Stuyvesant Town these days is about how much the place has changed in recent years, one thing that’s managed to remain the same is the community’s celebration of Christmas and Hanukkah.
Putting up Christmas decorations and a nativity scene on the Oval along with an ornamented tree has been a tradition for decades. Another longstanding tradition has been having Santa take pictures with residents, from kids to seniors. It was in 1949 when Charles Hagedorn, the publisher of this newspaper, donned a Santa suit to hear the Christmas wishes of over 250 children in Stuy Town. The appearance was sponsored by the Town & Village Camera Club with proceeds from each photo taken going towards the Town & Village Polio Fund for the Willard Parker Hospital. (A total of $253 was raised.)
In the Stuy Town community, other traditions during Christmas time have included tree lighting ceremonies, caroling and the occasional concert. Hanukkah too has also been recognized, celebrated over the decades with menorah lightings led by a resident rabbi and activities for kids and families.

THANK YOU: Generous T&V readers donate toys for the holidays

Bonnie Robbins, coordinator of children and family services at Beth Israel, with some of the toys at her Second Avenue office (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Bonnie Robbins, coordinator of children and family services at Beth Israel, with some of the toys at her Second Avenue office (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

At Town & Village, holding a toy drive around the holidays to raise money for kids undergoing treatment at a local hospital is a tradition that’s spanned decades.

This year, thanks to the generosity of our readers, nearly 100 toys were collected to benefit Beth Israel Medical Center. The toys will be distributed to kids spending their Christmas at the pediatric department as well as to families who whose members are patients of the hospital’s outpatient clinics, who in many cases, could not afford gifts for their children.

Among the haul were gifts suitable for kids of all ages from babies to tweens, including dolls, action figures, games, books and a few gadgets.

Bonnie Robbins, coordinator of children and family services at Beth Israel, said the toys were especially needed this year.

Following Sandy, she noted, more families have been utilizing the hospital’s clinics. This has been in an addition to an uptick in families since the recession began.

“People have had to focus on their basic needs,” said Robbins, “so it’s especially necessary for us to be able to provide something. No parent wants to feel like they can’t give their kid something to celebrate the holidays and we help parents who would have a tough time doing that.”

Robbins as well as the staff at Town & Village would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to those who donated as well as those who offered space as toy dropoff points. This year’s dropoff points were the Waterside Plaza management office, the Waterside Swim & Health Club, M&T Bank on First Avenue, Paddy Maguire’s Ale House and the Stuyvesant Town Community Center.

Local synagogues will celebrate Thanksgivukkah

By Maria Rocha-Buschel 

This holiday season, the Jewish community will have a lot to celebrate due to the rare overlap of two major holidays in what has been coined “Thanksgivukkah.”

This year marks the first time in 125 years that two fall holidays will be happening on the same day: Thanksgiving, which falls on the fourth Thursday of every November, will be on November 28 this year and the first day of Hanukkah, which falls on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, will also be this upcoming Thursday.

The Hebrew calendar is lunar and has fewer days than the solar Gregorian calendar so the former occasionally adds in a month to compensate.

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