Posts Tagged ‘Central Park’

Where to Enjoy a Great Picnic in New York City

It’s picnic time! The weather is hot and outdoor dining is the favorite pastime. Here are some ideas for where to hold a picnic to remember.

Central Park

Courtesy centralpark.com

A picnic in the park is a natural and Central Park has a wide variety of locations that you’ll enjoy, many not far from the East Side’s Museum Mile or the Upper West Side’s American Museum of Natural History. Favorites are the Great Lawn which sits in the middle of the park between 79th street and 85th street, Turtle Pond at the southern tip of the Great Lawn near Belvedere Castle, and Sheep Meadow a bit further South. Depending on whether you’re arriving from the East Side or the West Side, there are delis, specialty food shops and a picnic specialist to help you construct your outdoor feast.

Courtesy Butterfield Market

On the East Side, Butterfield Market is a popular gourmet shop with a variety of food departments. You can choose from prepared foods at the gourmet counter including crab cakes, chicken wings and more elaborate dishes like poached salmon or skirt steak, or stay small with pre-made sandwiches, sushi or salads. The talented baristas at the coffee bar will customize your beverage – try an iced dirty chai or an iced matcha latte for a break from a traditional coffee — or choose from many of the gourmet sodas and waters. Add one of their gorgeous cupcakes and you’re good to go. From the West Side, deli fave Barney Greengrass will pack up a super-portable bagel, cream cheese and nova sandwich along with Boylan’s cream soda and a black and white cookie for a very New York-y nosh.

Perfect Picnic NYC © Wendy Weston

Celebrating ten years of feeding hungry New Yorkers, Perfect Picnic NYC puts together picnic assortments from simple to elaborate. Start with a base and add on beverages, a blanket and a basket, if you wish, or just pick up a grab ‘n go meal to add to your own set-up.  You can even arrange a “picnic experience” that is full-service including delivery and clean-up. Owner Wendy Weston creates a menu that changes based on “her cravings” and ingredients of the season. Located near the Northern tip of Central Park at 100th Street and Central Park West, Perfect Picnics can be ordered in advance or onsite.

Bryant Park

Courtesy Picnic Performances

Running through September 20, a variety of New York City performance companies will showcase their talent at Manhattan’s Bryant Park. Dubbed “Picnic Performances,” the shows take advantage of the city’s burgeoning outdoor culture and, hopefully, good weather. If you missed experiencing live music, concerts and opera over the past year, this is a wonderful chance to grab a lawn spot or chair, spread out your picnic with a chilled rosé and enjoy an evening of some of the best talent around.  The scheduled is filled with opera, jazz from Jazz at Lincoln Center, dance performances by Paul Taylor and Elisa Monta Dance, the New York City Opera’s Rigoletto, theater from the Classical Theater of Harlem and a centennial celebration of The Town Hall.

Courtesy Grand Central Terminal Market

What to bring: Park Avenue Liquor Shop near the Morgan Library is the go-to for a choice of chilled wines. Visit Grand Central Terminal’s market by 7pm to put together a picnic from Eli Zabar’s Farm to Table, Murray’s Cheese or Pescatore Sushi & Noodles. Don’t forget your blanket and some reusable wine glasses.

Governor’s Island

Courtesy Pinknic Festival LLC

For the ultimate picnic experience, Governor’s Island is the place to be for the Pinknic Festival, a combination all-day picnic and music festival. Scheduled this year on September 4 and 5, Pinknic celebrates its five-year anniversary with a pink-and-white assemblage of picnickers on the lawns. Your ticket includes a Pinknic tote for your goodies, a wine cup, blanket and more. A variety of NYC restaurants at the food garden add the main ingredient, also offering pink. beverages including rosé and frosé. Then sit back and indulge while you listen to live bands and DJ sets, all with fabulous views of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Wear something pink and something white and you’ll sure to be instagrammed as part of the end-of-summer party

Brooklyn

Courtesy Dinner Party

To tempt you with her upcoming salon dinner series in Fort Greene, Cami Jetta has put together a preview  Dinner Party picnic basket for takeaway dining in the park. Plan your food menu for a day in Fort Greene Park or Prospect Park with the likes of sourdough pita, Ellie’s salad shirazi, beet hummus, roast eggplant and baklava shortbread. The menu is available online and changes frequently. Select from the “Picnic of the Week,” cookie box or sandwich. A tote bag is also available for purchase.

