There are plenty of options to toast the new decade in the city, mostly underground clubs. Many friends ask me where to spend this special New Year, and I have to say my choice would be Tavern on the Green. Yes, that sounds mighty touristy (which goes against our insider proposition), but there are three reasons for why I stick to my choice.
First, it's a beautiful venue in the winter. Every single branch is decked with lights during the holiday season, making it one of the most festive restaurants in town.
Second, it's in Central Park and you can watch the New Year's Eve fire works.
Third, and most importantly: this classic NYC staple will be extinct by January, and that will be our last chance to celebrate surrounded by this historic 3-room setting as we've known it for the last 30+ years.
Tickets, including buffet dinner and open bar start at $200. Organized by the expert party promoter Marc Biron. For tickets and more information click here.
If you still prefer the clubbing scene, i would suggest
1. The Top of the Standard Hotel (ex - Boom Boom Room). Tickets start at $250. Call 212-645-7600, or buy here.
2. Cipriani Wall Street, Kiss & Fly, Pink Elephant would be my other choices, For reservations and an extensive list of New Year's Eve parties at night clubs, go here.
May 2010 bring you much peace, prosperity, joy and love. Oh yes, and one more thing: wherever you decide to do it, please party like it's 2009!
By Beatriz Tasso Fragoso, special contributor
Good news for those into a bit of classy kinkiness: risqué British boutique Coco de Mer now has an outpost in Nolita, where you can find all things erotica. Designer erotic bedroom toys, titillating accessories and lingerie. Well-curated library of erotic books, handcrafted leather pieces, flavoured massage oils and even a gold-plated vibrator! All very tastefully displayed.
Soon, they say they'll even offer 24-h delivery. Stay tuned.
By Beatriz Tasso Fragoso, special contributor
Andrew Harper is the famously anonymous hotel inspector who sells his independent reviews in a newsletter called The Hideaway Report.
As Travel + Leisure magazine explains, "In his 30 years of traveling incognito with the mission of reporting the world’s finest hotels, resorts and restaurants in his members-only newsletter Hideaway Report, no one has ever guessed his identity. (...)
The first issue of his advertisement-free Hideaway Report appeared in 1979 and grew by word of mouth. Today, tens of thousands of members pay $195 annually for a basic membership or $400 annually plus a $500 initiation fee to be part of the Premier Class, which offers upgrades and other perks to travelers."
He recently launched an edition on New York, which we were very eager to get our hands on.
The much-respected Harper travels incognito and always pays his own way, so that his opinions can always be counted on as unbiased.
Harper focussed the New York newsletter on the new and noteworthy hotels that everyone's been talking about: The Crosby Hotel, The Plaza and The Pierre, along with a few recently opened restaurants. "I'm glad to report, although battered by the financial meltdown, the city has lost none of its incomparable gift for self-reinvention," Mr. Harper remarked.
He was concerned with making his voice heard amid all the noise: New York hotel reviews are on a million free websites, for example. "So much has been written about the city and so many opinions are widely available," Mr. Harper said, "It forced us to work even harder to try and present some unique viewpoints."
I read the newsletter in full and, to sum it up, Harper loved the Plaza and the Crosby, loved Marea and Corton, yet disliked The Pierre, pictured above, of which he wrote:
To buy an annual Andrew Harper membership, click here.
We might be low in cash, but as long as spirits are high, we can still enjoy the season to be jolly. On the short video below I captured a little bit of the holiday groove happening at Union Square this week despite the cold.
Christmas Cheer on Union Square:
I love to share good deals when I see them. There are so, so many sales going on right now, but our job here is to separate the wheat from the chaff . I was looking for objects that make personal gifts and have lasting appeal. And suddenly: bang! Or should I say bangles? When I fist saw Jessica Kagan Cushman’s bracelets at Barneys a few years ago I was immediately drawn to the creative approach of etching memorable idioms and phrases onto cuff like white and black resin bracelets that look like ebony and ivory (the sayings are much more original then the one I used on the opening phrase I assure you!)
And now, for insiders only, you get 25% off when you enter HOLIDAY25 at check out.
I can’t wait to see my friend’s face when she gets her “It wasn't me. It was my evil twin” bracelet (she’s a sweetheart really, she just gets a little carried away sometimes when the party is pumping). Thinking about that, I’m also considering the “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.” as her gift. Anyways, you get the gist, there are plenty of catchy phrases, one for each of your bff’s. Oh, as for me, I couldn’t resist and chose the “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”. Nothing like a Shakespearean quote for Christmas, which, by the way, “is not a date children, it’s a state of mind” (since we are citing: that would be Mary Ellen Chase)
Tis the season about giving right? And a lot of shopping, of course. So how about considering to “really” give, and I mean help someone, while you buy? I thought this perfect combo initiative deserved a post. At Adriano Goldschmied donate your old denim, any brand, and automatically get 20% off a new slick pair of jeans. The discount actually applies to your entire purchase, anything in the store you buy that day. I mean, how practical is that: it dilutes the spending guilt a little bit. I was there the other day because my friend swears by the fit of those jeans, so I wanted to try them on. They patiently described the different fits, found mine, dropped off my old jeans, got the discount, felt good, and even received a nice red nail polish as a gift. Through December 31st. Merry shopping, it feels jolly good to do it this way.
111 Greene Street, bet. Prince & Spring
212 680 0581
If you are still looking for a distinctive outfit ideal for winter parties and outings, comfy enough but with an edge, something classically modern, a bit rock and roll, but not too much, (and all those contradictions in terms) in one beautifully finished and original piece, I have a suggestion: go to Billy Reid on Bond Street. The southerner designer brings the unexpected innovative characteristic to staple pieces, such as shirts, dresses and creative t-shirts.
The store could be the retail version of Freemans, with wooden old furniture, antique frames, sepia photos and a deer head adorning the wall.
Shop this Thursday during their holiday party, meet the designer and listen live to The Civil Wars, who recently had a song featured on Grey’s Anatomy. The sales team is very friendly and the whole atmosphere is inviting. No rsvp needed. Just stop by for quality shopping (they are on sale!), great design and good music.
Pop-up shops are spurting all over town. Perfect, because it’s just that time of the year where we “need” to shop, and are always on the look-out for fresh ideas. In SoHo we have The Limited (which might be upgraded from pop-up to perm in January) and my favorite: Phaidon bookshop. The English art coffee table book publisher opened its first store in London this year and set up shop on Wooster Street in October for the holiday season (rumors here too that they might be here to stay, depending on how it goes).
And lucky us, I just found out that they are having a party tonight, all books will be 20% off from 6pm until 9pm. Drinks and signing "I Know How to Cook" with adapter and translator Clotilde Dusoulier. TONIGHT! (there's nothing more dangerous to my wallet then booze & browse, but still, i need to do Christmas shopping eventually, why not take advantage of the discount and festive atmosphere?)
Walking in there, I knew I could count on finding gorgeous imagery in super high quality paper,beautifully bound. Illustration books make perfect gifts for all types.
And talking about searching for “the” gift, what I really enjoyed at the store where the silver prints of photographers such as established lens masters: Elliott Erwitt, Nan Goldin and Jeff Wall. All signed and numbered! Worth a visit.
100 Wooster Street
212 925 1900