If you're a holiday light display enthusiast and you're looking for a fresh option to take you into the new year, you should probably head to Staten Island before the Winter Lantern Festival closes out its run on January 6th. Gothamist's own Jake Dobkin visited this past weekend and gives it a thumbs up: "In terms of psychedelic experiences, it sure beats eating mushrooms and wandering around the Staten Island Mall."
The festival, located at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, has 40 installations, including a light tunnel; various depictions of nature, animals, and marine settings; Chinese zodiac animals (hey, the Lunar New Year is on February 5th); a holiday display; and my personal favorite, something called the Panda Paradise. Most of the lanterns are LED.
General Li, cultural counselor of the Chinese Consulate, explained, "The displaying of lanterns is a traditional way of celebrating important holidays in China. In order to pray for harvest, families light up lanterns in joy and appreciate their wishes. This often contains a message of good fortune."
And for those seeking envy-inducing photos, Dobkin adds, "Pro-tip: if you want to get good shots bring a real camera with a tripod, because camera-phones and selfie sticks aren't quite up to the complex lighting challenge. With an SLR, a 1/25 of a second shutter speed, with a wide aperture like 2.8, and an ISO of 3200 or higher, will get you the good stuff for your 'gram."
The Winter Lantern Festival is open through January 6 (but it's closed on December 31 and January 1): Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, 5:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. and 8:00p.m.-11:00 p.m. Tickets purchased online are: Children (3-12) $15; Adults $23; Seniors(65+) $15; and Military (with Military ID)$15. Tickets purchased onsite are: Children (3-12) $18; Adults $26; Seniors(65+) $18; and Military (with Military ID) $18.