Kokomo © Katrine Moite

Williamsburg’s popular Black-owned and operated Kokomo offers a kicky picnic package complete with a blanket, canned signature cocktails and an array of Caribbean cuisine. For some true island flavor, sample Kokomo’s signature Yardie shrimp pizza with callaloo and grilled pineapple, braised oxtail with rice & peas, a guava BBQ-sauced Calypso burger or jackfruit tacos. Add a Coconut Negroni or a Pain Killer cocktail and you’ll have a picnic to remember. The restaurant sits in a convenient location for picking up your picnic goodies for a day in Brooklyn’s McCarren Park, Domino Park, 5th Pier Park or by the waterfront on Bushwick Inlet.

TD Five Boro Bike Tour Returns to NYC on Sunday, August 22

It’s back! America’s “biggest bike ride” is being held in New York City on August 22. The annual charity cycling event was cancelled in 2020 to the dismay of thousands of riders who look forward to this event. Sponsored by Bike New York and its city government partners, the bike tour covers all of New York City in one glorious ride, through each of the city’s five boroughs.

;s

© Bike New York

The event, which typically draws up to 32,000 riders annually and opens 40 miles of NYC’s busiest roadways exclusively to cyclists for the day, returns during the city’s announced NYC Homecoming Week, (August 14-22) and the day after the We Love New York mega Homecoming Concert in Central Park. This year’s participant number has been scaled down to 20,000 to allow for greater safety and social distancing.

The tour is viewed as an exciting part of New York City’s economic revitalization. The landmark event typically attracts riders from all over the world. While this year is different from past rides with reduced numbers of riders, one can expect the same sense of excitement, or perhaps even more as part of Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s I Love New York Homecoming effort.

© Bike New York

The 40-mile route. Begins in Manhattan in TriBeCa and culminates in Staten Island after a ride over the Verrazano Narrow Bridge. For a map of the entire route, click here. To pick up your rider packet, adults must show proof of vaccination.

The TD Five Boro Bike Tour is a fundraising event for Bike New York, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to provide free bike education opportunities to New Yorkers. Proceeds from the ride fund public classes that reach over 25,000 children and adults each year, with special focus given to improving cycling access and resources to residents of neighborhoods historically overlooked in infrastructure improvements. In addition to free classes held at Community Bike Education Centers located in all five boroughs, Bike New York has introduced bike safety education programs into area middle schools, co-developed a job training and placement program for bike mechanics with Brooklyn’s One Community, and helped pilot a free bike rental system in Shirley Chisholm State Park.

© Bike New York

The ride caps off a year of virtual programming brought to cyclists through Bike New York. The 2021 TD Five Boro Bike Tour will support the return of Bike New York’s in-person classes while sustaining their online offerings, which reached more than 30,000 viewers worldwide in 2020.

To register, visit https://www.bike.nyc/events/td-five-boro-bike-tour/registration-options/ and sign up by August 13.

Where to See New York City’s Cherry Blossoms

Put Your Passport Away. You Don’t Need to Leave the Big Apple to See the Glorious Trees.

Many of the city’s cherry trees were gifts from Japan, some coming from the original batch that was given to Washington, DC and adorns their Tidal Basin. The sakura come in a variety of colors from white to pale pink and vivid fuchsia. They stand tall, they spread wide or they droop like weeping willows. For just a few months through the end of May, the varieties of cherry blossom trees bloom on varying schedules, with timing dependent on the weather. Now is the time to see the trees at their most brilliant – like the daffodils and tulips adorning the gardens, the petals will soon be lining the streets.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Esplanade © Micheal Stewart

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

The queen of private gardens when it comes to hanami, the Japanese tradition of celebrating the transient beauty of flowers, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden takes the guesswork out of when the cherries are blooming with their Cherry Watch. The schedule is updated frequently so you can see which trees are blooming in which areas, especially helpful if you prefer pink Kanzan ones to whitish Yoshinos, or an allee of trees where you can sit, paint or just meditate.

