From New York To Paris: bde's Guide to Winter 2019
Winter is here – the season to embrace comfort & warmth. It’s also the one year anniversary with our French partner 14 Septembre, so in honor of a fantastic first year, this special-edition winter guide shares our top recommendations for New York and across the pond in Paris.
Here’s how we’d spend a day in two of our favorite cities:
Start the day in New York City with a window seat at Buvette on Grove St. (no reservations – go early to avoid the crowd) to people-watch with a latte & croissants in hand. We also recommend breakfast at Russ & Daughters at the Jewish Museum.
Or stop by Maman’s original SoHo café (there are now several locations across Manhattan & Brooklyn) for Toby’s Estate coffee in their statement blue & white-detailed toile cups, fresh breakfast and sweet pastries (try the almond croissant). Quick tip: Maman also offers workshops & creative events like calligraphy & naked-cake styling – check out the website for details.
Escape the cold with a museum-filled morning. Our top picks: the Guggenheim’s exhibition on the late controversial American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe; The Value of Good Design at MOMA; Andy Warhol at The Whitney (stop by Untitled on the first floor afterward for the Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookie & Milk dessert); and a must-see: Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving at the Brooklyn Museum – the largest U.S. exhibition in a decade devoted to the iconic artist.
If you can brave the cold: ice skate at the Central Park Wollman Rink – the classic New York winter activity – and head to the Loeb Boathouse afterward for a drink by the fireplace. For a more under-the-radar option, go to the just-opened rooftop rink at Pier 17 in the Seaport District to skate with a view of the city’s skyline. Then enjoy ski-lodge style food & drinks in the chalet-themed Tank, or opt for a more indulgent experience at R17 – the new rooftop restaurant at the pier.
Nature-lovers: the New York Botanical Garden is always picturesque this season. Go through the greenhouses, or visit in March for a first taste of spring with the Orchid Festival. The Queens Botanical Garden is another great choice – try the watercolor workshop or evening cocktail & craft botanical aromatherapy class. In Manhattan, the High Line offers winter walking tours – learn about the history, design and landscape for NYC’s park in the sky.
Last, but not least: don’t miss the Chinese New Year celebrations in Chinatown. Swing by the Lunar New Year parade for the dragons, dancing, firecrackers & food.
Dine at the Waverly Inn in the West Village – its intimate & softly-lit setup feels especially warm on a winter night. Make a reservation for the heated back garden or drop by the fireplace bar for a glass of wine. Another spot we love for dinner: all-day French café La Mercerie in SoHo (try the homemade smoked salmon).
For an experiential dinner: At The Illusionist’s Table with renowned illusionist & performer Scott Silven at the McKittrick Hotel (pair it with drinks beforehand at the hotel’s rooftop cabin hideaway The Lodge – it’s currently closed for repairs, so go in February.) Or, put a spin on the traditional dinner & a movie outing at the Alamo Drafthouse dine-in cinema.
Our post-dinner recommendations: The Magician at The Nomad (reserve in advance – tickets sell fast); Wonders at Dusk (Scott Silven’s other performance at the McKittrick). For a classic culture fix: Don Giovanni & Samson et Dalila at the Met Opera; Sleeping Beauty at the NYC Ballet. On Broadway: we’re looking forward to the opening of Be More Chill (based on the novel by Ned Vizzini) – previews begin in February.
Where to go for a late-night drink (or two):
Midtown East/Upper East Side: Ophelia at the top of the Beekman Tower (transformed with a “snow globe in the sky” installation this season – try the a la española with Ophelia’s gin selection of the month); Bemelman’s uptown for the jazz & the old-time New York feel.
Flatiron: SERRA ALPINA by Birreria - a winter-themed greenhouse restaurant on the Eataly rooftop.
Downtown: Margaux at the Marlton Hotel in Greenwich Village for cocktails (& the plush seats by the fireplace); the heated Winter Garden at the Standard East Village - reserve an alpine yurt to share fondue with a few friends.
Beyond Manhattan: Black Mountain Wine House in Carroll Gardens has the log cabin-vibe – go for the fireplace, rustic interiors and relaxed feel.
Francophiles: check out our recommendations for enjoying a day in the City of Lights in the wintertime:
From the 18th-22nd of January, we’ll be at Maison et Objet for the latest & greatest in design, architecture & lifestyle culture. Follow along with @bdebytes to see the behind the scenes updates from the fair – and send us a message if you’ll be there as well!
For a gray Parisian winter day, a morning at the museum is a morning well spent – here’s where we’d go: Musée Picasso (go early to beat the crowds); Musée de l’Orangerie for the incredible art exhibits without the Louvre crowd; the former train station-turned-museum Musée d’Orsay (check out the Impressionist wing); Musée Rodin to explore the works of French sculptor Auguste Rodin (visit Rodin’s old home, the Villa des Brillants at Meudon, and admire his sculptures in the museum garden). Also, check out Tutto Ponti at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs – the architect & designer’s first retrospective in France.
Stop for lunch at La Droguerie (the best for crepes – worth the wait in line) at 42 Rue Vieille du Temple, or Pizzeria Popolare at 111 Rue Réaumur (get there when they open). Angelina & PAIN PAIN are musts for hot chocolate, and Pierre Hermé, Carl Marletti and Ladurée are the places for pastries.
Paris is one of our favorite cities to shop-til-you-drop: visit The Broken Arm, Merci, Sezane, Galeries Lafayette (stay here until sunset to capture the city views from the roof) and Le Bon Marché department store (see the massive Branco Luz sculpture while you’re there). The famed La Hune bookstore, recently re-opened in November, is worth a trip - check out the selection of extraordinary prints. Deyrolle, a taxidermy store, is also a must - prepare to be amazed by beautiful (and at times disturbing) “frozen” creatures (no pictures allowed, but we snuck a few).
And for a breath of fresh air: explore Luxembourg Gardens.
After a day of art and shopping, continue the ‘Parisian aventure’ with dinner at Pink Mamma, a colorful four story Italian restaurant (no reservations - go early to avoid a wait). While you’re there - head down to the restaurant’s speakeasy bar No Entry to try one of 15 one-of-a-kind cocktails.
We also recommend Beaupassage for a moment of respite and great food. Pick up a sweet treat from Thierry Marx’s bakery to-go and visit the Beaupassage miniature forest. And one more: Hébé is an excellent spot for French cuisine with Mediterranean flavors (opt for the John Dory, Turbot, and the Brioche for dessert).
One of our favorites for cocktails: Little Red Door. Or enjoy custom cocktail creations at Experimental Cocktail Club - one of the first ‘mixology’ style bars in Paris. Listen to American jazz or blues (visit on the weekend for a more upbeat experience).
Wine-connoisseurs: swing by Chez Nous to discover new, natural and biodynamic wines. Pair with a late night snack – their charcuterie boards are from the Spanish Basque country. Facing the oldest bridge in Paris, Chez Nous is a few blocks from the Seine - perfect for a walk along the water post-drinks.
Did you check out any of our recommendations? Share your photos with #bdeguide and let us know at @bdebytes.