Luminaries: Catch This Magical Holiday Display Before It’s Gone!

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Should you happen to find yourself downtown with the kids, or in need of a fun winter break outing, consider the far west retail complex Brookfield Place. Home to the fanciest food court in the city (although to call it that really doesn’t do it justice), an ice skating rink with amazing views of the river and lower Manhattan and a stone’s throw from a multiplex, it offers enough diversions for a packed afternoon. But that’s not why you should go now; head there to check out the gorgeous interactive light installation Luminaries on view until Jan 10.

Luminaries: What Is It?
A project of Arts Brookfield and the Lab at Rockwell Group, Luminaries is an interactive installation of 650 hanging lanterns in the complex’s palm tree-populated Winter Garden. Arranged in a wave formation in the center of the space, Luminaries puts on a constantly-changing, gorgeous, and really quite soothing light show from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day. It’s free, and when we were there, kids of all ages were having a great time with it.

wishing station

More Than Just a Pretty Display
But Luminaries isn’t solely for gazing upon. Visitors can affect the light installation by stepping up to one of three “Wishing Stations” installed throughout the space. These illuminated podiums cycle through the spectrum of colors displayed in the lanterns overhead.

To make a wish, you place your hands on the station, and when your favorite color appears, you raise your hands. Your selected color then moves through the entire installation like a wave.


photo: Arbuckle Industries, Courtesy of Arts Brookfield via Brookfield Place Facebook page

Cool, and for a Good Cause
If you need more incentive to check out Luminaries, consider that for every wish made at the installation, Arts Brookfield will donate $1 up to $25,000 to the Grammy Foundation to support Grammy in the Schools, a music education program for high school students. (Have they probably reached 25k wishes? Likely. But still.)

luminaries 2

A Little Extra
Luminaries is mesmerizing enough with its seemingly somewhat random light sequences punctuated by sporadic wishes of people below, but you can also catch mini choreographed “shows”, during which images and designs are created in the mosaic of lanterns.

The five shows are entitled “Snowfall,” “Christmas Tree,” “Ribbons,” “Firecracker” and “Northern Lights”  and are scheduled throughout the day and evening every two hours beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at 10 p.m. daily.

Luminaries at Brookfield Place
Through Jan. 10
230 Vesey St.
Financial District

Have you and the kids made a wish a Luminaries yet? Tell us what you thought of it in the comments below!

—Mimi O’Connor