Japanese-Hill-and-Pond Garden Courtesy Brooklyn Botanic Garden

The two main draws are the aforementioned Cherry Esplanade and the Japanese-Hill-and-Pond Garden. It’s easy to envision yourself swept away to Japan when you look at the lovely trees and a beautiful vermillion torii set against the pond. Adding to the Japanese-inspired setting, the waters are filled with koi as you might see in the Imperial Palace gardens in Tokyo. Through May 9, weekends are enhanced with outdoor pop-up music and dance performances in lieu of the Garden’s traditional Sakura Matsuri (cherry blossom festival) postponed this year due to COVID-19.

Courtesy New York Botanical Garden

New York Botanical Garden

More than 200 cherry trees are scattered throughout the expansive New York Botanical Garden beginning with the entry walkway leading to the first of many colorful sculptures by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, “I Want to Fly to the Universe.” The mix of Japanese art and Japanese cherries creates a transportive effect as you roam the grounds.

Courtesy New York Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Garden’s Cherries Tracker will help guide your visit so you’ll know where and when to focus your time. Stop to admire the weeping cherries trees and the “Dancing Pumpkin” sculpture in front of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory before meandering along the path in the Cherry Collection. Daffodil Gardens is a beautiful area to admire the season’s varied yellow and white flowers along with the pinks of the cherries.

Central Park Cherry Hill Courtesy centralparknyc.org

Central Park

Central Park has an area called Cherry Hill on 72nd Street but that’s not the only place you’ll find the white-to-pink Yoshino and bright-pink Kwanzan sakura in the elegant park. A map of the cherry trees will help you as you search out your favorites. Central Park’s Yoshino cherries are also a gift from the government of Japan and can be found in abundance on the east side of the Reservoir and behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art as you head towards the Great Lawn. The area is perfect for picnicking with lawn areas and plenty of benches and you’ll see a parade of camera buffs posing against the showy pink and white blossoms.

Visit frequently as the intensity of the petals changes from week to week. For a shaded, dramatic walk, the bridle path from East 84th Street up to Engineer’s Gate flanks you on both sides with lush blooms.

Riverside Park Cherry Walk Courtesy nycgovparks.org

Riverside Park

Notable gifts from Japan to the US in 1912 and later from the Committee of Japanese Residents of New York have created Riverside Park’s gorgeous Cherry Walk. Finally re-opened this winter after a massive reconstruction project, the stretch of the park from 100th to 125th streets is named for the Prunuc cherry trees that line it and is again filled with cyclists and strollers. Reflections off the Hudson River make this an exceptionally beautiful area to spend time and contemplate how lucky you are to be in New York City during this glorious season.

Courtesy Tastings NYC

A Pink Pause

Create a moment to celebrate the trees with food and drink – pink, of course.

Tastings NYC is the master of the portable picnic. To celebrate this beautiful time of the year, the Manhattan hospitality specialists have created the “Cherry Blossom Picnic,” a pretty-in-pink box of cherry blossom-influenced treats. Setting the stage are spring quinoa and roasted chicken, both with touches of pink. The final act is an adorable bag of mini strawberry pound cakes along with a pink beverage, your choice of  a rosé Champagne or a rosé wine.

Courtesy Croteaux

For a touch of pink romance and some virtual hanami, pour a bottle of rosé from New York’s rosé-only vineyard Croteaux. Born on the North Fork of Long Island, Croteaux is perfect for a cherry blossom toast. If you’re not near the North Fork, you can order their varietals online. Then grab a corkscrew and sit back to watch the sunset under the pink petals.

Earth Day on April 22 is Just One Day to Think about Environmentalism during Earth Month

Be smart, aware and active in support of environmental activities in New York City all month long

It’s easy to be green in New York City. With so many parks to visit, outdoor areas to cherish, and activities to remind ourselves, Earth Day and Earth Month are times to step back and reflect on the importance of our environment to our New York City life.

