Stuff to Do

AllNY.com's look at things to do in NYC written by New Yorkers for New Yorkers and serious New York tourists.


Just Opened! RiseNY: A Museum and Themed Ride Rolled into One

A new “thrilling” attraction has just opened near Times Square in New York City. Different from other entertainment-oriented exhibits, the new RiseNY journey has an educational and historical trajectory as well as a soaring ride to show off the “greatest city in the world.”

Fashion © Meryl Pearlstein

Designed and produced by Running Subway, the folks behind Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, the Dead Sea Scrolls: The Exhibit and Pompeii: The Exhibit, RiseNY is a love letter to New York. Starting with a short film by documentarian Ric Burns, your experience takes off from a re-creation of Manhattan’s original subway station. From there, you’ll meander through seven galleries labelled Finance, Skyline, TV/Radio, Fashion, Music, Broadway and Film before making your way to another train of sorts, an aerial 4D ride complete with the sights, smells and feels of the city.

Finance © Meryl Pearlstein

All ages will appreciate the vastness and importance of the city with the exhibits. Each room combines artifacts of importance with “Tipping Points,” milestone moments in the development of New York City.  The galleries were curated with the aid of many important institutions and VIPs including the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Museum of American Finance, the Museum of Broadcast Communications & Radio Hall of Fame, Museum at FIT, Skyscraper Museum, TriBeCa Film Festival and David Bushman of the Paley Center.

TV/Radio © Meryl Pearlstein

My particular favorites are Ringo Starr’s drum set in the Beatles exhibit with Ed Sullivan announcing the band’s appearance on his Sunday night TV show to the sounds of millions of screaming fans, the costumes worn by NYC icons The Village People, and a guitar from Bob Dylan.

Music © Meryl Pearlstein

Movie fans have a delight waiting for them in the cinema area. On a continuous loop, giant screens play NYC-set movies through the ages. Home Alone, Midnight Cowboy, Elf, and more will keep you entertained for a solid half hour.

Broadway © Meryl Pearlstein

Next door, scenes and costumes from four of Broadway’s longest-playing musicals, Phantom of the Opera, Aladdin, Hamilton and Chicago are also on continuous showing.

Music © Meryl Pearlstein

Photo stops are frequent. You can pose in front of Cardi B’s costume, Biggy’s oversized shirt, posters from CBGB, in front of the set of The Honeymooners and the by the bell of the NY Stock Exchange.

Flying over the Empire State Building © Meryl Pearlstein

Plan to spend a couple of hours perusing the exhibits before you reach your final destination: New Year’s Eve in New York City. To celebrate, you’re invited into a special room for a soaring flight-simulation ride through the Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn where you’ll take in the glorious sights and sounds from a birds eye view. Be sure to look all around you as the video was shot in real-time and it immerses you in the feeling and activity of the city. But, don’t be concerned if you’re afraid to fly. You’re buckled into seats inside a 180-degree, 40-foot dome that projects 8k aerial footage that creates a sensation of flight. As with any good theme-park ride, the seats lift up into the air and tilt and you’ll sit with your feet dangling as you “fly.”

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Nine Places to Show Your Irish Spirit on St. Patrick’s Day

On March 17, celebrate the Emerald Isle with libations, grog and sweet treats.

Take Home Some Irish Goodness

Courtesy Clarkson Avenue Crumb Cake Company

Clarkson Avenue Crumb Cake Company

For a taste of Ireland, order the limited-edition Brooklyn Danny Boy Crumb Cake from Clarkson Avenue Crumb Cake Company. A seriously decadent cake, this holiday version of their Brooklyn recipe is only available in March and ships free in celebration. The base is a cake made with Belgian chocolate and smooth stout beer, piled high with crumbs infused with Irish Cream. Please do the right thing and wash it down with an Irish coffee (or a Guinness, if you prefer).

© Chip City

Chip City

NYC’s Chip City bakes up a festival Irish cookie each year to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Stop by any of their 10 locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens for a pack of colorful Lucky Charm cookies to please every leprechaun in the house. The Instagrammable cereal cookies are filled with marshmallow fluff and topped with Lucky Charms.

Book a Private Cabin for You and Your Friends

Courtesy The Greens on the Rooftop at Pier 17

The Greens on the Rooftop at Pier 17

Celebrate an immersive St. Paddy’s Day in a comfortable, personal “cabin” at the Greens on the Rooftop at Pier 17.Themed cocktails including a Shamrock Punch, Green Dublin Apple, Irish Whiskey Sour and Pot of Gold will set the mood as you sit back to enjoy a view of the Manhattan skyline and “green” Lady Liberty on the rooftop at Pier 17 in the Seaport. Adding to the festivities, modern Irish music plays through speakers inside your cabin and private TV screens show the rolling hills of Ireland. The menu serves up Ireland, too, with a house-made corned beef Reuben Pie and a special Lucky Charms-themed dessert.

