101 things to do in New York City in the winter 2010
Wed Nov 24 2010
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71. Hone your golf swing
There are other indoor golf venues in New York, but [node:118858 link=Chelsea Piers;] doesn't require membership, so casual golfers can whack balls as they please in one of the 52 stalls over four floors. Tee off between Monday and Friday for off-peak hours all day through February (147 balls for $25)—peak hours run Saturday 9am to 9pm and Sunday 9am to 6pm (90 balls for $25). The simulators ($45 per hour) allow you to compete in 51 virtual championship courses while noshing on pizza and beer from Chelsea Brewery downstairs. Twelfth Ave at 23rd St (212-336-6400, chelseapiers.com). 6:30am--11pm.
72. Celebrate Festivus on December 23
This nondenominational meal, introduced to the world by Seinfeld, varies depending on whom you're asking; we suggest meatloaf, turkey or ham, followed by a Pepperidge Farm cake decorated with M&Ms, a favorite of Festivus term-coiner Dan O'Keefe. The holiday also includes such novel practices as the "Airing of Grievances," which takes place after dinner and entails each person telling everyone else all the ways they have disappointed him or her over the past year. The "Feats of Strength" are also performed after eating. This involves each guest wrestling the head of the household to the floor, with the celebrations ending only if the head of the household is actually pinned. No tree is necessary, for on this—a holiday for the rest of us—an unadorned aluminum pole is the sole "decoration."
[node:599217 override=cck:field_caption:; noterms imagecache=field_image:timeout_156x95:image:0; cck=field_caption; cck=field_credits;]73. Take an MTA bus tour of holiday windows in Manhattan
The ride down Fifth Avenue from the elevated vantage point of an MTA bus is surprisingly one of the best nontouristy sightseeing excursions around—and the cheapest. Pick up the M2, M3 or M5 going downtown on Fifth Avenue at any point before the southern end of Central Park, and stare down anyone who gets in the way of a window seat. You'll see all the biggies: Saks, FAO, Henri Bendel, Bergdorf, Lord & Taylor, plus the Rock Center tree. Hop off at 14th Street, walk a block east to Union Square and treat yourself to a cup of hot cider or wassail at the [node:120925 link=Union Square Holiday Market;].
74. Indulge yourself at a grand old hotel
For the ultimate high-low experience, precede the MTA bus tour with a martini at the storied [node:121446 link=King Cole Bar;]. Arrive before 5pm for the best chance of snagging a table, and then recline in the clubby wood-paneled room and admire the Maxfield Parrish mural above the bar. Order an Illy Issimo Espresso martini ($22) made with Belvedere vodka, Illy Issimo espresso and Kahla to prepare yourself to rub shoulders with the hoi polloi on public transportation. [node:283164 link=The St. Regis New York;], 2 E 55th St between Fifth and Madison Aves (212-753-4500, kingcolebar.com). Mon--Thu, Sun 4pm--12:30am; Fri, Sat 4pm--1am.
75. Celebrate the Festival of Lights
Watch as the world's reputedly biggest menorah is lit in celebration of Hanukkah (Fifth Ave at 59th St, in front of the Plaza Hotel, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn; Dec 1 at 5:30pm). The nightly lighting of the 32-foot-high candle continues through the 9th (lighting is at 3:30pm on Friday and 8:30pm on Saturday) and the last evening will include folk dancing and Hanukkah treats. The main Borough Hall menorah lighting ceremony, led by Marty Markowitz, will take place on December 2 with festivities beginning at 5:30pm (in front of the Supreme Court, 360 Adams St between Johnson and Joralemon Sts, Downtown Brooklyn). For a more risqu way to celebrate, let the Schlep Sisters titillate you at their Fourth Annual Menorah Horah burlesque show ([node:119497 link=Highline Ballroom;], 431 W 16th St between Ninth and Tenth Aves; 212-414-5994, highlineballroom.com; 8pm; $20, advance $15).
[node:609879 noterms imagecache=field_image:timeout_156x95:image:0; cck=field_caption; cck=field_credits;]76. Giddyap at [node:118692 link=the Bronx Zoo;]
If you've ever looked on jealously at people taking a horse-and-cart ride in Central Park—but never tried it due to the cost and the possibility of being mistaken for a tourist—head to the Bronx for a festive carriage ride. Two Clydesdale horses will pull you around Astor Court as you enjoy a prime view of the sea lion enclosure. Bronx River Pkwy at Fordham Rd, Bronx (718-367-1010). Weekends through Dec 19, and Dec 26--31 11:30am--3:30pm; $5.
77. Attend a Japanese tea ceremony
Anyone can pop into Tea & Sympathy for a refreshing brew in the British style, but to experience the proper reverence for the humble tea leaf, swing by the Urasenke Chanoyu Center's monthly tea demonstration lecture. You'll be taught about the historical and philosophical foundations of the Way of Tea, and participate in the heavily ritualized ceremony. 153 E 59th St between Lexington and Third Aves (212-988-6161, urasenkeny.org). Dec 15 at 5:30pm; $15.
78. Explore the whiskey spectrum
Bourbon dominates the whiskey scene in America, but you can treat your taste buds to different versions of the golden-colored tipple in lower Manhattan. Begin at Whiskey Tavern (79 Baxter St between Bayard and Walker Sts; 212-374-9119, whiskeytavernnyc.com) in Chinatown with a pour of the proprietary Tom Lawless American whiskey ($8)—although it's made in Kentucky, it's not technically a bourbon. Then take a bracing walk (or a stumble) to Scottish pub [node:122331 link=Highlands;] to sample one of its 100-strong collection of whiskeys. We recommend the Glenrothes 1985 ($18).
79. Hunker down underground
When the weather turns nasty, turn to a games bunker. If you're in Manhattan, the [node:119217 link=Fat Cat;] (75 Christopher St between Seventh Ave South and Bleecker St; 212-675-7369, fatcatmusic.org) offers a scruffy, cheap and jovial place to kill many an hour playing pool, Ping-Pong, shuffleboard, foosball and chess. There's also live jazz every night from 7pm (Sundays from 6pm). For a more upscale subterranean option, try Park Slope's [node:122133 link=Ocean's 8;] (308 Flatbush Ave at Seventh Ave, Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-857-5555, oceans8atbrownstone.com), another cavernous space filled with Ping-Pong, pool tables and bowling lanes. If that's not enough entertainment, lose a day watching a multitude of sports on 30 large-screen TVs.
80. Gorge yourself on the Holiday Cookie and Dessert Crawl
This monthly series by NYC Food Crawl is hitting the West Village in search of festive treats. Once you arrive at the meeting point, you'll be assigned to a team of five to six and given a route to follow. Teams often appoint a captain to handle the money (the tour is pay-as-you-go) and the ordering of food, so you can get friendly with your fellow thrilling-tastes seekers on the sidewalk. Location TBD, see nycfoodcrawl.blogspot.com for details. Dec 14 at 7pm; free.