Ride a Bike, Take a Hike or Just Walk

Courtesy NYC Bike Maps

Take advantage of the city’s many bike lanes, bike paths and ride options to reduce your carbon footprint. NYC Bike Maps offers cycling information and free street, trail, park and greenway maps for exploring NYC’s extensive bike network.

Courtesy Central Park Conservancy

Exercise your mind and your body with a walk in the park. Get some fresh air as you stroll and look at the birds and flowers that surround you. Spring is a joyous time when bulbs give birth to colorful blooms, buds on trees turn pink and white, and birds re-emerge with beautiful song. Central Park has compiled a Virtual Guide to Spring to help plan your time. Or visit a less-familiar area – New York City has 124 park s with natural areas.

Courtesy Central Park Conservancy

If seeing all the beautiful tulips and daffodils has you smiling, make a tax-deductible donation to the Central Park Conservancy and they’ll plant more in your honor. You’ll get a certificate or ecard noting your important gift.

Join the Natural Areas Conservancy Team

The non-profit Natural Area Conservancy team restores and champions 20,000 acres of NYC’s forests and wetlands for the benefit of all. You can make environmental stewardship a part of your life by signing up for their informative newsletter. If hiking is your thing, a great way to give back to the city is by joining the Trail Maintainer Program. You’ll help with cleaning and positive planting to make the trails accessible to all.

Volunteer with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

Courtesy New York City Parks Department

Central Park, Prospect Park, Pelham Bay Park, Forest Park and more – these wouldn’t be what they are without the devotion and care of the New York City Parks Department. You can join their ranks as a volunteer to help with planting programs in all five boroughs. There are many choices – you can focus on the parks, by the shore adding beach grass to create dunes at Coney Island or reverse damage from Sandy in Staten Island, or in your neighborhood planting street trees. You can help with wetlands, marshlands and forests as well.

Budget cuts, increased use of the parks and the constantly encroaching effects of climate change make caring for what we have all the more important today. New projects are scheduled every week. For April and May, you’ll see opportunities to plant trees in Marine Park in Brooklyn, Cunningham and Idlewild parks in Queens, and Goodhue Park in Staten Island.

Courtesy One Tree Planted

Visit One Tree Planted, an environmental charity that restores damaged ecosystems, for additional programs such as the partnership with Moxy NYC Times Square that plants trees in California to repair the destruction caused by wildfires. You can support OTP’s efforts by planting or gifting a tree during Earth Month throughout April.

Be Civic Minded

Courtesy New York Restoration Project

Take advantage of the many opportunities offered through the New York Restoration Project (NYRP), a non-profit group started by Bette Midler to transform open spaces in under-resourced communities. Your monetary and physical contributions are all needed to plant trees, renovate gardens, restore parks and add to the green spaces each neighborhood needs.

Courtesy Green Thumb

Part of the New York Parks Department programs, Green Thumb keeps the city’s community gardens vibrant with plantings and art. A perfect program for building your environmental awareness on Earth Day and giving back to the community, volunteering is needed year-round.

You don’t need to join a formal organization, though. You can assemble your own group of concerned, caring citizens and adopt a block, and they divvy up who takes care of what from mulching trees, to maintaining flowers, to picking up litter. There are many civic “brokers” that will help you create your own partnership for parks: this year’s early crocus plantings are living memorials to those lost through Covid-19, planted as much for their beauty as for their message of hope for the future.

Open Your Eyes to Environmentalism

“Who Takes Care of New York” Exhibit - Courtesy The Nature of Cities

Originally shown at the Queens Museum, the important “Who Takes Care of New York” exhibit lives on virtually. Spend some time reviewing its contents to understand what it takes to care for our natural resources. You can research many opportunities here for involvement through what are termed “acts of care stewardship,” caring and advocating for the environment.