Lift a Pint or Two and Enjoy Some Irish Grub

Courtesy McSorley’s Old Ale House

McSorley’s Old Ale House

A New York City icon, McSorley’s Old Ale House is likely the name on everyone’s lips when you ask where to go for a special Irish pub experience. Set in the East Village, McSorley’s has a storied history dating from 1854, surviving all kinds of controversy from not allowing entry to women (with no women’s restrooms for many, many years) to operating during Prohibition, avoiding closure by offering “food.” This menu item, actually a snack of saltines with mustard, onions and cheese, survives to this day and pretty much everyone orders it. Similarly, the pub’s two original libations are your only choices when it comes to beverages. Order a lager or an ale, and there you have it — that’s McSorley’s in a nutshell. Plan for lines to get in – you won’t be disappointed.

Courtesy The Perfect Pub

The Perfect Pub

With two locations so you’ll never get closed out by crowds enjoying St. Paddy’s Day, the twin East Side and Times Square Perfect Pubs are standouts out for their conviviality, happy staff, and exceptionally wide range of beer and whiskeys. Food goes beyond standard Irish pub grub like bangers and mash, beef stew, Shepherd’s Pie and burgers, adding other sinful comfort food like decadent Irish Cream cheesecake. Start your evening with a “mandatory” perfectly poured Guinness pint, then experiment with one of the 30 international brews on tap. Show your love to Times Square this year and enjoy the rooftop on the East Side as you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Courtesy The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog

The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog

This pub is so popular that you can book it on Resy! Founded by two talented Irish bartenders looking for a place to show off their cocktail wizardry, The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog in the Seaport is more than a bar. It’s a place to dive into everything Irish with merchandise, beers, cocktails and great Irish food. The 19th-century setting is perfect for celebrating a mask-free (finally!) St. Patrick’s Day. The décor will set the mood immediately – it’s classic Irish with wood ceilings and floors and green walls. An Irish-inspired menu of bangers and mash, fish and chips, and Irish lamb stew will make sure you have something to soak up all that Irish brew.

Courtesy Donovan’s Pub

Donovan’s Pub

Craving a perfect pint of Guinness? Donovan’s Pub has welcomed Irish ex-pats and Irish wannabes to Woodside, Queens for nearly 60 years. Listed on many New York City “best burger” lists as well, Donovan’s offers up a menu of Irish favorites, too including Shepherd’s Pie plus sandwiches and steaks.

Courtesy The Galway Hooker

The Galway Hooker

In the heart of the West Village, The Galway Hooker is known locally as The Hooker. But it’s not what you might think: the name actually comes from an Irish sailboat of the type typically found off the coast of Ireland in Galway Bay. A great spot to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, The Hooker also offers the usual Irish pub grub like chicken sandwiches and burgers and the boozy, don’t-miss Jameson fries.

Courtesy The Late Late

The Late Late

Ex-pats will immediately understand why this pub is named The Late Late. Named for the world’s oldest late-night talk show, the “Late Late” is a Lower East Side staple for drinks and food. The pub is modeled after an Irish residence rather than a typical pub and is notable for its menu of more than 100 Irish whiskeys, The Late Late brings a special Irish touch to its food dishes as well. Bangers and mash or a burger topped with a choice of Jameson habañero, malt mayo or Guinness barbecue sauce will help you soak up all that liquid goodness.

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14 Delicious Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in the Big Apple

Valentine’s Day is a day to share your love. But it’s more than that – it’s a wonderful chance to share a great meal, a cocktail and an evening out. New York City celebrates with special menus and romantic touches designed to make both of you say ahhhh and yum.

Here are 14 exciting choices where you can slip into romance on February 14.

DINNER

Courtesy Gabriel Kreuther

Gabriel KreutherMidtown West

Two Michelin-Starred Gabriel Kreuther presents a spectacular evening of French-inflected Alsatian cuisine. The fine dining experience is as romantic as it comes in the softly lit, art-adorned dining room. For Valentine’s weekend, you can celebrate your love with a special “The Gorgée d’Amour” cocktail, a mix of Hennessy VSOP, Greenhook Old Tom gin, rhubarb, Rockey’s Milk Punch and Byrrh Grand Quinquina.

