A Winter Wonderland for Our Times

Holiday vibes are reverberating around us and elaborate home light displays have been piercing the darkness since Halloween. We need this magic now more than ever, and in grand proportions, if possible. There is, of course, the Rockefeller Center tree—that 75-foot Norway spruce that, upon arrival from upstate New York, looked as weary as most of us feel, yet hosted a surprise traveler: the adorable Saw-whet owl. This year, visiting the Rockefeller tree involves dedicated viewing zones, virtual queuing, and a five-minute viewing limit. 

The Tree and the Dove

But if you have a car or can rent one, you can glide through holiday magic from the comfort of your own vehicle. Since 2014, Westchester’s Winter Wonderland at Kensico Dam Plaza has been charming visitors every holiday season with their musical light displays, circus shows, ice skating, merry-go-rounds, cart rides, and feel-good food and drinks. Their holiday light extravaganza is always impressive but this season it surpasses itself. It is beyond extravagant. Magnificent. Enchanting. While we must forgo the other activities and delights—including my personal favorite: a mouth-watering Louisiana pulled-pork sandwich—the Winter Wonderland drive-thru is worth every cent of the $25 per car ticket and every second you might need to spend in line, inching, snail-like, to the entrance.  


You enter the Plaza in a double line of cars that blends into a single file and you can drive as slowly as you want, even coming to periodic full stops to take pictures. If you wish, a dedicated radio channel, 88.7 FM, can flood your car with holiday favorites as you pass by colorful animated light displays everywhere, stained-glass angels of peace, dancing-light trees, a 40-foot tall Christmas tree and a rising white dove, elves, flying snowflakes, candy canes, Fa La La’s, and so much more, plus a live Santa and favorite characters who greet you.

The Tunnel

The peak experience is driving through the spectacular Star-Wars-reminiscent swirling light tunnel inside which you feel like you are at once hypnotized and about to reach light speed… at one mile per hour. 


A resplendent, comforting escape, Westchester’s Winter Wonderland drive-thru takes you on a magical fantasy ride that you can share with your loved ones in safety. Load your car with family, friends, or a significant other, and this unique 1.2-mile drive will prove an unforgettable holiday experience. In bidding farewell to 2020 with dreams of a better year ahead, inundating the darkness with light has become a quest on every level. This Winter Wonderland helps us illuminate the holidays in an incandescent outburst of magic and hope.   

Westchester’s Winter Wonderland is open until January 3rd. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit their website.

Photos by Maria-Cristina Necula

About Maria-Cristina Necula (74 Articles)
Maria-Cristina Necula’s published work includes the newly-released "The Don Carlos Enigma: Variations of Historical Fictions," "Life in Opera: Truth, Tempo and Soul," two translations: "Europe à la carte" and Molière’s "The School for Wives," and three poetry collections. Her articles and interviews have appeared in "Classical Singer" Magazine, "Das Opernglas," "Studies in European Cinema," and "Opera News." As a classically-trained singer she has performed in the New York City area at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Florence Gould Hall, and the Westchester Broadway Theatre, and has presented on opera at The Graduate Center, Baruch, The City College of New York, and UCLA Southland. She speaks six languages, two of which she honed at the Sorbonne University in Paris and the University of Vienna, and she holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from The Graduate Center. Discover more about her work at www.mariacristinanecula.com.