Herds of fanciful equines prance around in NYC every day, and the fact that they are carved from wood makes them no less charismatic. If you are visiting--or hosting visitors in--the city for the upcoming holidays, a ride on one of The Big Apple's carousels can infuse some no-fuss, celebratory horsiness into your experience. There are at least ten urban carousel options to choose from, though some eschew horses (egads!) for themes of sea creatures or insects.
For carousel horse purists, the Central Park Carousel is an invigorating walk from the display hubbub of midtown. It boasts 52 jumpers, 5 standing steeds and two chariots for your rotating pleasure. A ticket is just $3 (cash only) for this restored, historic treasure, a favorite of The Catcher in the Rye's Holden Caulfield. It is listed as open daily 11-5 (weather permitting), but worth a day-of call (212.439.6900 ext. 4) to confirm.
Prefer a waterfront view? Head for Jane's Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park, with 48 gorgeous horses, two chariots and panoramic vistas of the East River. Jane's is open in Fall/Winter Thursday to Sunday 11-6 (it is indoors so weather is not a factor), and will even be open 11-3 on Thanksgiving Day. $2 a ride.
If you are a thinker type, you may want to brush up on your carousel horse history before you go. And don't forget that post-painted-pony ride, Manhattan Saddlery is another welcoming city stop for horsey holiday cheer!