Courtesy Gabriel Kreuther

Then you’ll be treated to a five-course tasting menu with indulgences for both meat and seafood lovers: Crown toro hamachi crudo, perigord black truffles with four cheese raviolis, roasted Maine lobster cassoulet, spice-rubbed Brandt beef tenderloin and a cocoa nib tart. As unusual as the menu, Gabriel Kreuther’s wine pairing has been specially curated to enhance each dish.

Courtesy Kumi

Kumi – Midtown West

A new import from Las Vegas brightened with Chef Anastacia Song’s inimitable New York style, Kumi offers Japanese-Korean fusion cuisine at Le Meridien New York . On Valentine’s Day, you’ll begin your evening of passion with a “Kiss Me Kumi” cocktail, a potent combination of plum wine, melon, raspberry, lemon and Cava. After toasting to your devotion, the celebration continues with a presentation of small plates from spicy tuna tartare with truffle oil to Hondashi rice and vegetables. The main attraction at the lavishly decorated restaurant  is a chef’s selection of sushi and rolls accompanying green-tea smoked chicken, ginger Gochujang glazed salmon, sesame watercress and greens. Pace yourself as you’ll want to save room for dessert and perhaps an after-dinner drink like the silky matcha vodka concoction. Vegan and vegetarian options are available.

Courtesy North Miznon

North Miznon – Upper West Side

For pure romance, North Miznon has the setting and the “couples” thing down pat. Israeli Chef Eyal Shani offers specials enticements for two in the romantically lit sit-down restaurant. The six-course holiday menu begins with two “couples” of East Coast oysters and another twosome, a choice of a duo of lamb chops or a duet of the “best cuts of the cow.” Shani has a following from Israel to Manhattan and it’s understandable when you see the rest of the menu with starters including golden fresh focaccia, diamond turnips in golden sauce, and local scallop grilled in its shell. If you’re not a meat eater, there’s halibut in a paper envelope. For dessert, couples can choose from a couple of desserts: apple crumble with Ronnybrook vanilla ice cream or a medley of chocolate treats. Vegetarian and kosher options are available.

Courtesy Lucciola

Lucciola – Upper West Side

If atmosphere is what you’re looking for, you have two amazing choices at Lucciola on Amsterdam Avenue. The main dining room is a valentine to Emilia-Romagna, exuding romance with dim lighting and an old piano in the corner. A wall of wine bottles adds another taste of Italy. You can make your evening even cozier by booking one of the restaurant’s heated bubbles where you snuggle together in privacy surrounded by alpaca blankets. For Valentine’s Day, Lucciola is offering a three-course prix fixe menu with lavish choices like spaghetti with Hokkaido sea urchin or tagliatelle Wagyu filet with black truffle. The wild alpine strawberry tartelette is a perfect red-toned sweet to end the meal.

La Devozione Courtesy Giada Paoloni

La Devozione – Chelsea

It’s true amore in Chelsea Market this Valentine’s Day.  New York City’s newest pasta destination, La Devozione by Pastificio di Martino, turns a traditional heart-infused Valentine’s Day into an exciting oval-shaped celebration at The Oval, a 30-seat pasta bar surrounded by shelves of pasta. The evening’s indulgence is a nine-course pasta tasting with caviar, uni, lobster and other aphrodisiacal ingredients. You’ll watch the chef prepare each dish, personalized for you. Choose a traditional Italian wine or amaro to complement, or elevate the evening with a Champagne pairing menu. For a bespoke experience, La Devozione is offering concierge service to arrange transportation, music to play during dinner, and flowers. This is truly a one-of-a-kind dining experience that your sweetie will remember for a long time.

Courtesy Vestry

Vestry – SoHo

Shaun Hergatt’s new Michelin-starred Vestry is sure to wow your sweetie with the restaurant’s elegant design and Valentine’s Day “menu of aphrodisiacs.” The usual love-inducing suspects are included but Chef Hergatt’s penchant for drama and creativity is unmistakable – there’s Wagyu beef, Berkshire pork belly with foie gras, wild mushroom soup with black truffle, Kaluga caviar with potato blinis and crème fraîche, and much more. The prix fixe feast finishes with a sweet dessert for two, Baked Alaska surrounded by rose petals.

Courtesy Lindens

Lindens – SoHo

You would never imagine that there are cabins for dining in the back courtyard of the Arlo SoHo hotel. Lindens goes après ski with these individual “rooms” for two and a special Valentine’s Day dinner. The modern American restaurant adheres to a “nature within the city” ethos, now reflecting the winter season with comfort dishes including kabocha squash ravioli, roast chicken, hanger steak and luscious lemon & bourbon donuts. A wine pairing is available.

