December 11, 2015 / Inspiration, News / Posted by: Elise Hanks

Parrandas, a Photo Contest, and More Ways to Get in the Holiday Spirit


It’s the most wonderful time of the year – and if this puzzling weather has been keeping you from getting into the holiday spirit, we have just what you need to get festive! Our seniors are spreading holiday cheer all across the Lower East Side with parrandas, a favorite annual tradition. Our senior community adopted the Afro-Indigenous musical tradition beloved by our Puerto Rican seniors, learning all the holiday songs together in English – which is the perfect common ground for our Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese and Portuguese speakers.

This Week’s Inspiration

One of our favorite neighbors is getting shutterbugs in the competitive holiday spirit with a photo contest (the winner + big prize announced next Friday!). Check out the latest pics of the Essex Street Market on instagram – and then get down there to do some shopping and snapping of your own!

Did you know that Captain America was born on Essex Street? The Avengers, all the X-Men and even the Hulk hail from the Lower East Side. Check out the Tenement Museum’s behind-the-scenes story of the man who dreamed up these heros and went on to work for Marvel Comics’ editor-scriptor Stan Lee.

Find out how the Lowline plans to bring NYC the world’s first underground park right here in the LES this Sunday at noon with a free discussion about how they’re going to create a “wild, undulating landscape of 3,000+ tropical plans” indoors and underground using real sunlight.

Community Conversation

We promised you a way to start feeling holiday cheer. While we can’t make the city feel like a snow globe, we can make it just a little bit brighter and cozier for some of our neighbors. Here’s how you can help.

Today, is the last day of our Tompkins Community Center‘s Toy Drive. Stop by 736 Park Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn with any new or gently used toys to brighten Christmas.

Our Bushwick-Hylan Community Center and Juan Morel Campos Secondary School in Williamsburg are seeking coats, hats, gloves, and other gently used winter clothing. Juan Morel has boots in children’s sizes at the top of their wishlist this year.

Teachers Preparatory School in Brownsville and Juan Morel Campos are holding Canned Food Drives throughout December – your favorite soup or maybe a recipe for killer beans would be the perfect contribution.

Our Seward Park Community Center is also holding a Canned Food Drive this month. Grab a few cans from the Essex Market (the best deals!) and help bring some cheer to the table this season.

Youth at our 80 Pitt Street Community Center are collecting hygiene products to keep smiles bright. That’s right – we want new toothbrushes, floss, deodorant, soaps and more!


Bring your donations right to our Community Centers (addresses are linked on our interactive Google map!) or drop them off at our 80 Pitt Street headquarters and we’ll help distribute them.



Back to the Latest