I hope you are having a great season! Below are some of my favorite decorations and winter activities in NYC:
- Checking out the holiday windows. Bergdorf Goodman always has the best displays. This year’s theme, “Destination Extraordinary”, was inspired by the paintings of Henri Rousseau and the dioramas at the Museum of Natural History. The windows at Saks Fifth Avenue can hardly compare, but their light show is fantastic and plays every ten minutes from 5-11PM until January 2, 2017.
- Hot chocolate! I highly recommend getting a shot and homemade marshmallow at the City Bakery (in February, they have an annual hot chocolate festival and serve a unique flavor every day).
- Drinks with friends who are home for the holidays. Rosa Mexicano has a great happy hour. For a stronger holiday atmosphere, Pete’s Tavern is festooned in red lights and serves homemade eggnog. Rolf’s German Restaurant is legendary for having the most over-the-top Christmas decorations, but there can be a 2+ hour wait for the bar during peak season. Fortunately, I just learned the decorations stay up until May and now plan on going post-New Years.
- Viewing Gingerbread displays. There is always an elaborate gingerbread display at one of the Midtown hotels. This year the pastry chef at the Peninsula Hotel has recreated the 15-story building in a 6-ft tall edible form. The charming structure took 96 hours to complete and has furnished miniature hotel rooms in the back.
- Union Square Holiday Market. While it seems like the market gets bigger and starts earlier every year, I have many regular favorites. The Unemployed Philosopher’s Guild always has funny gifts. I usually buy my mentee an advent calendar at the German booth. I particularly love the artisanal food vendors, which is where I discovered the Taste of Persia Ash Reshteh soup that I eat during the year at their storefront on 18th street. The Arcini Brother risotto balls are delicious. Nunu Chocolates sells outstanding chocolate-covered salted carmels...it’s fun to explore and see the new vendors as well!