Courtesy Lure Fishbar

Lure Fishbar – SoHo

You may not have booked a cruise for Valentine’s Day, but the yacht like design of SoHo’s popular Lure Fishbar seafood restaurant can transport you to the Adriatic or even the Maine coast. Everyone knows that oysters have aphrodisiacal superpowers, especially when combined with a bottle of pink Champagne. Lure Fishbar takes this concept to new heights with its seafood tower, dressed up with rose petals for the evening. The Valentine’s Day menu continues the seafood extravaganza with fluke crudo, baked oysters, vanilla butter-poached Maine lobster, potato-crusted halibut, lemon meringue and more.

Courtesy Industry Kitchen

Industry Kitchen – The Seaport

Impress your date by booking a private glasshouse for two at Industry Kitchen and cozy up as you watch dusk settle over the Brooklyn and Williamsburg bridges. Alongside the East River, the restaurant will entice you with Chef Haffman’s special Valentine’s Day Champagne dinner. Clink glasses to the colors in the sky and enjoy the evening’s gastronomic indulgences: steak tartare, Hudson Valley duck risotto and chocolate fondue for two with red velvet cake, macarons, green apple, grapes, strawberry and pineapple for dipping.

Courtesy Serafina

Serafina – Meatpacking District, Tribeca, Broadway, Upper East Side and more

The popular Italian date night restaurant adds some holiday whimsy to their February 14 menu with heart-shaped ravioli on a special menu featuring burrata to share, starters like crudo and winter citrus salad, Serafina’s signature black truffle pizza, and surf & turf.

Courtesy Serafina

A wine pairing from Serafina’s extensive collection is available to complement each course including an amaro digestif for dessert to enjoy with a decadent tiramisu for two or a Valentine-perfect red berry tart with shaved chocolate.

COCKTAILS AND OTHER LIBATIONS

Courtesy Ophelia

Ophelia – Midtown East

Add a trip to the moon with a cocktail in the “Snow Globe in the Sky” atop the historic Beekman Tower at Ophelia. The Art-Deco-inspired lounge always has the right holiday touch and this year’s Valentine’s Day special is a his-and-her cocktail and sweets celebration. For him, it’s a Buffalo Trace bourbon perfect for a wintry evening with sugar, bitters and citrus oil. She gets the tiki rum cocktail, sweetened with crème de fraise, coconut cream with a contrasting swirl of Nardini amaro. The cocktails are specially designed to accompany Ophelia’s “Sweets for the Sweet” menu of chocolate-covered strawberries, heart shaped macarons, mini berry tarts, chocolate truffles and tiramisu.

Courtesy Loulou

Loulou – Chelsea

A romantic nightcap to your night on the town, a “Valentini” at Loulou will elicit Valentine’s Day sparks. Served in a heart-shaped glass, the red-hued vodka cocktail has muddled raspberries, mint leaves, lemon juice and simple syrup, with a splash of yellow chartreuse and topped with Prosecco.

Courtesy Loreley Beer Garden

Loreley Beer Garden – Lower East Side

Loreley Beer Garden goes all out on romantic décor for a three-day Valentine’s holiday. Several hundred long-stemmed red roses and 10,000 rose petals will adorn tables and floors throughout the restaurant and the heated outdoor winter garden. The Valentine’s mood becomes livelier with heart-shaped pretzels served with warm beer cheese dip to accompany your choice of brews or cocktails. Valentine’s Day brunch and dinner will keep you warm with boozy bourbon hot chocolate and Jameson hot toddies.

A VALENTINE’S STAYCATION

Margie's Restaurant Courtesy The Rockaway Hotel + Spa

The Rockaway Hotel + Spa – Queens

There’s a way to truly surprise your date on Valentine’s Day. Why not turn your holiday into a staycation by the ocean? Take the subway to Rockaway Beach in Queens where you can let loose with the Celebrate LOVE program at The Rockaway Hotel + Spa. Dinner at Margie’s with drinks and dancing on The Rooftop and a choice of the Recharge in Rockaway or Dine & Wine two-night stayovers will make you both feel like you’ve left the city for a beach holiday. Personalize your mini-vacation even further by adding chocolate-covered strawberries and scheduling a couple’s’ spa treatment.

