Christmas Trees Help Make New York City a De-Light-Ful Treat for Kids

Article excerpt

Q. My husband and I are visiting New York City from Dec. 5 to 8 with our children, ages 7 and 11. What are some of the activities and events going on? We already have tickets to Radio City Music Hall.

A. You'll be too late for the lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, which takes place Dec. 3, but on Dec. 5 at 7 p.m., a 40-foot Colorado blue spruce will be lighted at Fountain Plaza in Lincoln Center, with characters from "Sesame Street" and members of the Lincoln Center Children's Chorus on hand.

From Nov. 29 to Jan. 1, the Chorus Tree, made up of 40 to 50 singers, will perform at South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. weekdays, 3 and 4 on Saturday and Sunday. (No performances Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or New Year's Eve.) Information: (212) 732-7678. If you haven't had your fill of trees by then, you can take in the Origami Christmas Tree that goes on view at the American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at West 79th Street, (212) 769-5100, starting Nov. 26, and the splendid tree at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, (212) 535-7710, with its Neapolitan Baroque Creche, which can be seen from Nov. 30 to Jan. 5. Lincoln Center is a particularly busy place that time of year. The Big Apple Circus performs at Damrosch Park Oct. 24 to Jan. 12. For information: (212) 268-0055; for tickets, $10 to $49, Centercharge, (212) 721-6500. The New York City Ballet's run of "The Nutcracker" at the New York State Theater is Nov. 28 to Jan. 5; tickets are $18 to $72; (212) 870-5570 for information or fax orders to (212) 870-5693. Gian Carlo Menotti's "Amahl and the Night Visitors" will be performed by the Little Orchestra Society at Avery Fisher Hall on Dec. 7 at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Information: (212) 704-2100; tickets, $15 to $35. Q. During World War II, my Army unit spent about 18 months in North Africa. I would like to revisit places in Tunisia, especially some Roman structures I recall. A. Tunisia, a popular beach resort for European vacationers, is relatively unknown by Americans. There is no separate tourist office in the United States (the Embassy provides travel information) and no direct air service. Among the companies with itineraries devoted exclusively to the country is Cultural Tours, based in Washington, D.C., which has been going to Tunisia for three years. A typical two-week itinerary includes Tunis, the capital, with the Bardo Museum, which has exceptional Roman mosaics; the ruins of Carthage, which date back to the ninth century B.C.; Sbeitla, site of the Roman town Sufetula, and Roman ruins at Bulla Regia and Dougga. The company plans departures next year in June and September, with the price about $2,500 a person for a 20-member tour, including air fare, hotel, almost all meals and sightseeing. Flights generally connect through Paris or Rome. Cultural Tours, 2121 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Suite 67, Washington, D.C. 20007; (202) 333-5747 or (800) 826-7995, fax (202) 333-3122. Tunisia tours are also offered by a small company in Wayne, Pa., Tunis U.S.A., whose owner, Jerry Sorkin, has an undergraduate degree in Middle East studies from the University of Pennsylvania and has been traveling to the country since 1983; he also has an Oriental rug business. …