New York Journals

Christmas in New York City with IgoUgo

Best of IgoUgo

A November 2004 trip to New York by IgoUgo Staff

Rai Rai Ken Photo, New York, New York More Photos
Quote: Spend Christmas in New York City—IgoUgo style!

Rai Rai Ken

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Rai Rai Ken Photo, New York, New York
Quote:
Rai Rai Ken 214 East 10th Street between First and Second Avenues New York, NY 212/477.7030 While Rai Rai Ken reminds me of the Japanese movie Tampopo, it is my quick trip to Tokyo a few years ago that always comes flooding back whenever I enter the shop for a simple bowl of ramen. Separating the banners overhead at the door, I immediately get transported back to winter Japan; its narrow space and wooden bar remind me of cold cheeks and frozen hands after my usual bike commute through the suburbs of Tokyo. Their simple menu offers three kinds of ramen bowls: shoyu, a soy sauce-based broth, shio, seafood-based, a...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 23, 2004

Rai Rai Ken
214 East 10th Street
New York, New York
(212) 477-7030

Tasting Room

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Restaurant | "The Tasting Room"

Quote:
The Tasting Room 72 East 1st Street on First Avenue New York, NY 212/358-7831 When people ask me for my Top Five restaurants in New York City, I rank Sushiden on five, Tom Colicchio's Gramercy Tavern on four, Snack on three (because I eat there at least three times a month), and Mario Batali's Babbo in second place. I usually get a reaction when I tell them that The Tasting Room ranks first, either because they have never heard of it or because the proprietors are more famous at the farmers' market than they are on the Food Network. The Tasting Room is where I was introduced to ramps a couple of years ago. Ramps belong in the l...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 23, 2004

Tasting Room
72 East First St
New York, New York 10003
+1 212 358 7831

Ye Waverly Inn

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Restaurant

Quote:
New York was close to making the final cut for inclusion within that charming fraternity known as New England. Of course, a few factors hampered our admission: besides existing a few yards south of the crucial geographical cut-off point, our natives have the staggering advantage of being able to stroll the streets in January without losing all major vital signs (well, almost). Still, I can’t deny that when the urge to curl up beside a fireplace swathed in garland and holly kicks in, New England takes the lead over all other regions in my sappy mind's eye. I curb the urge to haul my self aboard the next Amtrak bound for Stamford by heading instead to the most homey and sweet dining experience i...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 30, 2004

Ye Waverly Inn
16 Bank St
New York, New York 10014
+1(212) 929-4377

Biscuit BBQ

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Restaurant | "Biscuit"

Quote:
I just can’t jive with the hordes of fashionable, health-conscious New Yorkers who spend the holidays nibbling elegantly on dinners of tofurkey, potato purée drizzled with a light sauce au jus, and low-carb pumpkin tartines. When I hear the sound of sleigh bells jingling, I crave comfort food. Juicy, home-style, coronary-on-a-plate comfort food. So three cheers for Biscuit, "a B-B-Q joint" (as the sign out front proudly declares) that brings the red-blooded fare of the red states to the chilly North. And let me tell you, once you’ve had a taste of Biscuit, you’re never going back to KFC. This is real soul food. Step into Biscuit’s small, jam-packed dining room, have a sea...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 1, 2004

Biscuit BBQ
367 Flatbush Avenue
New York, New York
(718) 398-2227

Art Cafe

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Restaurant | "Arte Cafe"

Quote:
Everybody thinks of evenings when they imagine the holidays in New York: sloshing through Central Park in a sleigh, white lights illuminating the way for rush-hour shoppers along Madison Avenue, or ice-skating in the shadow of Rockefeller Center. But weekend mornings in December are when I love New York best. And that’s all thanks to the delicious brunch at Arte Café. Arte Café is located on New York's Upper West Side, on a tree-lined block of perfectly maintained brownstones in a residential neighborhood where you’re likely to see locals schlepping their Christmas trees home from corner convenience stores and walking their golden retrievers with steaming coffees in hand. The reason ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 7, 2004

Art Cafe
106 West 73rd Street
New York, New York 10023
(212) 501-7014

Christmas at Rockefeller Center

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Attraction | "Rockefeller Christmas Tree"

Christmas at Rockefeller Center Photo, New York, New York
Quote:
Rockefeller Christmas Tree Rockefeller Plaza 47th to 51st Streets, between Fifth and Seventh Avenues New York, NY Christmas in New York City requires a visit to the Rockefeller Christmas tree. The sight of the giant tree in the middle of the plaza has delighted tourists and locals alike. It started humbly with 700 lights, then enhanced in 1936 with an outdoor ice-skating rink in 1936. A giant statue of Prometheus, the Greek god of fire, watches over the young and the young-at-heart skaters below. Today, the lighting of the tree is aired on national television as one of New York City's beloved traditions, with more than 25,000 multicolored bulbs. This ye...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 23, 2004