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Join The Magic At Stella 34 Trattoria For A Harry Potter-Themed Drag Brunch

Are you up for a bit of wizardry along with some raucous entertainment? Commemorating the 20th anniversary of J.K. Rowlands hugely popular Harry Potter series, Stella 34 Trattoria, in Macy’s Herald Square, is hosting eight Harry Potter themed drag brunches on February 5, 6, 19 and 20 with two seatings on each date, from 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - © Mathew Murphy

Whether you’re a longtime fan of the wizarding world of Harry Potter’s books or the current Harry Potter and the Cursed Child musical on Broadway, all “matriculants” in the house of Hogwarts will enjoy this whimsical and thoroughly entertaining brunch and show along with a delicious brunch that includes bottomless mimosas. 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - © Manuel Harlan

You’re invited to dress as your favorite Harry Potter character, be it Moaning Myrtle, Harry Potter, Hermione, or even Professor Dumbledore. But, don’t worry if you’re not in costume, the performers will be, and they’ll be performing “in character” as well.

The show features iconic Shuga Cain of RuPaul’s Drag Race as emcee and performer, along with drag performers Peachez, Thee Suburbia and Androgyny.

Stella 34 Trattoria - © Meryl Pearlstein

You’re invited to come alone and sit at the bar overlooking the “runways.” Or book a table for two, four or six. The menu includes such tasty brunch items as fried calamari, everything pizza with nova and crème fraîche, a chef-curated charcuterie board, Caesar salad, and, of course, a full bar menu. Tickets are priced $22, $44, $88 and $132 depending on seating booked.

© Meryl Pearlstein

Previous drag brunches have featured performers enacting the characters from Schitt’s Creek with Suga Cain as MC and assuming the role of the indomitable Moira Rose.

Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination and a valid photo ID is required of all attendees ages 12+ upon entry. A photo I.D. is also required and  must match a state-issued Covid vaccination card or other form of vaccine proof. Additionally, children must be masked when not eating or drinking throughout the event.

Stella 34 Trattoria - © Meryl Pearlstein

Stella 34 Trattoria is an elegant Italian trattoria and is located on the sixth floor on the Seventh Avenue side of Macy’s.

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How to Survive Dry January This Year

Have you made a resolution to eat healthier, drink less and get into better shape… just like last year? It’s that time when we need to reverse the indulgences of the holiday season and our pandemic binges over the past two years.

Some add vegan eating to this clean-up effort, but I’d suggest that you focus first on one of our guiltiest pleasures, drinking. In this case, the concept is Dry January to reinvigorate a healthy lifestyle for a month by abstaining from alcohol.  And, frankly, if it works for you, there’s no reason not to make at least some version of this a permanent part of every month going forward.

Courtesy Trinchero Family Estates

To kickstart this “new you” process, I’ve put together some suggestions that will fill in the blanks with taste and variety leading to the psychological and physical rewards you’ll experience after you complete your foray into clean living. You may not know it, but if you’ve turned into a pandemic insomniac, this might actually be your ticket to a better night’s sleep and better-looking skin!

Bars and Mocktails

Bars in New York City are jumping on the wellness bandwagon (not just for Dry January), tuning into our desire to scale back.

Le Crocodile ©Meryl Pearlstein

Concord Hill in Brooklyn invites you to dabble in innovative drink and flavor combinations with a deliciously fresh and spicy mocktail named Cruel Summer. Blending mango and orange juices with simple syrup gives a sweet contrast to the chili-based Chamoy hot sauce and Tajin rim. Williamsburg’s Le Crocodile mixes Ghia non-alcoholic aperitif with soda, Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic, rosemary and grapefruit juice. Brooklyn’s Bohemien Bar expands their cocktail offerings this month with a curated N/A cocktail menu. Welcome to Paradise blends fennel juice and pomegranate molasses. Using a base of Ritual Tequila, The Roselle adds bitter orange cordial, lime, and hibiscus to create a margarita-like alternative.

Courtesy Spiritless

For a wintry cocktail at home, you can create your own bourbon-ish drink with the popular Kentucky-made AF spirit, Spiritless Kentucky 74, enjoying the caramel, vanilla and oak flavors on the rocks, or combined with AVEC mixers and cherries for a Faux Old Fashioned.

Courtesy Greenbar Distillery

Thanks to California’s Greenbar Distillery, you can stock your refrigerator with a range of canned mocktails. Bitters + Soda lovers will enjoy the Earl Grey version made with black tea and bergamot orange. For hard spirit substitutes, try the UnRum + Cola or UnGin + Tonic.