NASA/NOAA/GOES Project - Courtesy American Museum of Natural History

On Earth Day, the American Museum of Natural History invites you to EarthFest, an all-day online celebration. Programming is designed for all ages with topics exploring climate science, conservation, the relationship between man and animal, and the impact of weather on the Earth.

Courtesy Paint and Sip LIVE

Paint and Sip LIVE celebrates Earth Day with a special class combining environmentalism with the arts and featuring a live DJ. The party will honor the holiday while spotlighting the impact of composting as a way to reduce the devastating effects of climate change. Twenty percent of the event’s proceeds will be donated to composting champion Earth Matter NY.

New York City Restaurants Open Indoor Dining Just in Time for Valentine’s Day

Outdoor dining resumes in New York City on February 12, giving you another option if dining outside is too cold for you. But, please note, outdoor dining, indoor dining, takeout and delivery options vary by restaurant and can change based on weather and other factors. Be sure to call ahead to confirm your choice of indoor or outdoor seating.

Born in the U.S.A.

Courtesy Brooklyn Chop House

For Valentine’s Day, Brooklyn Chop House will have you seeing red in a good way with their over-the-top Red Velvet with a Side of Red Velvet special. The menu begins and ends with a Red Velvet creation, first a Red Velvet Frozé and then an oversized slice of Red Velvet Cake. Your dinner is equally colorful, in a figurative sense – order the L.S.D. (Lobster, Steak, Duck), a decadent array of Salt & Pepper Lobster, Ginger & Garlic lobster, dry-aged Porterhouse steak and Peking Duck served with lobster and chicken fried rice.

From New York to the Continent

Courtesy Socarrat Paella Bar

In Spain, Cava is the beverage of romance and Socarrat Paella Bar pairs it with heart-shaped churros dipped in chocolate. You’ll also tuck into a four-course dinner with a shareable Campero board of Spanish charcuterie followed by a tapas selection of red prawns, croquetas and datiles and duck or lobster and seafood paella.

Courtesy Mercado Little Spain

Take a stroll along the High Line and pause to look at the Hudson River and the magnificent New York skyline. Exit at 30th Street for José Andrés’ Spanish Diner at Mercado Little Spain, a second option for those who equate Valentine’s Day with a trip to high-spirited Spain. On the open-air patio, you’ll be treated a Valentine’s Day prix fixe dinner highlighted by the José taco with jamón Ibérico and caviar, croquetas de marisco, and grilled Ibérico pork shoulder. A Cava toast is the perfect precursor to the double-chocolate Nuestro Cardenal, a crispy meringue topped with raspberry chocolate and filled with chocolate ganache.

Courtesy Extra Virgin

West Village favorite Extra Virgin has created an aphrodisiacal Valentine’s Day menu with a dose of whimsy. The Mediterranean-inspired dinner includes hors d’oeuvres like shrimp and Jonah crab cocktail and foie gras mousse and the aptly named Love Bird, a whole roasted jerk chicken to share. As everyone knows, chocolate is de rigueur on Valentine’s Day, and you’ll have a mix of two of the best for dessert with the white and dark chocolate mousse parfait. Playing off the restaurant’s somewhat-ambiguous name, Extra Virgin is selling a limited-edition “Extra Love” red t-shirt. Buy a large so you can cozy up in bed after dinner.

Courtesy The Mark Restaurant

Just steps from Central Park, The Mark Restaurant’s green-and-white striped tent takes on a red tinge with a prix fixe Valentine’s Day menu of Jean-Georges favorites. At the tony Upper East Sider, tuna tartare with caviar is a perfect beginning to sea bass or grilled NY strip. The Linzer tart is as delicious as it is pretty – a heart-shaped sweet finish to a wonderful meal with your sweetie. You won’t need to order a bottle of wine – the sommelier will take care of the perfect pairings.

Courtesy Frevo

Chef Franco Sampogna welcomes you to the re-opening of Frevo for Valentine’s Day. Unusual and romantic, the restaurant is hidden behind an art gallery. It’s like entering Oz — you walk through a painting to find the dining room where a Valentine’s Day playlist sets the tone for Chef’s luxe multi-course dining fête. Artistically plated dishes include lobster cappuccino with Kristal caviar, celery root tagliatelle and black truffle, and quail with foie gras, All ingredients are seasonal, sustainable and locally sourced. The evening’s wine experience is brought to you by sommelier Quentin Vauleon, named Best Young Sommelier in France of 2017.