Christmas at Rockefeller Center
Between 47th and 50th Streets and 5th and 7th Avenues
New York, New York

Chinatown

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Attraction | "Chinatown -- Bootleg Shopping Mecca"

Quote:
Chinatown. When you hear that name, you probably just think of Chinese food, buildings with intricate detail, some sort of major arch establishing the entrance to it, and a lot of signs written in Chinese that you have no clue how to read. Of course, the culture of Chinatown is amazing, but the shopping there is even more amazing. Look beyond those obvious establishments, and you'll find a mecca for discount shopping. Here, there is something for everyone on your Christmas list. Canal Street, lined with tiny stores, street vendors, and the occasional "mini-mall", is the center of this holy land of discount shopping. The popular shopping attraction, during Christmastime an...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 30, 2004

Chinatown
Canal Street to Bayard Street
New York, New York 10002
(212) 260-6000

All State Cafe

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Attraction | "All State Café"

Quote:
This cozy neighborhood hideaway, tucked below street level down a short flight of stairs, is just the place to settle in and wile away a chilly evening in front of the fire. Its obscurity is maintained by the unassuming sign and dingy windows on the street; in fact, I passed right by it twice before finally identifying it. I took this as a good sign. Once inside, I slid onto a bar stool to wait for my friend and joined in the communal game of Jeopardy being played by a group of regulars gathered at the bar. They were very welcoming and even tolerated my embarrassing wrong-answer shouting until my friend arrived. The bartenders were attentive and friendly, the jukebox had an extensive collection ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 30, 2004

All State Cafe
250 W. 72nd St.(between Broadway and West End)
New York, New York 10023
(212) 874-1883

Strand Bookstore

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Attraction

Quote:
It’s that time of the year again. Time to spread the yuletide spirit, to shop until your credit card drops, and most importantly, to boost your country’s economy with the Christmas dollar. If you happen to live in a country whose economy isn’t sporting a jolly ol’ Santa Claus-like potbelly, well, it’s time to do your part and spend, spend, spend. What an incredible time of the year, indeed: not only do you have the power to make friends and loved ones smile from ear to ear, but also your government. So, then...what to buy? Here in New York City, if you want it, you can have it, from a date with Paris Hilton (I’m assuming that can be arranged —- hey, if she’ll date Nick Carter, she’ll date anyone...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 6, 2004

Strand Bookstore
828 Broadway
New York, New York 10003
(212) 473-1452

Pravda

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Attraction

Quote:
Unlike his other ventures, Keith McNally’s Pravda is known as a cocktail lounge/bar rather than a dining establishment, although Pravda’s food menu is well worth boasting about also. The décor and ambience is similar to McNally’s other restaurants (Lucky Strike, Balthazar, Pastis, and Schiller’s) with a post-modern Soviet twist. The drink and food menu is Russian-influenced, and you can expect to find cocktails fittingly named Leninade or Kempinsky Fizz, both of which I recommend. Actually, anything you try on the cocktail list will not disappoint. Every ingredient used in Pravda’s cocktails, down the lemon wedge garnish, is fresh and organic. The bartenders take pride in the fact that ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 6, 2004

Pravda
281 Lafayette St
New York, New York 10012
+1 212 334 5015

Quote:
Strolling does not seem like the appropriate word to describe any sort of walking during the days before Christmas. Instead, an image of irritable husbands weighed down with bags as their wives savagely push other shoppers out of their stomping grounds seems to be a more likely scenario. While this may be true of your average all-American mall or downtown, strolling towards the forever classy Central Park through the avenues of the Upper East Side can instead give you a sense of a Christmas of bygone times, when couples clacked by in carriages and ornate buildings were adorned with wreaths and lights with particular care and precision. Begin at a New York landmark that seems li...Read More

Best Way to Experience a Blue Christmas

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Quote:
Whether you're spending the holidays alone or are simply tired of commercials depicting the fabulously well-to-do surprising each other with red-bowed luxury sedans, there are plenty of reasons to enjoy a Blue Christmas. Forget the treacle sentiments of the Elvis song —- a true Blue Christmas is spent at your local dive bar, sharing miseries with the likewise afflicted while staring at colored lights reflected through the amber blur of whiskey. So, with that in mind, if you do find yourself sad, alone, and Manhattan-bound this Christmas, you could do a lot worse than spending it drunk at the Blarney Cove (510 E. 14th St., between Ave. A & B, 212-473-9284.) Located on a particularly ug...Read More

About the Writer

IgoUgo Staff

IgoUgo Staff
New York, New York