Elixirs, Mixers and Sparkling Water

Courtesy Curious Elixirs

Curious Elixirs are complex booze-free cocktails, handmade in the Hudson Valley with all-organic ingredients. Instead of adding sugar, the drinks are infused with adaptogens. The seven-bottle series has versions of classic drinks like a pomegranate negroni, a spicy margarita, a dark & stormy fusion, the craftily named Curious cucumber Collins, or a more refined Champagne cocktail that has a base of Chardonnay grapes.

Courtesy HOP WTR

Offered in three flavors, Classic, Mango and Blood Orange, HOP WTR is a non-alcoholic brew of crisp, bold hops, sparkling water and mood-boosting adaptogens and nootropics crafted without calories or sugar. The tasty beer alternatives are bright and refreshing, perfect for Superbowl parties or anytime during Dry January or beyond.

Courtesy FREE RAIN

FREE RAIN is a line of adaptogenic sparkling waters that will become your new go-to when it comes to grabbing a drink with your meal. FREE RAIN comes in four fun flavors: Focus: Blood Orange Ginger with Ashwagandha for a clear mind, Arousal: Pink Grapefruit with Maca for a frisky feeling, Calm: Blackberry with Passionflower for a mellow mood and Energy: Cherry Lime with Siberian ginseng for energy.

Courtesy Found Bubbly

A newcomer to the sparkling beverages category, Found Bubbly is said to be the first sparkling water created through Earth’s “naturally occurring mineralization process.” Packed with minerals and electrolytes, the beverage has been “dropping” new flavors sequentially so you can look forward to another flavor in February. For now, you can try natural, cucumber minty, elderflowery, lemony and watermelon.

Courtesy Casamara Club

If you’re a fan of Italian amaros, you don’t need to sacrifice the bitter state of an after-dinner digestif if you’re observing Dry January. Casamara Club is a club soda crafted like a cocktail, mixing amaro bitters made with botanicals with citrus, salinity and a touch of sweetness. The five flavors, Alta (like a Negroni), Como (like a traditional amaro with mint), Onda (an herbaceous lemon drink), Isla (like a rum and ginger ale) and Fora (a strawberry and spice mix), are refreshingly different.

Courtesy AVEC

For a wide range of mixers that double as mocktails, AVEC mixers offers five canned cocktails: spicy marg AVEC ( jalapeño and blood orange), paloma AVEC (grapefruit and pomelo, vodka soda AVEC (yuzu and lime) mule AVEC (ginger), and cran vodka AVEC (hibiscus and pomegranate).

Courtesy Shrubbly

Shrubs, vinegar-based infusions, have been the rage on health-oriented drink menus for years. Now you can have them at home, too, with Shrubbly, a new non-alcoholic beverage full of flavor (shrub base, high antioxidant berries, and a few bubbles) and wellness (prebiotics, apple cider vinegar and wellness shot ingredients). Try the lemon-ginger and pomegranate flavors. Each is 100% organic, gluten-free, fat-free and low in calories, sugar and carbs.

Courtesy SomethingElse

Tea lovers will enjoy this new aroma-focused collection from SomethingElse, masters at creating non-alcoholic beverages using the expertise of chefs and sommeliers. Kally is an innovative blend of teas, fruits, herbs and spices with acidity similar to most alcoholic drinks. The beverages are designed to pair with food and come in four varieties, No.11 Jasmine Spice, No.23 Orchard Sage, No. 70 Vanilla Smoke and No. 93 Berry Fennel.

AF Wines and Beer

Luminara wines © Meryl Pearlstein

Love California wines? Then you’ll enjoy FRE alcohol-removed wines by Trinchero Family Estates. These wines are made using traditional winemaking methods, but then the alcohol is gently removed. You can try their nine varietals including Moscato, White Zinfandel, Rosé, Chardonnay, Merlot, Red Blend and Cabernet Sauvignon and two sparkling versions also available in cans, a Brut and a Rosé. Drink them straight or invent a winter-perfect, alcohol-free libation like Mulled Wine using Fre’s Cabernet Sauvignon as a base. Trinchero also has two new upscale Luminara wines, a Chardonnay and a Red Blend, produced with 100% Napa Valley grapes.

Courtesy Surely

Sonoma Valley also has a lovely alcohol-free wine collection. Surely’s non-alcoholic wine is also made from wine with the alcohol removed. A favorite in their line is their Non-Alcoholic Cabernet Sauvignon, bold and full-bodied, and made with 100% Sonoma Valley grapes.

Courtesy Prima Pavé

For a quick alcohol-free trip to Italy, Prima Pavé Alcohol Free Sparkling Wines are made with a mix of varietals, adding to their complexity and designed for harmonious pairing with food. Handcrafted in Italy with no sugar or chemicals added, Prima Pavé showcases terroir and an intoxicating depth of flavor. Dealcoholized through a proprietary, all-natural process, the sophisticated bubblies come in Rosé Brut, Blanc de Blancs and Rosé Dolce.

