Monday, December 30, 2019

Christmas in New York 2019

Kellari Taverna 19 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036

Can you believe the year is over? I don't know where the time went, to be honest. Working lots at my full time job and visiting the city often, the time has flown quite quickly!

I thought I would share with you my actual days in the city for Christmas this year. The holidays are magical of course, but I don't go in too often in December due to the crowds. I just cannot enjoy myself being in a very large crowd taking baby steps while trying to walk! This year I decided to go in Dec. 23rd and stay until Dec. 26th. I hope you enjoy this summary of the things I did, and that it may give you some ideas for next season!

Old Town Bar and Restaurant 45 East 18th Street 

When I arrived at 10:30am, my hotel room was ready at the Sofitel New York  which was awesome. It is one of my most favorite hotels to stay, but more on that later. I was scheduled for a new tour from On Location ToursMrs. Maisel’s Marvelous Tour of New York City, which I was super duper excited about! There will be an in-depth review of this tour, but here are just a few highlights.

Above is the Old Town Bar and Restaurant, where Joel hung out in Seasons 1 and 2 with his friend. The restaurant is from 1892 and is a great spot to get a bite to eat. I will for sure be back here when in the area for something yummy! 

Our tour guide was dressed as Midge which was very cool. So easy to find vintage clothes in NYC from Chelsea to the Upper East Side. The guide was showing us the steps to the Gaslight where Midge performs. It isn't called the Gaslight, many places they use for the show in the city are something else and they make them into what they need. It was very neat seeing those steps in person! We enjoyed a gorgeous 50 degrees on this day, it was perfect for a tour. 

Sofitel New York New York 45 W 44th Street 

Back at the Sofitel, their tree always looks lovely. My room was ready early which was nice and always appreciated. I didn't feel the level of service was up to their normal this year. No view upgrade and no welcome gift for being a returning visitor. My thoughts for next year are that I would like to stay more downtown, Flatiron , Union Square or the Village. It is less crowded and much easier to enjoy your stay. 

The very cool tree they also showcased in the hotel was made of Louis Vuitton luggage. It was quite a site to be seen, and I enjoyed viewing it each time I came back to the hotel. 

Maison Kayser 8 West 40th Street 

My trip to the city would not be complete without my favorite Maison Kayser. I tried one of their amazing chestnut holiday log. It was out of this world! I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing this was but when you visit the city, be sure to stop here! 

The tree at Bryant Park was lovely as usual, the crowds were pretty heavy Monday afternoon and didn't seem to be buying much from the vendors. I felt bad because some of them rely on these shops during the holidays for selling their products. I went back in the evening and it wasn't as bad, but decided not to go Christmas Eve since it was going to be a bit colder weather. 

How can this  not make you smile? 

The Morgan Library and Museum 225 Madison Avenue 

Christmas Eve was spent pretty quiet at the Morgan Library and Museum, one of the favorites of this blog. 

Two exhibits I wanted to see, which will both have more in-depth reviews shortly, are Illusions of the Photographer and John Singer Sargent (one of my most favorites) Portraits in Charcoal 

They were both fantastic and I highly suggest you try to see them before they close. 

Jack Dempsey and Babe Ruth, 1926 

This exhibit was sublime. I love John Singer Sargent's work and these were a real treat to enjoy on Christmas Eve!  
So beautiful this is Lady Diana Manners (1892-1986) completed in 1914 

How handsome is this man? So sad he passed away while fighting World War 1 
The detail on this work is just so mind blowing. 

This fireplace was as tall as me! 

The Morgan always displays some type of Charles Dickens work for the holiday and this year was no exception. 

Chocolat Michel Cluizel  199 Madison Avenue 

Since the hot chocolate stand was packed in Bryant Park, I decided to stop at the most amazing Michel Cluizel for a marshmallow hot chocolate. 

I was a pretty happy person to say the least. They have seating inside which is nice to take a break and rest your feet from walking all day. 

Grand Central Terminal  89 East 42nd Street 

Next we head to Grand Central Terminal which has a Holiday Fair until Christmas Eve as well as many shops for last minute gift ideas. How gorgeous is this view ? It is such an iconic piece of architecture. 

Craftspring homemade in Brooklyn 

I found these adorable felt works of art that I had to purchase, for myself and an early birthday gift for a friend. I find if I see something I know someone will enjoy, I purchase then and there instead of waiting closer to the date. I loved the cloud with rainbow, which I am going to try to hang at my office. I adore the fact they are made in Brooklyn as well. 

My Christmas Eve dinner, which is always seafood, was enjoyed at the classic Grand Central Oyster Bar. This is not my first time here, and I have never had a bad meal. The menu is mostly the same with their Today's Catch being the varied items. They are closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas and New Year's Day. 

The Oyster Bar first opened its doors in 1913 on the lower level of Grand Central Terminal. Woodrow Wilson was President, the United States was on the threshold of World War I, and Prohibition was just six years away. New York City was slowly emerging as a literary and artistic center, and little “salons” that attracted writers and artists and dilettantes were starting to spring up in Greenwich Village and in other parts of the city. The resplendent new Grand Central Terminal opened its doors that year too, on the site of what formerly had been the old and rundown train depot. People flocked to see the new terminal that was then as now considered an engineering marvel.

I love fried oysters and make them at home every so often. They are great alone or on top of a salad. This was their appetizer portion as I wanted at least (2) types of seafood tonight. They just melted right in my mouth with my Prosecco. 

The dish I chose was Sea Scallops in a pan roast and it was heavenly. I was told by my server that this dish was on the menu in 1913. How great would it be to go back in time and see how things were in 1913? I was thrilled to know I was enjoying a menu item from so long ago. 

How can you not love this huge gingerbread house ? 

Back at the hotel later in the evening, I ordered some room service of burrata cheese with prosciutto which was total heaven and hit the spot. 

How gorgeous is this wreath ? It had real ornaments on it and was so lovely, I had to give you a peek. 

L'Amico 849 Avenue of the Americas 

Christmas Day brunch was at one of my faves, L'Amico located in Hotel Eventi and I was very excited. My first course was MUSHROOM ARANCINI, truffle aioli and it was so wonderful 

Unfortunately my main meal was not so loved. It was Eggs Benedict with a potato type bottom, crab and spinach. I just didn't like this at all. The crab was barely there, and even the spinach which I normally enjoy, was not tasty. 

It looked so good and I was really disappointed but this does happen at times, even in our favorite restaurants. This was one of the holiday specials so I decided to try it. 

New York Public Library  476 Fifth Avenue (42nd St and Fifth Ave)

As you can tell, I do not go anywhere near the Rockefeller Center tree as it's just too crowded. I like to do things where it may not be as packed so I can enjoy my visit. There is so much to see and do in this city, it's nice to go off the beaten path at times. 

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and are looking forward to a fantastic 2020. 

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