Courtesy Nice Matin

At Nice Matin, Chef Eric Starkman serves up a special three-course prix fixe menu in their heated, streetside café. The Provençale menu offers starters including lobster bisque, farro risotto and smoked salmon. Entrées appeal to all dining preferences with Filet Mignon, duet of lamb, bucatini Mentonnaise or scallops à la Marseillaise. Dessert is pure rouge decadence: Red Velvet cake with raspberry purée and dark chocolate glaze.

Pacific Delights

Courtesy Nami Nori

Temaki sensation Nami Nori invites you to its outdoor room for a special Temaki Set. The menu of high-level taco-like creations includes five of Chef’s most popular: toro kama with yuzu kosho chimichurri, grilled akamutsu, avocado with pickled goji berries, X.O. scallop with tobiko and lemon, and tuna poke with crispy shallots. A caviar layer dip makes an indulgent appetizer. Drawing on Japan’s cherry-blossom heritage, the meal is finished with a Sakura parfait, a Valentine-pink confection of cherry blossom mousse, hibiscus gêlée, elderflower panna cotta and sponge cake; and “The Cherry Bomb” cherry-red cocktail made with Crémant sparkling wine, cherry sage cordial and soju.

Courtesy 15 East @ Tocqueville

French-Japanese hybrid 15 East @ Tocqueville debuts its first Valentine’s Day menu with a spread to impress. Created by Chef Marco Moreira, the three-course prix fixe meal includes Hudson Valley foie gras custard, butter-poached Maine lobster, duo of Wagyu-beef cheeks and strip loin, and dry aged hay-smoked Magret duck breast. You can choose one of four desserts including baked Fuji apple with passion parfait. If you’d prefer to order strictly Japanese, the Chef’s Sashimi & Sushi Omakase is also available. The red “Enzo and Valentina” with Nolet’s Silver Gin, Campari, St. Germain, Cocchi Rossa, prickly pear and lemon juice is your Valentine’s Day cocktail. Adding to the romance, the inviting (and dimly lit) outdoor space is draped in a sheer pink overhang.

9 New Year’s Eves That Make New York City’s Look Kind of Quaint

In New York City we watch the Ball Drop in Times Square, sing Auld Lang Syne and party until the wee hours on New Year’s Eve to signal that the year is over. In normal years, we also have a chance to watch the fireworks, cheer on the Midnight Run and enjoy live music in Central Park.

New York City - Photo Credit: Colin Miller

Other countries think differently with a variety of traditions to say goodbye to the past and ensure a good year ahead.

Japan

Yahiko Shrine, Niigata, Japan, credit: Meryl Pearlstein

Japan is very serious about celebrating with religion and food.Rather than heading to Shibuya Crossing for a Times Square-like experience on New Year’s Eve, many Japanese observe a tradition of Hatsumōde, the first Shinto shrine visit of the New Year. At the shrine, a talisman with the previous year’s zodiac sign is burned in a ritual called Otakiage and replaced with the zodiac animal of good fortune for the year ahead.

108 rings of the great bell at a Buddhist temple

Listening to Joya-no-Kane, 108 rings of the great bell at a Buddhist temple, is another New Year’s tradition with each peal “ringing away” an evil passion or desire for a clean start to the year. The celebration continues with slurping bowls of toshikoshi soba or “the end-of-the-year-and-into-the-next” soba noodles, symbolizing the bridge between the “old year” and “new year.” In New York City, you can experience the ringing of the bells at the New York Buddhist Church on the Upper West Side.