DRY Reserve Courtesy DRY

DRY Botanical Bubbly Reserve is perfect for any celebratory toasts you have. The sophisticated alcohol-free Champagne-like beverage ups the flavor game, too, with Lavender 75 and Spiced Pear. More than typical sparkling wine or sparkling apple cider, these two options will look beautiful in your Champagne flutes.

Courtesy Clausthaler

Clausthaler craft non-alcoholic beers taste just like the real brew. The German brewery has the pedigree, too, as they are an exclusively N/A brewery in existence for more than 40 years with a patented process for making beer that doesn’t create alcohol. There are dry-hopped beers, IPAs, and, for a kick, try their new grapefruit beer or their special holiday Santa beer.

Courtesy Bravus

Brewed in California, Bravus alcohol-free beer is a line of flavor-filled, no-alcohol beers that span the range from IPAs and amber ale to dark peanut butter and oatmeal stouts. You can order a set and try them all. Bravus produces craft beer styles taste exactly like their alcoholic counterparts but with less than .5% ABV, thanks to a proprietary brewing process.

Courtesy BrewDog

You’ll never run out of choices with BrewDog’s creatively crafted and creatively named non-alcoholic beers. The brewery has versions continually coming online, some limited like the Ganache AF cherry stout, and others that are mainstays like the flagship Nanny State. Don’t limit yourself – buy a four-variety bundle and sample a bunch.

Courtesy GRUVI

For the dabblers out there, Denver’s GRUVI offers a line of beers AND wines that are all alcohol-free. You can mix it up and have an AF IPA, Pale Ale, Stout, Sour Weisse or Golden Ale one week, then switch over to wines and sparkling beverages with their non-alcoholic dry Seco, dry Bubbly Rosé, or Seasonal Red Blend (which conveniently comes in a can). Or have a beer one day, a wine the next, and so on. Dry January is meant to be fun and tasty. I’m excited about this one, as I love sour beers and this is the first non-alcoholic one I’ve seen.

Travel to Mindfulness

If you’re seriously lacking motivation and could use a bit of non-Zoom, in-person fitness instruction as well, perhaps these alcohol-free resorts in the Berkshires will motivate you.

Courtesy Kripalu

Kripalu is a popular choice for those desiring a no-alcohol, no-frills, all-vegetarian well-being retreat. Days are filled with activities like yoga, dance, forest bathing and spa treatments. Seminars can include lessons in healthful cooking and mindfulness. Beautiful plant-based food choices also include beverages like hibiscus-lavender iced tea.

Courtesy Canyon Ranch

Canyon Ranch offers January programming with learning sessions, fitness classes, healthy meals, mocktail hours and more. The no-alcohol wellness resort also has vegetarian and vegan dining to help you stick to your January resolutions. The resort offers life-enhancing “pathways,” curated programs of varying lengths that include mindfulness, fitness and spa treatments.

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Where to See the Holiday Sparkle in New York City

Bundle up for a stroll along the streets, inside the malls or at the parks to see New York City’s acclaimed holiday lights.

Manhattan

Holiday Windows and Sidewalks

Saks Fifth Avenue © Meryl Pearlstein

Take a walk down Fifth Avenue where you’ll see some of the department stores’ most elaborate holiday windows. Plan to spend some time in front of Saks Fifth Avenue where this year’s windows were inspired by drawings from children. The windows in front of Bergdorf-Goodman, as always, are a stylefest of imagery with adventure, fashion and fantasy themes, strikingly arranged in tones of black and white, red and white, and rainbow montages.

Bergdorf-Goodman © Meryl Pearlstein

Individual stores like American Girl and the Lego Store have their own window displays decked out with all kinds of merriment. And the exteriors of stores like Cartier twinkle with fully lit décor all wrapped up in red ribbon.

American Girl © Meryl Pearlstein

Additionally, park yourself in front of the glorious Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and watch the music-and-light spectacular that happens every 15 minutes on the façade of Saks Fifth Avenue. For about 3 minutes, the entire façade changes with lights and decorations with music that will entice and have you humming “So Happy Together” or Beethoven’s Ode to Joy over and over again.

courtesy Rockefeller Center

And this year, there’s a special bonus. A variety of stores have created magic displays right on the sidewalk in front of their establishments. There’s a Microsoft cube in front of the Microsoft store, a giant teddy bear in front of FAO Schwarz, gift packages in front of Cartier, Christmas ornaments across from Tiffany’s and much more. You’ll need to walk up and down both sides of Fifth Avenue to see them all.

