A Taste of New York Holiday Magic

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Baby it’s cold outside, but New York City is radiating with a little more holiday magic this season, bringing warmth and festive cheer all around town.

Find spectacular holiday displays including perennial favorites like the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and the decorated windows of retailers like Macy’s, Tiffany & Co. and Bloomingdale’s. View larger-than-life ornaments stacked atop the fountain outside the former Exxon Building (1251 Avenue of the Americas) and the equally oversized holiday light strand nearby at the McGraw-Hill Building (1221 Avenue of the Americas). As you are shopping in the snow, why not continue to enjoy the holiday magic with an enchanting meal or cocktail!

Rolf’s German Restaurant, 281 Third Avenue, is an over the top Christmas explosion. An institution in the city for more than 50 years, lavish Christmas decorations make it one of the most popular destinations in the city during the holidays; that means call early for reservations or listen to a busy signal for the entire month of December. Dangling from the ceiling are clusters of colored bulbs, evergreen wreaths, mistletoe and Victorian-period dolls.

21 Club, 21 W. 52nd Street, is an old school dining institution featuring Christmas trees, glittering gold ribbons, white lights, animal figurines and cascades of red-berried holly.

The NoMad, 1170 Broadway, “casually-elegant” food and beverage program comes from Chef Daniel Humm and Restaurateur Will Guidara. Inspired by Chef Daniel’s time spent throughout Switzerland, California, and New York City, the restaurant is rooted in the same traditions found at their critically acclaimed, Michelin three-star rated Eleven Madison Park. The restaurant is comprised of a series of rooms surrounding a glass-enclosed atrium. Fun fact; the first community Christmas tree in the US was displayed in Madison Square Park in 1912, predating the Rockefeller Center tree by 21 years. A team of four horses ferried the 70-foot fir to town, where it was illuminated with 1,200 lightbulbs. Aptly enough, these days a huge tree is installed every year at the NoMad, two blocks from the park. The luxury hotel restaurant boasts a series of gorgeous rooms; to be in proximity of the tree. 

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Lucky Strike, 59 Grand Street, The bistro feels like a pocket of Paris—apart from the loop of classic American rock over the sound system—and is garlanded in pine and white lights. Opened by Keith McNally and Edward Youkilis in 1989, Lucky Strike is a casual downtown bistro serving American Continental and French food. Guests can enjoy lunch, brunch, dinner and late night supper throughout the lively dining room. A full menu is also available at the French copper bar.

Gotham Bar & Grill, 12 E. 12th Street, is near The Union Square Holiday Market. The soaring dining room has a golden glow and lights covered in tufted, floating parachutes, creating a lovely environment; holiday worthy. Legendary dining, with culinary creator Alfred Portale at the helm for over three decades.

Temple Court, 5 Beekman Street in the Financial District by Tom Colicchio’s, stands out with its reverence for all things old New York but updated for today’s discerning crowds. The major design feature that is perfectly holiday is The Bar Room at Temple Court with its nine-story Victorian-era atrium.

Woodpecker, 30 West 30th Street, is David Burke’s latest project delivering both warm ambiance and a menu that’s packed the house even on weeknights. Everything is cooked in a wood-burning oven, emphasizing the rustic flavors of the holidays.

The View, 1535 Broadway at the New York Marriott Marquis 47th and 48th Floors, is the City’s only revolving rooftop restaurant. Perfect location in Times Square for your holiday adventures, good proximity to the miracle on 34th Street Macys, and enjoy breathtaking views with culinary excellence to create the ultimate dining experience.

Serra Alpina at Birreria on top of Eataly, 200 Fifth Avenue, is a whimsical experience. Their Italian countryside restaurant on the roof will be transformed with a new cozy look, the greenhouse “pop-up” will be changing with the season, featuring Alpine dishes and creative mountain-infused cocktails.

The Lodge at STK , 26 Little W. 12th St., near Washington Street, enjoy a view of the Hudson at the indoor-outdoor rooftop at STK. Enjoy the great outdoors in a canopy bed or head inside for a traditional cabin experience. Find DJs and cocktails, including ginger toddies, tequila-laced hot chocolates with maple whipped cream, and a “Naughty & Nice” group punch bowl.

Winter Garden at The Standard, 25 Cooper Square at 6th Street. Sit in a yurt, eat fondue, and drink spiked cocktails in the middle of the East Village with the Standard’s Winter Garden. The garden has turned into a Christmas Tree Market, complete with trees for sale from Crest Hardware and hot drinks by us. A portion of proceeds will benefit our neighbors at the Lower East Side Girls Club.

December is a time for celebratory cocktails and eating, so enhance the holiday magic merry-making by indulging this festive season.

Faith Hope Consolo
Faith Hope Consolo, Chairman of Douglas Elliman’s Retail Group, writes the "Faithful Food" column for Total Food Service. Ms. Consolo is a leading retail broker and advisor who covers the national market. She is a specialist ranging from fine restaurants to fashionable fast foods. "To find the best retail space, You Need Faith." Email her at fconsolo@elliman.com