Osechi

The New Year in Japan is also celebrated with foods associated with good luck, good harvest and other positive outcomes. A traditional Osechi Ryori meal is served in a special jubako box. Consisting of multiple colorful dishes, the meal is eaten with special chopsticks rounded on both ends, one end for human use and the other for the gods. Each dish represents a symbol or wish for the coming year. Dishes include kazunoko, pacific herring roe marinated in salt (abundant harvest and fertility); kuromame, sweet black soybeans (hard work and good health); tazukuri, dried young anchovies (a strong and abundant crop) and kuri-kinton, candied chestnut with sweet potatoes (economic fortune and wealth). Manhattan’s MIFUNE turns Japanese for New Year’s with a 21-course Osechi Box Set. The beautifully composed takeout meal includes like the likes of Miyzazki Wagyu A5 Rank , lobster and uni.

Osaki Hachiman Shrine in Sendai City

In the Miyagi prefecture in the Tohoku region, the largest Dontosai Festival is held at the Osaki Hachiman Shrine in Sendai City where people come to burn their previous year’s New Year’s decorations in a massive bonfire. Seen as a purification ritual to get rid of bad luck as well as a way to pray for health and good fortune, the bonfire is accompanied by hadaka-mairi, a pilgrimage of men dressed only in white boxers, loincloths, a straw belt and straw shoes who ring a hand bell to herald the coming year while cleansing themselves of the previous year.

South American and European countries seem to have the most fun (or insanity) on New Year’s Eve.

Peru

Peru

To ensure good luck and positive energy, Peruvians don yellow clothing, wearing the color of Peruvian positivity. For double assurance, many put on yellow underwear and even start their New Year’s Eve celebration wearing their underwear inside out. After the clock strikes midnight, they turn it back to the right side, symbolizing changes to be made in the coming year.

Colombia

Colombia

Then there are the Colombians who take an empty suitcase on New Year’s Eve and run around the block as quickly as possible to ensure a year full of travel, an admirable aspiration especially this year.

Mexico

Mexico

The way to say goodbye to the old year in Mexico differs by area. In some regions, a doll made of old rags is set on fire to symbolize the burning of the previous year’s bad memories or deeds. In Veracruz, popular music floods the streets and children celebrate El Viejo, disguising themselves as elders as a representation of the end of the previous year. In Oaxaca, breaking crockery as a symbol of getting rid of the old is a New Year’s Eve tradition. In the heart of Jalisco, the town of Tequila fêtes the end of the year by eating 12 “lucky” grapes, one for each chime of the clock, as they do in Spain. With an appropriate Mexican twist, the town welcomes the New Year with a secret wish and a toast of tequila rather than Spanish cava. For extra good luck, locals drop a gold jewel inside their tequila glass as a harbinger of luck and abundance. Toast as they do in Spain and Mexico with festive dinner parties to go from New York City restaurants Boqueria, Socarrat and Mole.

Iceland

Iceland

Community bonfires are a New Year’s Eve event throughout Iceland. These massive fires attract friends and family to reflect on the year past and spread well wishes for the one ahead. Locals sing traditional songs about elves, the secret creatures of Icelandic lore, before scurrying indoors at 10:30pm to watch Skaupið, a satirical TV show shown only on NYE. No one in Iceland would dream of missing it!

Denmark

Denmark

In Denmark people smash plates against their friends’ and relatives’ front doors on New Year’s Eve.  They believe that the person with the largest pile of broken plates will have the most luck.

Greece

Greece

Ironically, the Greeks don’t smash plates on New Year’s as they often do in the Plaka in Athens. Rather, homemakers hang pomegranates outside their front door and smash them. The number of seeds that fall determines your fate for the New Year. The bigger the pile, the better your luck will be.

Russia

Russia - Herring under the Fur Coat” salad

The Japanese definitely don’t have a lock on celebrating NYE with a major food feast. On December 31, Russians party at home with an elaborate food spread with mandarins, Russian salad (Olivier salad) and the wonderfully named “Herring under the Fur Coat” salad (shuba). And, because there are nine time zones in Russia, New Year is celebrated nine times starting from Vladivostok from East to West. For a local taste of the Olivier and Shuba salads, Russian Samovar in Manhattan’s Theater District offers a “Bourgeois Holiday Banquet” to go.

Planning a trip to NYC?