Microsoft © Meryl Pearlstein

Hudson Yards

Shine Bright at Hudson Yards © Meryl Pearlstein

If you can tear yourself away from outside plaza at Hudson Yards or down from The Edge (which is also decked out with holiday lights and a garland), you should venture inside the Hudson Yards mall where Shine Bright at Hudson Yards, a twinkling, floor-to-ceiling display of more than two million lights illuminates The Shops, Public Square and Gardens, The Edge and The Vessel. Floating hot air balloons and Christmas trees add to the twinkling magic.

Brookfield Place

Luminaries courtesy Brookfield Place

The mall’s annual Luminaries tradition invites participation with an interactive installation in the Winter Garden. Each hour, you’ll enjoy a special light show featuring music by groups like The Bird and the Bee and Pentatonix. A canopy of colorful lights is formed from hundreds of lanterns suspended among the palms. Below, contactless wishing stations let you send a motion-activated wish to the lanterns prompting a magical display of lights and colors. And you’ll be doing a good deed, too. For each wish that you make, Brookfield Place will donate $1to an organization that’s near and dear to me, ROAR (Relief Opportunities for All Restaurants), which supports New York City restaurant employees facing economic challenges as a result of the pandemic. This year, a new experience called Maestro! allows you to conduct the canopy with a gesture-controlled instrument.

The Lights of Manhattan

courtesy Empire State Building

And here’s a little bonus. You can watch the changing colors of the Empire State Building and the lights of downtown NYC at home on their ESB Live Cam. Two cameras give you two always-changing views. I could watch these for hours.

Brooklyn

When it comes to decorating houses, New York City is “top of the heap.”

The Lights of Dyker Heights

The Lights of Dyker Heights © Meryl Pearlstein

It’s hard to imagine a Christmas without the over-the-top lights displays of the houses in Dyker Heights in Brooklyn. Started in 1986 by Lucy Spata as a give-back to brighten up the neighborhood, the decorated homes and yards have attracted busloads of tourists to the streets each year. Due to COVID, you may have an easier time viewing the inflatable Santa’s, motorized displays and thousands of candy canes and elves, as walking tours are replacing buses.

The Lights of Dyker Heights © Meryl Pearlstein

It’s an immediate way to lift your spirits as you marvel at the passion and creativity here. The main area is 83rd through 86th streets between 11th and 13th avenues. Plan for crowds as this is one of the most popular highlights of the Christmas season in New York City.

New York City has two lantern festivals that you’ll want to put on your holiday lights calendar.

Staten Island

Staten Island’s Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens has an awesome display of more than 1000 winter lanterns, sculpted into figures of all sorts. It’s a party, too, with a live DJ, lots of food, interactive display amid the eight acres of luminaries. You’ll also come away with a holiday gift, your own personal wish lantern. Tickets are required.

Queens

courtesy Queens Country Farm Museum

For the first time, Queens Country Farm Museum is transformed into another lantern and figure wonderland with luminaries taking on shapes appropriate to the farm: flowers, farm animals and tractors. A festive atmosphere reigns throughout with music, food and lots of space to enjoy the lights. Tickets are required.

The Bronx

The Bronx outdoes itself each holiday season with lighting displays and characters that appeal to all ages.

NYBG Glow

NYBG Glow © Meryl Pearlstein

Each year the New York Botanical Garden schedules its beloved train show for the holidays with New York City vignettes and buildings created out of flora and fauna foraged from nature. Further brightening up the landscape, NYBG Glow shines bright into the night with its outdoor Glow color and light experience. The glowing world surrounds the Haupt Conservatory. As you explore, colors, dazzling lights and nighttime illuminations in the reflecting pool and area create a winter wonderland that might conjure up visions of Disney’s World of Color. Adding to the festivities are ice carving displays, roaming dancers and musicians. Expect a Hip Hop Nutcracker performance of the re-imagined Tchaikovsky classic as well. Timed-entry tickets are required for entry.

The Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights

The Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights @ Julie Larsen Maher

Around the corner, the Bronx Zoo doesn’t disappoint with their seasonal celebration of lights. Through January 10, you’ll see illuminated animals and flowers, ice sculptures, a decked-out Christmas tree and light-strung buildings as you wander along “a safari” path through Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America and the Ocean. Costumed characters, stilt walkers and projections onto buildings add to the sparkle. A returning favorite, the Luminous Garden is filled with larger-than-life plants and animals.

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